Paula Writes

Paula Puddephatt – Author

Blogging and Social Media: Why I’m Disillusioned — May 18, 2019

Blogging and Social Media: Why I’m Disillusioned

disillusioned

Before I discuss the problems I’m experiencing with blogging and social media, it’s important to mention that I’m also going through much more serious health and life problems, and have been at rock bottom.

This makes anything else that much more difficult to deal with, including the issues with my blog and social media – in particular, a technical issue relating to Pinterest.

I’ve had this blog since July 2017, and have a very small, but appreciative, following.

With a few notable exceptions, my family and friends are extremely unsupportive, when it comes to my writing. They don’t support my blog, or what I do on social media. It’s hurtful, but it is what it is.

But it does mean that I’m almost entirely reliant upon building an audience online. When I finally release my WIP and other books – here’s hoping – I certainly can’t rely upon any of the usual “guaranteed sales”. You know the jokes about only selling to your mum, nan, and brother? In my case, definitely laughable.

Still, other writers, in the history of time, have succeeded without support, and I’m determined to keep going, anyway. I believe in what I’m trying to achieve, through my various writing projects, and won’t give up that easily.

In terms of social media sites, the truth is, I’ve often felt that I’ve been spinning the wheels.

And lately, I’ve been struggling to do even that.

Some, such as Twitter and Instagram, have strong, positive writing communities, but in truth, they drive relatively little traffic to my blog. Not that that is by any means the only reason to participate in social media networks, of course – but, let’s face it, it’s a consideration.

Pinterest has been my favourite social media site, for some time now – whether you choose to classify it as a social media network or a search engine, given that it has definite features of both.

Pinterest tends to be positive, inspirational, and fun, and it’s definitely known, in the blogging community, as one of the best sites, from the point of view of increasing website views.

But a couple of days ago, Pinterest incorrectly marked my website as spam.

After searching around online, I finally managed to come up with an actual email address for Pinterest, which was easier to use than the website contact forms, with categories that seemed not to entirely fit my precise difficulties.

My account, in other respects, is still – touch wood – functioning fine. But I can’t Pin anything from my website, or attach a link from the site to any Pin, and neither can anyone else. Any of my Pins already in the system lead to error messages, stating that my website is spam.

Well, look around. This is a small blog, focusing primarily upon writing craft and related subjects. The content definitely isn’t spam. There aren’t ads or affiliate links, spammy or otherwise.

 

I’m hoping that the issue will be resolved soon, but it’s really set me back. I don’t have the heart to keep posting on social media, in general. It’s difficult to keep going with my WIP and other projects. I’m not giving up, but do feel seriously discouraged.

If you would like to support me, please share this, or any of my other posts, on social media – although you won’t be able to do so on Pinterest, until the issue is (hopefully) resolved.

 

My most popular posts include: my Character Names post, and How To Create Believable Friendships in Your Fiction.

 

23 May 2019 addition: My Pinterest related issue was resolved, a few days ago. 

Whilst I’ve no specific reason to believe I did anything to cause the problem, I’m currently taking a very moderate approach to Pinning – not more than a single Repin of any of my own Pins.

I’ve stopped posting on group boards, at least for a while. I’m not entirely sure what can trigger Pinterest’s spam alerts, and it isn’t worth the risk, in my opinion. But I might change my mind, in the future.

I’m also working out how to manage my social media more effectively, and spend less time spinning those wheels.  

Google Plus To Close on 2 April 2019 — March 25, 2019

Google Plus To Close on 2 April 2019

google-plus-finally-closing

I still get occasional, low level traffic to my various posts about Google Plus – primarily the one about the “possible closure” of Google’s social media network.

Just to clarify: The network is definitely closing. The date being given for this is 2 April 2019.

I feel that it’s sad, and always viewed Google Plus as underrated.

RIP Google Plus. End of an era.

Follow me on the, still thriving, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Social Media for Writers 2019: Author Platform Tips — January 28, 2019

Social Media for Writers 2019: Author Platform Tips

social-media-authors-2019

Most of us, as writers in 2019, recognise the need to build author platforms online. Ideally, we should aim to do so in advance of launching any books, although it doesn’t always work out that way in practice.

This post is about how I use social media as part of my own author platform, and includes tips to help you build your online presence, as a writer.

I wrote a post, in 2018, about various social media platforms that authors can use, and shared my personal experience on how to use each of these effectively, as an author. I have decided to create an updated version, which is what you’re reading right now.

Disclaimer: I’m not a social media expert. I don’t have huge followings on every site I give advice on. I wouldn’t say that I have “huge followings” anywhere, but I’m definitely more successful on some sites than others.

It’s one thing to know what could theoretically lead to success on a particular platform, but time and energy are limited.

I offer what I can, in the hope that it might be of use to other writers.

 

The question, when it comes to social media sites, is: Where do you start?

There are so many social media networks nowadays. Do you need to be on them all?

I would say, definitely not, and I have definitely been guilty of trying to be active on too many myself. I’m still trying to find the right balance, in that respect.

The reality is that there are simply so many alternatives. It’s hard to imagine anyone – who wasn’t a celebrity, with a huge following already – being successful on every platform.

And someone in that position would, almost certainly, have dedicated teams to manage their various social media channels. Hardly comparable to the position that most of us are in, when we’re just starting out.

Most of us will find our personal favourites, by trial and error. The networks that you actually enjoy are probably, on the whole, the ones to go with.

There are, however, some that do tend to be more useful for connecting with other writers, or people from particular target audiences, so it’s worth keeping those factors in mind.

I’m still in the early stages, when it comes to building my own platform, but am definitely starting to discover which platforms work for me.

Although, in this post, I’m primarily discussing social media, I should mention that it’s important to have a home base.

By this, I mean a website or blog – an online space, to direct your online traffic to, other than social media. And, no – an Amazon sales page alone isn’t sufficient.

A static website is okay, but having a blog is ideal, as you’re giving the search engines more fresh content to find. Even if you blog infrequently, it can help with your online presence.

In terms of generating blog traffic, my primary channel is definitely Pinterest, at the time of writing.

Pinterest is actually more of a visual search engine, rather than a traditional social media site.

I create multiple Pins for each image, using Canva. (Unfortunately, I’ve recently had technical issues with the free version of Canva, but that’s a whole story, in itself.)

I have created various boards, covering my subjects of interest, with the primary focus being different aspects of writing craft.

I’m also a member of four group boards, three of which are entirely writing related.

My Pinterest for Writers post gives more information about using this site, as part of your author platform.

The social media site I focus on, alongside Pinterest, is Twitter.

It’s definitely one of the best for writers, especially from the point of view of connecting with other writers.

It’s important to post regularly on Twitter, an intervals throughout the day, so I use Twittimer to schedule posts. The scheduling helps, although it’s vital to stop by regularly and interact in real time: daily being ideal, although not always possible.

I currently post mainly links to blog posts, and writing and inspirational quotes. Random thoughts and questions can sometimes perform well on Twitter, but keep them writing related, if that’s what your account is supposed to be about.

Use hashtags. 1 to 3 per post is the general recommendation. I currently stick with 2. 4 is borderline, but more than that, and your posts will tend to be regarded as “spammy”.

But don’t miss out by omitting tags altogether, as they help significantly with reach. I recommend the following: #writingcommunity, #writercommunity, #writetip, #whyIwrite, #amwriting, and #writerslife.

Right now, #writingcommunity is the absolute best. If you only use one hashtag, make it that one.

For more about using Twitter as a writing platform, read my Twitter for Writers post.

Instagram

I’m using Instagram, and it definitely has an awesome writing community.

Personally, I’m finding it difficult to grow my follower numbers, and post reach is inconsistent, due to constant algorithm updates. I’m not focusing upon my numbers right now, however: more so on staying connected with the valuable community I’ve been able to build on there.

My Instagram for Writers post gives more information, which may be of interest. Incidentally, since writing that post, I’ve reduced the number of hashtags I use, as I feel that 20 or more tends to be regarded as “spammy”. I currently use roughly 8 to 12 per post, and my recommendation would be to stay within that range.

I do still post on Tumblr, but have been through the stressful experience of having my account suspended and subsequently restored, over the Christmas 2018 into New Year 2019, period.

It’s a highly visual platform, and does have a vibrant writing community. The ability to queue posts is a useful feature. More about Tumblr on my Tumblr for Writers post.

Facebook?

Well, I’ve had a surprising recent success with my 80s/90s Music page on Facebook.

I think that, at this stage, I would advise all writers to maintain at least some low level presence on Facebook, if possible. Organic post reach does tend to be very low.

When scheduling to Facebook nowadays, I definitely recommend using the native scheduler, as your post reach will be better than if you had used an external app, such as Buffer.

I have a Facebook author page, and my poetry page, Vibrant Darkness. Any page “likes” would be very much appreciated.

 

I dabble in other social media sites, such as Reddit, but I’ve learnt that you can’t be everywhere, and I often can’t cope with maintaining even my primary sites.

Blogging and SEO is a high priority for me, at the moment. And my WIP – well, it should be…!

Check out my May 2019 post, in which I honestly discuss some of the stressful aspects of blogging and social media.

 

Hopefully, this updated Social Media for Writers post will be of interest.

My old post contains different information, and I will keep it “live”, as much of it is still relevant.

But, for example, I had a section on Google Plus in that post. I discuss the planned closure of Google Plus in a post from 2018.

 

Follow me on: Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumblr.

80s/90s Music on Facebook: Over 1k Page “Likes” — January 24, 2019

80s/90s Music on Facebook: Over 1k Page “Likes”

fb-music

I mentioned my 80s/90s Music Facebook page in my previous post, regarding Tumblr.

This will be another very brief post, but I felt that I wanted to post specifically about my first ever 1k Facebook page.

Over 1k page “likes” on a Facebook page.

To me, and for me – that’s simply awesome.

I would love to tell you all how it happened. In truth, I don’t really know. I had hardly been going on to Facebook, and this page the most neglected of my three “fan” pages.

I had been scheduling a very low number of posts to my author and poetry pages, but hadn’t posted, scheduled or otherwise, to the music page, for a few months.

I returned to find that the page had over 900 fans, and subsequently started posting on the page.

Days later, the figure was over 1k. Hopefully, it will continue to grow, although social media algorithms are notoriously unpredictable.

My posts are also getting more reach than I’ve been accustomed to on Facebook.

Being honest, I’ve become used to almost no reach – and occasionally, none at all. So, this has come as a real surprise to me – and a welcome one, of course.

 

Could it be that organic reach on Facebook isn’t dead, after all? Who knows?

But do check out my page, if you appreciate 1980s and 1990s music. Also, the equivalent 80s/90s Music page on Twitter.

 

For writing related social media updates, follow my main Twitter page, and my Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr accounts.

Paula Writes on Tumblr: Current Position —

Paula Writes on Tumblr: Current Position

the-paula-writes-tumblr

This update is further to the following posts:

Tumblr: New Year, New Start

Multiple Tumblr Accounts?

The current position is that I’m struggling to keep up with even the one Tumblr account.

I will try to post on all three eventually, but for now, my main and original account is the one to follow.

I did receive an email from Tumblr, a fortnight into the New Year, stating that the account had being reinstated – which, in fact, had happened on around 1 January. I discovered this by chance.

All things considered, I feel that my best option is to stay with this account. It’s extremely difficult to build any sort of Tumblr following from scratch – or, at least, it has been for me.

In other news, I’m having technical issues with the free version of Canva.

This, along with other ongoing health and personal challenges, does mean that my social media, in general, is suffering.

But not. Apparently, my Facebook 80s/90s Music page.

This Facebook page somehow grew to over 900 fans, even though I hadn’t posted for months.

Days later, it’s at over 1k and – touch wood – growing. I do also have an equivalent retro music page on Twitter. I hope to start posting more consistently on both.

Blog post, written shortly after this one, specifically relating to the unexpected, sudden success of my 80s/90s Music Facebook page.

 

More writing craft posts should follow, in the near future. Keep believing.

Multiple Tumblr Accounts? — January 2, 2019

Multiple Tumblr Accounts?

paula-writes-on-tumblr

In my Tumblr: New Year, New Start post, I explained that my original Tumblr account had been “terminated”.

The Tumblr account in question has now been reinstated.

I didn’t receive a response, as such, to the message I sent, regarding why it had been closed down. I believe that it was connected with overall changes that Tumblr is implementing, and nothing specifically to do with my own content. But, anyway – the account is back, and I’ve been able to access it again.

I had started again, and was, in many respects, happier with the fresh, alternative Paula Writes Tumblr account.

Except for the fact that it really is an uphill struggle to rebuild from scratch, and people aren’t (yet) following the new page. I’m effectively posting to myself on there, and I don’t know whether this will improve or not, or how long it will take.

Since I don’t know what the future holds, I’m going, as far as possible, to keep both accounts active – and also, one for inspirational and motivational quotes, called Believe in Yourself and Your Dreams.

So, somewhat messy and confusing, but for now, it’s how it is. I have multiple, active Tumblr pages. Please follow any or all of them. It helps.

Writing craft posts should resume, in the near future. Watch this space.

Happy New Year.

24 January 2019: Latest update regarding Paula Writes on Tumblr.

Tumblr for Writers

Paula Writes on Tumblr: New Year, New Start — December 31, 2018

Paula Writes on Tumblr: New Year, New Start

paula-writes-tumblr-2019

My original Tumblr account was, for no apparent reason, terminated, just before Christmas 2018.

I hope to rebuild from scratch, on my new account.

Any support, including follows, and spreading the word, would be deeply appreciated.

As with all of my social media accounts, the primary focus will be upon all things writing related, and I will also regularly share inspirational and motivational quotes.

I’ve also set up a page on 500pix.com, and remain active on Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram.

Very best wishes for 2019.

1 January 2019 update: My original Tumblr was reinstated. Will try to keep posting on both this account, and the new one, for a while. I need to decide what to do, as I like the idea of a fresh start, but gaining followers isn’t easy, on an account which has close to zero. You need followers to get followers, for sure. And more support from family and friends than I’m likely, realistically, to receive – but that’s it’s own story.

2 January 2019 update: Why I Currently Have Multiple Tumblr Accounts

Tumblr for Writers: Social Media and Your Author Platform

Is Google Plus Closing Down? — October 10, 2018

Is Google Plus Closing Down?

google-plus-sunset-close

The Google Plus social media network closes on 2 April 2019. My brief March 2019 post will be my last on the subject.

 

Yes, apparently – Google Plus, Google’s social media network, is being closed down, or closed down for consumer users.

It was announced this week, with security issues with the network being one of the most significant reasons.

It’s ironic that I’ve only recently discovered the power of Google Plus Communities. I actually set up two new Communities of my own.

I’ve heard that Google sometimes do announce “closures” of this nature, when in reality, they don’t occur.

For instance, Blogger should supposedly have finished by now, but hasn’t so far. So, maybe there is hope for Google Plus? Or perhaps that is just wishful thinking.

I’ve always regarded Google Plus as an underrated social media platform.

Compared to its main competitor, Facebook, Google Plus has many advantages.

Facebook has limited reach on business/”fan” pages, to the extent that it’s hardly worth bothering any more, outside of paid advertising.

Facebook groups aren’t doing much better, unless they’re large and established, and you’re able to devote a great deal of time to them.

To me, Google Plus should have been a viable alternative to Facebook, but never really was.

In some respects, being a very visual platform, it should also have been competing more than it ever did with Instagram and Flickr.

 

I’m still posting on Google Plus, and will probably continue until I’m physically prevented.

RIP Google Plus? Quite possibly, but not yet.

 

See my post Social Media for Writers 2019.

Find me on social media.

Google Plus Communities and Your Author Platform — October 6, 2018

Google Plus Communities and Your Author Platform

google-plus-communities-writers

Please note that Google Plus is due to close on 2 April 2019, making this post irrelevant.

 

I’ve already written a post about how to use Google Plus, as part of your author platform.

I did discuss the central role of Google Plus Collections, and touched upon the fact that Google Plus Communities were also very much a feature of the platform.

However, I wasn’t in a position to comment on Google Plus Communities, as I hadn’t really explored them.

I still have very limited experience of Communities, but have reached the stage of wanting to learn more about them. Along with Collections, I believe Communities to be a vital aspect of success on Google Plus.

Google Plus Communities are roughly equivalent to groups on Facebook.

There are also notable parallels between Google Plus Communities and group boards on Pinterest – and also, I would suggest, between Collections and regular Pinterest boards.

Collections are made up of our own posts, on related themes or subjects.  Communities, likewise, are groups of posts on related subjects, and visually, in terms of format, they appear almost identical to Collections. However, as the name suggests, Community posts are from multiple contributors.

I’ve started two of my own Communities.

One is called Google Plus Writers, and is intended to bring together writers on the platform. It’s a place to share all things writing related, including blog posts, videos, and writing and inspirational quotes.

The second is called Writing Quotes and, as the name suggests, will focus purely, or primarily, upon sharing relevant quotes.

The Communities are very much in the early stages, but hopefully they will grow and develop, over time.

If you’re a writer who uses Google Plus, I invite you to take a look, and consider joining one or both of the new Community groups.

Even if you’re not a fan of Google Plus, you’re welcome to mention the Communities to any writer friends, who do use the site.

09/10/2018 update: I was sad to learn that Google Plus is apparently closing next year, as a consumer website.  

Find me on social media.

Tips for using social media, as part of your author platform.

Building Your Author Brand: Personal Branding For Writers — August 27, 2018

Building Your Author Brand: Personal Branding For Writers

author-brand-building

I’ve discussed the role of author blogs, and how to effectively use social media, as part of your online platform.

And I’ve written specific posts about using Twitter, Tumblr, Google Plus, Instagram, and Pinterest, as a writer. So, now let’s talk about personal brands, in relation to authors.

Not entirely sure what people mean by the term “personal brand” – or wondering whether you even need one at all?

Well, here’s the thing. You already have one. We all do.

Your personal brand is the way that you present yourself, and the associations that others have, when they hear your name. Reputation – image – call it whatever you like – but you definitely have a personal brand.

The only question, then, is whether or not you actively and consciously take control. Taking control, as in, taking steps to ensure that your brand – your projected public image – is something you’re happy with.

Some people struggle with the concept of personal branding, because they view it in a negative light – or simply don’t feel that it’s appropriate to refer to people as “brands”.

I mean, we aren’t jars of Marmite, or cans of Heinz Baked Beans, right? But personal branding isn’t about that. It’s not about labelling ourselves, and what we do, in a limiting way.

And there definitely doesn’t need to be anything cynical about this.

A central aspect of personal branding has to do with our core values and beliefs, and those can be incredibly positive, and powerful.

In my Believe in Yourself and Your Dreams post, I talk about my own core message – which is, and always will be, at the heart of my personal brand. It’s why I do what I do, day after day.

Target audiences are important.

Personal branding isn’t simply about defining who we are, as individuals. It’s about the people out there – those we’re hoping to reach, and connect with.

Ultimately, for writers, that’s going to be readers – and I don’t refer primarily to casual readers, although they’re also valuable, but more so to those who will return. Buy any books that we publish – read our blog posts, on a regular basis – support us, in any way they can.

We can call them fans, although it’s probably more helpful to think it in terms of building a community.

Some authors will actually have a customer avatar – one ideal reader.

This is a fictional person, not unlike the characters in our stories, except that this particular invented person reflects our ideal reader – someone with whom our work is likely to resonate.

It can be easier, and more effective, to “speak to” Charlotte, aged twenty-three, from London, England, than to – well, anyone who happens to be listening.

And, no, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your message won’t reach – and appeal to – Ellie, aged seventeen, or Jason, aged fifty. But Charlotte – or someone very similar to Charlotte – will be much more likely to respond positively to online content, created with her in mind.

Another important aspect of personal branding is consistency.

Of course, when it comes to blogging, and posting on social media, it’s important to be consistent, in the sense of posting regularly.

But consistency also applies to profile images, types of content shared – and beyond that, the colours and fonts used in our graphics. It can take time and experimentation to find the right style, to reflect what we offer.

And, with regard to colour – learning, and keeping in mind, the principles of colour psychology, can be beneficial.

Personally, I’m definitely experimenting with the colours I use, at the moment. In terms of fonts, I use Lucida Calligraphy, Lucida Bright, and occasionally, Lucida Handwriting, on the majority of my online graphics.

Individual projects may need particular, individualised attention – such as, specific branding for each novel or book series.

A novel can have its own identity, and yet, should still be identifiable as part of our brand, as a whole.

The subject of author brands is vast, and I’ve only touched upon it here. I’m still very much in the early stages of figuring this out for myself, but would encourage you to learn as much as you can about personal branding in general. This should help you to gain a deeper understanding of the various aspects, and you can then apply what you’ve learnt to building your author brand online. Oh, and offline too, of course.

Find me on social media.

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