BOOK REVIEW: What the Plus! by Guy Kawasaki

ABOUT THE BOOK (from Amazon):

Learn how to master Google+—the world’s fastest-growing social-media service

Attract followers. Engage enchanting people. Promote your brand. 

The former Chief Evangelist for Apple knows a superior product when he sees one, and he sees one in Google+. Hands down. In What the Plus!, Guy Kawasaki explains how to get started, create an enchanting profile, optimize for social searches, share posts and photos, conduct hangouts, and gain followers.


I have been on Google+ since 2011 but I hadn’t really understood Google+…until now.  Although I learned a lot from this book, the biggest take-away for me came down to one phrase: “Google+ = Passions.”  When I thought about that in reference to the comparisons Kawasaki presented (Twitter = Perceptions, Facebook = People and Pinterest = Pictures), it was like a lightbulb went off for me.  I thought about what I was passionate about and suddenly I understood how to post on Google+.

If you have any interest in growing your Google+ community for any reason, this book is a must-read.  Guy Kawasaki will help you see the benefits of Google+. His passion for it is infectious.  And he will walk you through every single thing you need to know about using this social media channel. This book can be read in just a couple of hours, but be prepared to take your time as you read it so you can follow Kawasaki tips as you go.

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[Series] Promoting Your Book on Google+

I recently wrote five posts related to promoting your book on Google+.  In case you missed any of them, the list below includes summaries and quick links to each of the posts:

  1. Can I Promote a Book with Google+? —  This post introduces the series and why I’m writing about promoting a book on Google+.
  2. Google+ 101 for Newbies — A few things you need to know to get started with Google+.
  3. How To Get Book Reviews Using Google+ — All you have to do is ask, but first you need to know where to ask.  This post will point you in the right direction.
  4. Connecting Your Blog with Your Google+ Account — Instructions on how to automate WordPress (and/or Blogger) to announce your new blogs posts to your Google+ community.
  5. Author Role Model – Guy Kawasaki — Learn how author Guy Kawasaki uses Google+ to promote himself and his books.

If you have other thoughts (or questions) on how to promote a book on Google+, please share them in the comment box below! 

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[Series] Promoting Your Book on Instagram

I recently wrote four posts related to promoting your book on Instagram.  In case you missed any of them, the list below includes summaries and quick links to each of the posts:

  1. Getting Started with Instagram — Becoming an Instagrammer takes only a few minutes.  In this post I walk you through those quick steps.
  2. 25 Ways to Promote Your Book on Instagram — This list is jam-packed with ideas to help you kick start your book promotion efforts on Instagram.
  3. Hashtags, Hashtags, Hashtags! #Instagram — Discover why hashtags matter on Instagram even more than they do on Twitter.
  4. Author Role Model – Jon Krakauer — See how author Jon Krakauer uses Instagram to promote himself, his brand and his books.

If you have other thoughts on how to promote a book on Instagram, please share them in the comment box below! 

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25 Ways to Promote Your Book with Instagram

Some books/genres make take more creativity than others.  If you have published a book about gardening, for example, the possibilities for photos and hashtags are nearly endless.  If your book is fiction, though, you may have a harder time coming up with ideas, but think about all of the visual pieces from your story that you can put together for your readers.

I like lists, especially numbered lists.  If I can put things into a list and number it, I will.  So, I was going to write “3 ways to promote your book on Instagram,” but I decided to make it a little more challenging. Here are 25 ways to promote your book on Instagram:

  1. Add the URL for your Website to your profile so anyone visiting your Instagram account will see it.
  2. Along the same lines, use the bio field in your profile to tell visitors a little about you and your book.
  3. If your book isn’t published yet, have someone take a photo of you opening the box when your first copies arrive. That is a special moment to share with your potential readers.
  4. Better yet, have them take a video of you opening that box. You can share video clips on Instagram from 3 to 15 seconds long.
  5. Post a picture of the front cover.
  6. Post a picture of you holding your book so your followers can see the front cover just below your beautiful face.
  7. The last few ideas are designed to help your followers connect with you and get excited (with you) about your book, but don’t use your Instagram account to just post photo after photo of your book or your followers will get bored and stop following you. Knowing your target audience, what are the things that they want to see?  For example, authors of romantic fiction may post photos of romantic scenes (imagine a table set for two with red rose petals strewn about) or images of other books in the same category that will attract the attention of romantic fiction readers.
  8. If your book is fiction, think about where it takes place. Is it a romantic fiction in small town Iowa or a murder mystery in Denver?  Either way, take photos of scenes similar to what you describe in the book and share them over time.
  9. Connect with book reviewers/bloggers who are active on Instagram. Kate Tilton has a website where she posts resources for authors and readers. Her master list of Book Bloggers on Instagram is a great place to start.
  10. Speaking of Kate Tilton’s resources, she also posted a master list of Authors on Instagram, which contains about 150 authors in alphabetical order. Browse through it and see if you’re familiar with any of the names.  Start following some of the authors you know and peruse their accounts on Instagram to come up with some more ideas.
  11. Share pictures of your writing environment to help your followers connect with you as a person. For example, is there something special about your writing space that your readers might find interesting?  Do you have an amazing view from your desk or do you write with a cat perched on your lap or do you hide under a tent made of blankets after your kids go to bed?
  12. What about your quirky writing habits? Do you eat a pint of Ben & Jerry’s every night when you sit down to write? Post your flavor of the night. Or do you write first thing in the morning at your local coffee shop?  Share a photo of your beautiful, inspiring latte art.
  13. When your book receives any press like a newspaper article or a review online, take a screenshot and share it.
  14. Your readers will be interested in photos from any of the events you attend for your book — a book signing, an award ceremony, a reading at your local coffee shop. Don’t forget to take pictures at each event and share the moment with your Instagram followers.
  15. If/when your book wins any awards, post a picture of the medal or certificate.
  16. If you published a cookbook, your Instagram feed should be flooded with images of the amazing food your book teaches people to make.
  17. If your book is a non-fiction “how to” book, post photos of the process your book explains and/or the end result.
  18. If you wrote a children’s book, share a video of you reading it to a group of children and be sure the clip shows a few of the interior illustrations as you’re showing them to your captive audience.
  19. Host a giveaway contest with the prize being your book. Ask your followers to post a photo with a theme of something that relates to your book. For example, if your book is about gardening, you could ask your followers to share a photo of themselves in their garden.  It’s important that you specify the hashtag they should use in order to enter their photo in your contest.  That way you can search by the designated hashtag to see all of the entries.
  20. Share inspirational images/quotes related to the theme of your book and/or writing in general.
  21. Start a movement. If your book is in the self-help category or contains a message that you want to spread, create a unique hashtag and challenge your followers to post an image and use the designated hashtag.
  22. Timing is everything. Research a little on the best days/times to post on Instagram to be sure your posts get the most exposure possible.  There is no “one size fits all” formula for this.  Start with for personalized statistics based on your particular followers.
  23. Connect your Instagram account with your accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Fourquare, Tumblr and Flickr. When appropriate, share your photos from Instagram to any of these accounts so your followers on other networks can also engage in them.
  24. Post regularly. You don’t have to become a full-time photographer and post 10 images a day, but you want to post regularly enough that you keep your followers (and yourself) engaged.  Set a goal that is reasonable for you.  Can you post once a day?  Once a week?
  25. Use hashtags! I discussed this in more detail a couple weeks ago.  You can read that post here.

There you have it – 25 ways to promote your book on Instagram!

Can you think of something I missed?  If so, please share it in the comments below.

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Google+ 101 for Newbies

Most of the terminology on Google+ is intuitive or similar to terminology you are probably already familiar with on Facebook or Twitter.  For example, your “Stream” on Google+ is your “Newsfeed” on Facebook.  On Twitter that is referred to as “Stream” or “Timeline” or “Feed.”  However, there are two terms that are unique to Google+ and it is important for you to know them as they are used often:

+1 – To “Plus one” something on Google+ is the same as “Liking” something on Facebook or “Favoriting” something on Twitter.

Circle – To “Circle” someone on Google+ is a combination of two things on Facebook and Twitter:

On Facebook, this would be the combination of “Friending” them and putting them into a “List.” The difference on Google+ is that the person does not have to accept a request from you to make your relationship mutual.  You can Circle anyone you want and they can Circle you back or not.  Either way you will see the posts they make Public.

On Twitter, this would be the combination of “Following” them and putting them into a “List.” Similar to Google+, Twitter relationships do not need to be mutually exclusive.  The main difference between Google+ Circles and Twitter Lists, however, is that while you can read your stream from the individual Circles/Lists that you create on each channel, Google+ also allows you to post only to a specific Circle, while Twitter does not have a similar capability.

Now that you’re familiar with these two terms, go to Google+.  Circle someone new and +1 any posts in your stream that you like.  Making connections and joining the conversation is what it is all about!

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