It took me some time to read this book as I tried implementing some of the suggestions as I went along (haven’t done them all yet!). It was extremely informative and made me think about little details, especially regarding social media, which I hadn’t even considered before.
Very useful. It’s useful for beginners and intermediate level markers of books, I should think. It was certainly useful to me.
Thank you to Netgalley for a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
Getty specifically says that blogs that use Google Ads to make money are not considered ‘commercial’. By extension a writer’s blog that advertises their books in the side bar should not be considered commercial either. However, if you use an image in a book cover or to create an ad for your work, that would be require a licence.
But we can just get the images of Google images by right clicking and saving the image, I hear you cry, so why bother with this embed nonsense? Because the photographer has a right to be acknowledged for their work. It’s a moral thing as well as a financial thing (not to mention a legal thing!). By embedding, you allow the photographer (and Getty) to track where their images are being used without anyone’s copyright being infringed.
Do you need an online presence if you’re an unpublished author? Yes. Oh yes. Here’s why.
4 reasons to start engaging with social media before you’re published:
These days writers have to do their own marketing. An agent/publisher who likes your writing is likely to Google your name, just to see what presence you have online.
You never know who might be listening/reading. If an agent/publisher has heard your name mentioned on social media, they might give your submission a little bit of extra attention.
Readers are hard to find. If you can interact with a particular group as a fellow reader, they will have already hear of you when you make the move from reader to writer.
If you make friends with other writers, you’ll probably pick up tips and bits of useful gossip. At the very least, you’ll see pictures of some nice shoes.
It’s a good idea to have a vague plan. I didn’t have a plan (or a clue?) when I started and I wish I had. My engagement with social media goes something like : Check Email every hour or so, check FB once a day. Sometimes go on Twitter (and inevitably get sucked in by something and waste time). Fail to do any writing. Eat chocolate. Feel fat. This is not a good plan. A better plan would be:
4 step action plan to start out with social media:
Get a gmail address for all your non personal stuff. (I love Gmail. Google Docs is awesome).
Join one or two forums on Goodreads. Post on there often. Get to know people. Review books that you read.
Set up a website with blog (see here for instructions). You don’t have to update the blog much until you feel you have something to say. You can get your Goodreads reviews to automatically post to the blog so that it gets populated without you having to do much.
Start commenting on other people’s blogs in your genre. If you have to login to post comments, use your website as the login account so that people can track back to your site if they like what you say.
This way you only need to update Goodreads and/or comment on some blogs for a few days and eventually things will add up. 20 minutes each day (or most days), do one thing per day. Only do it at the end of your writing time or you’ll end up wasting all evening. Don’t be scared. You just have to dive in and hope for the best. Are you terrified of social media? Or have you taken the plunge? How do you do it? Let me know in the comments.
These are series of notes I wrote for my writing buddy Jen (writer of fast and funny YA fiction – still unpublished, but it’s only a matter of time!). She was not totally sure how to go about this social media mullarkey, so I wrote her a set of ‘how to’ notes, based on my own experience of setting up an online presence. I’ve posted the notes here in case they’re of use to people. The first of these is a step by step on how to set up a website using WordPress.
Last year, I wrote a blog post about scientists watching Sherlock. I wanted a picture of Sherlock (or of Benedict Cumberbatch, at least) so I looked for one. Being that sort of a geek (I blame the day job), I looked for the BBC policy on using their images in blogs. The policy isn’t aimed at blogs as such, but the basic gist of it was ‘if you want to use one of our images, ask us. We’ll probably charge you for it’. So the post remains photoless.
So, where can you find copyright free images for use in a blog?
First, a word about copyright. Copyright is an automatic right that exists in any creative work. This includes pictures. The copyright belongs to the person who made the creative work (unless it was created under contract – whole complicated other story; always read your contracts). If you’re into that sort of dry detail, there’s a whole load of info on copyright at the UKIPO. http://www.ipo.gov.uk/types/copy.htm
If you reproduce someone’s work without their permission, you are infringing their copyright. Besides, it’s not polite.
There are hundreds of images on the web. Some of them are available under a creative commons licence. The best way to find ‘free’ images is to put your keywords and “creative commons” into a Google image search. Click through to the website and see if you can use it. Flickr has a fair number of images with creative commons licenses.
The most permissive type of CC licence is an Attribution Licence. Broadly speaking these are images that people don’t mind you using, so long as you acknowledge whom it belongs to. Attribution is a minimum requirement. If you adapt the image, you should still attribute the initial image to the person who made it.
Some licences specify ‘non-commercial use only’. Does my blog count as commercial use? Arguably, I blog for my own amusement, but eventually I hope my blog is to raise the profile of me as an author and, by extension to sell books. This makes it sort-of commercial. So I tend to steer clear of the non-commercial use only images – which is a shame because some of them are really, really stunning.
Now to find an image to go with this post. How about this one?
(Actually, I love the rest of the images this person has, but they are for non-commercial use and/or sold through Getty… )
These are series of notes I wrote for my writing buddy Jen (writer of fast and funny YA fiction – still unpublished, but it’s only a matter of time!). She was not totally sure how to go about this social media mullarkey, so I wrote her a set of ‘how to’ notes, based on my own experience of setting up an online presence. I’ve posted the notes here in case they’re of use to people. Last week I posted a step by step on how to set up a website using WordPress.
Next thing to do is set up on Twitter. Warning – Twitter is a massive time sink. You open it for ‘just a minute’ and end up wasting a whole evening when you should be writing.
First, go to http://www.twitter.com and get a Twitter account. Pick a name that relates to your books (You can change your twitter handle, if you need to). I used my pen name (@rhodabaxter) and email account. Twitter emails you whenever someone follows you, so it’s best not to clutter up your personal email.
If you follow someone, you can see all their tweets. If someone follows you, they can see your tweets. However, your tweets (and theirs) can get lost at the bottom of a long list of other tweets, so don’t assume that anyone has seen your tweet. On the other hand, Twitter is a very public forum, so you can’t assume that anyone has NOT seen your tweet. So, don’t say anything you’ll want to retract later!
If you respond to someone’s tweet with their @handle at the start, only people who follow you both can see it (Unless someone retweets it…).
Hashtags – things beginning with # which people use to make searching for a particular topic easier. You can search for a particular hashtag and see what people all over the world are saying about it. It’s hard to know the right hashtag to use, but, as with all of these things, you’ll soon pick it up.
Twitter is a constant stream of stuff and there is no way you’ll keep up with everything. But, to make the job easier, there are a range of Twitter Clients out there. I use Tweetdeck – it sits on my desktop and sorts tweets into columns: Tweets from people I follow, Tweets mentioning me, direct messages and tweets about hashtags I’m following. As far as I’m concerned, the best part is that I can leave Tweetdeck open in the background and tweets mentioning me appear on the side of my screen as they happen, so I can glance at them and reply. It also lets me schedule tweets so that I can tweet something at silly hours in the morning if I wanted to.
Twitter is a massive conversation and (and this is the scary bit), you have to butt into other people’s conversations. It takes time to get to grips with the idea that this is acceptable. People don’t mind. That’s just the way Twitter works. Honestly.
Conversely, you also have to learn not to take things personally. Other people will butt into your conversations. And some people will just ignore you. Nothing personal. It’s just the way Twitter works. Uhuh.
How does Twitter help you promote a book? I’m not sure it does. What it helps with is ‘meeting’ people and, if you don’t get chance to watch/read the news, keeping up with what’s going on in the world. If you sign up, tweet me.