Category: Marketing

Advertising and Amazon and stats

Posted November 24, 2015

This is one of those posts where I witter on about my favourite subject – stats. I love them. Can’t get enough of them. So imagine my excitement last night when I clicked on a teensy weensy arrow in my Amazon affiliate area and it told me just how many times the direct url (the one I put in Twitter or website) had been clicked. Oh, I was in my element last night I can tell you.

What it told me was that all the one-off tweets/FB/Google plus shares (the one I send when I list a book) get one or two link clicks, but the paid ones are seeing a few thousand visits to the page over the duration of the ad.

This one here (from when we had only 1,000 followers) was one of the guaranteed Twitter engagement ads and ran for five months:



The ‘1’ was a sale, although I would like to think the other 3,650 visitors didn’t just click and run. This particular book is on Kindle Unlimited, so I’m assuming (hoping) a few people took advantage of that, and then, of course, there are kindle samples (which I, myself, usually go for when directed to a book.)

I did hear that page visits alone can help (a little) with rank, although I don’t know how true it is, I’d like to think this website helps out independent authors in some small way.

Anyway, I thought I would share this with you.

To advertise with Indiescififantasy (guarantee Twitter engagements) please click here.


Indiescififantasy Facebook Group

Posted November 6, 2015

Facebook GroupDespite having a few Facebook pages, I’m not a great fan of them (owing to the fact they expect people to pay to have their posts seen) so… I’ve set up a group instead.

If you are an independent author (including small press) of science fiction or fantasy please do join and post a link to your book or page.

You can find the group here:

Hashtag: #IARTG

Posted July 28, 2015


This is another of my favourites for tweeting about Independent authors and their books, and they really helped me out with lots of shoutouts when I was started out (for which, I am very grateful).

IARTG has a substantial following (74.8k at the time of writing) and how it works is that you follow @IARTG. Once you have done so, you can then use the hashtag as well as sharing tweets of interest to you that are using it. I’ve found a few great books to read via IARTG.

Hashtag connections…

As you can see from the hashtagify embedded below, IARTG works well with a lot of other great hashtags and a combination of these will (hopefully) see your tweet spreading far and wide.

hashtags data by

Hashtag: #SFRTG

Posted July 21, 2015


A new hashtag for this week’s post – new as in I discovered it a couple of weeks ago. The stats on only go back four weeks, so at a guess, I’d say this hashtag is new ‘new.’

It’s a nice easy one for the science fiction authors to use though, and I am sure that with time, it will grow into rather a popular hashtag.

To use this hashtag, simply follow @SciFiRTG and if you use the hashtag SFRTG, they will give you a retweet (obviously if you see it in your feed and you like the tweet accompanying it, give it a wee retweet yourself and get word of the book as far reaching as you can.)

Hashtag: #indiebooksbeseen

Posted July 14, 2015


It seems prudent to begin with one that is not only popular but strives to help indie authors ‘be seen.’ The hashtag was started by @MarktheShaw (Keeper of the Wind on Twitter), an author of young adult books.

‘This is not just a hashtag. This is a movement…’

Mark’s aim is to draw attention to the outside world through the unification of indie authors and promote independent / self-published books as ‘trendy‘. Events arranged around this hashtag include #25daysofindie, a secret Santa giveaway and more recently #indieprideday (authors/readers posing proudly with an indie book) and an indie book catalog. As I’m sure you may have gathered, this combination of letters is certainly much more than ‘just’ another hashtag.

I have to confess to it being one of my favourites. I’ve a lowish following (about 3,000 people over two twitter accounts) but the response is always good. Retweets range between about four and ten – sometimes less, sometimes more. A lot depends on the book being advertised, the wording and how #indiebooksbeseen is incorporated into the tweet. Although, there is, of course, the factor of who is ‘on’ Twitter at the time and what time zone in the world is awake and active.

Relationship to other hashtags:

According to hashtagify #Indiebooksbeseen links to the following hashtags and has an important role to play in the promotion of your indie books:


hashtags data by

A few more stats:

And this is what Ritetag has to say about #indiebooksbeseen

© Based on Best hashtags for indiebooksbeseen calculated by

And on a final note:

I personally think this is a great little hashtag, especially as a lot of time and effort is put into making it so much more. If you are an independent author I would certainly advise you to get involved and make the hashtag reach out that little bit further:

Indiebooksbeseen website

Facebook group

Facebook community page

Creator’s twitter account (@marktheshaw) 

Hashtag Tuesday

Posted July 10, 2015

Hashtag Tuesday

We all know (or should) that hashtags are an important part of marketing our books and promoting our author platforms. I’m a little bit of a stat obsessive, so how better to put that to use than to examine some of the more influential hashtags available (mostly on Twitter, mind).

A few authors I’ve helped get started on Twitter have been amazed by the results of using specific hashtags versus a more generic #fiction #book (for example), and so, I thought it might be prudent to blog about some of these. Obviously you need to find the hashtags that work for your style of writing and genre, but hopefully it will give you a few ideas to consider.

I have written about hashtags before (which you can read about here) but Hashtag Tuesday will concentrate on individual ones. I’ll also set up an index of some description for niche genres so you don’t have to plough through a zillion posts to find what you’re looking for.

I shall post up the first one of Tuesday, and every Tuesday thereafter until I run out of hashtags to talk about (can’t see that happening for a while, but you never know).

If you would like to talk about your own experiences with hashtags, I accept guest posts (which also helps to promote your blog – search engine optimisation and all that – so it’s worth thinking about).



Independently (self-published) books / book promotion

Posted June 15, 2015

It has taken me a while, but through the course of promoting books for free on my other site, and through several engagements with independent authors, I have come to a decision as to what direction to take with this site. While I am keen to continue writing about all things science fiction and fantasy (and subgenres thereof) I also intend to promote independent books with a high standard of writing.

At present, I am working my way through my book promotion website and checking Kindle samples for quality writing (and removing those that do not fit the criteria). I would, in a nutshell, like the book promotion I offer via my websites to be associated with quality, and I think this will help qualifying authors get their voices heard above the hundreds of thousands of other indie books – that’s the plan anyway.

So, with that said, if you know of any science fiction or fantasy books meeting the criteria, or are an author yourself, please feel free to submit your book for assessment here (it’s free).



Image courtesy of

Automating Twitter… to a point.

Posted February 17, 2015

I thought it might be prudent to talk about some of the software I use to assist with time management on Twitter, as once the follows and unfollows, tweets and re-tweets begin, as well as the direct messages and mentions, it can get a little mind boggling. I use three types of software to assist in the management of the Free Book Promotions account, (four if you count the one I use to assess the quality of hashtags) and all of them focus on a different element.

Just Unfollow is a great tool for discovering who has followed and unfollowed you, and besides this, it provides a number of different options of analysis, as well as the opportunity to automate a direct message the moment somebody follows you (as I think we all will have seen after following some other tweeters).

Non-followers are the tweeters you have chosen to follow, but who do not follow you. As there is an initial limit on how many people you can follow (2000), this can be a useful tool. You can simply scroll through the list and select those you no longer wish to follow.

Recent Unfollowers and Followers is self explanatory really, but each provide a list of tweeters. There is also an opportunity to sign up for either daily or weekly alerts via email, which is great if you’re a statistic obsessive like myself. I tend to not follow the peeps selling twitter followers, preferring to build a following with genuine people. At the time of writing I get a handful a day, and simply let them follow and unfollow at their leisure.

Inactive Following are the tweeters you have followed, but they haven’t been active on twitter for a set period of time. If you’re close to your follow limit, this is another category of tweeters you might consider unfollowing.

All Following is a list of all the accounts you are following.

Copy Followers I don’t use, due to the fact I am growing the following at a nice leisurely pace, but if you’re marketing demands are urgent, or if you need to build a following fast, then you can enter a handle in here and suggestions on who to follow will be made.

Keyword Follow is similar to copy followers, but instead of a Twitter handle you enter a keyword.

Whitelist and Blacklist is self-explanatory, you can add tweeters to a white or black list within this program.

Friend check you can use to see if your friends frequent Twitter, although it would appear you  need to know their username.

And finally, I mentioned automating direct messages in response to a follow. Just below the menu at JustUnfollow, is an option to automate. Select this, and you’ll be taken to a page where you can opt into automatic direct messaging. If you click this option, a form will appear for you to enter your message, but it will show the words -via Just – unless of course you upgrade to have this removed.

All of the above is available on the free package, you are however limited to one Twitter account, 25 follows, 100 followers and 100 white/blacklist, but to date, with over 600 followers and 800 following, I haven’t run into a problem (possibly because I check my stats everyday so I’m always up to date with the goings on of the Free Book Promotions Twitter account).

Hootsuite is the service I use for scheduling tweets, but in addition to that (on the trial package), you can view three social media accounts side by side at the same time.

I decided to upgrade with Hootsuite as I do send a lot of tweets, for which I use the bulk upload facility, although saying that, I still opt to hand write the tweets and not obsessively send out the same ones.

Hootsuite is so much more than mere scheduling though. It offers a select amount of statistical reports to monitor your social media campaigns, allows for the use of collaborating team members and even runs its own Hootsuite university. It should be noted however, that certain reports and the university are not included in the premium subscription, but are additional costs.

Where Hootsuite differs (as far as I can see anyway), is that it goes beyond the basic social media sites. Through the installation of additional apps, you can add sites such as Youtube, Instragram, Tumblr, wordpress and more, although some others do carry an additional fee.

It may not offer a free package, but it is a powerful program with a lot of options, but if your social media activity doesn’t justify the monthly subscription fee, then socialoomph is an excellent alternative and offers a free package. is concerned with the activity aspect of Twittersphere – the tweeters who are engaging with you, which among them are the top, and those who are not.  

Upon accessing your Twitter account, it prepares and offers some pre-prepared tweets for you, none of which you have to send, but may help in building your network of followers:

  • Share top tweets (of the tweets of people engaged with you)
  • Thanks for the re-tweet (of your recent re-tweeters)
  • Thank new followers
  • Share the love (tags your most supportive followers) also provides a list of tweeters who follow you and who you do not follow (but suggests you should), as well as a list of tweeters you follow, but who do not follow you (who it suggests you unfollow).

As with Justunfollow, it offers various premium plans, but the lowest tier is free and functional, with the only drawback being that tweets shall have the words – via – added to the end.

These programs work well to aid and assist with time management of social media tasks. It’s easy to get bogged down with a to-do list. Using these automates some of the tasks – such as finding a list of tweeters who don’t follow you, or providing a pre-written tweet whereby you can thank your re-tweeters with a single click – those two on their own are  wonderful time savers, yet still offer the control to you.

Designing your Author (Facebook) Page

Posted February 10, 2015

With your author page set up (step by step instruction for which can be found here), it’s time to get down to the task of personalising it.

Facebook provides two places in which to present a graphic that best sums up you (the author/writer), be it a photograph, graphic, banner or logo. Both can be found in this area here:


Cover photo

The top camera icon gives you the opportunity to upload your cover photo, which is the large space you see up the top of a page. Some authors opt for a layout of their books, some an author pose, others a name on a graphic background – the choice is yours.

According to the Facebook help page, your cover photo must be at least 399 pixels wide, 310 pixels in height, and less than 100 kilobytes in size.

To upload your photo, you just click on the camera icon, select upload photo and then navigate to its location on your computer.

Once it’s uploaded you might see the option to reposition your photograph, and if your photograph is quite wide then you can play around with its position, but once you’re done, click save changes.

Your cover photo will now be showing at the top of your page like so:


Profile picture

The profile picture is a smaller snapshot of your main photograph, or if you’re lucky enough to have one, a logo or brand.

The recommended size on the Facebook help page for the profile picture is 180 pixels wide by 180 pixels in height, and to upload it, you simply click on the add photo and follow the instructions as with the cover photograph.

And that’s you done.

Next: The final stages of setting up a Facebook page.




Tome Tender (Book Blog)

Posted January 18, 2015

Tome Tender book blogTome Tender book blog features books is several genres – Paranormal romance, historical romance,  contemporary romance, urban fantasy, romantic suspense, young adult, steampunk, fantasy, and paranormal fiction. Requests for reviews are available, and the guidelines for these are very clear and precise.

With a good number of followers, this networked blog features include author interviews, giveaways, covers and book related thoughts. The reviews are concise, and in addition to detailing basic information about the book, such as genre, page length and a brief synopsis,  the author’s review provides thoughts from the viewpoint of a reader.

Tome Tender book blog share their reviews on Facebook, Twitter, TumblrGoogle plus, and of course their blog.