Contributed by Weegee Sachtjen
Everyone knows about hashtags thanks to the famous “Hashtag” skit with Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake.
But how can you use it effectively to self-promote your book? How does putting the pound symbol in front of a word work?
The “#” in front of a group of words or phrases identifies the keyword or topic of interest. The phrase (withoutspaces) is immediately index by the social network and searchable by other users. If someone clicks on the hashtag, they are brought to an aggregated page of all the posts, and future posts in real time, with that hashtag.
Popular Hashtags for Writers
Hashtags can connect you with readers, experts, reviewers and other authors. You can connect about the writing process, book genres, industry info, readers and creativity.
Here is a great resource with a list of possible #writer hashtags:
Online social media also has its own rules for posting etiquette:
1) Don’t string too many words together into one. Although, there is a time and place for that.
2) Don’t over-tag in a single tweet. A good standard is three.
3) Don’t #hashtag #several #words #in #a #row.
4) Do use hashtags that are relevant to the topic.
5) Do research a hashtag before you use it to make sure it is appropriate.
Why Create Your Own Hashtag
Creating a unique, special hashtag can give an author or their book a special lift. It’s like a secret code word for followers to use in reference to you or your product. It will help to track mentions of you, your book and the genre you write in. Hashtags also increase the chance of someone discovering you or your writing through searches within the social media platform.
It could be your book title (#SpyWhoLovedMe), a key phrase from the book (#BondJamesBond) or the name of your book tour. Get creative. Have fun. Use it often.
Contributed by Sheila Cameron
Wouldn't it be nice if we could pick an industry, jump in with both feet and instantly know all there is to know? Years ago, a friend shared with me that the average person will have ten careers in their lifetime. That was great news -- it meant I would never be bored. What I didn't think about at the time was how each profession would have its own learning curve to overcome before the ride got smooth.
When Mark and I decided to explore publishing, we knew we wanted to learn fast. We chose to throw ourselves into a steep curve. And that's how we found ourselves at IBPA's Publishing University in Salt Lake City last month.
During the drive there, we worked out our strategy. We each had some questions that we would seek answers to over the weekend and, in addition to those specific goals, we would maximize our learning from what else was on offer. I am more introverted, so I enjoy going to education sessions, listening and taking notes. Mark is more extroverted, so it was a natural fit for him to make connections with people during all of the social opportunities -- over meals, through Ask the Experts sessions, in the hallway and elevator -- and by having conversations with all of the sponsoring vendors displaying over the weekend.
Some takeaways from the conference were philosophical or motivational. "You're doing the right thing." "You're in the right place to learn." "Coming here is giving you an advantage." But there were also many practical tidbits that resulted in a compounded increase of knowledge about book publishing. We learned about what makes a good book cover stand out from the rest, how to approach indie bookstores, why to not pay for a book review, and how connecting with readers in person is still a good strategy.
The best thing about the weekend was hearing from like-minded people who want to share important consciousness-raising stories with the world. I had some warm fuzzy moments for sure, and we drove away with our heads full of new knowledge and inspiration.
So, are we there yet? Not even close. It's a long road, but we are a whole lot further along in the journey now that we have thrown ourselves into that steep curve. I highly recommend PubU to anyone serious about getting serious about publishing.
I expect we'll hit a few speed bumps over the next year, but we'll be ready to advance our learning again at Publishing University 2017 in Portland, Oregon. Maybe we'll see you on the ride there!
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