Always a Learning Curve

There’s plenty of advice available about what to write and how to “speak” to children readers through story. But how do you get your stories out there to parents who buy a large percentage of children’s reading material after you publish those fantastic tales?

You can Google information on how to use Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media for marketing but with Instagram and Pinterest, remember, photographs and captures are a necessity.

And since the population at large has become consumers of quick glance phrases and instant gratification through visual photos without reading more than a sentence or two—I had one Insta user tell me she gets irritated even if captions beneath photos are too long—how does an author market books and magazines to make it to first base and a sale?

One way I get books and magazines to the attention of my followers is through curated photos. Not simply a picture of a book, but something that will entice the reader to take a closer look to keep their attention on the capture longer. I might place a scarf with a book or a purse or sunglasses with a magazine—anything to draw a reader in for more than a cursory glance.

To reach a broader audience, I post interesting photos of more than books. That way, a potential follower can scroll down through my gallery to see if they might like to follow me without being bombarded with a visual sales pitch every week. The key is to occasionally post what I’m marketing, not turn someone off.

Caveat: There’s always a learning curve to any new social media outlet. So think about what your interests are and decide what “feel” or “look” you want your Instagram gallery to have. For instance, I’m also interested in cooking, knitting, and equines and post some of all at different times.

I can now hear you moaning and groaning—“But all of those photos to file and categorize! I have to take the SD card out of my DSLR camera, get on my computer, then name all of the photos, then email them to myself so I can open and save the photos to my iPad or iPhone. Organize, organize, organize! Not only does that take up a lot of storage on my mobile devices, but when will I have time to write?”

Keep this in mind: If you have no way of getting your writing out into the world, your writing is in vain unless you’re writing strictly for yourself, family, and friends.

To dive into the marketing world and another dose of reality, grab a cup of coffee, notebook, and pen, and I’ll share a few tips that will make organizing those photos easier. Or, to save time, copy and post these tips to your Ipad Notes or take a photo of them with your iPhone: Invest in an Apple Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader. I purchased mine online for approximately $30.99 (off brands as low as $15.99) with free shipping through Amazon and you can have it delivered to your mailbox if you loathe trekking to the mall like I do.

Then you can:

1) Use Dropbox and the accompanying carousel that backs up all of your phone images.

2) You can take photos off your camera to post on Instagram by dragging the image to the Dropbox icon on your PC or Apple desktop and they instantly go to your Ipad for posting to social media.

3) You can then save time by using the iTunes App Snapseed and edit further in Instagram and don’t have to wait on email and airdrop to deliver the photos. (The regular Dropbox Pro gives 1TB of storage and is approximately $99 per year.)

By using a variety of social media outlets to market your work, you’ll meet potential worldwide readers of your work. And people are always looking for a good book for a birthday nephew, niece, or grandchildren.

And don’t forget to make sure you have your work available as an eBook. I know. I sympathize with your moaning over another learning curve. But perhaps I can touch some on eBooks at the Write2Ignite conference workshop on “How to Write for Kids’ Magazines” I’ll be teaching. See you there!

To check out my latest photo captures, some curated—some not, follow me on Instagram (@vickihmoss). I will follow back!

Vicki H. Moss is a speaker and writing conference workshop instructor as well as Contributing Editor for Southern Writers Magazine. Also a poet, she’s author of How to Write for Kids’ Magazines, several nonfiction eBooks for adults, and Writing with Voice. Published in numerous compilations and anthologies that can be purchased through Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Billy Graham’s The Cove bookstore, and Grace Publishing, Vicki blogs at

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One thought on “Always a Learning Curve

  1. Great advice, Vicki! Thank you! I especially like this: I might place a scarf with a book or a purse or sunglasses with a magazine—anything to draw a reader in for more than a cursory glance.

    So timely for me since I have a picture book releasing next week! I know exactly what I can do, too!

    I take pictures with my phone, email them to myself and save them on my computer in different files. I save the most important ones on my phone, too. That’s worked for me so far.

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