What My Blog Did For My Book

Why your website needs a blog

I’m often asked if a blog is necessary for a business. Surely it is sufficient to have a website and a facebook page or a website and a good twitter account? There are numerous reasons why I consider a blog to be essential for a business and for a website. I’m going to share some of those reasons with you and use my other business (my book) as an example to show you exactly what my blog does for my book sales.

Why Your Website Needs A Blog

Why your website needs a blog

  • It provides your website with frequent updates. The search engines respond well to recently updated content.
  • You can create popular blog posts by answering customers’ queries. I often find my most popular posts are those that are written in response to questions from clients. After all, if one person is asking you the question, many others are typing it into search engines. As a result, your post should be on the first page of Google.
  • Your blog is the hub of your social media activity. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest are all very capable of sending traffic to your articles if well written with good images.
  • You can include calls to action within your posts – thereby compelling readers to book your service or buy your product. Convert that traffic into sales.
  • Your blog posts reveal the personality behind your business – remember people buy from people!
  • The commenting section means that potential customers can engage with you or ask questions.
  • By writing knowledgeable and relevant posts about your industry, you will become a respected authority on the subject.
  • Your blog will definitely help to increase your brand awareness.
  • By writing articles on newsworthy issues, journalists may contact you for more information having found your blog. Using good images within lifestyle or ecommerce blogs are attractive to journalists as they also need high-res high quality images immediately.

What My Blog Did For My Book

What my blog did for my book I started a personal blog about family life and farming towards the end of 2011. Apart from enjoying the writing, I found that I was getting to know other female farmers better as we were reading each other’s blogs and forging friendships as a result. Then, in September 2012, I happened to write a blog post entitled ‘Advice to those considering marrying a farmer‘, it went viral six months later and as a result, it inspired my first book.

  • My blog posts  increased brand awareness of my crowdfunding campaign, my book progress and ultimately the book when it was self published. Without a doubt, they helped sales of my book.
  • I’ve met many people who told me they have already bought my book and have been reading my blog for years. This is often a surprise as they have never commented on any of my posts. A considerable percentage of people at a show told me they read my blog on a regular basis and yes, that it convinced them they would enjoy my book.
  • Only last week, I noticed that the same person had commented on one of my blog posts and had ordered my book. Blog posts are wonderful as they stay there forever and will continue to attract traffic and convert a portion of that traffic into sales. If an old blog post is particularly popular, remember you can edit the calls to action to update them.
  • My blog has helped me to gain press coverage – one example relates to a journalist covering my crowdfunding campaign in a national newspaper having read about it on my blog. Since the book has been published, other journalists have contacted me via my blog too.
  • I’ve used my blog to test ideas for my next book and recently I even for volunteer interviewees with plenty of responses.
  • The blog provides me with material for my twitter account and facebook page. I can explore issues in more details within blog posts too.
  • As a result of my blog writing, I’ve been asked to contribute to various articles on farming and/or social media – thereby growing my profile more.
  • I am now an occasional panelist on TV3′s Midday – I’m not so sure they would have heard of my author status if it wasn’t for my blog and my twitter account.
  • Between the inital sales and my social media usage, the two book wholesalers in Ireland agreed to stock my book early last year thus ensuring that it is on the shelves (or can be ordered) in all bookshops.

If you would like to learn how to improve your business blog, our Blogging for Improverss course is delivered as an eLearning course, making it very user friendly and convenient.

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Thursday’s Tip: Using Pinterest To Boost Sales

How to use pinterest to boost your sales

How to use pinterest to boost your sales Many businesses are using Pinterest and Valentine’s Day to boost sales – are you?

In this post, I’m going to show you how you can use Pinterest to boost your sales in February, using one of my own blog post pins as an example.

No matter what your business is – you could create a blog post to emphasise how your service or product can be used – either as an idea for a perfect date, an ideal recipe idea or a gift for Valentine’s Day.

Thousands of people are searching for Valentine’s Day on Pinterest – judging by the keywords in Pinterest’s Interests, they aren’t just looking for chocolates, engagement rings or roses.

A sample shows that while Valentine’s Ideas is a popular one, crafts for kids, table decorations, cards,clothing, recipes, baking and gifts are also highly searched keywords within Pinterest. Even centrepieces for Valentine’s Day is one of the most popular ones and I’d never have thought of searching for that!


Create a Valentine’s Day XXX board for your business – be it Valentine’s Day Gifts, Valentine’s Day Ideas, Valentine’s Day Designs or just plain Valentine’s Day.


Populate it with pins that are of interest to your target customers and add some of your own pins to it. Once you’ve done that (and don’t forget to ensure that the cover image is of one of your own products), bring that board to the top of your page so anyone looking at your account can see it.


However, don’t forget to move it to the bottom of the page on 15th February as otherwise your pinterest account will appear neglected!

My Valentine’s Pin

Valentine's_Day_pin I have to admit I was wondering how I could make the most of Valentine’s Day with my other business hat – that of my book Would You Marry A Farmer? I’m not the neatest when it comes to baking or making pretty crafts apart from the fact that it would take me a lot longer than the few days left before Valentine’s Day so trying to make farmer-inspired crafts was out!

I decided to write a blog post entitled ‘Valentine’s Day Date Ideas for Farmers’ complete with both ideas and statistics, used Picmonkey to add a heart effect and some text to an image and that was it. I pinned it to my ‘Valentine’s Day’ pinterest board, made it the cover image and am ensuring that other pins within the board are of interest to my target market – in terms of gift ideas and of Valentine’s Day.

(Here’s an explanation showing how to add text to images using Picmonkey)

One thing to bear in mind – don’t provide all the information within the image or pin description, provide enough to pique their interest and encourage them to click through to your website to find out more. As I am using Article Rich Pins, the pin pulled up the metadescription of the blog post which encourages people to click through to the post without being too pushy. Naturally enough, there’s a call to action to purchase my book within the blog post.

Don’t forget to fill out the description for your board too using highly searched and relevant keywords. So many people are using Pinterest rather than Google now to search for gifts and ideas that you need to optimise your boards and your pins as much as possible with relevant keywords.

Our Pinterest for Beginners and our Blogging for Beginners eLearning courses start on Monday if you would like to learn more.

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9 Blogging Tips for Tourism Businesses

9 blogging tips for tourism businesses Tourism businesses can use blogging very effectively to target tourists and show them exactly what they offer. By writing a blog, it provides you with a tool to show visitors the personality behind the business, tell them all about your area and answer any queries they may have. It also provides you with articles to share on other social media platforms, thereby encouraging people to visit your blog (and your website) to find out more. It’s usually just one click away then to your booking page.

However, blogging is not just about sharing your latest good deal. It’s about creating content that your target market will find interesting, useful and engaging. Here’s some tips for finding inspiration for your writing your blog posts.

#1. Share Secrets

By making your content intriguing, suggesting that you are sharing little known secrets about the area, this will compel people to read on if they are contemplating visiting your area. People often love knowing the best places to visit  particularly if they are ‘off the beaten track’ too.

How to hook readers with your blog title

Carlow Tours ‘hooks’ readers in with the title 5 things you probably didn’t know about Co. Carlow and then proceeds to share them with us. Even as a Carlow native, I was intrigued to read – in case there was something I hadn’t come across as yet!


#2. Historical Information

Even if your hotel or pub is a relatively new building, attract those interested in history and heritage by including blog posts on local historical monuments, ancient buildings, local museums and much more.

If you have any hotel bedrooms or areas of your building that hold a particular provenance (or even an alleged ghost!), this could make a very popular blog post.

How to attract tourists via your blog

What about if a famous celebrity (from the past or present) stayed in one of your rooms? You can create a sense of modern history too. These Fort Worth hotels both embrace their sense of history within their structure and stories.

#3. Share Sneak Peeks

If you are renovating or re-decorating any aspect of the hotel, pub or other building, provide some early photographs as sneak peeks into the progress as well as completion, particularly if they are hotel or B&B rooms.

Why hotels should share sneak peeks of renovations


People love feeling they are one of the first to see something and it can make them feel part of the story too. This hotel shares pictures of renovated bedrooms, lobby and reception area.

#4. Behind the Scenes

Provide visitors with insight into ‘a day in the life of your business’ showing what goes on front of house as well as behind the scenes. Sharing pictures of the busy kitchen will add atmosphere and don’t forget to share achievements by any staff too – particularly if any have won awards or competitions.  If you have an adventure playground, Santa’s kingdom or animals, share pictures of visitors playing or the feeding of the animals (always remember to ask people’s permission if you are going to be using photographs of them).

#5. News of Upcoming Events

Don’t just tell potential visitors about the upcoming events, make them sound intriguing and interesting by putting a particular spin on them. In this post by Russborough House, we are told that we’ll be let into the secrets of telling a fake from a real painting.


It promises insight, information, interest and some fun too. Definitely an excursion that sounds attractive.

#6. Target A Niche Market

Denmark Farm in Wales targets people who are interested in environmental issues, who want to spend their holidays exploring the countryside, wish to stay in eco-friendly accommodation and are interested in learning more about their environment.


Hence, their post on the discovery of kestrels and the installation of a box on their farm to encourage a breeding pair will encourage visitors. Wouldn’t you love to visit to find out if they succeeded in a breeding pair of kestrels breeding there?

#7. Show Specialist Facilities

Is your business especially equipped for access for those with disabilities? Can you promise those with special needs an extraordinary holiday? There are plenty of families looking for holidays where every member of the family can enjoy the whole experience.


HoeGrange Farm not only shows their facilities for those with disabilities but makes it clear that there’s plenty on offer in this area of the Peak District.

#8. Gardens & Golf

Visitors love to know about the amenities of your establishment so if the gardens are particularly beautiful, or you have a golf course or if the spa is particularly luxurious, do highlight them at their best.

Show off your gardens

This country house in Wales show off their gardens at their best in high summer – doesn’t that image just make you want to visit?

#9. Answer Questions

And above all, the best blogging tip I can give is to write down the questions you and your staff are asked. If a number of people are asking you similar questions, it is time to write a blog post on the topic. If some people are phoning to ask a question, it’s a safe assumption to make that others will ask that question in a search engine. Bingo! Your answer within blog posts become popular and result in more business. My most popular blog posts have all resulted from writing answers to questions I’ve been asked.

If you have a restaurant, B&B, hotel, gardens, golf course, adventure experience or any other tourism business and you would like to avail of training in blogging, do take one of our online elearning blogging courses. Alternatively, if you would like to outsource that work, that is one of the services offered here at Write on Track so do get in touch.

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Tuesday’s Tip: How To Find Your Number of LinkedIn Connections


If you have over 500 connections on LinkedIn, you might be wondering exactly how many connections you do have. However, it can be tricky to find that information on your own profile.  I’ve had over 500 connections for a while and it’s fascinating how quickly they have grown.

how_to_find_your_number_of_connections_on_linked_in I tend to accept connections only from people I have met or I’ve got to know through other social media channels. Having said that, I’ve been quite active in some ‘writing’ and ‘social media’ groups too and I’m making connections with some other members after engaging with them within the group. Growing them slowly has meant that they have been over 500 for some time and I had no idea what the total is.

Well, I recently needed to know the total number of connections and followers for all of my social media platforms and I must have spent at least ten minutes searching for my total number of LinkedIn connections. There’s a few different ways to find it but this is the quickest and easiest.

Finding Your Linkedin Connections

Click on ‘Home’ so you are viewing the news feed.

Scroll down a little and you’ll see your total number of connections in the right side bar. You can then click on it to see all of your connections – particularly convenient for if you wish to remind yourself of some of them, re-connect and engage, or consider asking some for recommendations.

Yes, it’s as easy as that. Easy when you know how but infuriating when you don’t!


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Grow Your Blog – Follow These 8 Rules Of Blogging

Grow your blog - follow these 8 rules of blogging

Grow your blog - follow these 8 rules of blogging Are there rules to blogging? There are a number of written and unwritten rules that you should follow – both to ensure you stay on the right side of the law and that you increase your readership and grow your business.

Some will appear obvious, some may seem to have grey areas but the rules are actually quite strict and some are recommendations.

Here’s eight golden rules of blogging to help you grow your blog, increase readers and sales.

#1. Copyright and Plagarism

The most important of all the rules is that you don’t plagarise someone else’s content. If you wish to copy material from another source, perhaps because you wish to expand upon their argument or simply use that information within your blog post, you must cite your source. If you are quoting from them, it is best to put that within quotation marks or if you are summarising their content, simply state the name of the blog or the author’s name with a link to the source.

Here’s an example from a recent post on We Teach Social:

The rules of blogging

#2. Images

There’s two rules with images – one written and one unwritten! The written rule regarding images is that you either use your own images, use purchased images or credit your sources. If you are struggling to find free images for your blog, photopin offers a good selection – all in return for crediting the photographer.

You’ll find a great explanation for using photopin on the Spiderworking blog.

The unwritten rule is that you name all of your photographs, either when editing them or when uploading them to your blog post. Google can’t read photographs, only what they are called so it makes sense to name your photographs with the title of your blog post or with a keyword describing its content. You should also check that they are well positioned and appropriately sized. I often notice that beautiful scenic photos on lifestyle or tourism blogs are sized too small and just lose their impact.

#3. Asking Permission

While most bloggers are happy when they see a pingback to one of their blog posts (this means a blogger has linked to a specific blog post in their own blog), they probably wouldn’t be happy if they click through and see chunks of their material copied, particularly if it includes photographs. While most companies will be happy to have their photographs reproduced (with a link), it’s best to err on the side of caution and ask permission before using another blogger’s images – they may be very happy to say yes. It may also be the start of a beautiful friendship! If you use material (particularly photographs) without permission, you just might receive an invoice and/or a solicitor’s letter. It’s rare but can happen so if in doubt, either ask or use a source such as photopin.

#4. Structure & Presentation

This is another unwritten rule but it is hugely important. If your blog post presents a wall of text, it is going to be off-putting to readers.  The presentation is even more important than the content in many ways. The content may be wonderful but if people don’t stick around to read it, you have wasted your time. According to a Nielsen study, readers only read 28% of online content. We skim read through subheadings to find the material most relevant to our needs.

Therefore, use whatever means you can to highlight the most important aspects of your blog post. Use subheadings, bullet points, underlining and either use the bold feature or a different colour to highlight some keywords. The TBR Pile, a new book review blog,  is using four tabs for each part of her book reviews – Her thoughts, Editorial input and design, Book club suitability and Purchasing details. I think it’s a smart way to structure it.


#5. Grow Your Readers

It can take time to build readers for a blog and there’s various ways to help them find your wonderful content. These include:

  • Using keywords – here’s how to use the google keyword planner to help you find those highly searched keywords
  • Using the Yoast plugin (for self hosted wordpress blogs) will help you to determine the success of your own blogging as it provides you with feedback too. Here’s how to install and use it.
  • Adding social share buttons so your readers can share your content too, helping you to reach a larger audience. Don’t forget to share your own blog posts too!  I like the flare social share buttons – here’s how to install them.
  • Engage with your readers by responding to them when they comment on your blog or reply to your tweets. It’s a good idea to comment on other blogs too – you would be surprised how this will increase people’s awareness of you and your blog.

#6. Don’t Forget Other Pages

Don’t forget about some of the other pages that are essential to a blog. It’s incredible how many blogs don’t have ‘contact us’ pages or don’t have their email addresses or telephone numbers available. What if a journalist wants to contact you – not to mention a potential customer? About Us pages are also important – people buy from people and they need to see who is behind the business. Having a nice smiling photo of yourself and/or your team is a good idea too. I really like Marian’s About Us page over at Herbi & Carni – nice photos and a good synopsis of what they do.


#7. Calls To Action

I learnt this rule the hard way! When I started blogging for my online retail business back in 2008, I didn’t know anything about calls to action. When I received phone calls from people wondering where they could buy the product I had blogged about, the penny eventually dropped. Not only had I not included a call to action at the end of the post to prompt them to purchase, but I hadn’t included a hyperlink to the product to make it easy for them either!

People will have come to your blog post because they are interested in the information you provide or they want to buy your product. Make it easy for them to buy by including a call to action at the end of your post. It might be in the form of a banner photograph/ad, such as the one at the bottom of this post, which is a prompt and link to purchase our ebook. Or it might be in the form of a direct link, such as the one I am using to link to our blogging elearning courses.

#8. Don’t Get Disillusioned!

Another unwritten rule! Do remember that while it can sometimes feel that you are blogging in a vacuum, particularly if you’re not getting that much feedback on your posts, the results can be surprising over time. I recently wrote a post on my other blog looking for interviewees for my next book and people who have never commented on my blog posts or facebook updates got in contact – both to be interviewed and to tell him how much they enjoy my blog and my first book.

If you would like to learn more about blogging, do check out our two blogging elearning courses at We Teach Social. One is for total beginners, the other is for business bloggers. 

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Tuesday’s Tip: How To Share Pins To Facebook Business Pages

How to pin from Pinterest to your Facebook business page

How to pin from Pinterest to your Facebook business page Pinterest and Facebook are both popular social networks and both are supplying many businesses with significant web traffic and sales. What about when you want to create some synergy between the two?

Do you sometimes want to share a Pinterest pin to your Facebook business page? Now you can and it’s a quick and easy process once you know how.

How To Pin To Your Facebook Business Page

Click on the pin so it enlarges.

Click on the ‘f share’ button  on the top right (above the pin).


It offers to share the pin to your own timeline (your personal profile) as a default. Change this by clicking on the drop down menu and selecting ‘on a page you manage’. If you have more than one business page, select the appropriate page and then all you have to do is write a description before you click ‘share link’.

Easy when you know how but so difficult if you don’t!


How To Pin To Pinterest From Facebook

Here’s a previous post on how to pin to Pinterest from Facebook if you’re wondering how to do it the other way around.


Pinning To Your Personal Profile

Note that if you click the ‘post to Facebook’ button when you are repinning a pin, they will be pinned to your personal profile, not your business page.



This is one of the tips in our 365 Social Media Tips ebook. The book is available for £3.65 if you’d like to benefit from the other 364 tips.

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3 Changes To Pinterest Businesses Need To Know

How to pin from Pinterest to your Facebook business page Have you noticed lots of changes to Pinterest over the last month? Are some of them confusing you? Here’s three of the most recent changes that you need to know about to keep on top of your pinning for your business.

1. Uploading a Pin

It can happen that business owners wish to upload an image to their pinterest account rather than pinning it from their website. Why might they do this? Probably because that image isn’t on a specific webpage.

The “upload a pin” button has moved. It’s now down on the right side of your screen and no matter how much you scroll, it will stay in the bottom right corner. You can also add a pin from a website or create a board from that button too.


If you upload a pin, don’t forget to add the link to your website page too. Remember a pin without a link won’t add any value to your business. To do this, click on your pin so it enlarges. Click on ‘edit’ and then paste the website url into the source box.


Click ‘save changes’. When people now click on your pin, they will be brought to that webpage.

2. Change Your Board Cover Images

I have to admit it took me a couple of minutes to work out how to change the board cover images after the changes.

Changing your board cover images regularly is important because:

  • The cover image should reflect recent quality content. It can be frustrating for a pinner to spot an interesting pin on a cover image and then have to scroll for absolutely ages to find it at the bottom of the board’s pins.
  • Changing the image (particularly if your business uses seasonal images) reflects that your business is aware of current trends.
  • The image should reflect the content of the board – this can alter slightly according to trends or timing.
  • It gives you an opportunity to give a new pin more visibility.
  • Sometimes business users opt for a common theme across all board covers, for example, some will make all their board cover images green to symbolise their Irishness in the run up to St.Patrick’s Day.

To change your cover image now:


  • Click ‘edit’ under your board.
  • Click ‘change cover’.
  • Scroll along to find one of your suitable images. Bear in mind that the size of the board cover image is reduced so choose one that fits nicely into the box!
  • Click ‘save changes’ and that is it.


3. Changes to Pinterest Analytics

The analytics provided by Pinterest (to business accounts) are now much more comprehensive, providing a wealth of information. To access the Pinterest analytics, click on your name in the top right and then the cog at the right side. Analytics is accessed in the drop-down menu. There’s so much information available but for today, I’m just going to focus on one aspect.


Repins on Pinterest are great but business owners want to know how to get more traffic to their website, hence you need to know which pins are sending the most click throughs. You can establish if they go on to purchase by setting up goals in your google analytics but for now, it’s Pinterest’s job to get those pinners to your website.

What I like about the ‘clicks’ option within Pinterest’s analtyics is that it shows the pins receiving the most clicks in the last 3o days – these aren’t necessarily my pins and in my top 5, only three are from my site. What you can do is try to work out what it was about those pins that encouraged their click throughs so you can emulate it in future pins. What I found interesting when looking at this today is that a post from 18 months ago on how to get more Pinterest followers is still delivering click throughs.


Pinterest analytics offers so much more but that’s one of its really useful features. It’s so easy to access too. It’s a good idea to check it out once a day and look at something different each day to analyse how you can improve.

What other changes have you noticed and have they confused you?

If you’d like to get to grips with all the changes on Pinterest plus using the Pinterest Analytics effectively and an introduction to promoted pins, we are running a one week elearning course soon. In just five days, you’ll be up to date with all the new updates regarding how to use them for your business.

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How Will Social Media Further Your Goals For 2015?

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Have you started planning your goals for 2015 and wondering how you’re going to achieve them? You know the expression ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’? Without planning, you can feel a bit like you are stuck amongst the cogs of a machine, like you are constantly turning the wheels but not recognising your achievements and more importantly, not celebrating them either! I’m noticing that social media is playing a much bigger role now in how I set out to achieve my goals. Here’s a snapshot of my goals for 2015 with some suggestions for how you can use social media to achieve your goals.

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My goals for 2015:

Ghost writing: Part of my business is writing blog posts and website copy for clients – I’d like to secure two more long-term clients for regular blogging. I’ve found Twitter and LinkedIn to be instrumental in developing and continuing relationships with business people – some of whom go on to request copywriting.

Training courses: Our plans for We Teach Social, our business for social media elearning courses, we’ll be using a variety of media to grow this side of our business. This part of the business is also B2B (Business to Business), hence LinkedIn is also invaluable in terms of growing awareness of the training offered – in terms of individual training, group training and online courses.

Book sales: Sales of my book Would You Marry A Farmer? have a particular target market and I find my blog, twitter and facebook page essential in gaining press coverage and growing sales. Traditional media still has a huge place in increasing sales and I find that my social media contributes to achieving free press coverage. Looking at my press and reviews page on my other website, I know that my social media presence is responsible for helping me secure at least two third of the press and reviews. When I was recently asked to be a panelist on the daytime show Midday, the invitation came via a DM on twitter.  I have plans to bring a second book out in September and will be using social media and traditional media to publicise it. I also wish to secure a paid column position and I know that my social media content as well as my following will have a bearing on decisions made by employers.

Planning Your 2015 Goals:

I’ve just noticed that Pinterest is letting users to look back on their 2014 pins by showing them a overview of their pins. Here’s a link to mine! They are also encouraging them to use Pinterest to plan what they want to try in 2015.

Do you use social media to get to know other people, to engage with them and to let them see the personality behind your business. Do you use Facebook to share articles and material that you believe your target will enjoy. Do you use twitter to share articles but also to chat and to share opinions. LinkedIn provides your online curriculum vitae, many valuable connections and the potential for worthy discussions within the groups – not only can you learn from others but you can share your own expertise too. Pinterest can be used for planning, learning and sharing knowledge. All have the potential to drive traffic to your website, generate leads,  and help with sales and bookings.

365 Social Media Tips If you are thinking that you would like to improve your social media in 2015, have a look at our latest social media ebook. Entitled 365 Social Media Tips and available on Amazon, it is designed to help you master social media one day at a time by learning how to use the various tried and tested tips we share with you. I co-authored it with my Blog Awards Ireland and We Teach Social partner Amanda Webb. We even found that we learnt loads from each other as we brainstormed the tips we wanted to share with our readers. Somehow, I had never noticed that if you click on the ‘number of people reached’ under your facebook updates, it provides you with lots of data as to the interaction, click throughs to your website and any negative feedback. Were you aware of that tip?

Amanda had been confused by some of the recent changes to Pinterest so I was able to help her out with those. Have you ever noticed that so many of the social media tools are tricky until someone shows you how to use them efficiently and then you forget that you once found it difficult? It’s all easy when you know how.

Many of our 365 social media tips contain illustrations to make them easier to follow. There’s over sixty tips on each of the main social media platforms plus many tips on various tools to make your usage more efficient and effective. Do take a look at the sample and if you wish to purchase, the book is £3.65 (approx €4.99) on Amazon.co.uk and $5.99 on Amazon.com. You can read the tips a week at a time, a month or a time or make it your new year’s resolution to try out a tip each and every day.

photo credit: Profound Whatever via photopin cc



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How to Market and Sell Your Non Fiction Book

How to market and sell your non fiction book

How to market and sell your non fiction book You have written your book, you’ve had it edited, you have hired a professional to design the cover art, you are going to sell it online on Amazon and Smashwords and you are have printed a substantial number or printed a small number via a print-on-demand. You have your ISBN numbers, the blurb is written, it looks as professional as a traditionally published book – how are you going to market and sell it now?

From what I hear from many traditionally published authors, while they don’t have to worry about getting it into bookshops, most of them are having to do all of the marketing of their books. The differences between independently published and traditional published books are certainly diminishing. Whether your non fiction book is a business book or a humourous gift book, writing a book will certainly raise your profile.

Marketing Your Non Fiction Book

Press Releases

One way to market your book is to send out press releases and hope that the local, if not national, media will pick up on them. However, you have to work out how to make it topical. Just stating you have published a book is unlikely to gain coverage, your local paper may publish a story about you if they have plenty of space or if you’re well known by them.

Aim to tackle a topical news angle within the press release – either focusing on the content of the book or your own status. If stay-at-home mums becoming successful in business have been getting coverage in lifestyle magazines and you are a mum, business owner and a writer, then focus on the stay-at-home mum angle.

Another possible angle is to share some tips from your non fiction book within the press release so you are, more or less, writing the article for a journalist. For example, when trying to get press for my ‘Would You Marry A Farmer?’ this September, I included five tips on how to find eligible farmers at the Ploughing Championships! As a result, I got eight radio interviews and about four print articles. Take tips from your book and show how your target market can benefit from them.

Read, Look, Listen!

Listen to the radio, read the newspapers and set up google alerts for related topics. Then send a copy of your book or a press release to the journalist or radio presenter. Two weeks after self publishing my book, I sent a copy to  Ryan Tubridy of 2FM after hearing him discuss a related topic and received a phone call the next day with an invitation for a radio interview.

Be prepared! Have a high resolution photo of your front cover available to send to a journalist at a moment’s notice and it’s a good idea to have an ‘author photograph’ ready too.

Book Reviews in Newspapers

It’s not easy to achieve book reviews in newspapers as the publishing companies will be keeping those reviewers busy with a steady stream of material. However, sign up to the books4media email alerts and you might spot a relevant request. My book was recently reviewed in Horse and Countryside as a result of an email alert.

Book Reviews in Blogs

Ask book bloggers to review your book but ensure that you have checked out that the blog material is relevant. There’s no point asking a reviewer of mostly romantic fiction to review your self published gardening book. You should also ask bloggers writing about your topic, many may be delighted to receive a free book in exchange for an honest review.

It’s a good idea to arrange a ‘book blog tour’ whereby the bloggers all feature the book on a specific date. I organised my tour over six consecutive days as it was getting close to Christmas but it can also be a good idea to have one post a week over a number of weeks. Do ask the bloggers to link to the previous blogger and to the next blogger too. Do share each blog post on your own social media platforms and comment on the blog post too.

If you can ask the bloggers to post a slightly modified extract of their review on Amazon or Goodreads, that will help too.


Listing your book on goodreads may gain it some traction there. You can host a competition there for free, just for the cost of your book (not an ebook) and posting it to the winner. Catherine Ryan Howard wrote an excellent post recently on how best to run competitions on Goodreads.

Social Media

Using social media is crucial but the trick is to use it well! Do not send out ‘buy my book because it is 99c’ or even ‘buy my book’ tweets. You can send out occasional ‘call to action’ tweets but try to include a benefit of buying the book within the tweet. Remember that people buy from people and if they are impressed by your content on twitter, they will be much more inclined to follow the links to your blog posts and from there, they will see your book for sale, particularly if you have a link to it in your sidebar.

A blog is really important – not only can you write posts in a similar style to your book so you attract your target readers but your blog will also publicise your book. You never know what journalists might be reading your blog and decide to write a feature on your book! That has happened to me. Sharing relevant content with your fans on facebook will help to grow your loyal fanbase too.

Pinterest is becoming effective as a marketing tool for authors too, pin any reviews you have received, pin links to where your book can be purchased. If you had created secret boards for planning your book, consider making it public so readers can see the thought processes and inspiration behind your book too, it’s a little like letting them in behind the scenes.


How To Sell Your Non Fiction Book

Book Launch

Having a book launch is a good way to really kick start the sales of your book and gain some local press coverage too. I didn’t have a book launch for my first book as I’d already received a lot of pre-orders with my crowdfunding campaign (plus it was such a tight schedule, I didn’t have the time) but I managed to secure sales of 750 copies in the first three weeks due to crowdfunding, social media and press coverage (all pre-Christmas too so the gift season helped). I will be having a book launch for my second book though.

Own Website

Do sell it from your own website. Although that will involve design costs for a website, you are going to need a website in any case.


While you will have to prove steady sales to have your book stocked nationwide and by book wholesalers, you should be able to get your book into local bookshops. In Ireland, the two main wholesalers, Easons and Argosy, take 55% of the RRP so do take that into account when you are deciding on your pricing. If you are supplying directly to a bookshop, they will probably look for 30-40% of the RRP.

If you can show that you’ve got some press coverage, local bookshops should be open to stocking your book. If they’ve had people coming in to ask for it, they’ll be delighted to see you.

Do bear in mind that while the local bookshops may pay upon receipt of the books or at the end of every month, the wholesalers wait three months before making their first payment.

Boot of your Car

Always, always, always keep copies of your book in the boot of your car. You never know when you might get into conversation with someone who shows an interest in your book and you then have a sale.


The advantage of selling your book at shows is that you get the full RRP so it can be fairly profitable – depending on the cost of your stand and your set up costs (promotional material such as a pop up banner and bookmarks / leaflets). Another advantage is you get to talk to your buyers and your readers. You find out why people are interested in your book and more importantly, their reasons for not buying it.  What is really lovely is when people come up to you to say they’ve already bought your book and enjoyed it – it’s all the sweeter if they say that while beside someone who is wondering whether to purchase or not, it really helps the sale along!


Enjoy your self publishing journey – it can be a rollercoaster but with a good book, some planning, plenty of leg work, substantial sales can be achieved. As you’ll see from the tips above, you can’t start too early – so much of it is building up relationships on social media and offline while you are writing the book. Another advantage of putting in all the legwork with the first book is that you have all the contacts when you bring out the second book.


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How To Use Twitter: Twitter Conversations

How to use twitter, twitter conversations

“I just don’t get twitter.”

“I’ve been using twitter for a while and haven’t sold anything yet.”

“I send about one tweet a week but haven’t had any response.”

“It takes me ages to work out what to write in a tweet.”

How to use twitter, twitter conversations This are some of the comments I often hear at the start of social media training. Do you empathise with any of them? Have you ever felt like that? Are you wondering how to use twitter, how to have a twitter conversation, how to sell within a tweet?

The truth is that twitter is about being sociable, it’s not about direct sales.  It’s where you have conversations, where you can answer questions to show your expertise, it’s where people can find out more about topics they are interested in, perhaps going on to purchase your product or service. I’m going to share a recent twitter experience with you to demonstrate how twitter is about having chats with like minded people to build relationships and yes, often for mutual benefit.

I use my @IrishFarmerette twitter account to promote my book about farming. During the summer of 2013, I used twitter to promote my crowdfunding campaign which involved sending out many ‘call to action’ tweets. I was very conscious that I didn’t want potential pledgers to look at my tweets and see a list of ‘please pledge’ type tweets. That meant I engaged in many conversations on twitter, I wanted to be seen as chatty and friendly, as well as knowledgeable about my subject area.

A couple of weeks ago, I met another self published author on twitter. As a farmer’s wife, she bought my book. I was genuinely interested in her just-to-be-published fictional novel and purchased it, saying I would also review it on my blog in a couple of weeks. We have plans to meet for coffee to share experiences of farming, writing and self publishing and I know from experience we will learn tips from each other as well as exchanging PR contacts.



This came about because of a twitter conversation. I was busy writing a Nativity Play one day, one in which Joseph and Mary are using a Sat Nav which inadvertedly brought them to the wrong Jerusalem (the village near Carlow town) and from there they had to travel up to Crettyard (our village) to the portkey there! My tweet mentioned Crettyard and a mutual twitter contact picked up on it and tweeted us both, including a link to Karen’s recent blog post where she had judged a Strictly dancing competition organised by Crettyard GAA. Small world!

People buy from people and twitter makes your business much more personable. Don’t be afraid of it or believe that each tweet has to be perfect.  It helps you to have conversation with like-minded people, with those who are interested in similar topics or even your product. Twitter isn’t about direct selling.

Have you any stories to share about how twitter brought you in contact with like-minded people or how conversations resulted in sales?





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