Month: August 2019

A Non-Awful, Brief Guide to Writing Short Social Media Advertising Posts

I had to write up a short guide to writing tweets/short social media posts for a group of writers, and it didn’t turn out awful–so I think I’ll share 🙂

BASICS:

  • The elements of a decent social media post are text, hashtags, and link.
  • All elements together should be fewer than 280 characters, which you can usually test in your word processing program by highlighting the text and checking the word count. (In Word 2007, it’s under Review | Word Count.)
  • A Twitter tweet is okay to use for Facebook as well, although you may want to remove hashtags if you don’t like the look of them.

TEXT:

  • The focus of a tweet should be on the benefit to the reader, not on the features of the work, like the author names or even the title—unless you have a Stephen King story, in which case, use the name.
  • If you’re not sure what benefits or features means here, they are terms from writing ad copy. I recommend reading The Copywriter’s Handbook by Robert Bly.
  • In short, start with what a demonstration of what makes your story fun to read (benefit), not with information about the story (feature).
  • Don’t tell the reader “it’s fun.” Show them.
  • Don’t describe the plot.  That’s a feature, not a benefit.  See below for more on benefits.
  • It’s always better to be a little melodramatic, silly, sly, clever—personality is always better.
  • Example: “Driving through the rain at night along the streets of Minneapolis, a dark figure jumps in front of her car: a minotaur” vs. “I WROTE A 12K URBAN FANTASY STORY ABOUT MINOTAURS PLS READ.”
  • Don’t worry too much about keywords.
  • Don’t be afraid to post test tweets live on your own account. This will immediately reveal all typos!

HASHTAGS:

  • Popular hashtags on Twitter come and go, but are a useful way to sum up key features, like genre.
  • Try not to use more than 2-3 per tweet.
  • Some recommendations: #urbanfantasy, #uf, #books, #bookworm, #contemporaryfantasy, #amreading, #anthology, #shortstory
  • You can also use elements from that story, e.g., #witches, #motorcycles, #secretbaby.
  • Try not to use the same hashtags every time, but keep a list of handy hashtags and rotate through them.

LINKS:

  • The shorter the link the better.
  • Recommend do not use link shorteners except on sale links (Amazon, Kobo, etc.).
  • Shorteners like owl.ly don’t help advertise your website!
  • Sales links should be Books2Read links so the reader has one click to get to a buy link.
  • Test the link!

A brief word on the benefits of fiction:

  • Put most simply, what stories sell is emotion. Don’t be afraid to toy with audience emotions in a tweet: that’s what the readers want.
  • The benefits of reading fiction are (roughly): escape, empathy, wish fulfillment (like punishing the bad guys, but this goes all kinds of directions), excitement, the feeling of falling in love, new experiences, laughter, making the reader feel smarter/stronger/more attractive, even demonstrating what not to do (as in 1984 or whenever the characters split up before going into the haunted basement).
  • More specifically, some of the benfits of urban and contemporary fantasy (for example): making our ordinary world more exciting (sort of an escape), empathy with the misunderstood (whether that’s an ogre or a single mom is up to you), wish fulfillment (overcoming beaurocracy, justice for the underdog, downfall of the arrogant), feeling supported by chosen families (or redefining the support you get from a birth family), choosing one’s own identity, learning to come to grips with difficult situations.  Feel free to generalize more 🙂
  • For the sake of Twitter, stick to one type of benefit per post. You can write multiple tweets on a story/anthology for sale, but each tweet should focus on a different benefit.
  • In the example, the minotaur/Minneapolis tweet focused on “making our ordinary world more exciting.”

PLAN:

  • Write one tweet per work that you’re trying to sell.
  • Only write 2-3 tweets at a time.
  • Priority: the first book in a series.  Next priority: Anything you’re selling for over $2.99.
  • Save the tweets to a file.
  • Sign up for a social media posting program’s free program (like Hootsuite) and schedule some posts for the coming week.
  • Set yourself a reminder to schedule more posts next week.
  • Every time you schedule more posts, write another tweet.
  • The new tweets help you practice and provide different text you can rotate through.

Not the greatest guide ever, but at least it’s short!  A note on The Copywriter’s Handbook: it seems dull and irrelevant for writers of fiction; the examples are all based on writing advertising copy.  Please take the time to read and talk yourself through just what your book is selling–this will help not only with ads but queries, synopses, talking about your book in public, and all sorts of things.

Good luck!

The world is madness which can only be combatted with sly nonsense.  Read the latest at the Wonderland Press-Herald, here!

New Release: Water Faeries (A Procession of Faeries Series)

A Procession of Faeries #4: Water Faeries

Universal Buy Link | Goodreads (reviews)

On a rock by the shore sits a mermaid fair 
Dreaming of her lost lover as she combs her hair 

Kelpies, and selkies, and the great snakes of the sea 
All stop and listen as she sings of a love never to be 

For the sailor she saved from those dark, storm-tossed waves 
Got back on his ship, and sailed away 

Now the mermaid’s alone, with broken-hearted dreams 
And far, far away the sailor stares out at the sea 

Fifteen stories about mermaids, kelpies, and other magical water creatures.

What if the Loch Ness monster is more than a myth?

Where did the Lady of the Lake go after leaving Avalon?

Can a mermaid ever truly leave the sea, and follow her lover to land?

This collection includes fifteen tales about sirens, kelpies, mermaids, sea monsters, naiads, and other enchanted creatures of the water.

Enjoy the magic and wonder of these watery tales of Faerie!

New Release: Temper & Temperance

Universal Buy Link | Goodreads

Once upon a time…

NapolĂ©on Buonoparte did not ally himself with the armies of France during the French Revolution, but sought power instead in Britain, where his subtlety and planning was met with reticience and phlegmatism.  The British feared NapolĂ©on’s infamous Corsican temper, and worried that it would lead him to vendetta–and not capable leadership.  Would he betray them to France unintentionally?

Although he had proved himself capable in various matters, Napoléon knew that he would be once again tested before the British would commit.

His plans hung upon the outcome of a single ball:  a man who could not organize a pleasant country ball surely could not be relied upon to lead an army.

His plans were in place, his resources martialed…

…and then he met a bookish young woman named Jane Austen.

This short, sweet romance is an alternate history of what might have happened, if Napoléon had not met his Josephine and gone to France, but allied himself elsewhere.  

Napoléon Buonaparte, of Casa Buonaparte, in Ajaccio, Corsica, was a man of such seriousness of character that, once he had decided that Corsica did not belong to the French, he could not rest until he had himself taken possession of it.

The inhabitants of Corsica are well known for their tempers, which sometimes erupt into that particular Mediterranean code of honor known as the vendetta.  It is widely agreed that if only the inhabitants of that island could agree to end their disputes, they are of such a particularly assured and inflexible character as to be able to conquer the world.  But, as the people of Corsica like to say, no-one can hate a Corsican like another Corsican, and the feuds that might have conquered Europe are instead a source of grief for the mothers, wives, and families of those noble souls over-afflicted by their own honor.

Therefore Buonaparte, not having a disciplined army of Corsicans with which to expel the French, turned to the British in order to obtain one.  The British had already put off answering the Corsican Question, as it was called, during the French invasion in 1769 (which also happened to be the year of Buonaparte’s birth), and found themselves similarly unable to resolve it when first Buonaparte began to ask it again during the years of 1789 to 1792.

For if the character of a Corsican is marked by his temper, then the character of the Briton shall be known by his reluctance to have one, and to remain untouched by questions of justice and injustice, until such a time as it must be answered upon his own soil, whether in Britain or her colonies.

The British, as led by Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger, almost began to think of taking it upon themselves to answer the Corsican Question in 1792 after the Battle of Valmy, in which the Prussians narrowly defeated the French.  But we had soon once again resolved not to be too hasty, having only had twenty-three years in which to debate whether or not to assist the Corsicans in throwing off their French masters.

The French, in honor of their narrow defeat in Valmy, began to reverse or at least reconsider some of the changes wrought by their Revolution.  Many of the worst excesses of the Ancien Regime had been ameliorated and the Third Estate had taken control of the government, and so Louis Capet, much like a badger that has dug itself under the foundations of a house, was left at Montmédy, well-watched by the dogs, that is, the regular French army.

Meanwhile we Britons, shocked by the intemperate treatment of the French royalty by the French, finally began to wonder if the French Question should be addressed, and rather sooner than later.  Mr. Pitt’s government resoundingly vowed to hedge their bets and undermine the most radical and violent elements of the French Revolution by supporting those who would resist them, at least in sending them whatever aid should be determined to be as clandestine and as cheap as possible.  Of course, by the time the funds were applied, the main concern was no longer the French and their cries of Liberté, égalité, fraternité! but the Prussians and their push to annex all of Europe and parts of Russia as “traditional provinces of the Holy Roman Empire,” while denying Rome and unifying the Protestant churches in the lands so taken.

Once again, Napoléon began to press for an answer to the Corsican Question, this time promising to send such Corsicans who had proven themselves skilled at the vendetta into lands controlled by the Prussians to cause trouble there.

Thus it was in September 1795 that Mr. Pitt asked his cousin Lord Grenville, the Foreign Secretary, to have a word with Mr. William Wickham, a commissioner of the bankrupts, to place a certain suggestion into the ear of Buonaparte, that if he were to present himself on a certain date in December of 1795 in the town of Basingstoke, Hampshire, at the home of Edmund Fry, a type-founder to the Prince of Wales, then he should be almost certainly assured of the practical details of his plans reaching the ear of the Prime Minister, sooner or later.

In order to prevent any suspicion of collusion between the Corsicans and the British, Mr. Buonaparte, who was the son of a well-off family in Corsica, took a house in Basingstoke in order to see whether he liked the area and the shooting.  He firmly denied any intentions of finding an English wife, which meant it quickly became established fact that he intended to take one.

The inhabitants of Hampshire, being firmly convinced of the superiority of the views, the comfort of the house that Mr. Buonaparte had taken, and the fine appearance and temperament of their daughters, accepted Mr. Buonaparte into the community under the unspoken condition that he choose from among them a sensible and pretty young wife.

To read more, click here!

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