31 Day Author Platform Challenge Day 27: Best Advice

Now listen up…

[Before we start, have you followed 10 new people yet?]

We are on the homestretch! Today’s task is a snap; I mean, seeing as we’ve spent so much time on the Canva-type of programs we’re practically experts in graphic design.

Today, share your best piece of advice for your audience. Create a pretty meme about it.

[Surely by now you’ve narrowed down your audience. Is it writers? If so, what kind/who do they write for? Is it moms? If so, what age? YA readers? What genre? Librarians? Where do they live and why are they following you? But I digress.]

Feel free to add where you got the advice, how it changed things for you, and what you hope will happen by sharing it.

Speaking of which, Forbes has some ideas on how to go about making your posts more sharable, such as taking advantage of trending topics, using bright visuals, keeping it short, and having a call to action.

If you make the post interactive, check out some advice on ways to get interactive posts noticed, such as checking out what your (successful) peers are doing, keeping it on brand, and posting at the right time.

Or simply post the quote (with your social media handle/website) across your platforms.

Make it pretty, with images and animation. Sound effects optional. You’re getting good at this, right? (I sometimes spend so much time futzing around on Canva that I feel like I’m playing hooky from my WIP! Anyone else find themselves willingly jumping down that rabbit hole?)

Simple way to make it engaging? Ask followers to share THEIR best advice.

[Psst–four days left on the Challenge. How’s it been going? Let me know!]

31 Day Author Platform Challenge Day 23: Offer Thanks

<NUDGE NUDGE Have you followed 10 new people yet?>

**Don’t make a jpg like this! Use real, clickable hashtags**

Let’s take advantage of the national day of thanks-giving. Our task today is about uplifting others in a Thank You post. It will feel so good! And will take mere minutes.

If you haven’t been a part of the #writerslift movement on Twitter/#, now is your time to join the party.

Think about critique partners, for example. Find the right ones and they are worth their weight in gold, amiright? These gems of fellow writers, whom you trust to read your work-in-progress, provide constructive feedback and help you improve your craft. They can act as a sounding board for ideas, catch typos and plot holes, and offer fresh perspectives on your writing. They are not only helpful, but supportive and committed. Aren’t they worthy of celebrating? Let’s give them a shout out of gratitude today.

If you don’t have CPs at the moment, think about people who have helped you in any way this week or month or year. There are plenty of people that are helpful! You don’t have to know them personally. Maybe their mentor texts or inspiring feeds got you through a rough patch. These fellow creatives you’ve never met would love to know you appreciate them. Why not reach out and and connect by tagging them with a short flattering post?

Today, Day 23, we are showing fellow authors some (virtual) love.

We’ll do that by giving them a shout-out across all your social media outlets using the hashtag #writerslift. This task is another example of how an automation tool is handy. You only have to post once if you use a scheduler, and it’ll go out to all your outlets at once.

Publicly acknowledging people not only shows gratitude, but boosts their profiles and helps to establish them as respected members of the writing community. You know they’d do it for you! In fact, they probably already have. It’s a part of supporting each other. Rising tides lift all boats, right?

Make it pretty with a Canva-type app, or make it a simple text post. Your call. While of course it’s honestly the thought that counts, this is one rare time I suggest a regular post vs creating a graphic. Why? As you can see in the .png I created above, there is no way to tag my CPs in the image, so I have to tag them each all over again in the post–and I have to add the #writerslift tag to the post anyway. WHY DO I MAKE THINGS SO HARD FOR MYSELF lol. Just make a simple post for this.

Some tips for creating feel-good #writerslift shout-outs:

  1. Be specific: Details, baby! Use full names and highlight what they’ve done to help you. Did they catch a major plot hole? Publish a PB that inspires you to be a better writer? Support you when no one else thought you could do it? Give credit where credit is due.
  2. Be generous: Don’t be shy. Offering praise to someone who has helped you means A LOT to them, esp if you’re not the touchy-feely type. It can help strengthen the CP bond. Knowing it had an impact on you can help encourage them to be helpful to others again in the future. And it will warm your own heart at the same time!
  3. Be authentic: Don’t write a generic post just for the sake of giving a shout-out. A list of names is great, but it’s virtual lip service. Write with sincerity and share genuine appreciation. If you can’t be specific to any one piece of feedback for whatever reason, it’s okay to thank them for their support over the years or months. The important thing is you are sharing gratitude.

You DON’T have to go big or go home

The kidlit industry is FULL of kind-hearted, helpful people like you. Shout-outs like this keeps that supportive feeling alive. Simply saying thanks to one person can make you both feel good! (No need to gift them, a simple THANKS is all that’s needed.)

One great example of an AMAZING week-long show of author love in May, created and run by fellow PB author @SylviaiChen. It’s a (free) weeklong co-celebratory event with prizes that is everything our Day 23 is about: uplifting and recognizing our fellow writers and illustrators! What an effective and thoughtful way to give mass shout-outs! This goes above and beyond any shout-out Tweet I would have thought up. Don’t worry, I don’t expect level that from you! She probably worked on that for months. You can take 11 mins 🙂

Recap: Send (several) posts thanking your crit partners and anyone who has helped make you a better writer, and use the #writerslift hashtag. Be specific with the appreciation if you can, and don’t tag too many people in one post.

Share the love!

PS I am thankful for you, cheering me on and helping keep me accountable this month!

31 Day Author Platform Challenge Day 13: Little Known Facts

Since the last few author platform pumping days have been rough ones (Day 10 was toughest so far you’ve said), Day 13 of the 31 Day Author Platform Challenge is gonna be super easy.

Today you’re going to find a little-known fact that supports your brand or your book(s). Then you’re gonna create and publish a pretty little post about it.

If your main character is a whale, post surprising whale facts. Is the MC shy? Post “The wrong way to help a child overcome shyness.” Looking to become an expert on your future book about critique groups? Share a top surprising tip on making them more effective. You see what I’m getting at, right? Make sure you verify it’s FACTUAL (check more than one resource), and reference the source in the post, so people know it’s true. Don’t forget to add your website or social media handle.

Here’s an example of fun facts that “just happen” to not only support an author but have thumbnails of two of her books. It has her @handle, the source of data, and kindly references the illustrator’s name. (Yes it could be a little cleaner but still. Well done!)

Little Known Facts the support a picture book author

Once you create yours, as you can guess, you’ll plaster that sweet nugget across all your social media outlets. Like this.

Don’t have a book to promote? It can be something like a fun fact about the writing industry or a statistic on books sold each/last year. Keep it in line with your personality as a writer. If you write charming board books, for example, don’t quote stats on horror novels.

Here’s the catch (there’s always a catch. You know me!)

>>You’re going to add animation AND sound in addition to images on this “Little Known Fact” meme. <<

If you’ve never done it before, I trust you can figure out how to do it simply by poking around. Literally look for “add animation” button. Google how-to if not; it’s not that hard, I promise.

With the interesting new info you share, you’ll look like a genius.

Or at a minimum, a source of reliable information.

The sound and animation will make the post stand out even more.

Can’t wait to see what you come up with! Feel free to share a link, below. We’ll RT it!

31 Day Author Platform Challenge Day 2: Set up sign-ups

New-accounts-R-Us

Canva options for different social media templates

[Before we start, have you followed 10 new people yet?]

Welcome to Day 2! How did yesterday go? Learn anything surprising about your author brand, or lack thereof? It’s okay to find we’re not at the very top of your game. With busy lives we tend to be stuck in survivor mode and don’t think about long-term goals or big-picture stuff. That’s one of the reasons I want to do this challenge—to stop placing band-aids and start fixing those broken bones. Heck, to start avoiding injury!

I hope yesterday gave you a better sense of where you stand, and recommits you to sustaining a consistent image. The (positive!) consistent image is what will help us grow.

Today we lay the groundwork by making sure we have accounts for some apps that will make our next few weeks easier.

It’s a total drag to be on a roll only to find out you have to create a new account or download a new app. So we’re taking care of that today, with the apps we’ll be using the most.

You’ll be signing up for any new social media you’re interested in, for the apps you need to create pdfs/gifs/videos/memes and cool posts, and look into automation tools to make your life easier.

New social media accounts:

First up are the new accounts you want to start using (if there are any). Spend a few minutes today opening those accounts, picking a handle, setting up a profile and bio, etc. Just create the account. Creating a website? Maybe you need a domain name and you can secure that today, or maybe a new Goodreads Author Page is on your ToDo list. No need to post anything, or broadcast the new account. Simply sign up.

Graphic design help:

Second, since visuals get more attention in rankings, increase the amount of time people spend looking at it, and let the post stand out more, we will be making several meme-type posts this month. (“Meme” is just a fancy way of saying a post that has a background with words and images/photos/video.) I want to be sure you have a way to do that.

Look into ways that make sense for you. Make sure you already have accounts in place to make gifs and memes, like Canva, Book Brush, Instagram, Imgflip, GiphyAdobe, newer sites like Venngage, or the ol’ PowerPoint. Git yer tail a-movin’ and look into them, then sign up for a few that you like. You need at least one.

  • Most services have a 30-day trial to take for a spin. Starting with free gives you the option to upgrade to the paid version later, if you find you need it.
  • As an aside, if you are a published author and haven’t seen or used Book Brush yet, run, don’t walk to bookbrush.com. I am not getting paid to say this–I’m simply floored at their services. They have hundreds and hundreds of templates that let you pop in your book cover to all sorts of scenarios. Templated range from seeing someone reading YOUR BOOK on the beach to your book being tucked into someone’s Christmas stocking. Super cool, and easy. Literally drag and drop. I’m still on the free trial until a few months before my book comes out.
  • Apps like BookBrush and Canva have free templates specifically designed for each different platform. Other bennies in paid version like logo creation or nicer graphics. Those two are my personal top go-tos for post creation. I suggest you sign up for both free versions and play around. Total time suck but fun!

Schedulers:

Third, you need an automation tool. It does several things. It will let you create several posts/memes ahead of time and will automatically post them on the dates and times you schedule. It’ll also get your post out across all your platforms simultaneously, so you don’t have to go to each account separately, thus saving you time.

Hootsuite used to be the gold standard, but they charge now, so I abandoned ship. I was using the free version of Buffer which maxes out at three platforms but hey that’s still a time saver. I will also admit it’s not foolproof as I never figured it out why it won’t connect to my Insta. Right now I pay for Canva, which includes a scheduler. It’s the one I use the most since I don’t have to save the meme or exit the app/webpage, I schedule directly from there.

If you know of a good free version of schedulers like Sprout Social, Postify, Social Omph, etc, let us know in the comments!

Check with your web host too. If your host can do it for you, you might not even need a scheduler. I noticed WordPress works with Anchor podcast, for example, and will automatically post an audio version of your blog post to your Anchor channel. (Yes, it is on my To Do list!) It also will post a highlight of your new posts on almost any social media you connect to it. Insta lets you share any Insta post you create with other platforms (click the three dots on top right and click “Share to…”).

But having one place that does it all is great. Look into it!

If you’re already set on all accounts:

If you already had all the above completed, give yourself a gold star! For you, today’s task is to follow 5-10 new people in BOTH your SECOND and THIRD favorite platforms. (Thought you’d skate today, huh? Not on my watch! lol)

Cross promote:

Make sure each social media account you have references all the other social media accounts you have–at least to the best of your ability.

Recap in four parts: Set up any new social media accounts you are interested in. Sign up for services that offer (free) graphic design help. Find and sign up for a (free) automation tool. Make sure each of your current accounts references your other social media accounts, including website (if you’re proud of it).

Tomorrow we work on our website, so if you have always wanted to create one, grab that domain name and host and start now, so you’re ready!