Friday, January 29, 2016

New Western Fictioneers Officers Announced

Western Fictioneers is proud to announce that Bill Crider will serve as president of the organization and Douglas Hirt will serve as vice president for the next two years.

Greetings and Salutations to all the Western Fictioneers.

I learned today that I’d been elected as your president by an overwhelming majority of the vote. Or possibly by only one vote.  But numbers don’t matter.  I am the president, and I’m honored to serve such a fine organization of writers.

Most of you, I know, have never met me, but I met at least a couple of our founders, James Reasoner and Bob Randisi, long ago.  Those two and I go back over 35 years now, and counting.  Both of them are younger, more prolific, and better looking that I am.  They’ve been publishing longer, too, as have a good many of you here.  I’m humbled to be the figurehead of a group with so many distinguished and successful writers in a genre we all love.

The first westerns I remember were movies.  Every Saturday afternoon, I’d be at the Palace Theater in Mexia, Texas, for the double feature with Johnny Mack Brown and Monte Hale, or Tex Ritter and Wild Bill Elliott, or Roy Rogers and Gene Autry.  I remember radio, too.  The Lone Ranger, The Cisco Kid, Bobby Benson and the B Bar B Riders, Gunsmoke, Have Gun, Will Travel.  The books came later.  Will James, Zane Grey, the Whitman books about Roy and Gene.  The 1950s brought some great western movies for grown ups, like Shane and Winchester ‘73 and Seven Men from Now.  I saw them all, and I was watching TV, too.  Wanted: Dead or Alive, Wyatt Earp, Maverick, and many, many more.

My own career in westerns began back in 1987 when I told my agent that I’d always wanted to write a western novel.  She asked me why, and I more or less recited the previous paragraph.  She told me to go for it, and Ryan Rides Back was published by M. Evans the following year.  Some of you, I know, wrote books for that house.  I can only hope you got paid.  My own experience with the company was less than pleasant.  A couple of the books were reprinted by Ballantine.  One of them went into a second printing, which I found out about when I saw it on the stands.  I was never paid a penny for any of the paperbacks.  The only benefit I got from them was that I met the Ballantine editor at a convention for mystery writers.  That’s when I learned that the western field was in trouble.  She told me that Ballantine wouldn’t be acquiring any more westerns, and when I asked her why, she said that while westerns were making money for the company, they weren’t making “enough money.”  She didn’t specify what “enough” was, but I knew that attitudes like that weren’t good for the genre.

In the years since then, I’ve written a good many westerns, some of them under my own name but most of them under other names that some of you have also assumed from time to time.  I don’t know about you, but I loved writing those books.  Some of the most fun I’ve had in writing was in working out plots for characters that someone else created.   

We don’t see a lot of westerns on the paperback racks now.  (For that matter, we don’t even see paperback racks.)  Westerns on TV are hard to find, and western movies don’t come along very often.  It’s a shame, for sure, but the members of Western Fictioneers keep the flame burning.  A good many of you have not only continued to write high-quality western fiction but are actually making money at it, thanks to the eBook revolution.  We old dogs have learned new tricks, and westerns are selling well, no matter what the traditional publishers say.  Western Fictioneers keeps calling attention to the genre with the Peacemaker Awards, too, and I’m very proud to have won one of them.

I hope that in the next year, this group will continue to flourish and grow and that we’ll see westerns continue to sell and to rise in prominence.  If we all keep plugging, it can happen.

I’m not quite sure yet what my duties as president are, but I’ll do my best to fulfill them.  For now let me say again that I’m happy to serve, and I think you all for bestowing the honor of the office on me.

Bill Crider

BILL is the author of more than fifty published novels and numerous short stories. He won the Anthony Award for best first mystery novel in 1987 for Too Late to Die and was nominated for the Shamus Award for best first private-eye novel for Dead on the Island.  He won the Golden Duck award for “best juvenile science fiction novel” for Mike Gonzo and the UFO Terror.  He and his wife, Judy, won the best short story Anthony in 2002 for their story “Chocolate Moose.”  His story “Cranked” from Damn Near Dead (Busted Flush Press) was nominated for the Edgar award for best short story.  Check out his homepage at, or take a look at his peculiar blog at 


Hello stranger.  Haven’t seen you around.  New to town?  Don’t be shy. Come on over and say howdy. Here, have a sarsaparilla on us.  Who are we?  Whal, we’re some of the friendliest folks you’re likely to ever meet.  We’re a passel of professional fiction writers, and although our members write about all sorts of things, what ties us together is that we mostly write westerns.

We’re a purty young outfit and some of our shoots are still a mite green and tender, but not our rootstock.  Our roots are strong and they go down deep. You see, these roots have been nourished by some of the finest writers who ever put a quill to foolscap, or rolled a carbon copy set into a typewriter platen (you young’uns can look that up on Wikipedia), or have fought the infamous blue screen of death to beat a deadline.  You’ll certainly recognize some of their names: Zane Gray, Wayne D. Overholser, Donald Hamilton, Gordon D. Shirreffs, Elmer Kelton, Frank Roderus.  The list is long and proud, and it even includes a bunch of TV shows and exciting movies that go all the way back to 1903 with The Great Train Robbery.

If you’ve a hankering to write westerns, then you just might want to ride along with us. We’re all pretty serious about this western writing business and so we’ve set a few requirements. They aren’t too onerous.  You simply have to have written a western novel or short story, and have been paid for it, not self published. If you have done so, and you think you’d like to ride for the brand, then welcome aboard.

Tell them Douglas Hirt sent you. I’m honored to be vice president of this fine organization.  I’ve been writing westerns professionally for over thirty years, and I can truly say you’ll not meet a friendlier, more helpful group of writers anywhere than the Western Fictioneers.

Douglas Hirt

DOUGLAS was born in Illinois, but heeding Horace Greeley's admonition to "Go west, young man", he headed to New Mexico at eighteen. He drew heavily from this "desert life" when writing his first novel, Devil's Wind. In 1991 Doug's novel, A Passage of Seasons, won the Colorado Authors' League Top Hand Award. His 1998 book, Brandish, and 1999 Deadwood, were finalists for the SPUR award given by the Western Writers of America. A short story writer, and the author of thirty-four novels and one book of non fiction, Doug makes his home in Colorado Springs with his wife Kathy. When not writing or traveling to research his novels, Doug enjoys collecting and restoring old English sports cars. You can find more about Douglas Hirt at

WF thanks Cheryl Pierson and Keith Souter for their great service as president and vice-president for the past two years. 

Sunday, January 24, 2016


At some time in the past, a tiny idea was germinated. It divided and grew and finally got its own little legs. You carried it with you everywhere…musing about it while you wandered through grocery aisles or drove the ten hours to your mother’s house. You had conversations with it when you were showering. You began to eat strange foods, most of them unhealthy, and drank lots of black coffee. (Health statistics, be damned.) Pretty soon, your clothes no longer fit, but you stopped caring.

Simple tasks like carrying laundry and taking out the trash became a struggle. The burgeoning babe took all your time, attention and energy. Friends began to make comments about your complexion. “Are you getting enough vitamin A?” Or maybe, “My, you have such an otherworldly glow about you.”

Somewhere along the way–right near the end of things–you grew tired of the whole ordeal. You just wanted it to be OVER. You wanted to lie on a beach and go to movies with friends and live a normal life again. Each minute seemed an eternity.

At last…the momentous day came and, after much groaning and writhing and primal screaming, you produced a bouncing, beautiful creation that left you speechless with pride…even if it was in need of a good hosing off and some scrubbing behind the ears.

Congratulations. You just birthed your first draft.

After all the oohs and aahs and phone calls to family and friends, you are faced with a decision of utmost gravity. Just what are you going to name your little hatchling?

While book titles are not protectable by copyright laws, you don’t want to use a generic title or one that’s been used extensively. You could devise a formula for choosing a title, such as Adjective Noun Verb (as in, Dead Man Walking). You could get all alliterative (Of Mice and Men) or just use a name (Elmer Gantry, The Sacketts).

Of course, the title and book subject should convey the same tone. If you pick up a copy of Lee Child’s Killing Floor, you can bet it’s not a good bedtime read for the kiddies. On the other hand, it sometimes pays to find a title that makes what could be considered a mundane subject appear more tantalizing on a shelf. Dee Brown's manuscript, originally titled A History of Indian Tribes in America, found its wings when renamed Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.

It can prove a particular challenge to name a western novel. With over a hundred years of western fiction behind us, authors have pretty much run the gamut of titles about trails, canyons, riders, wagons, cattle, guns, bullets, horses or posses. And all of those have been described as dark, lone, lost, wild, blazing, cold, lawless, hungry and a hundred other adjectives. We’ve seen the word “of” after vengeance, revenge, attack, or any number of aggressive-sounding nouns.I found this interesting Western Book Title Generator online:

Be careful with this one though. It had a few intriguing suggestions for me when I gave it a try, like Empty Boots, Black Arrow and The Shadow of the Wolf. More often than not, the random selections were nonsensical, if not a little creepy; for instance, The Tumbleweed of the Searching Meadow, The Ravaged Deer*, and The Cry of the Falling Windows. Yikes!
*Name and Likeness Withheld

I’d love to hear how some of the members of Western Fictioneers choose titles. Do you draw words out of a hat? Do you take a poll of the neigborhood kids? Write down whatever your spouse mumbles in his/her sleep?

Until next time, happy writing and happy titling! May your baby book grow up to be a household name!

All the best,


Friday, January 22, 2016


J.E.S. Hayes has done a great job talking up social media and promotion lately. I figured for lack of another idea that I'd delve into one small part of the whole. Branding. Hmm.

The idea of a brand is actually pretty smart. After all, we want readers to find us. And an author who does more than one genre - say inspirational romance - might not want their die-hard fans to know they also write horror. Or erotica. Yeah, that might be a bit of a shocker.

That's a pretty funny quote. But while life might not be divided into genres, books are - absolutely.

Let's say author Jane Doe starts her career writing sensual romance novels, but then she's got a hankering to use her Engineering/Science degree to dig deep into the science fiction/fantasy genre. What's Jane to do? Will her romance readers love her new stuff? Probably not, unless there's sensual romance in there - but they also might get pretty bored by all the technical stuff. Plus, Jane's romance-themed website might not draw the geeks she's hoping to snag.


See how the pictures above clash? One possibility is for Jane to use a pseudonym - let's say J.J. Doe. Or J.D. Smith. Then Jane has double the work in keeping up both websites and social media promotion, but hopefully she's making enough money from book sales to hire that out. (Hey, it's possible! Don't we all wish.)

Another possibility is to create ONE website, with multiple pages explaining her different books. J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, used a pseudonym (and tried to keep it secret) when she started the Cormoran Strike series of crime fiction as Robert Galbraith. The Cuckoo's Calling and The Silkworm are very different, clearly. And before she split off, her website was totally geared for Harry Potter fans.

Now, however, her newly designed website handles it all. However, she does keep it consistent, and if you click the name Robert Galbraith above, you'll see a separate website. You don't need scads of money to do something similar if you're writing in multiple genres.

But how exactly would a "brand" play a role? You might think of something you personally love, and incorporate that in your website and social media. For me, it's the color purple - I love re-tweeting photos of purple flowers or whatever. And tea - I frequently find tea photos to use. You can see on my website that I also love riding bikes and flowers. I highly recommend M.K. McClintock at Potterton House Author Services. M.K. is a talented website designer, and I love my new "look" and multiple "brand" style. My home page reflects ME, and readers get a sense of what I'm like behind the various books I write. It's like a personal touch.

Now, what does this have to do with my westerns? Nothing much, but under my Books page, where the drop-down menu shows all the various genres, click on "westerns" to see how M.K. chose a totally different style. If you click "D.E. Ireland" under Books, you will see more of an English style. And again, under "Holiday Novellas" you'll see more of a winter style. I'll be adding a "Cozy Mysteries" featuring teddy bears under a different drop-down soon.

NOT that this is the best way to handle "branding" an author, of course. My writing partner and I still maintain our own website and blog, and I may end up with another website for Meg Macy's books - with a link back to Meg Mims. When I branched out, I truly branched out. But having an expanded "presence" on the web might give an author writing multiple genres more links for readers to find them. And that has got be an advantage.

Best wishes in branding your own multiple genre/multiple pseudonym books!

Mystery author Meg Mims earned a Spur Award from WWA and also a Laramie award for her western historical mystery series, Double Crossing and Double or Nothing. She also writes short stories for anthologies and is one-half of the writing team of D.E. Ireland for the Eliza Doolittle & Henry Higgins Mystery series. Book 1, Wouldn't It Be Deadly, was nominated for a 2015 Agatha Award and Book 2, Move Your Blooming Corpse, is set at Ascot Racecourse. Meg is working on a cozy mystery series for Kensington that will debut in 2017. She lives in Southeastern Michigan, loves tea, books, Mackinac Island, cookies, and currently has a sweet Malti-Poo rescue.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016




On a cold, rainy Thursday evening in January 1880, a man with a cane hurried along California Street in San Francisco heading toward Nob Hill when he clutched his chest, staggered a few steps, and collapsed.


The following day, The San Francisco Chronicle ran the man’s obituary on the front page under the headline: "Le Roi est Mort" ("The King is Dead").
On Saturday, January 10, flags flew at half-mast.

A crowd estimated at 30,000 jammed the streets to catch a glimpse of the funeral procession for the self-proclaimed Imperial Majesty Emperor Norton I, Emperor of the United States.

Most businesses around the city chose to lock their doors for the day or, at least, part of it, despite it being a Saturday.

His journey from obscurity to mythic proportions captured the imagination of those who lived in what was then the ninth largest city in the U.S.

Born in London and reared in South Africa, Norton arrived in this commercial port city about 1849 as a young businessman.

A young man with entrepreneurial vision, Norton was not above taking a risk. But when he be everything to take advantage of a rice famine in China, he fell on hard times.

In December 1852, the famine pushed the price of rice in San Francisco from four cents to thirty-seven cents a pound. When a friend told Norton about a ship docked in the harbor with its hold full of Peruvian rice, he bought the entire cargo for twelve cents a pound.

But, a day later, the clouds of a financial disaster began gathering when another cargo of Peruvian rice arrived in port, followed by several others. The price of rice plummeted to three cents a pound. Joshua Abraham Norton was broke.

Following bankruptcy, Norton disappeared until Sept. 17, 1859, when the San Francisco Bulletin ran this announcement:

"AT THE peremptory request and desire of a large majority of the citizens of these United States, I, Joshua Norton, formerly of Algoa Bay, Cape of Good Hope, and now for the last 9 years and 10 months past of San Francisco, California, declare and proclaim myself Emperor of these United States; and in virtue of the authority thereby in me vested, do hereby order and direct the representatives of the different States of the Union to assemble in Musical Hall, of this city, on the 1st day of February next, then and there to make such alterations in the existing laws of the Union as may ameliorate the evils under which the country is laboring, and thereby cause confidence to exist, both at home and abroad, in our stability and integrity."
(Signed) Norton I, Emperor of the United States.

The declaration signaled the dubious start of a reign as America's first Emperor, a title to which he later added Protector of Mexico.

The usual whirlwind of rumors arose, some questioning the man's sanity and mental faculties, in general. For the most part, though, the public embraced Norton proclivities.

Even the newspapers got in on the act. Soon, many believed the idea of an Emperor living in San Francisco could generate higher tourism numbers.

Some restaurants and others businesses, which many never have even seen Emperor Norton, displayed signs in their windows reading: "By Appointment to His Imperial Majesty Norton I."

Norton often patrolled the streets in his elaborate blue Emperor costume, highlighted by gold epaulets give him by officers of the nearby Presidio. Atop his head, he wore a beaver hat decorated with peacock feathers.

When he wasn't parading through the streets, Norton stayed busy by issuing proclamations, most of which were outlandish but published by newspapers.

In one proclamation, Norton abolished both the Republican and Democratic parties.

Several other proclamations, however, made perfect sense.

One called for the creation of a League of Nations. Another proclamation ordered the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to construct a suspension bridge and a tunnel across the bay. Ironically, both completed fifty and eighty years after he died.

Norton died flat broke. 

A local businessman's club paid for his casket and plot. In 1934, his remains moved to Woodlawn Cemetery, and an impressive headstone provided free of charge.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Last Day -- Submissions for the Peacemaker

Today is the last day to get in your entry.  Submissions to the Peacemaker Awards entries must be postmarked or received via email by midnight, CST, January 15, 2016. Good luck!


First time in print must be between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015, no reprints.  Limit of 2 entries per category.

Books and short stories may be published in any country in the world (submissions must be in English) in print or electronic format. Electronic submissions must be made with Kindle/mobi , or Word/text files. WF reserves the right to decline any submission for consideration of an Award.

Authors, agents, or publishers may submit a work for consideration of an Award.

At least three entrants in the Best Western First Novel must be received during the submission period for an Award to be presented.

Novels and short stories must be set in the time period between 1830-1920 to be considered Westerns under WF guidelines. Time periods beyond the 1830-1920 traditional western focus may be included in submissions as long as the periods outside of the 1830-1920 span constitute no more than 50% of the story. At least 50% of the story MUST TAKE PLACE in the 1830-1920 period. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Nominees for the WF Peacemaker Award will be announced on 05/15/2016 and the winners will be announced on 06/015/2016.

The WF Peacemaker Award will be awarded in four categories:

Best Western Novel – Any novel published during the award year set in the appropriate time period (1830-1920), 30,000 words and higher. There are no format requirements. The novel may be a hardcover, trade paperback, mass market paperback, or eBook.

Best Western YA/Children Fiction– Any fiction written for ages 1-17 published during the award year set in the appropriate time period (1830-1920). May be a hardcover, trade paperback, mass market paperback, or eBook.

Best Western Short Fiction
 – Any short story, novelette, or novella published during the award year set in the appropriate time period (1830-1920), 500 words to 29,999 words. There are no format requirements. The short story may be published in any publication, print or electronic.

Best Western First Novel – Must meet the same requirements as Best Novel, and must be the author’s first published Western novel. If the author has published novels in any other genre they will not disqualify the author from the Best Western First Novel Award competition. Submissions for Best Western First Novel may also be submitted in the Best Novel category in the same year.

Judges and forms can  be found on the Western Fictioneers website.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Just Take Them Sheep Right On Outta Here

By Kathleen Rice Adams

Sheep Raid in Colorado (Harper’s Weekly, Oct. 1877)
Texans are resilient. They defeated the Mexicans — twice — took a beating during the Civil War and Reconstruction, and then chased the Comanche clean out of the state and into Oklahoma. All of those events were watershed moments in Texas history.

And so was the day they came.

Sheep. Hundreds of thousands of them, munching their way across the land like woolly locusts. The sight of a single woollyback could boil a cattleman’s blood. The critters trampled the range, close-cropped the forage, and left behind an odor neither cattle nor man could abide. They also carried “sheep scab,” a type of mange to which cattle were susceptible.

As if all of that weren’t enough, pastores herded sheep on foot, not horseback. Horses were a status symbol in the Old West. Cowboys figuratively and literally “looked down on” mutton-punchers.

Sheep are not native to Texas, although they’ve been in the state since padres brought Spanish stock with them in the 1700s. The animals provided both food and clothing, so no mission was without a flock.

In 1800, 5,000 head of sheep lived along the Rio Grande in far south Texas. By 1870, 700,000 woollies had moved in, primarily with Germans and other Europeans who immigrated to central and western Texas. By 1890, the state was home to 3.5 million of the critters. Of the 30 million sheep in the U.S. in the middle of the twentieth century, one-third were in Texas. At that time, the state produced 95 percent of the country’s merino wool.

The Plains Herder, NC Wyeth, 1909
Due to market fluctuations, drought, and some disastrous government programs, in 2012 the entire ovine population of the U.S. stood at only 5.3 million; 650,000 of those, still the largest bunch by more than 100,000 animals, were in Texas. To this day, mutton, lamb, and wool make a significant contribution to Texas’s economy.

Ranchers in the mid- to late-1800s never would have believed such a thing possible. In fact, they went to great lengths to prevent the possibility. The notorious clashes between sheepmen and cattlemen that scarred the entire West began on Charles Goodnight’s ranch in Texas. Between 1875 and 1920, one hundred twenty serious confrontations occurred in Texas, Arizona, Wyoming, and Colorado. Across the four states, at least fifty-four men died and 100,000 sheep were slaughtered.

Real and imagined problems led to the sheep wars. Texas cattlemen already were becoming testy with one another over grazing and water rights. Add sheep — which, as a means of finding other flock members, spray the ground with a noxious scent excreted by a gland above their hooves — and the range got a little smaller. Add “sheep drifters” who grazed their flocks on other folks’ land or public property because they owned no territory of their own, and the situation became volatile. Add barbed-wire fence…and everything exploded.

The Texas legislature outlawed grazing sheep on cattle range without permission and on public land at all. Cattle and horses faced no such restrictions. Consequently, sheepmen were among the first to throw up fences in order to keep their flocks in and other animals out. Sheep fences lit one of the first matches in what became known as the Texas Fence-Cutter War, which blazed across more than half the state from the mid-1870s through 1884. The cattlemen erected their own fences, and soon everyone was at someone else’s throat. The fence war died down, for the most part, when the legislature criminalized fence-cutting in 1884.

Soon thereafter, cattlemen were shocked — and somewhat relieved — to discover good fences really do make good neighbors. They also discovered mutton and wool sold even when a mysterious disease known as Texas Fever made driving cattle to the railheads in other states well-nigh impossible.

Today, many Texas ranches run sheep right along with their cattle, and all the critters get along just fine on the same range.

Of course, had stubborn Texans on both sides of the fence paid attention to the native Indians who’d been running cattle and sheep together for a hundred years before the trouble started, they might have spared themselves considerable aggravation.

(In case anyone’s curious, my Peacemaker-nominated novel Prodigal Gun is loosely based on events that took place during the Texas Fence-Cutter War. There’s more information at the link, which goes to my website.)

A Texan to the bone, Kathleen Rice Adams spends her days chasing news stories and her nights and weekends shooting it out with Wild West desperadoes. Leave the upstanding, law-abiding heroes to other folks. In Kathleen’s stories, even the good guys wear black hats.

Her short story “The Second-Best Ranger in Texas” won the coveted 2015 Peacemaker Award for Best Western Short Fiction. Her novel Prodigal Gun received a 2015 Peacemaker nomination for Best First Western Novel.

Visit her hideout on the web at

Friday, January 8, 2016

Social Media for Authors: Part 2

If you missed the convention - or even if you didn't! - here are some of the highlights of the Social Media Panel.

Facebook Tips:
·      156.6 million users; peak ages 23-50 (growing senior sector); most are college educated; more women than men
·       Best times to post: Thursday/Friday 1-4 pm - worst times: 8pm to 8am
·      Helpful Website:

  • Desktop ads have 8.1 times higher click-through rate than normal web ads; mobile ads have 9.1 times higher
  • Make a Fan Page, not a personal one!! Also fan pages for each book and/or favorite characters
  • Most studies show people using Facebook typically dislike too-frequent updates and are afraid of being directly marketed to. BUT: People on Facebook do enjoy being given special access or insight they might not get anywhere else
·      Give your followers lots of free information. Entertain them with links to blog posts that amuse, inspire and inform. 
·      Focus each post on a single subject and include a question, link, or call to action to boost engagement. 
·      Share quotations that are relevant to your brand. 
  • Share cartoons and pictures that relate to your work. Ask users for feedback
  • List events like book signings or speaking engagements
  • Use Fanpage Karma to find optimal posting time tailored to your audience

Instagram Tips:
·      60.3 million users; peak ages <17-29; mostly urban users with some college; more women than men
·      Best times to post: Monday 2-3pm, 9pm to 8am - worst times: none
·      Helpful Website:

  • Send your book with traveling friends and have them post photos
  • Follow bloggers who review books and fellow authors
  • Snap photos of what you're reading
  • Snap photos of what you're writing
  • According to Socialbakers, “the top brands on Instagram have a post engagement rate 47% higher than on Twitter.”

Twitter Tips:
·      Best times to post: Wed & weekend 1-3pm - worst times: 8pm to 9am
·      Helpful Website:

·      Type into the search function words with hash tags #amreading or #GoodReads
·      Follow other authors and organizations
  • See who other Tweeps are following or who is following them
  • Show some personality
·      Followers want content that is credible, intelligent, and valuable.
·      Don't use up your entire 140 characters - leave room for re-tweeters
·      #ICYMI (In Case You Missed It) on recycled posts
·      More than 70% of re-tweeted content is about news, and more than 50% of re-tweeted content is either instructional or entertainment-related.
  • Using the words “Please Re-Tweet” will generate 4 times more re-tweets.
  • You're more likely to get re-tweets on the weekend
  • Use no more than two hash tags (#) to avoid clutter.
  • 5/5/5 Rule - 5 minutes responding, 5 minutes searching, 5 minutes tweeting
  • Pay with a Tweet - readers can download a freebie if they tweet about it. Costs minimal amount per tweet.
  • Schedule tweets at different times for followers in different time zones
  • Use Followerwonk to find optimal posting time tailored to your audience
  • Create a tweet that promotes one of your books, preferably with an image attached and then pin the tweet to the top of your feed. Doing this will help other authors find your book tweet to promote. Also, when people check out your profile, the first thing they see will be your book tweet, which again will help build awareness

Goodreads Tips:
·      48.2 million users; peak ages 18-44; most are college educated; more women than men
·      Helpful Website:

  • Connect your social media
  • Add your book trailers in the video section
  • Add your books to Listopia
  • Upload Google, Twitter and Facebook followers as friends
  • According to Goodreads, the average giveaway attracts 825 entries, and over 40,000 people enter Goodreads giveaways daily.
  • Roughly 60% of giveaway winners review the book they win.
  • Participate in a group once a week
  • Rate and review a book once a week

Pinterest Tips:
·      44.5 million users; peak ages18-64; most are college educated; more women than men
·      Best times to post: Saturday 2-4pm, 8pm - 11pm - worst times: 5-7 pm
·      Helpful Website:

  • Add the "pin it" button to your browser
  • Make an "If you like ___ you'll like my book" board (covers of similar titles)
  • Make "People and Places" board for people who look like your characters and places your characters would have visited or lived in
  • Make a board for cover art and behind the scenes images
  • Make Lives of Your Characters boards - what they'd wear, eat, visit, etc.
  • Make a quotes board: reading, writing, books, authors, whatever you like
  • Make a visual writing prompt board with provocative photos
  • Pin images and add quotes from your books
  • Make a Best bookstores or libraries board
  • Data shows that since 2011, “the number of Pinterest users going from the platform to a website has multiplied seven times, far outstripping Twitter and others.”

Google+ Tips:
·      37.5 million users; peak ages 25-40; college educated; nearly 70% male
·      Best times to post: Mon-Fri 9-11am - worst times: 6pm-8am
·      Helpful Website:

  • Male-dominated media
  • Set up a business page instead of a personal one
  • Always add the image of your book cover first, and once it shows up, add text and link to Amazon, B&N etc. If you start with the link, only the ugly generic icon from Amazon appears, not showing your cover at all.
  • Link to your blog posts
  • Write resource-type articles
  • Have different circles for your readers and for other writers
  • Use Hangouts to conduct video chats with up to 10 of your readers
  • Use Google Adwords to find keywords to enhance engagement
  • Use Timing+ to find the optimal posting time tailored to your audience

And if you're video-savvy: You-Tube:
  • the second largest search engine next to Google!
  • post behind-the-scenes, personal interviews, how-to, tips and insights
  • iPhone makes a perfectly good video
  • Videos should be 3-5 minutes long with music and images when possible
  • Use relevant, upbeat titles with brief descriptions and 10-20 tags for each video