This is kind of a ‘catch-all’ post where I answer some of the questions you’ve asked me the past few weeks — social media, censorship, blogging, other interesting stuff and why they matter to all of us. If you are looking for a web host so you can freely blog as you wish, check out the top wordpress hosting providers list at the link.
What’s your headline secret?
Easy. I cheat…ha! Not really, but I do use a free program from CoSchedule and you can, too. Simply go to their blog post headline analyzer, type in your headline, and keep fiddling with it until you get your score over a 70 or above (the green zone). They offer a myriad of terrific articles that help you understand which types of articles help improve your headlines and why as well. I’m not a fan of ‘click-bait’ type articles; rather, I prefer articles that help solve problems or answer questions. Here’s an immensely helpful post I refer to again and again:
How To Write Headlines That Drive Traffic, Shares, and SEO http://ow.ly/TP8s8
What is #MondayBlogs? Can I only blog on Mondays? Why can’t I promote my book with it?
I created this twitter blog-sharing meme in 2012 with a simple intent: share blogs, not books. Increase website traffic, connect with other bloggers and writers, readers, increase your Twitter followers, yea maybe, increase your book sales indirectly. Read all the specifics here:
What Is #MondayBlogs and Why You Should Be Participating via @BadRedheadMedia http://ow.ly/TPaNh
I’m not a fan of the HARD SELL, as many of you probably know if you read my BadRedhead Media blog, or even take a look at any of my social media. It’s rare you’ll see me hawking my books in your face, because I find social media fairly ineffective for selling; however, I find social media wonderful for networking and connection, which leads to selling.
Blog any day you want, but share your post on Mondays. I personally spend anywhere from 24-36 hours (starting Sunday late afternoon pst — it’s already Monday in Australia, Asia, Africa and Europe) retweeting people’s posts every week (with the volunteer help of the ever so fetch author, Will Van Stone, Jr), through midnight Monday pst using the @MondayBlogs handle, as well as many of my own Twitter accounts. I do this purely out of a desire to create a wonderful blogging/writing community. Between 5-8K people participate weekly — even I’m blown away how much it’s grown! While I cannot guarantee we’ll RT every single post (Twitter limits and human limitations — even we have to sleep), we do our best.
The more you participate and the more interesting your posts and headlines, the more RTs you seem to get. It also helps to generously RT others, rather than blast a bunch of posts and then sit back waiting for RTs (which many do).
Be generous…the vibe carries.
Promote your book any way and any day — just use a different hashtag! The hashtag #MondayBlogs is pretty self-explanatory — it says Monday and Blogs. There’s nothing about books in there, now is there? So don’t do it. If you just have to promote your book in a blog post, go ahead! Just don’t promote it on Twitter using the #MondayBlogs hashtag. Got it? Good.
Is your family upset by what you write about in Broken Pieces and Broken Places?
I’m an adult. I write about adult situations. I write about difficult, uncomfortable shit like childhood sexual abuse, sex, grief, mental health, loss, and love. I didn’t ask anyone’s permission — except my own — to write about my life or my experiences. Do they ask me for my permission to live their lives or do their jobs? No. So why on earth would I cower in fear, worrying about what they maybemightcould say about my work?
I don’t. As a strong person, as a survivor, I accept where I am in my life right now without looking to my parents, sisters, ex-husband, children, current relationship, friends, neighbors, strangers on social media, or the local Starbucks barista dude for approval. I write about not censoring ourselves here on The Huffington Post — it’s one of my most popular posts. Maybe it will help you:
3 Reasons Censoring Your Writing Is Holding You Back: http://ow.ly/TAYaw Rachel Thompson Author
Can you interview me for the Huffington Post? Can you review my book for HP? Can you get me a gig writing for HP?
No, no, and no. Let me explain, but let’s back up a little bit first.
At least once a week, a few people ask me to write a review for their book, or interview them for the Huffington Post. Now, I get why they do this: they see HUFFINGTON POST and get stars in their eyes. I would, too. I totally get it. If only it were that easy.
Here’s the thing: many people do interview authors for HP — I’m not one of them, which people would know if they bothered to take a nanosecond to Google it, or look up my bio on Huffington Post, which they clearly have not done. I write articles about social media, book marketing and branding. I don’t review books. I don’t interview authors.
That’s not what Huffington Post asked me to write about.
Why do authors ask me to do these things for them? Because they’re lazy, which annoys the hell out of me, so even if they had a sliver of a chance for a review or interview, that’s gone now (which they don’t anyway, I’m just making a point). Why does it annoy me? Well, I didn’t get my writing gig because someone handed it to me on a pretty plate of Nutella. I worked for years submitting pieces and being rejected. Eventually, after much networking, someone somewhere liked a piece I wrote and it happened…for me.
It’s not like I don’t give back in other ways — I do — see #MondayBlogs above. This is simply not in my power to do so. Amazing that people think it is, though!
So, no, I can’t hand you a gig. I don’t work for Huffington Post. I don’t even have an editor there I know by name. It’s like submitting your piece to The Borg: you plug into a massive network, submit your piece, and hope for the best. A nameless, faceless entity either approves your piece or, after a few days, you receive a “thanks but no thanks” form letter and you try, try again. Yes, some people who have more ‘name’ power do know their editors. Clearly, I’ve not reached that level yet.
Which social media channel is most important for authors to sell books?
There’s no easy answer to this one, because it’s a complicated issue.
— First off, I believe social media is great for connecting with readers if you have a clear idea of your branding, demographic, and readership — most authors don’t.
— If you’re looking at social from an SEO/Google ranking perspective only, Twitter and G+ (a brand page, not a personal account) are indexed by Google. Facebook statuses and updates (whether your personal ‘friend’ account or author page) are not indexed by Google — ironically — yet 99% of authors spend all their time on Facebook, right?
— If you’re looking at social from your reader’s perspective: where are they? If your readerships skews younger, you want to spend time where they are, aka, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, Twitter — yet most authors who write YA are where? Facebook.
— Comfort level: it’s easy to go where WE are most comfortable. As adults, we do what’s easy. It’s “hard” to learn new skills because we talk ourselves out of the necessity of learning without trying. Next to teaching, the highest form of learning is doing. Children and teens, heck, even babies, learn by doing.
What are you so afraid of? FAILURE. Twitter can be intimidating to adults because it has its own culture, but there are hundreds of easy how-to articles (Google is your friend). Do the research…even Twitter’s own HELP section is amazing. Go get your hands dirty.
That about covers this session of WWRD (What Would Rachel Do). If you have more questions for me, please leave them in the comments below!
Interested in learning more about Rachel’s services or books? Click here. Purchase Broken Pieces or Broken Places on Amazon.
joseph hefferon saysOctober 26, 2015 at 6:33 am
Two quick things:
I like headlines and titles. In the production phase, titles are a way of giving your piece a life. The process of forming a title helps the writer narrow down the essential point of the article. Call it a five-word elevator pitch. You may find that you are having difficulty writing a title because the underlying article is unfocused. Listen to yourself. If a software helps you learn what types of titles are more likely to get people to read, use it. Use every tool you have.
“Writers are lazy.” #Truth.
People are lazy. I’m lazy. I fight it every day. You have to fight it. We can’t control a lot in life but one thing we can control is our own effort. Maybe Tony banana-hands Robbins will illustrate it better for you https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YlTNC-svffA
Rachel Thompson saysOctober 26, 2015 at 8:02 am
Banana-hands made me snort out my coffee this morning — thanks, Joe. 🙂
We do have to fight laziness, although I don’t know if it’s that or if some of us are truly so busy, it’s more a matter of making a decision what to focus on as well as personality type. I’d never open a conversation with ‘what do you do?’ anymore, because my style wants to be informed before the approach — it’s easy enough to check someone’s bio and interests — why wouldn’t I? But some folks don’t want to bother and need that organic engagement. I get it, I just don’t agree LOL.
Thanks for sharing the video! xx