PrivateSo you know you’re supposed to be on Facebook for marketing purposes, but you’re afraid about your information leaking onto the internet. There are two steps to take.

1. Don’t put things on Facebook you don’t want the internet to read! It’s as simple as that.

2. Change your Privacy Settings to limit who can see what information.

Useful link:
Making Yourself Almost Invisible on Facebook

The Facebook Settings You Should Change as Quickly as Possible


I want to make a website, but I have no idea how to start! How does it get on the internet? How do I design it? How do I get a custom url?

TerminologyDomain name is the URL itself, not the space to keep your website on the internet.
Hosting is the space (amount of megabytes) that you are allotted on the internet for your website. They are sold separately, but often available from the same company. Sometimes when you buy hosting, they will give you one free domain name as a bonus.

1. More professional approach: Buy software like Dreamweaver or Sharepoint to create a website. Buy a domain name ( from a service like or Then also pay them for hosting space. This allows you lots of space to add multiple pages, photos, media, and gives you complete design control.

2. Good enough approach: Go to a free website service like You can use their web-based web design program—it’s free and you don’t have to download anything, but it gives you less megabytes and is more restricting. Your website hosting, though small, is free. You will not have a domain name like Instead, it will be something like What you can do to fix this is buy a domain name from GoDaddy or 1and1 (they are cheap) and instead of buying hosting from them too, you can just have your new domain name (, etc.) automatically forwarded to the site you created on Freewebs. So if people type in, it will automatically redirect them to

For you, for free.

Click here to download pdf.



When you use social media to find people who are already talking about their needs, and you offer to help them solve that need, you are building the foundation for a trusting relationship. That’s very different from spending thousands of dollars and using mass media to “blast” your message at millions of total strangers who probably couldn’t care less about your product or service at that particular time.


Blog Carnival

I’ll be upfront. I’m new to this idea. But so far, I think it’s brilliant. The idea is blog carnivals, which you can learn more about at

It works like this. Let’s say that you and Bob both have blogs about oil painting. Bob has decided to host a carnival about different painting techniques. He’s going to call it The Oil Painting Technique Carnival. Over the course of the next month, people who have blog posts about oil painting techniques are going to submit their posts to him. Let’s say you did a post back in June about a new technique that you learned about, and you submit yours to him as well. Bob is going to pick the handful of best posts of the month and put them in a post on his blog. His post will be a bunch of links with some descriptions of why these posts are good. And you can take a sampling of the internet’s best oil painting technique posts by browsing the links Bob has picked out for you. Hopefully your link made the cut! Next month, Bob will do the same thing and pick some new articles that people send his way.

For an example of what a post would look like, here is a carnival edition that someone did about audio. The carnival is about creating audio, whereas the entire blog is about using your software, so the blog doesn’t have to be the same topic as the carnival. The carnival can be a subset of the topic. For example, let’s say you want to create your own carnival now. You’ve got a blog about live music/concerts. Your carnival doesn’t have to be so broad as to ask people for entries about concerts in general. You could ask people for articles about concerts in New York City. Then, each month, you’d ask for more articles about concerts in NYC.

There are also traveling carnivals. Maybe you and Bob team up with Jenn and Phil, who each have their own painting blogs. In March, Bob posted his carnival edition about oil painting techniques. In April, you post another carnival edition about oil painting techniques on your own blog. May, Jenn hosts a carnival edition about oil painting techniques on her painting site. June, Phil does on his.

This is still new to me, but I think it’s absolutely brilliant.

Grab your stealthiest coat and binoculars. I’m going to teach you some tips on following people.

When you first join Twitter, you have no followers. The best way to gain followers is to follow other people, preferably people who are in your field. If you write books about flying planes, you’ll probably want to follow people who write and publish books, who use social media, who fly planes, who make planes, who teach aviation courses, etc. But now you have hundreds of people in your feed. (Your feed is what you see on your front page of Twitter when you are logged in. You see the most recent posts of all the hundreds of people you are following). You have gained followers, but how are you ever going to make sense of all these posts? There are probably many of them who only tweet about how they are going to make fish for dinner or are dreading cutting the lawn. You could unfollow them (they aren’t likely to notice)…or…

Twitter Lists

You can create as many lists as you like. You can also follow other people’s lists. (You can also create private lists that only you can see.) You might want to make a list of book people you like, another for people who give good tips on social media, another on people who work with new plane technology, another for aviation educators, another for pilots. Then if you use something like Hootsuite or TweetDeck, you can line up all your lists and browse with ease.

You can also just pull the tweeters you actually want to follow into a list of your favorites. Maybe this includes your friends and family and your favorite bands who you like to follow in case they announce they’ll be playing in your town. Once you have this list, instead of checking up on the people you follow by going to, you can go to[yourtwittername]/[yourlistname]

 As an example, I am following 714 people, but I only want to read 35 of them, so I created a list called “besttweeters” and now instead of going to, I go to

So, how do you create a list?

Here’s one way. First you find a person who you want to add to the list. Let’s say you want to add Jim Keats. Here’s what his page looks like (

On the left, under the name “jimkeats” you’ll see the Follow button. On the right, you’ll see two more buttons: one that says “Lists” (big green arrow pointing to it) and the tools button that looks like a gear. Now, if you click that Lists button, it says “New list.” Click that and it will prompt you to name your list and give a description. Once you’ve done that (and chosen if you want it public (anyone can see it by putting in the URL) or private (only you can see it and only when you’re logged in)), you have created your first list. Congrats. To add other people to the list, start the same way by going to the person’s page. But now when you click the Lists button, you are given the choice to add another list or check mark the box to make this person go into the list you just created. Your new list will basically be like your front page feed (showing all the most recent tweets) but only of the people you put into the list.

Following other people’s lists

Sometimes creating a list is a lot of work, especially if there are people who have created better lists that suit your needs. Looking for a list of social media gurus? You could either seek out all those people yourself, or you could just follow

To follow it, you can:
A) Bookmark
B) Insert this list into your TweetDeck, Hootsuite, or any other tool you use to follow people
C) Click “follow this list” (which may be a bit messier)

The wonderful thing about Facebook ads is that they don’t have to cost you as much as any other online ad (and definitely not as much as print and broadcast ads) and they are actually much move effective (that is, proven to have a much higher click through rate–how many people click on your ad).

Here’s how it works:

You decide:
1. How much money you want to put into the ad daily (Facebook will automatically stop showing your ad after you hit maximum for the day and pick up again the following day).
2. Whether you want to pay per click or pay per thousand impression (Try it both ways and see what works best for you. Every project is different.) More details on CPC and CPM here.
3. Who you want to see your ad.

This means that if you want to only spend $20 on your ad, at $2 per day for 10 days, and you want only a very specific group of people to see it, you could end up getting your ad in front of tens of thousands of exactly the sort of people who would buy your book.

Another thing you have to decide is whether you want the ad to be your book with a direct link to Amazon (where most people already have an account and are more likely to buy on the spot) or to link the ad to your Facebook Fan Page to increase brand awareness and build followers.

If you can afford to give a small amount of cash into experimenting with this, using different ads, different targets, etc., I say go for it. It’s probably the most effective ad tool out there.

Tip: I know it’s tempting to want to broaden your market, but trust me: make the audience of your ad as specific as you can to the point where you’re convinced that every person on the list will want your book. Facebook is helpful here by telling you how many people it will reach. If it says 15 people, then you’re being too specific. You can choose based on their interests, their location, age, gender, and occupation.

Tip: Instead of using your book cover, which will appear so tiny that it won’t be legible, why not go for a more enticing and detailed graphic? Pick something that would be irresistible to the type of people who would like your book.

Useful Links:
How We Got to 40,310 Fans in 4 Days (All Facebook)
Facebook’s Guide to Facebook Ads (Facebook)

Warning: A Community Page on Facebook is different from a Fan Page (aka Official Page) and different from your Profile Page and different from a Facebook Group.

A Profile Page is the profile of yourself as a person that you automatically get when you join Facebook.
A Fan Page (aka Official Page) is a manmade page for a business, brand, celebrity, etc. that was created by the person who is actually in charge of that business, brand, or celebrity in real life.
A Group is a manmade page for absolutely anything you want from “I hate purple Skittles” to one about your favorite celebrity even though you’re not that celebrity or publicist.

A Community Page is not manmade. It is generated automatically from two things: Wikipedia and posts that other people have made. For example this is a community page. There are three subpages (look under the photo): Profile, Related Posts, and Wikipedia.

The Profile subpage is simply a little piece of the Wikipedia entry and a little piece of the Related Posts page. The Wikipedia subpage just automatically feeds whatever is on Wikipedia about that topic right here onto Facebook. The related posts is just an aggregate of posts based on a keyword search for that topic.

To change what’s written here, you have to change it over on Wikipedia. Since Wikipedia is an encyclopedia maintained by the masses, you have the right to do this as long as it’s accurate (There are people who work at Wikipedia who will delete anything that can’t be backed by evidence and sources).

If you happen to own this topic, say you’re the producer of this TV show that the page is about, you have the option of clicking “Is  this your page” at the bottom.

How do you use video with social media for your book. Should you use video?

The short answer is don’t use video for the sake of using video. But video is a massively growing online medium. In fact, it’s one of very few activities online that’s gone up over the last year. So if you feel that your book lends itself to video, then use it. But! Make sure what you’re putting out is decent quality. It’s better to put out no video at all than video that’s going to turn your readers away and make you less of a credible source.

Things to use video for:

  • A book trailer. This is essentially a movie trailer, but for your book. There are many ways to go about it. One way is to get actors and shoot it like a movie trailer such as with Guillermo Del Toro’s book The Strain. Or use stock footage or photos like Guitar World.
  • Interviews. If your book was compiled from interviewing people, you can use any video that you took as a special feature.
  • Welcome. Maybe you want to have a short clip on the homepage of your website welcoming your readers and telling people a little about your book and your site. Don’t make it much longer than a minute though–you want them to actually get into the site and look around.
  • Instructional. Is your book a how-to or self-help? Show the readers how to do one of the things from the book.
  • Interact with the text. See my post on Interactive Books to get some ideas of how to make your video a part of your book.

Things you will need:

  • A video camera or webcam (most laptops these days come with a webcam)
  • Video editing software. I like Sony Vegas, but whatever floats your boat. Your computer probably comes with one like Windows MovieMaker, for example.
  • A YouTube account. Or if not YouTube, then your own server, Facebook, or other video site like Vimeo.

Where to put your video:

  • Your website
  • Your Facebook Fan Page (you can upload it directly to Facebook or link to it on YouTube. You can also embed it on one of your tabs by using the FBML code found here.
  • Your blog

Here’s a great blog post that gives you lots of ideas:
Social Media Examiner

Let’s get the creative juices flowing. So you’ve got the cookie cutter stuff–the frequent posts to your Facebook wall, the regular posts to your blog, the incessant tweeting. But everybody does that. How can your voice be heard? 

photo by S. Schleicher


Let’s break it down to the most simple question: What makes your product (your book, your genre, your topic, your character, whatever is the most unique) unlike every other book out there? Got that figured out? Now what does that unique thing have to offer that no other book can? And if you don’t know that, then you don’t know why your book should even be bought, so you need to go back to basics and figure out what your book is bringing to the world in the first place. 

I’m going to assume that you have that figured out. Now start brainstorming to get to ONE fun thing that you can give to the web world. Is it a funny Old Spice spokesman? Is it giving your readers some kind of internet fame? Do you let them show off their talent in some way? Or do you help one of them directly? Do you give them something for free? Social Media Examiner talks about how to create a Facebook Experience. This is a great article to give you insight on how to connect to your fanbase in unique ways. 

Once you have your one idea and you’ve launched it on the world, let that simmer a little, check your responses. This is a learning experience. By the time you get your next brilliant idea, you’ll know how to tweak it to make it better.

So you’ve made your blog. You have some ideas. But how are you going to be able to blog consistently for months in a row? Here’s some ideas to get you started, but please think beyond this list.

You may want to come up with a schedule or at least a large list of topics to blog on. Or you may want to wing it–write whatever you feel like in the spur of the moment. It depends on what kind of writer you are. But try to give it variety.

  • Post excerpts  from your book, but don’t give your whole book away
  • Include good content that got left on the cutting room floor when your book was edited
  • Interview people in your field
  • Answer questions from your readers on the blog (without corrupting privacy barriers)
  • Post any news or information related to your field
  • Host a contest or give-away
  • Have a weekly gimmick like “Question Friday” where you ask your readers to post answers to questions in the comments
  • Your opinion on something related to your field
  • An insight into the writing/publishing world
  • Any events that you will be or have attended

Remember, you’re not just an expert on your book–you’re an expert in your field.

Example: Literary agent Nathan Bransford’s blog has great variety of posts.

Be the leader (photo by Svilen Milev)


If you’re going to use social media to promote your book, you should know your goals and have reasonable expectations. You must keep in mind that social media is not designed to serve direct sales. It’s about brand awareness and building credibility which ultimately will lead to sales.


If I look at my authors and pick out the best selling books, I find that the best selling books are the ones that have a “brand” behind them. That sometimes is a literal brand-name like a magazine that has put out a book or it can be an author who has established himself/herself as a brand either through continuously putting out good books or becoming an authoritative figure on their topic in the real world and online. That’s what it means to be a brand–someone with some credibility that people will return to again and again. Once people trust you, then they’ll buy your book.

When you think of brand names, you can usually associate words and feelings with them. Let’s try. What do you think of when you hear “Wal-Mart”? What about “Cheetos?” “Nintendo.” “Gucci.” Now think about what words you want people to associate with your name-as-brand. Dependable? Informative? Fun? You decide. Now you know your goal. To make people think of those words when they think of you.

That said, social media can affect sales in a nearly direct way if you position your social media strategy so that your main goal is to collect emails for your mailing list. Mailing lists are still the best and most direct ways to get your customers to buy from you.

Useful Links:
Is brand awareness the number one social media goal? (Small Business Trends)
The difference between social media and traditional marketing in 2 sentences (Your Social Media Marketing Resource)


Very briefly, a blog (short for web log) is a collection of articles that you post online. It orders it so the most recent is always on top. The idea is to get people coming back to your blog regularly. As an author, this is not your personal diary about your cat and your trip to the beach and what you’re making for dinner. You want to stay on the topic of writing and on the topics that relate to your book. Posts do not have to be long and sprawling, and shouldn’t be. 300 words is good. You want to post at a steady rate. Don’t wear yourself out by posting five posts the first week and none the next. Your readers need to know what to expect.

Here is an excellent article on how to manage your time and ideas in blogging: 10 Tips to help you write your blogging butt off (Ink Rebels) *one of my favs*

There is some debate whether it’s better to have your blog on your website or on a separate service. If you decide to go the separate service route, as I have, here are some options: Not terribly intuitive but extremely flexible as far as layout. You can make your blog look like anything you want! Once you get the hang of it, it’s easy to use. Free. Extremely intuitive and user-friendly. Fairly flexible, but with some layout restrictions. Free. Fairly easy to use, very restricted in terms of layout, but much more community centered than other blogger services. It’s more interactive with other bloggers. Free.
Typepad: I haven’t used it much myself. I think you have to pay for it.
Tumblr: You can only post one piece of media per post (ie. one picture with a caption or one video with caption). Great for visual books with photos to share. Free.

Other Useful Links:
3 Not so obvious things your blog needs (Open Forum)


I get asked a lot why more traffic isn’t going to the author’s blog. The blog is up, it has a good name, lots of keywords and links, some good content posted, and the author is all ready to become an authority figure on their subject. But why aren’t people coming to the blog, and why aren’t the few that do come returning?

Your blog is not your website! Your website can be stable (not static exactly, but stable at least) with few updates needed to keep people coming back. It’s the number one resource and hub when it comes to all things YOU. Your blog, on the other hand, has to be maintained regularly. You can decide if you want to post daily, twice a week, or weekly, but you have to stick to it. Not just for a few weeks, but keep it up. Of course people aren’t going to return to your blog if it hasn’t been updated in four months. And if they’re not returning to your blog, you’re not establishing yourself as an authority figure, and if you’re not doing that, then you’re not getting your book sold.

This may seem like obvious advice, but I can’t tell you how often I see this mistake. So keep it in mind through the whole six months, year, two years that you’re spending publicizing this book. BLOG REGULARLY!

These could be your fans

You’ve never used Facebook before, but everyone keeps saying it’s so good for your online presence as an author. But you don’t really know the first thing about it. This post is for you.

There is a profile page and there is a Fan Page. This post is meant to help you distinguish between them.

When you go to, it will prompt you to sign up. All you need is a name, email address, and birthday. Your name should be your real name (or you might be able to get away with your valid pen name) because Facebook will delete your account if they find out that your profile is not a real person. You have to give your birthday only because they want to make sure you’re twelve years old or older–you can select not to display your birthday to anyone in your privacy settings. Your email address has to be your valid email address, but it doesn’t have to be the main one you use. You can set up Facebook to email you whenever someone writes on your wall, sends you a message, etc.

Congratulations. You’ve created a profile. You do not have to add anything else to your profile, but you’re certainly welcome to. If you are concerned about privacy, then don’t put a photo of yourself or tell Facebook anything you don’t want people to know. It can’t invade your privacy if you don’t offer up your secrets. Everyone who joins Facebook automatically gets a profile. But not everyone has a Fan Page–you have to create one yourself.

The real way to get fans isn’t from your profile. It’s from your Fan Page. Your Fan Page will have all the content you want to give away about your book, you as an author, your other projects. Remember to be transparent without losing your privacy. Here, you should add a photo of you or your book. You should add tabs to display exclusive content. Make the wall a platform for conversation among you and your fans. (To create a Fan Page, after you log in, go to and click Create Page in the upper right.)

“A Fan Page is searchable in google. A profile is not.” —Cindy Ratzlaff

A Fan Page looks like this:

Your friends are connected to your profile. Your fans are connected to your Fan Page. You get friends by searching their names in the search bar, clicking request friend, and waiting for them to accept (they may also search for you and request to be your friend). A friend is someone you have allowed see your whole profile page. You can change your privacy settings so that only friends see your whole profile, friends of friends, or everyone. (Friends is recommended.) You get fans by accumulating people who have clicked the “like” button on your Fan Page. You do not have to invite or confirm their fan-ship. You can, however, invite your friends to also become fans by clicking “suggest to friends” under your picture on the Fan Page. Here is another post I did on how to best use your Fan Page.