Building An Author Platform: Pinterest

Hey everybody! I’m wrapping up my author platform series today with a few notes about using Pinterest as an author. It’s a nice quick and short post today because Monday is the start of exam week! Wish me luck, y’all; I’m gonna need it.

Pinterest is an interesting platform that I find reaches a very specific audience. I never used it a bunch growing up, but I know a lot of people who did and they raved about it. Pinterest is all about images as inspiration for all sorts of different ideas and projects. It’s one of those sites where you could reach a lot of people or you could reach very few. Some authors have lots of luck with it, especially if they are big vision board people. But anyone can have success with it in varying degrees if you know where to start. I think it’s a good platform to use in general, especially for posting pictures that highlight your fantasy world. Here are my best tips for the site:

Tip #1: Create a Pinterest Business Account.

A business account looks pretty much the same as a personal account, except you will have access to free analytics. You also get access to tools to help you embed pins and boards directly into your blog posts or your sidebar if you’d like! And it’s free, so why not?! You can make your profile aligned to you as an author, to your website, or a combination of both. Here’s mine as an example.

Tip #2: Add links to your blog posts.

If you’re using images with each of your blog posts (which you definitely should!), use your first board as your blog post board. When you add an image, you can add a short description of the subject of your post and more importantly, a link!

Tip #3: Make Your World One Of Your Boards.

Show your viewers your world. Explore other people’s boards and save them to a board that reminds you of your world. A lot of readers want to be able to see your world even before the book is released. Try to add some new images regularly to keep things fresh. I’m not great at this yet because I’m just starting out with Pinterest, but I’m getting better!

I hope everyone has a great weekend and a wonderful week ahead. Happy writing!

Building An Author Platform: Instagram

Welcome back to the Building An Author Platform series! I’m happy to be back with more tips of how to expand your audience and presence online, and today, we’re going to be talking about Instagram.

To be completely honest with you, I started Fluff About Fantasy’s Instagram page on a whim. I had my own personal profile, but I didn’t use it very much. It was mainly for big announcements or holiday photos and such. I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to use good pictures that would draw people to the site. But I also knew that Instagram was a really solid platform that could draw a lot of traffic if used properly. So I set out to learn as much as possible as I was building my page. Here are my best tips about creating your Instagram page.

Tip #1: Use A Professional Account

As an author (who will one day go on to sell a bunch of books!), it is going to be important to separate your personal profile from your professional profile. Go ahead and make that distinction now by creating a Instagram Professional Account. You’ll be able to access features like Instagram Insights, which can show you the stats and audience reach on individual posts that you make. You can also connect your Instagram account to your Facebook Page!

Tip #2: Add All Of Your Blog Posts

My first goal in making my Instagram profile was to add all of my past blog posts. That’s what the page was for, so let’s make it happen! I used all of the pictures that I used at the top of each post on the website and added a paragraph or two excerpt underneath. It was slow going, but it was definitely worth it. You can either do this all at once, or you can add a few on a regular basis until you catch up with your current posting schedule. The most important part of this process is using hashtags! USE YOUR HASHTAGS. I use the same base hashtags for each post: #writingcommunity, #writingcommunityofinstagram, #amwriting, #amwritingfantasy, #yawriters, etc. Then, depending on the post, I may add a couple other hashtags that fit the theme of the post. For my querying tips, I add #amquerying; for my worldbuilding posts, I use #worldbuilding and #worldbuilders. Hashtags are going to ensure you are reaching the right people. So don’t skimp on them!

Tip #3: Utilize LinkTree

I discovered LinkTree when I realized that I couldn’t add more than one link into my profile and any of my posts. This site essentially allows you to create a landing page filled with an unlimited number of links that your users can click and be sent to any URL on your site. You can get an unlimited amount of links COMPLETELY FREE. There is a Pro plan that allows you to see more analytics, but I think that the free plan gives you everything that you need. Now, you can have every link to your posts and your site filed under a singular link that you can add to your Instagram profile. I would highly suggest taking a look at this resource. Make sure you mention in your posts that followers can find their links in the link in your bio!

Tip #4: Share regularly.

Regular can mean whatever you want it to mean. I update my Instagram page once a week with every new Fluff About Fantasy post and occasionally update with new announcements or writing process information as it comes up. You can update every week or every other day or every day if you want to! Whatever you feel most comfortable with. Let your followers into your writing life and let them see various stages of your writing process. And remember: social media is all about making connections. Reply to other people’s comments and questions. Follow other writers that follow you. When you give a little, you get a little back. Make friends. That’s what we’re here for.

Happy writing everybody!

Fluff About Fantasy: Official Announcements

Hey everybody! I am aware that my presence on this site has been someone lax lately. I promise I’ve got a lot of reasons big and small of why my life has been so busy, and today’s post is about making all of those announcements as well as some new changes to the site!

Announcement #1: Scaling Back

I am so passionate about Fluff About Fantasy that it has been absolutely killing me not to be able to write two posts a week as I did last semester. But to give you an idea of how this semester is going, I’m taking essentially three history classes and two languages, including starting an entire new language (German). Now while I love all of these classes, the reading load and the work load is nearly double what it was last year. I feel like I’m moving forward towards my academic goals with fantastic speed, but it means my time has dramatically shifted.

Because of this, I’m going to officially cut down to one post a week on Saturdays. This way, I can put out a clear and interesting post of decent length out to my readers without placing too much stress on myself. I want to put out information that you all are going to want to read and want to use in your writing endeavors.

I hope I won’t lose any of my readership by scaling back! I’m still looking to expand and grow; it’s just going to take a little more time than I thought.

Announcement #2: My Departure From The Pantheon

Today, I officially left the writing project, All in The Pantheon. I have loved writing for Aphrodite for the last six months, and the people at the Pantheon are some of the most wonderful people I have ever met in my life. But my time has become too short, and I have had little to no time for my own writing pursuits like Chasing Fae or Fluff About Fantasy or my new upcoming book (see Announcement #3). I had to make some tough choices about what activities to cut out of my overcommitted life, and unfortunately, this was one of the things that had to go.

It was so tough having to leave. My last couple days with them were fantastic; I got so many well wishes from everyone. My friend, Nikki (who writes for Nike) did not want to let me leave at all. I love her so much; she’s always been one of my favorite people at the Pantheon. But she also made me super emotional! My friend, Ashley, (who writes for Nyx) adopted me through their #AdoptAMortal initiative on Twitter before I had even announced my official departure! It was super exciting and made me feel a lot better about whether I would still hear from these fantastic writers. I got added to a new group chat with some of the writers so I could keep in touch, and I’m still on the unofficial Discord chat.

If you haven’t started reading the amazing stories at All in the Pantheon, you should head over there now! My stories will still remain up for a while, so catch them while you can!

Announcement #3: Book Creator News

The Book Creator program that I’ve enrolled myself in is going fantastic so far! I’ve loved learning from Professor Koester and the other young writers taking part in the program. I’m still in the researching and interviewing phase for now, but I’m starting to get really excited about the writing process. I’m looking right now at a potential July 2020 release through this program. Stay tuned for more news!

Announcement #4: Other Social Media Accounts

I’m working on expanding my social media presence across multiple platforms to gain more traffic. I would appreciate it if you would all help spread the word!

Facebook

Instagram

Pinterest

That’s all for now, my friends! Look forward to a new post about writing next Saturday!

Building Your Author Platform: Facebook Page

Welcome back to the Building Your Author Platform series! I am finally off my hiatus from this subject, and today, I want to talk about some tricks and tips on maintaining a Facebook page that gets engagements. I personally run two pages, the Fluff About Fantasy page and All in the Pantheon’s page. If you know what you’re doing, you can have these pages practically run themselves. Here is my best advice.

Tip #1: Make sure your setup allows for smooth operation.

When you’re creating your Facebook page, make sure you’re taking care of the basics. Fill out your “about” description with a quick summary of either who you are or what your website offers, depending on which purpose you’re designing your page around. Add at least one form of contact information outside of using Messenger (I chose my writing email). Let people know that you’re available to take questions from fans or contact from professionals.

Sync your website to your Facebook page. WordPress allows you to post links and a description of every post you make to your website automatically. It’s a fantastic feature that saves me a bit of time every time I create something new.

Tip #2: Send your page out to as many people as you can.

Now that you’ve created a Facebook page, you’re going to want people to see it! Start by sending invites to like your page out to all your Facebook friends, whether that’s 50 people or 500. Post the link on your personal Facebook and your Facebook story. Get your friends to share it too. Post the link on all of the other social media platforms that you use. Even if you only get 5% engagement from the people who follow you, that’s fantastic. Facebook is a platform that is fairly difficult to build up a following for a page unless you’ve already got a decent amount of work out there in the public eye.

If you’re willing to spend a bit of money, using Facebook Ads to reach more people can be incredibly useful for branching outside of your immediate and secondary circles. While I haven’t put out an ad myself, I have played around with selecting an audience for an ad. And let me tell you, you can narrow the focus down as much as you want to by age, location, and common interests; to name a few. I’ve got a saved audience for young fantasy writers to target once I’m ready to put out my first ad.

Tip #3: Create new content.

As I mentioned before, Facebook is notorious for making pages difficult for others to see without you throwing it in someone’s face via yourself or ads. However, one technique that I’ve noticed does get you a little more reach is creating new content. Content that can’t be found on your website or any of your other social media platforms.

On the All in the Pantheon page, I conduct interviews with each of the gods to dive deep into who they are, what they stand for, and how they feel about the mortal scribe writing for them. It’s an added touch that breaks up the monotony of getting a stream of blog post after blog post. People like to see something new and different, and they love to think that they’re the only ones who are seeing it or the first ones who will ever see it. I’m working on coming up with ways to bring interesting things like that to spruce up the Fluff About Fantasy page. I’m open to suggestions!

At the end of the day, a Facebook page is easily manageable with just a little bit of effort per week. Add to your repertoire. You won’t regret it.

Happy writing!

Writing Your First Query Letter: The Basics

Hello everyone! Happy 4th of July weekend! DC essentially shuts down for the Fourth, so I’ve got a super long weekend to look forward to. Only one more week until my writers’ conference! I can’t wait to go. I’m still working on my pitch; I’ll let you all know how that goes!

Today, I want to talk to you about the basics of writing a query letter, especially for you young first-timers. I just wrote my query letter for the first time, and I’ve love to share some of my insights.

Basic Parts of A Query Letter

When I geared up to write my query letter, I did a lot of research. I scoured the internet far and wide looking for sample query letters, guides to writing query letters, and my favorite, lists of dos and don’ts. I made sure to focus my search on what specifically works best for a fantasy query letter. Here’s what I was able to scrounge up:

1. The Basics: When beginning your query letter, I believe that the best way to start is to come straight in with the facts. It’s a simple equation: I am seeking representation for [Title of Novel], a [State your genre and audience.], complete at [Word Count]. I’ve found that this gets the point of your letter across right away. Getting to the point is important in such a quick letter.

2. Referral: Where did you hear about this agent from? Did you meet at a conference? Did you speak with the agent in any capacity? If not, you should list what the specific reason is that you contacted this agent. Go back to that agent’s wish list and make sure your book matches.

3. Summary: I will be the first to admit that I am horrible at summarizing. I can never get my thoughts condensed down to a handful of words. But it is essential for writing the best query possible. Now, I’m not equipped to give tips on how to do this. What I did was essentially sit down for a while and think hard about my story. Then I just wrote it, a summary of a little less than two hundred words. I actually really like the way it turned out.

4. Credentials: After your summary, you should talk about any and all writing credentials you have that may relate to the genre you’re writing. Make sure to mention any published works that you’ve written or any life experience that may relate directly to your genre. I talked about my website and its followers as well as my growing following on Twitter.

5. Closing: Make sure to close your query politely. Thank the agent for their time and consideration, but don’t sound overly thankful or apologetic about your own work. You’ve got this!

Thanks for reading! Comment below if this has been helpful to you.

Building An Author Platform: Twitter

Today’s post is specifically for those writers who have little to no experience with Twitter, but want to tap into this social media platform. And trust me, you really, really do.

Four months ago, I had no idea how to use Twitter. It was the one social media platform that I couldn’t justify jumping on to. It didn’t seem like much more than a place for people to shoot quick messages at each other or to the world without any real impact except for the cases where you said something really stupid or were particularly famous.

But after making an account, I realized exactly how wrong I was.

The #WritingCommunity on Twitter is legendary. Right off the bat, I was welcomed into the community even as a new writer. You can really connect with people inside and outside of your genre. I’ve gained writing tips and querying tips, conversed about my WIP and gotten people excited, and helped out other writers with ideas. And through that, I’ve seen my following grow exponentially. 1500 followers in 3 months. That’s just crazy.

Tips for Twitter

  1. Profile: When creating your profile, you only have a limited number of characters for your bio. Introduce yourself. Keep it short and sweet. Who are you? What are you working on? Take up as much space as you can.
  2. First Tweet: Reintroduce yourself. Keep it short and sweet, more so than your bio. (Bio is where you can elaborate a bit more on personality.) Introduce your work in progress and the genre. Then either elaborate on that or introduce your author website as well. Again, make the character count serve you. Finally, pin it to the top of your thread. It’s a good spot for people to see. My first tweet still gets likes and retweets months later.
  3. Keep It Simple: Tweet what you’re thinking about. Tweet about your work in progress. Tweet about your writing process. Talk about your good days and your bad days. Feel free to share a bit about your personal life as well. It helps readers and writers alike to connect with you and get excited about the work that you’re doing. Don’t feel like you need to overthink it.
  4. Interact: Spend some time each day scrolling through your feed. Comment on other writers’ posts. Support others. Provide motivation. Sometimes, you’ll find links to great blog posts or useful writing tools. A lot of writers in the #WritingCommunity ask questions to get to know others and their personalities or their WIPs (or both!). Get involved. Whenever someone comments on one of your posts, always reply back unless it’s entirely irrelevant. I’ve found that replies start conversations so easily, and I’ve gained a lot of support that way.
  5. Use Hashtags: Hashtags help get your Tweet and your name out to more people at once outside of your followers. #writingcommunity is the most important one. For fantasy, #amwritingfantasy gets your work out to other fantasy writers on Twitter. #amwriting and #amrevising will help you find writers in various stages of the process like you are.

These tips will help you go far in this community. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend hopping on. It’s 100% worth it. Thanks for reading!

Building An Author Platform: Building a Website (WordPress edition)

Get ready, writers. Today is the day.

Deciding to create my author website wasn’t an easy one. I had no experience in building a website from scratch, and I wasn’t sure where to start. Building up a website with some decent web traffic would require a serious time commitment and unwavering effort. I needed to be ready to take on this kind of responsibility. As I stand now having executed the preliminary stages of my plans, I am proud to say that I did undertake this project, and I am succeeding.

An author website gives you a chance to connect more personally with your audience, whether you are a published or unpublished writer. It serves as a chance to promote your work as well as share your thoughts on any aspect of writing that you so choose. This can include your own writing process or the reviews of other writers in your genre. No matter what you decide to write about on your website, it gives you a real chance to showcase yourself as a person.

What platforms work best?

When I began to research building a website, I contemplated which website builders were the best to use. Wix, Squarespace, Weebly: I researched them all. What I came up with: WordPress.com.

WordPress.com has an easy to use interface that allows for maximum customization. You can create pages that serve as landing grounds for your readers and categories that can run across the top of a menu to carry blog posts. Even the free version offers a lot of color and theme customization options that creates a professional looking page with a little effort. Upgrading to something like the Premium or Business plans would allow you to access more customization options, support from WordPress themselves, and in the case of the Business plan, the ability to add plugins to create features like mailing lists.

What are the essentials of an author website?

1. Title and tagline

Titles are important. They are your very first impression of your website and should offer an insight into what you write. Titles can come from a multitude of places, so don’t be afraid to try something out and change your mind later. “Fluff About Fantasy” was a fun little phrase with alliteration and a very lighthearted air that I came up with on the fly to hold the URL when I first made the site. But the more I thought about it, the more I liked it.

A tagline, I personally believe, is an optional feature, especially if you’re just starting out and working on finding your voice. A tagline builds on what your title introduces: who you are and what you do. The tagline for Fluff About Fantasy is “Strengthen your work; revitalize your imagination”. It’s a sentence that is a bit of a work in progress; I’m not quite sure how I feel about it yet. But it showcases the purpose of my site fairly well, which is to inspire young fantasy writers in particular to create by taking out the guesswork in the writing process.

2. About page/Bio

If your work interests people, they will want to know more about the writer behind it. DO NOT PHONE THIS IN. Your bio should be fairly substantial, but please do not share your entire life story. There’s no need to. Instead, talk about your writing credentials, your inspirations, and don’t forget to add your contact information.

If you’re unpublished and have no credentials to your name, don’t worry about it! So did I! My bio incorporates how I started writing from a young age, my school career and where I’m headed next, and some of my interests.

3. Consistent Content

I spoke briefly about content in my introduction, so I want to talk about the logistics of putting out content here. To get your website web traffic, you need to churn out content regularly. My research and experience recommends that you post on your website twice a week in the beginning. Pick two days that you know you can put something out on 95% of the time. Again, this is going to take real commitment in order to get somewhere. Once you’ve been in business for about a year, usually you can go down to one post a week.

Tip: Search engines enjoy regularly updated sites that happen on a consistent schedule, so they will be more likely to pick up on your site and move it up the results list. Even in a newer state.

Questions?

That’s all I have for you all today! I hope that I have been of some help. Let me know in the comments below if you think that next time, I should jump right into social media setup or whether you would like to see a post of a walkthrough of setting up a WordPress site with images and step-by-step instructions. I’ve never tried something like that before, but I would be willing to try! Let me know. Much love. <3