Use your book to gather email addresses and social media followers


In his book Creative Writing Career 2, author Justin Sloan shares his advice on becoming a professional writer of movies, video games, and books. He also does an excellent job of collecting email addresses of his readers, encourages them to connect with him on LinkedIn, and boosts website visits. You should read his inspirational book for the practical information and interviews he conducts, but also how he is able to gather email addresses from his readers. You can use the techniques in your next book or social media post.

Collect Email Addresses of readers

Right at the top of his introduction page, he encourages you to sign up for his newsletter and receive a free story and audiobook, as well as future updates. At the end of the Introduction, he suggests that if you would like a free PDF to print for your writing career plan, email him at (his email address) with the subject line “Writing Career Plan.”

Do you have a worksheet or free eBook that might interest your readers? Entice readers to get the free download by going to your website. You can have a pop-up box to get readers to subscribe to your blog. The title page of my book From Desktop to Book Shop encourages readers to download our free eBook: “Free eBook: 100 Headlines for Promotions and Social Media. We’ve compiled a list of catchy headlines that you can use in ads, email promotions, and social media. They’re organized by month and by topic. Download our free eBook from our website:”

On the title page and the last page of my book Tragedy on the Twenty, I wrote: Visit our blog for tips on publishing your own book: writing, designing, marketing, or self-publishing.


Author Justin Sloan also encourages you to keep your LinkedIn profile up to date: “View my profile for some ideas on how to present yourself as a writer, and feel free to send me an invitation to connect while you are there.” And now he’s your friend in social media.

Website or Blog

In his book Creative Writing Career 2, author Justin Sloan interviews Tomiko Breland who recommends building your readership before your book is published with a blog or social media. Hopefully those readers or followers will buy your book once it’s published. Create a blog that provides useful or interesting content that will attract followers. The blog should also be related to the book you plan to publish.

My blog is updated twice a week with stories about promoting your book, which is the title of my upcoming book Promoting Your Book (or Business). If I write a short blog at least two days a week for one year, I will have 104 blog posts or pages for my next book. Be sure to subscribe to read the blog for free, before the book comes out:

Sloan also suggests that your website should list what you are currently working on, and include a writing resumé if you’re looking for a job in writing. PDF versions of your book can contain a hyperlink to connect the reader to your website with just one click. Justin Sloan’s web address is:

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Speed up promotions with a page of bios and summaries

Bios-on-Paper-on-DeskCreate a page of biographies about yourself in several different lengths. Sometimes, you’re required to submit a bio of 25 words or 50 words. Why not take your time and prepare several bios in advance?

While you’re at it, create some summaries of your book—and memorize them. The next time someone asks what you do for a living, you’ll know what to say. Here are a few samples:

Tag line: Barbara Fanson is an author and graphic designer. She has just released a historical fiction book called Tragedy on the Twenty.

25-word bio: Add awards, books, and publications. If you don’t have any awards or your book has not been published yet, don’t say anything.

50-word bio: Add more words such as more awards and speaking events that are relevant.

100-word bio: Building on the previous, add more fun or interesting facts and details.

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Shortening a link in Microsoft Word

You don’t have to show the entire hyperlink in your blog or promotion. Most software programs allow you to shorten the amount of text in your sentence, but the link to the website will still work.

Why type:

When you can type:

9 Types of Social Media Posts

Both links work. You can shorten a link to the name of the website or one word, such as or Posts.

In Microsoft Word:

  • In your Internet Browser such as Safari or Internet Explorer, copy the web address of the web page you want to link to.
  • Highlight a word in your paragraph that you want to add a link.
  • Choose Hyperlink from the Insert menu across the top. A dialog box appears.
  • Paste the web address into the Link text field.
  • The word you want linked is in the Display text field.
  • Click on the Choose button at the bottom.
  • Test your link.

Hyperlinks in MS Word

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Has someone used one of your images without permission?

Google-Image-URL-smYou can check Google Images to see if someone is using one of your pictures

If you’re an illustrator or photographer, you can do a Google Search to see if the image is duplicated on another website or social media page. It’s a great way to see if any of your images have been stolen or used on other websites.

  1. Open Google images:
  2. Click on the Camera symbol on the right side of the search text field. You will see two options: Paste Image URL or Upload An Image.
  3. If you want to use an image URL, open a new web page that contains the image. Right-click on the image on the web and choose copy image address.
    Go to the Google Image search field and paste the URL you copied
    Click on the Search by Image button. You should see your image and similar images.
  4. You can also click on Upload an image. If you have an image on your local hard drive, you can upload it.
    Click on Choose file and select an image from your computer.
  5. Click on the Search by Image button. You will see if someone has used this image or a similar one.Right Click Save Image
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Don’t steal images

For your book or social media promotionsHandprint-No-Steal

Google has made it very easy to borrow an illustration or photograph. First, you can Google the topic you’re interested in and then right-click on the image to choose Save image as from the context menu. Whether the image has a © symbol or the word copyright or no notice at all, it is protected by copyright law and you can be sued for violating the law. The photographer, illustrator, or designer is the owner of the image and you can’t use it without permission.

We’ve all been tempted to use an image we’ve seen on the Internet, but if you do not own it, you cannot use it. If the artist has Google Images working for him, you could get caught.

And please, don’t use an image that has a white © symbol or any other words over it … you’re broadcasting the fact that the image was stolen.

If you need artwork, you can purchase royalty-free images from a stock illustration or photograph websites, such as,, Dreamstime, CanStockPhoto, and BigStockPhoto. Or, there are several free clipart sources such as,,

You could also hire an illustrator from,,, for a reasonable price.

Remember, some clip art has a low resolution for online promotions only; other websites offer high-resolution art for print promotions.

I drew both of the images on this page in Adobe Illustrator and they both have white type over them to reduce theft.Pine Cone Don't Steal.png

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Look for speaking events in less obvious places

Author with bookWhether you self-publish a book or use the traditional publishing route, you have to promote it. Speaking engagements are an inexpensive way to increase awareness of you and your book. If you sell a few copies, you get to keep all of the money, as opposed to a bookstore keeping 20–40%. Most authors will telephone, visit, or email libraries first, but here are a few less obvious places to look for author readings or events.

You’d be surprised how many hidden speaking topics are lurking in your book. First, make a list of possible topics that you could discuss, besides your book. Secondly, make a list of groups that you would like to contact.

Check online for the groups you would like to speak to and get their telephone number, email address, and street address. How would they benefit from your presence?

If there is a death in your book, you might want to telephone a grief-counseling group to talk about how the remaining characters coped with the loss. Can you team up with a Funeral Home to do a special presentation?

Contact associations and health organizations if you’ve written a book that contains an underlying health issue of interest to them. Even some church groups will have guest speakers discussing how to detect diseases or prevent them. I know that my church group has had two speakers talk about two different cancers and early detection.

Historical fiction book authors could contact historical or heritage societies about speaking at a future meeting. You may need to keep presentation and questions to half an hour; they may have a meeting after your guest appearance. You could speak about how you researched the book or ask trivia questions about newsworthy events of that time period.

Is there a home show or toddler show coming up that will have a relevant audience? I have been a speaker at several computer shows with a relevant topic. If you want a booth or table, you will have to pay to exhibit, which you can claim as a business expense. If you contact the organizers well in advance, they may be able to schedule an interesting talk. If you’re a children’s book author you might be able to do a Story time to entertain children while their parents look at displays—with a table of books and business cards nearby.

Church groups, like the Catholic Women’s League, might be looking for speakers to encourage attendance by their members. Many organizations have lunch & learn get-togethers or meet once a month.

Book Clubs—especially those that meet at a library—may welcome an author visit. If the library buys several copies, book club members could borrow them and discuss the book.

Public libraries offer a number of author visits and activities, but don’t be surprised if they are booked well in advance.

School libraries try to arrange an author visit at least once a year. Children’s book authors and middle school authors should contact the school library. Well-known authors usually charge a fee for their visit. If parents know soon enough, they may send money to school to purchase a book.

Mom to Mom Sales or Baby Shows often have guest speakers who are speaking on a relevant topic to mothers. There are several mommy groups that meet weekly or monthly that may welcome a guest speaker, if the topic is relevant. Can you include play and activities to make it more interactive and memorable? Coloring pages, mazes, and word searches that are related to the book’s topic entertain children and can be taken home, which provides a second exposure to your book.

Children book authors could contact day cares or preschools for an end of day discussion. Children will not have money to purchase a book but if you have a table set up for 2 or 3 hours at the end of the day, you may see their parents when they pick up their child. Be sure to prepare flyers to be given to parents a week in advance so they’re aware.

You’d be surprised how many hidden speaking topics are in your book. How about you? Have you done an author visit that you can add to the list?

This is an excerpt from Barbara Fanson’s next book Promoting Your Book (or Business). Follow her blog on promotion, design, and selling books:

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What’s in a name?

Sterling-FB-Domain-NameOnce you pay for a domain name, you won’t want to change it, so take your time choosing a name for your website, Facebook page, and blog.

A domain name is a name that you purchase for 1 year, 2 years, or more such as, rather than Your own domain name is usually shorter than what your service provider would provide.

Some writers choose their own name, others add the word author or books to their name, others use the name of the book, and others yet, select a business name for their self-publishing business. For example:,,, or

When promoting a long web address, you can add capital first letters so that a domain name is easier to read such as: rather than

Some companies register more than one domain name to keep competitors from registering a similar name such as and

When you register multiple domain names, you can:

  • Keep your competition from registering a similar domain name such as and
  • Promote the different products and services you offer by having a domain name for a particular product.
  • Drive more traffic to your website.
  • Enjoy more opportunities to market to search engines
  • Create distinct advertising strategies reaching different target markets
  • Provide customers more ways to find you when searching the Internet
  • Capture common misspellings of your domain name, instead of sending visitors to an error page
  • Protect your brand and online identity by registering it.

Most Internet Service Providers will be happy to register your domain name for a fee. Usually, a domain name is registered for a specific length of time, so remember to pay again when the length of time is nearly over.


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Looking your best in author photos


“Always wear plain-coloured clothes—no plaids, polka-dots, or graphics—when you’re going for a photo shoot,” my daughter was advised when she became a baby model. Since the focus will be on the high chair or toys you’re promoting, the model shouldn’t be wearing clothes that compete for attention. The same advice goes for authors who are having author photos taken—or author visits.

Your photo is extremely important since you’ll use it on the back of books, websites, social media, posters, and press releases. When I send an email to a library or newspaper, I include a photo of the book and a photo of myself hoping they’ll run a photo with my press release or use it to make a poster. It helps libraries to promote your upcoming speaker event.

Your photos should be recent, in focus, and high resolution for print. Your photo shoot should include head and shoulder shots, as well as you holding a book, reading a book, autographing a book, or standing by your poster—in colour and black and white.

Keep the background clutter-free so the photo is easy to reproduce poster-size or postage-size. What image do you want to convey to readers? Professional, beautiful, trustworthy, sexy, approachable, dork, glamorous, or adventurous?

An author photo is not the type of photo taken by a friend with a smartphone … put some thought and money into professional photos. You want a portrait photographer; so expect to pay $50 to $200 for a photography session.

Yes, it takes time and money for professional-looking photos, but authors need to look serious with quality portraits, especially indie authors who want to be taken seriously.

Barbara A. Fanson is author of Tragedy on the Twenty and thirty how-to design books.

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Add fresh content to your website

Add Content to WebThere are at least four ways to get someone to visit your website:

  1. A potential customer did a search on an Internet browser such as Google or Yahoo.
  2. An online promotion had a link to a landing page on your website. You can have a link from Facebook or an email promotion to your website.
  3. Your printed promotional materials supplied a reason to visit your website, such as “receive our ebook on social media safety tips.”
  4. They are following your blog, which you update regularly.

Once viewers visit your website, what gets them to stay? Content marketing.

Updating the content of your website, keeps it fresh and provides a reason for visitors to come a second or third time. Some businesses add new photos of their product or service. Others write a blog. A blog can position you as a leader in your industry. Photos or blog can highlight your newest product or a service. You can also demonstrate a new use for an existing product.

A blog must have a clear niche with useful information. When writing a blog, you should ask two questions:

Who is the audience?

How are you servicing them?

What’s in it for them? People don’t read blogs for nothing; they want something, usually information, inspiration, humour, empathy, or entertainment.

How often should you update the content? As often as you have interesting and relevant information. Make every post or tweet or blog count. Show you care about your readers by posting interesting or informative blogs.

Your website can be one of the most powerful ways to promote your business, drive sales, get your company noticed if you keep it fresh and give potential customers a reason to come back.

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Black Friday is almost here

 Black Friday PicHow will you take advantage of it?

“Cyber Monday was the top U.S. online spending day of 2014, ringing in at $2.038 billion.
The following Tuesday brought in an additional $1.796 billion in e-commerce dollars.”               —Simply Measured

Free shipping? A sale? Buy 1, get 1 free? Black Friday is November 27 and Cyber Monday is November 30. Black Friday, the day after the American Thanksgiving Day, is the first Christmas shopping day. Cyber Monday is the first Monday after Thanksgiving when online stores offer special prices or reduced shipping costs.


If you haven’t already, now is the time to plan. There are four steps to a good marketing plan: research, plan, execute, and evaluate. With the research you did last year, you can now plan your social media posts, website landing pages, and email promotions.

Develop a campaign with key points, hashtag, branded terms, and a “look” to your artwork. Establish a timeline: when do you send out the email blast? How often do you post on Facebook or Twitter? Don’t be afraid to start promoting now to let people know you have something big planned. Can you hint?

Coupon Code or Discount Code

Add a coupon code to your promotions to help measure the response. If your Facebook posts use one coupon code, and your Twitter feeds mention a different code, you’ll know which medium got the best results.

Social Media

Which social media platforms work best for you? Which days of the week worked best for your posts—weekdays or weekends? What style of post got the notice—photograph, illustration, or text? Do you have a link to your website’s landing page? Are you ready to sell?

Email Promotions

Send a newsletter or promotion by email? Do you have a link to your website’s landing page? What style of email promotion got the most opens?


Is your landing page ready to take orders? Is there a link from your social media posts to your website’s landing page? Do you have links from your email promotions to your website’s landing page?

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