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Category: Marketing for Romance Writers

Marketing for Romance Writers

What is a Hashtag? #writerslife #MFRWauthor

What is a Hashtag? #writerslife #MFRWauthor @kayelleallenWhat is a hashtag? I’ll share a simple definition in a moment, but to understand you need to know what they were created to accomplish. Do you know what the abbreviation “etc.” means? It’s the word et cetera which is Latin for “additional unspecified odds and ends; more of the same.” It’s intended to reduce the number of characters (or sentences) needed to explain an item.

That abbreviation is a perfect example of not wasting time. We don’t write an entire list, or even the entire word. Although, here’s a question: why is the word abbreviation so long? Hmmm. Another post for a different day.

Since 2012, I have hosted over 350 authors a year on my Romance Lives Forever blog, and I’ve seen trends come and go. One that’s endured is adding hashtags to the subject. Why is this valuable? Because when the post is shared on social media, those hashtags will enable people to find it. Here’s an analogy that might help you understand.

What is a Hashtag

This symbol: # is called a hashmark. It’s also the abbreviation (there’s that word again) for number. On Twitter (and most other social media) when you add that symbol in front of a word, it changes the word to a search program.

Let’s say you want to look up the word “tweet” on Twitter. In the Twitter search box, you type #tweet. The URL that pops up is this: and all the tweets with that hashtag are listed.

Why Do I Need Hashtags

I’m a busy person. I know you are too. Imagine if you needed to pick up something at the grocery store, so you run in, grab a cart, and head for the produce department. When you get there, you discover a case for milk next to the lettuce. Not the milk you buy, unfortunately. Then next to the milk is a shelf with bread, but the brand you prefer isn’t there either. Then comes oatmeal. The quick cooking type–but your kids like the instant version.

At this point, you stop, look around, and realize the entire store has been completely rearranged. There is no rhyme or reason to its layout. It’s just whatever the store received that day in the back went out onto the sales area. No more aisles with bread, or aisles with canned veggies, or aisles with cereal. You have to walk up and down every aisle hoping to find what you need. How fast would you push that cart back to the exit and go elsewhere? Yeah. Me too.

Twitter is a store for information, news and opinions. It puts out whatever comes in as the info arrives. There is no order. You get what you get. If you want to find something on Twitter, you either look for a person who interests you, or a hashtag that does.

Hashtags are to Twitter what aisles are to a store. They are the “departments” where you can find what you need and what you’re looking for. I recommend having 1-2 hashtags in the title of a blog post, near the end of the subject. Use 1-2 in a tweet also. Generally, using over 3 hashtags is considered “spammy.”

What is a hashtag that works well for certain genres? That depends on what you want. Are you looking for suspense books with romantic elements? Try #romanticsuspense #suspense and also #romance #suspense together. What is a hashtag you can use to find info on your favorite TV show? Many times it’s the name of the show. Try #BigBangTheory #TheFlash #Arrow or initials, such as #TVD for The Vampire Diaries.

You could just scroll on Twitter and read, but what if you went there to find out if others are watching the same TV show you are? What is the show’s hashtag? Enter that in the search box and pow! There are all the show’s tweets. How cool to discover the cast is live tweeting! You can interact with fans, actors, and writers. Without a hashtag, you’d be lucky to stumble across even one tweet.

In the banner above, I use the hashtags associated with my writing, so people can watch those and find my books. What do you use when you search for books? When you browse Twitter the next time, click on a few hashtags and see what you find.

If you’ve used specific hashtags to find info, what are they? I follow #Thranduil #ThranduilThursday #LeePace and #Fanart – what do you follow? Please share in the comments.

Want to hear about a new book every day? Visit Romance Lives Forever. Our hashtag is #RLFblog which means posts by our guest authors are easily found on Twitter and Facebook. Check it out!

Coming next week – Best Hashtags for Writers

Best Hashtags for Writers #writerslife #MFRWauthor

Best Hashtags for Writers #writerslife #MFRWauthor @kayelleallenWelcome to part two of a two-part series about using hashtags. Part one “What is a Hashtag” is found here. In this section, we’ll discuss the best hashtags for writers. Using hashtags to let readers know about the genres of our books is the #1 way writers use hashtags. In the banner on the left, notice the two embedded in the image: #ScifiRom and #KindleUnlimited. There are other ways to write those, including #SFR #SciFi #Romance and for the latter, #KU. It pays to know more than one and to know what is trending.

Best hashtags for writers

Find out which hashtag is being used most in your genre and use it. There are Twitter bots (legal) that pick up certain hashtags and retweet them to their followers. #SciFi is one of them. Make sure you’re using a hashtag that is actually in use already. If no one is searching for it, the hashtag is pointless. My favorite place to discover what the best hashtags for writers are at the moment is It’s free. I don’t use any hashtags till I’ve checked them out there.

Generally, use the single version of a word vs. the plural #book is better than #books for example. Check out this RiteTag listing of results for the word #romance:

Other best hashtags for writers include #amwriting #amediting #MFRWauthor #writerslife #author — share yours in the comments.

A word about Triberr

First, let me say it’s Tri-berr not Tribb-er. It’s has 1 B and 2 Rs. Not Tribber – Triberr. Okay, stepping away from the soapbox…

The site Triberr is a blog amplifier. What that means is when you link your blog to the site, it allows other people to share your post with their social media. Try it for 30 days and you will not want to go back.

On Triberr, hashtags matter. You will gain a hundred-fold more readers with Triberr, so leverage that by using appropriate hashtags. Don’t add your own @name to the title. It will be included in every tweet that Triberr sends, even though you can’t see it on the site. Look at your mentions on Twitter and you will.

Should I use my name as a hashtag?

Is it better to write #KayelleAllen or @kayelleallen in a tweet? (fyi – the @kayelleallen is pronounced at-kayelleallen). These are referred to as mentions. (Mary mentioned you on Twitter means that Mary sent out a tweet that had your @name in it.

I don’t recommend using your name as a hashtag. Why not? You will get far more mileage from the @name because when anyone clicks that, it pops up a link so they can follow you. If they click it again, it takes them to your profile page. A hashtag with your name is only going to open a search for the name. It will not necessarily show your profile, which means it’s less likely to get you followers.

When you tweet, don’t add your own @name either. Obviously, if the tweet is from you, then the person can click your name since you are the sender. If your publicity person is talking about you, then yes, they should use your @name.

Don’t be afraid to use hashtags in your graphics. Especially branded graphics like the one below.

Best Hashtags for Writers #writerslife #MFRWauthor @kayelleallen

Hashtag Research

Here are three good links to check out for hashtag dos and don’ts:

Putting hashtags to work

Now that you know what a hashtags are and how they work, what are you going to do with them? Do you have suggestions? What do you think are the best hashtags for writers? Please share in the comments.


Is it right to quit? 10 times it's ok #author #entrepreneur @kayelleallen

Is it right to quit? 10 times it’s ok #author #entrepreneur

The question, “Is it right to quit?” seems to require a “No!” in response. But does it? Not if you are quitting for the right reasons. Here are ten times it’s okay (and perhaps advisable) to quit.

When is it right to quit?

  1. When you realize what you’re doing is wrong. You’ve gone about it the hard way, for example, or you realize your information was incorrect.
  2. When it’s harmful or dangerous to yourself, others, or the environment.
  3. When it’s wasteful and not a good use of resources. Is it right to quit if you can fix the issue? Perhaps not.
  4. When someone else can do it better for less. This is an iffy one — quality and quantity are market related. If you can make a widget for a dollar and someone else has a means to make ten of them for that price and they outperform yours, give serious thought to moving on.Is it right to quit? 10 times it's ok #author #entrepreneur @kayelleallen
  5. When it’s not going in the right direction for your purposes.
  6. When you can’t control what you’re doing and how you’re doing it, this is a good time to step back and reconsider how and why. Is it right to quit if you can’t control the outcome? This is probably one of the best times, depending on what you are trying to do in the first place.
  7. When it’s no longer necessary. At some point, when no one needs this product or service, set it aside and move on.
  8. When it’s time to hand it over to a new person. Perhaps someone you know needs a chance to succeed and this project would be ideal for them. Step back and coach, but let it go. Is it right to quit when it means enabling others? Yes.
  9. When you’ve lost your enthusiasm. Perhaps a different approach to the issue is needed, but if you’ve tried different things and you still don’t care, quit. I know, that flies in the face of contemporary advice, but don’t beat a dead horse. Ride a live one.
  10. When you no longer love it. You might be enthusiastic about the concept or the product, but you’re tired of it. You don’t want to do this anymore. Then by all means, step back and move on.

The point of knowing when to quit is knowing what to do afterward. Is it right to quit just because you feel like it? Well, why do you feel like it? Is it because one of the reasons above?

Let me share some things I decided to quit doing recently. I unsubscribed from a few online services I no longer used and from a few newsletters I never read. I stopped wasting time opening email and then filing it and instead, set up a filter in email to automatically file many emails from my target people (friends, family, and businesses). Now I can see the folders have unread mail, read it, and then either delete it or go on to the next thing. It cut down on time filing quite a bit.

I am a graphic designer and love creating fanart, plus book covers, banners, and more. I created a company, The Author’s Secret, for that purpose. However, after five years, I realized I was spending so much time maintaining social media, websites, blog posts, and more for both myself and the company that I had little time left to do what I want to do most. Write. So after a long soul-searching period, I decided to close the company.

Instead, I will offer a few of the same services from my own website. That way, I’m promoting only one site and one set of social media. It’s a win-win.

Is it right to quit? I think so, yes, when the reasons are sound. What do you think? Is it right to quit or should you slug it out no matter what? Share your thoughts in the comments. I’d love to hear from you, yea or nay.

Time and Judgment (for Authors) #MFRWauthor #amwriting

Time and Judgment (for Authors) #MFRWauthor #amwriting @kayelleallenA writer friend told me she needed more of two things: time and judgment. Then she said her life had more ups and downs than a merry-go-round. Who can’t relate to that? Doesn’t it fit the universe itself? Time and judgment go in cycles. Feast or famine, they say. Too much time, not enough time. Careful consideration, jumping to conclusions. No, getting the right balance of time and judgment is not easy.

Time and Judgment

A young woman once asked, “How do you gain good judgment?” Her mentor replied, “Through experience.” The woman considered that a moment and asked, “How do you get experience?” The mentor smiled. “Poor judgment.”

I’m as guilty of having that as the next person, but I try to put my poor judgment to work. Sometimes, experience only helps us recognize the same mistake when we make it again. How we handle it is up to us. My plan is to live, learn, make mistakes, get back up, dust off my hands, and keep going.

Poor judgment can be a bitter lesson, but it doesn’t have to stop us. If we get back up one more time than we fall, we will succeed. It’s as simple — and difficult — as that.

Let me share one of my mistakes in judgment with you, and then you share one of yours. Maybe we’ll learn from each other. Life is too short to make all the mistakes out there. That’s why we have friends and family who advise us how to avoid them and to be good examples. Sometimes, of what should not be done! Remember, the key is balance in time and judgment — not perfection.

When I was in my twenties, I knew I wanted to write. It was something I’d always dreamed of doing. I had my first child at twenty-five, and had little free time to spend on myself. Two more children followed within the next few years. I decided I’d start writing when the kids started school. But then I went back to work. Time was even more precious.

When I had my fiftieth birthday, I was no closer to being published than I had been at twenty-five. I realized my biggest problem was that I was waiting to find time. I stopped doing that, and started making time. I found an organization site online (Get Organized Now) that helped me figure out how to be more efficient. I scheduled television and limited it to a few hours per week. You know what made me realize TV watching had to be limited? There are rarely scenes of people watching TV on TV, because instead, they’re living their lives. I was watching them live it. I needed to go live my own. I planned meals with my local grocery store’s shopping list program and shopped more quickly with lists. I shopped on Amazon using their Prime program instead of in stores for some of the things I needed. It was amazing how much time those simple things freed up for me. I didn’t give up shopping locally — that builds our community. But I do shop online when it’s needed.

Time and Judgment (for Authors) #MFRWauthor #amwriting @kayelleallenI wrote daily, at least fifteen minutes a day without excuse. I read books on writing. I read the kind of books I wanted to write. I subscribed to a few writer newsletters. One, by Daphne Gray-Grant, I still read every week. It offer tips on writing faster and better. I joined a critique group online. I networked. Within four months, I had a contract for my first book.

One of the best things I ever did was create a group called Marketing for Romance Writers. I wanted a place where authors could ask each other for advice on any topic and get an answer. I didn’t want it to be a promo site where everyone shouted, “buy my book!” so I set it up right away as a business-only site. It has flourished over the years. It’s still one of the most efficient sites out there. Peer-mentoring is a great way to learn.

My poor judgment was waiting for time. I had to learn to make it.

What’s your “poor judgment” / “big mistake” and how did you overcome it? I’d love to hear how learning better time and judgment made a difference for you. Please share it in the comments.

A Round of Words 051312 #row80

It’s Mother’s Day and I’m only online for a little bit. Have plans to hang out with family, chill, and take it easy today.

My ROW80 update is short this time. I had a week planning for Outlantacon, which went uber well. I had a wonderful time at the con. I then had a week of work catching up with things I missed the previous week, and posting updates on various spots.

This week, I’ve focused back on my writing. I ripped out two chapters that — while well done and interesting — didn’t take my characters where I wanted them to go. The equivalent of ripping out about 30 rows of crochet stitches. Painful, but necessary to move forward. Those two chapters were holding me back. Someone once said cutting chapters was akin to killing. Well… I can maybe agree. Although I’ve never killed anyone, it was painful enough to do that it took me three days to get up the nerve to do it. I’m still working on the rewrites. Set me back about two weeks.

On the other hand, I went to see the Avengers yesterday with my son and his son. It was a treat getting to see my kind of movie. I love scifi, and any movie where stuff blows up. ^_^ Favorite line… wow. There were many great parts. Probably the best is a scene in which Captain America is delivering orders to two NY cops, and they give him a cold stare. One says “Why should we listen to you?” About then, the invading force (not a spoiler – it’s in the previews) shows up and the good captain takes on about half a dozen baddies single handedly. The questioning cop gets an eyeful. He grabs his mic and repeats the orders without hesitation. Abit later in the film, Capt America is again giving orders to the other Avengers, who up to now, hadn’t been that crazy about taking orders from anyone. This time, they all bounce off to obey. That’s where my favorite line comes in. Last to receive an order is the Hulk, who’s been running amok all day. The captain says, “Hulk?” and the green monster turns and gives him a critical eye. The order? “Smash!!” With an evil grin and a nod, the Hulk sets off to do just that.

The two-and-a-half hour movie was over far too fast. Great pacing, excellent dialogue, wonderful imagery. I want to write like that.

Kayelle Allen is an award-winning, multi-published author. Her heroes and heroines include badass immortals, warriors who purr, and agents who find the unfindable–or hide it forever. She is known for unstoppable heroes, uncompromising love, and unforgettable passion.

MFRW Summer Camp Coming July 14-15

Share Cyber Smores at MFRW Summer Camp

What is MFRW?
MFRW is Marketing for Romance Writers, although you don’t have to be a romance author to join. The Marketing for Romance Writers Yahoo group is focused on learning marketing and publicity. We discuss ways to advance our careers, brainstorm new ventures and ideas, get feedback, and find others interested in mutual promotion. Our motto is “Seek, teach, share, learn, succeed.” We welcome marketing-related material that asks a question, offers a promo or idea, or is a request for help, advice, or opinions. We offer opportunities to promote and join others in promotional efforts.
What if I don’t write Romance?
Not a problem. We have many members who aren’t even authors. Most of us are published writers, but some aren’t. We are also publishers, literary agents, editors, author promo groups, promo assistants, artists, and virtual assistants. We are your support group and co-workers. Need to buy pens, pins, or other goodies? Found a great place to do that? Please share. We are open to all fiction and non-fiction genres without limit. Our writing per se is not discussed; we focus on creating an image and using it effectively. Pitch sessions and calls for submission are welcome.
Group site:
Sounds cool. So what’s this Summer Camp everyone’s talking about?
Because we’re a large group (well over twelve hundred fifty members) we wanted to pool our resources and help others learn. It’s what we do, so summer camp seemed like a great way to do that. In keeping with the spirit of the group, camp is free. For two days, July 14th and 15th (this Saturday and Sunday) we will host twenty-two hours of training. Topics include Helping Your Publisher Promote Your Books (taught by Mary Caelsto of Jupiter Gardens Press), Finding Your Audience (R Ann Siracusa), Blogging (Coffee Beans and Love Scenes Promotions), Workshops on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and Triberr (including a guest appearance by Triberr founder Dino Dogan), Dealing with Online Piracy, and more. There will also be giveaways such as free blog tours, advertising spots, discount offers, and handouts. Speakers include Kay Dee Royal, Rolynn Anderson, Kayelle Allen, Dawne Prochilo, Julie Eberhart Painter, Tina Holland, Rochelle Weber, Mary Caelsto, Marcia James, R Ann Siracusa, Janet Elizabeth Jones, Maryann Reid, and MFRW’s own Promotions Director Karen Cote’.
How do I sign up for summer camp?
In 2012, it’s easy peasy! Become a member of the Yahoo group and you are automatically signed up. You don’t have to go anywhere or do anything special. Just read the messages you’ll be getting from the group.
Awesome. What’s the group URL?
How do I get lessons?
In 2012, this is also easy peasy. Read the messages from the group. Be aware: if you do not want two hundred messages a day (or more) sign up for digest. Digest lumps up to 25 messages in one email. If you see something you want to read, you can scroll down and click on it. You can change your delivery options at any time.
Suppose you only want to get messages about the Triberr class – set your email delivery on the group to no email, and then before the class, come back and change it to individual messages. After the class, switch to digest so you don’t miss any straggling messages. Then, when you feel sure you’ve gotten everything, go back to no email.
Another option (for those who only want certain classes) is to set your email delivery to Special Notice. At the beginning of each workshop, a special notice will tell you the workshop is beginning. When you get that, you can either come to the group itself and read messages there, or go change your delivery options.
To change your options, go the group homepage chose “Edit Membership” then make the changes to your delivery options.
Do all of the posts stay up on the loop or do I need to sit on the loop for the entire period of the campfire? Will I be able to read what was posted after they’re over?
Absolutely! You can even go back and read the first message ever posted on this Yahoo group. On the front page of the group, scroll to the bottom. You’ll see a chart showing each year of the group, broken down by the number of messages per month. Clicking on the number takes you to the first message of that month. You can also pop a bit of text into the search box to find messages about a particular topic. Messages stay up indefinitely.
MFRW Summer Camp
If I can’t make one session, can I jump into the next?
Yes. You can easily find one topic you are interested in. Come to the group itself. Click the text “Group by Topic” below the words “Most Recent Messages.” If it says “List Individual Messages” then you are already set to “group by topic.” This puts each message and all its replies into one group. You can open the first item, and then scroll down to see all the replies. Click each one to read the message.
That way, you can see everything you want to see.
For this reason, we do ask that when you reply to a question, that you delete the previous material. Otherwise, each message gets consecutively longer, and therefore harder to read. For example, in answering your email, I deleted my info that began it, and left only your question. If everyone does that during camp, it will keep the pertinent data and not everyone’s successive answers.
How can I tell people about Summer Camp?
There are many ways. One easy way that you can do it is to post a link to the group on your blog. Members who know how to add a little bit of html in a widget can find several cool buttons for the group on this page: the option you prefer and upload it. Other ways are on Twitter using the hashtag #MFRWSummerCamp (make sure there are no spaces) and #mfrworg Both of these are for our group. The short URL for Twitter is the website, and the Yahoo group. You can also use those links on Facebook. One other link is is our camp schedule in pdf. If you aren’t sure how to create your own Facebook post with a link, you can always look on the group Facebook page and share a message from there. Click the “Share” button and post it on your own timeline.
Is it easy to take part?
More than easy. You don’t have to join the group to read the messages. To see the files or ask questions, you do have to member, but that’s as easy as entering your email address. You can set your email delivery options to no email, and never get a single message from the group, set it for individual messages and get everything, or other options in between.
Okay, so can I forward this info to my friends?
We’d be honored if you did! You are welcome to invite your own Yahoo group members, author groups, and critique groups. In fact, go invite any author groups you can think of — this camp is free training on how to further an author’s career. They’ll be glad you told them.
Kayelle Allen is an award-winning, multi-published author. Her heroes and heroines include badass immortals, warriors who purr, and agents who find the unfindable–or hide it forever. She is known for unstoppable heroes, uncompromising love, and unforgettable passion.
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