Social media for authors is critical! The size of your social media presence of an author, especially if you are self published, can make a huge difference in your book promotion. Using it effectively to connect and engage your readers, fellow writers and and the publishing community as a whole, can go a long way in your marketing campaign.
Let us talk about a few things to remind yourself to make social media for authors and writers more successful.
Social media for authors
Don’t make it all about you!
Unlike your personal social media accounts, your author profile accounts shouldn’t revolve around you and your personal tastes. Sharing current writing/reading updates aside, try to share content from other sources, not just Amazon links to your books.
Another great way to increase your followers and keep them hooked is host awesome giveaways. There is a huge market for bookish merchandise like bookmark, pins and posters. And of course signed copy is truly cherished.
Ensure you are not spending too much time over social media – time that you can be using for writing or editing your next book. Scheduling posts for a week can reduce your work load by half.
For example, Twitter lists help you to curate similar accounts into group and organize your followers better. You can even subscribe to someone else’s public list.
Interesting and useful bio
Your bio is the first thing that a new or potential follower would be looking at. It often acts as a resume and an ad for yourself. It should provide a glimpse of who you are as a person and why they should follow/subscribe to your account or channel.
Do not try too hard to be funny or smart. It more often than not, backfires.
While it is nice and essential to engage with reviewers and bloggers during your book promotion, it is not fair when authors read the reviews and discuss about it to the reviewer. The reviews are usually written for the readers and other bloggers – not authors!
Another exciting step towards getting your book published is getting noticed by literary agents and publishing companies. And pitching events on social media, especially on Twitter, could make your chance.
Basically, these events are like “the Voice” but for authors. If your manuscript get selected, you get mentored by experienced authors and agents. #PitMad, #Pitchwar, #DVPit, are all good places to start!
Get involved Community
Social media is a platform for you to finally get involved with your own peers and readers. And that can happen only when you stop lurking and put yourself out there.
Give writing tips and advice. Answer questions and polls, even AMAs (Ask Me Anything). Engage with peers and fans. Share interesting articles and follow your favorites.
Last but not the least, try to be consistent in your goal and content plan. Posting for a few days and then disappearing for the next few weeks is not going to help anyone.
Consider this as a groundwork for your book promotion and more importantly, for the emotional connections you will need. It is a time taking project and will sometime eat too much of your time. But it is indispensable!
Finding a good and trustworthy beta reader is just a part of getting a feedback. Knowing what questions to ask your beta readers would ensure you have a chance to know how to make your manuscript better.
Asking questions also open up a dialog between the beta reader and yourself and that could bring better understanding and more dimensions to your book.
Also, discuss about this Q&A feedback prior to them before sending your manuscript to avoid discrepancies.
Questions to ask beta readers
Here are some questions to ask beta readers to receive meaningful and constructive feedback.
These questions are based on the questionnaires I have received during the course of my beta reader journey and they are indicative only.
How interesting was the first chapter? Were you hooked or mildly interested?
At what point did you think “ah now the story begins”?
What were your expectation levels about the book based on the first few chapters?
Were you able to understand the setting (where and when) of the plot?
How predictable was the plot? Were you able to see where and how the story was moving along?
Was there a suspense/tension regarding the conflict?
Did you notice any foreshadowing for the third act?
Was there something in the plot that kept your attention from the main plot?
Did the climax work for you? Was it believable?
Were you confused about the story line or the time lines in the plot at any point?
Were the protagonists likeable and believable? What can be done to make them more likable?
Which character did you relate to the most?
Did you ever get confused in terms of who is who in the characters or their names?
Were there any characters that needed a better arc/development?
Who are your most and least favorite characters?
Which character did you want to see more of? Which side character are you curious about, after finishing the book?
What do you think of the relationship between the main characters?
What do you think of the relationship between the main character and the bad guy(s)?
Is there a character you wish didn’t exist?
Did the dialogue sound natural and keep up with the general pace of the book? Were there any conversations that looked forced and artificial?
At any point of the book, did you feel the storyline lag and you had to skip over? Did any part make you re-read for it to make sense?
Did you find yourself skimming pages? At which part did you put your book down/take a break?
Does the writing style match the genre? If not, how so?
Were able to “see” the action sequence in terms of ‘who did what’?
Did you notice any obvious, repeating spelling, grammatical, punctuation or capitalization errors?
Credibility & Sensitivity
Were there any apparent discrepancies or inconsistencies in time lines, places, character details, etc?
Was there something culturally incorrect or offensive to any particular section of readers? (question to be asked to the beta reader if they were from that marginal section)
Did any part of the book confuse/annoy/frustrate you? Which parts and why?
Did this book remind of you any other books you read? In what way?
Has the book been tagged under the correct genre? If not, why and what genre could be a better fit?
If you could add/delete one thing in the book/plot/characters, what would that be?
Will the topic be interesting and useful, if you had no prior interest/knowledge about it?
Was the topic well researched and have enough information?
At any point, did the book stopped following a narrative pattern and overwhelm with an information dump? If yes, where?
Did the book get boring at any point? If so, which part(s)?
Did the book have any redundant/repetitive pointers?
Were you able to feel the enthusiasm towards the topic from the author’s writing?
Did the book provide helpful next steps in terms of action plans etc?
Some tips before you send the questions
Use the list as a guideline and choose only questions that are relevant to your book and that will help your next draft
Keep the questions simple and do not ask them to quote examples for each pointers.
Do not overwhelm them with a huge questionnaire. Keep them few and it is better to give them the questions after they finish reading the book.
While it is a good practice to send a questionnaire to your beta reader, ensure that you need one. If you are still not sure what to ask, it is better to leave it to the beta reader to send a detailed report in their own template and style.
DO NOT FEEL PRESSURIZED TO SENDING QUESTIONS, for the sake of sending it. You are helping no one here.
I seldom lose my cool when I see those glaring plot holes in books and movies. If the book has more than a few, I feel completely turned off and may even DNF the book. Many of us do that and it is not wrong to DNF.
I realized these inconsistencies are much more common than I realized and I decided to explore more on it. In order to make it easier to find and fill those damn holes, I will try and classify the holes in terms of plot and story line into groups.
1. Illogical and impossible scenes
I hate it when in the movies the actor gets shot in their chest with a gun, continues to fight the villain and deliver a fatal blow , yet a single bullet can explode moving cars every time. Don’t you?
For me the simple measure to group these illogical scenes in a plot is to ask myself if they make go ‘But how did he/she?’. More often than not, those questions are rhetorical because we know that couldn’t happen, unless there was a miracle. And if your story is about magic and miracle, please elaborate on how it happened. If not, that is a hole for you to fix.
Let us see some examples shall we?
The highly frustrated curly girl in me, wants to mention about how easy the makeovers are – removing the glass and straightening the hair.
Here are some more that would just make me pull the hair off my head.
A person who is trapped in a dungeon appears from nowhere at the last moment to defuse the bomb. He WAS TRAPPED!
You were beaten black and blue in a fight earlier, but without any more new reinforcements you win him the next day. What changed and how?
How did you know land the bull’s eye if you never learnt archery? At the least tell me in advance that you were good at darts. Look out for those events that could not have happened because of something else that happened in the book and kick them off.
3. Unresolved conflicts:
I cannot emphasis too much on this one at all. I mean am sure no one would like to wait for eternity to know what those smaller characters did next in your story. Of course I hate cliffhangers, but I am not talking about them.
While love having lots ofa fewjust the right number of side plots and characters in a story but only when you intend to make them reach their destiny er.. I mean solution. Why else would you include about them, except perhaps to add some conflicts just for the heck of it?
I know some of these might sound a bit over the top but they do happen. As a beta reader I do point out such inconsistencies in the manuscript but it saves a lot of time and your efforts to fix them when you revise your manuscript before you send it to the beta reader or the editor.
Just remember, if it doesn’t make sense to you, your readers won’t understand it either.
What is the most blatant plot hole you have come across in a movie or a book? Do you find these gaps in the plot annoying or they completely obtrusive? Do share with me.
Almost everyone I know and follow on the blog world is either taking part in the #NaNoWriMo or cheering for someone who does. I definitely am in the latter category and all am hoping is to not get stuck in a blogging rut once again. *knocks wood*.
But as a writer, be a blogger or a novelist or a poet, getting into a rut seems too scary, yet it is very possible that any day you might. There are days when I just stare at the blank page waiting for the words to pour out for hours and they wouldn’t.
Well, if this scenario sounds a little true for you then this article is for you. If not, please let us know what kinda crazy potion do you drink each night.
I am gonna try and tell you the secrets of managing the slump or rut so that your writing doesn’t have to stop.
10. Write like you talk
Do not worry about your writing voice.
Why try to change a voice that you use daily to talk to people in your real life? Talk to your readers as you would talk to your friends and family. Don’t try to be the pompous ass that you are not in real life. If you are one real life, DO NOT FOLLOW THIS ADVICE.
9. Talk to a person
More often than not, I get stuck when I try to generalize my readers and talk to them, as a faceless crowd. It is easier to think of that one person who would enjoy your story or post and just write for them. It is definitely less intimidating.
8. Don’t self sabotage
Negative thoughts send us down a spiral. It happens to the best of us and it is easier to say to be positive. But to truly overcome that try and understand its pattern and then solve the cause.
Worried that you are you not organized? Get a spreadsheet or a planner. Worried that you are you not creative enough? Start writing. You are not a real writer? Write MORE.You can do it.
7. Best laid plans
One can never stress enough on the importance on planning. Instead of waiting for an inspiration to strike every time you need to post on your blog, working with a plan makes sense doesn’t it?
Every week I start with a blog plan and schedule for the week which avoids the time I spend on frantically searching for topic when I actually write.
6. That elusive perfect ritual
Every post or article we write is different and the process we end up might be different as well. What I am trying to say is, do not fixate on your perfecting a writing ritual.
There is no one perfect writing process. If you do have one, please share it below in the comment section.
5. Write a spinoff
When you are stuck without knowing what to write read some of your old works. Write a sequel or part two of your most favorite. If you are a blogger, I believe every post can off shoot more posts.
Despite all these I do suffer from ‘staring at the white sheet’ more often than I would like to admit, and there is only one thing that gets me going. I set a timer for a short time, say 20 minutes and start freewheeling. I am sure you will start making sense in one or two bouts.
Lastly but the most important thing is: write for yourself and enjoy what you do. When you push and push you might end up frustrated, which ultimately is not achieving anything. Write for writing sake and enjoy the writing craft, I am sure your readers will thank you for it.
These are some of the things I do when I have to get over the writing rut, be it for a blog post or copy writing. Let me know if it works for you.
How often do you struggle to write an article or post? What are the things that you do to manage the rut? Do you follow any of these ideas? Let us talk more.
There comes a time when every author has to put an end to their writing and start seeing their work objectively. Their objectivity would go a long away in making their manuscript, or book if I may, appealing to the masses. Of course the beta readers and editors would do their jobs but you would be glad you did your part before sending it off to the professionals.
In fact anything that would make your readers go ‘what just happened?‘ in a not so expected way is just the plot holes we are talking about.
As an author you are expected to have already fixed the plot holes when you send your book off to editing and critiquing, but there are some plot holes that are sneaky and may not be visible to your eyes, especially after repeated readings. This makes the use of a beta reader indispensable.
A plot hole is a collective term to all the sneaky inconsistencies in the narrative or a character development of a book or a movie/television programme, to paraphrase the Oxford English Dictionary.
This does not include those apparent inconsistencies that will be solved in the oncoming chapters or books. We can divide such inconsistencies into three heads based on where they may be found.
Inconsistencies in the plot
Plot holes refers to any inconsistencies in the plot or any event in the story line. Plot refers to anything from the place, time and events that take place in those places and times.
Inconsistencies could be illogical, contradictory or ignored. Let us examples of each of these cases.
Illogical plot hole:
A character who is terminally ill gets well miraculously just to be a part of a love triangle.
A character that living 2000 km away from his lady love, drives back to her hometown in a single night to save her from the villain.
A plot that is ignored or forgotten:
A character that goes missing (i.e forgotten) all of a sudden for no reason.
2) Inconsistencies in the character development
We are never gonna hear the end of how Lily has brown eyes, when we all knew she and Harry had the same blue eyes. Or why Buzz has to pretend freeze around humans if he thought he was a real space ranger.
And that is exactly what we are talking about.
Anything that character does or does not do as the reader has been told to expect of him is an inconsistency and thus a plot hole.
Some examples of such holes are:
A mighty super villain has a change of heart about destroying the planet just after a small setback.
A protagonist that never grows, changes or is affected by the plot.
3) Inconsistencies in the world building
This is a major one, especially in the fantasy genre. The fictional world that we write for includes why things happen the way they do and why the characters react how they do.
We need to know the reasons and motivation behind the character’s actions before we can relate to them and continue to root for them. But when these fails, the readers stop caring about what happens to the characters and the plot.
Some examples of issues in terms of world building:
An antagonist whom we fail to see as powerful enough.
Sub plots that are not closed.
Why the lead falls for the female and why is it different from the other times?
While these plot holes may not be apparent to you, your readers are definitely going to find them out and it is critical that you should too. You could always reach to a friend, a fellow writer or a professional beta reader requesting them to give a read to weed these out.
Aside, I am considering to write more on these series, what do you say? Should I continue these writing topics? Let me know in the comment section.
Are there plot holes that do not fall in these headers? Do you plot holes turn off from reading further? What is the most annoying plot hole issue that you have read? And authors/writers, tell us about the plot hole you had and how you fixed Let us chat.