Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Free Twitter Tool I Wish I Knew About Long Ago

Perusing potential new Twitter friends, I discovered a remarkable tool I did not know about called ‘Pinned Tweets’.

The way it works is you can ‘pin’ any tweet you want to the top of your tweet list.  Meaning that you can select a tweet that someone else tweeted about you (or one you tweeted yourself); perhaps book accolades, reviews, free day plugs, etc., and pin it to your profile.

What is the advantage?  Well, one is it highlights this tweet so that anyone hopping on your profile will see that tweet first.  Two, if your Twitter friends are looking for a tweet to retweet you, they don’t have to look far to find the one you’ve chosen to stand out above all the rest.

How do you use it?

Find any tweet and look at the footer strip where there are three small dots on the far right hand side.  If you hover over the dots with your mouse it says ‘more’.  Click on that and select from the drop-down menu ‘pin tweet’.  This will pin the tweet to the top of your profile and you can see it by clicking on your tweets.  It will be the first one and it will actually say at the top ‘pinned tweet’.

This is a great tool and I’ve found it to be very useful already.  I hope many of you start using this as it makes life so much easier for people like me, who want to reciprocate a mention/rettweet with a tweet.  It’s a real time-saver so we don’t have to scroll down, perhaps through days worth of tweets, to find a book plug or original tweet (or something that isn’t a retweet).

Check it out!  See my profile to view the ‘pinned tweet’ and give it a try!

Do you know any more little goodies like this?  Feel free to add it in the comments!



Sandy is the author of fiction and memoirs.  Her latest release is a funny, kid-style memoir called No Thanks, Mommy, I Peed Yesterday.  

Coming October 20!  Don't Mess with Daddy's Girl, Book Two in her police procedural series, is a gripping romantic suspense about a man's love of two things: his girlfriend and the stock market.  Learn more.




Subscribe and get Book One for FREE today!  Click here for details.

To learn more about Sandy, please visit her website www.sandyappleyard.com

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

5 Things to do When You're Stuck in a Following-Follower Rut

Twitter is quite the mystery to most.  It’s telling by how many books are published about  the workings of the site. 

One day you have retweets, mentions and followers coming out of the woodwork, then the next you’re scrimping to find people to thank for all those mentioned. 

It’s inevitable to go through a lull every now and again, but if you find your numbers have hit a wall and are stuck there, this post will help get you past it.

First, use a service like www.justunfollow.com weekly, removing all inactive users.  About once a month I recommend going through and removing those who are not following you back

Note:  Be sure to give a good week or more of lag time when you begin following people spontaneously, otherwise you’ll be unfollowing people you haven’t given a fair chance to follow you back.

The only way to climb the Twitter totem pole (unless you’re a celebrity or have incredibly good luck) is to follow people spontaneouslySo here are a few tips to get you there:

1.  Find an author or person who does something similar to you.  Find out who they’re following and follow them as well.

Note: don’t just go and follow their followers, be sure to follow who they’re following, use their taste in following.  If the person is loyal and trusted, you’d be wise to use their lead.

2.  Be sure to respond when they thank you for following or when they simply send you a shout out.  It’s important to make connections, so you don’t appear to be just a serial follower.

3.  Do not respond to direct messages.  Many Tweople have their account set up with auto-tweets that are triggered by new followers.  If you spend time responding to these, you’ll waste a lot of valuable time doing what they ask (liking their Facebook pages, etc.) and chances are they won’t reciprocate.  I recommend responding to requests only when they tweet you; this way you have a better chance that they will reciprocate.

4.  Another quick and easy way to follow people is to scroll through a loyal follower’s recently followed list.  This can be found by simply rolling through all their recent tweets and following those they’ve made connections with.  You can also do this by following those that they’ve included in their recent thank you tweets.  

5.  Last, and frankly the easiest, is to simply follow back those who follow you

Note:  make sure you only follow those who do similar to what you do (writers, bloggers, etc.) otherwise you’ll be following everyone and their mother’s uncle, so to speak. 

Tip:  A sure way to get others to follow you is to put a blurb in your profile like mine “I follow those who, like me; eat, sleep and breathe books”.  This way you give people a general idea of what you do and what you’ll do for them.

But most important is to offer quality content in your tweets.  This means to not only mention and retweet good stuff, but to provide your own excellent original posts and re-posts.  This, above all, will encourage followers.

Want a new follower?  Simply follow me by clicking this link.  I follow back all writers, authors and just about anyone who has something interesting to say!


Sandy is the author of fiction and memoirs.  Her latest release is a funny, kid-style memoir called No Thanks, Mommy, I Peed Yesterday.  

Coming October 20!  Don't Mess with Daddy's Girl, Book Two in her police procedural series, is a gripping romantic suspense about a man's love of two things: his girlfriend and the stock market.  Learn more.




Subscribe and get Book One for FREE today!  Click here for details.

To learn more about Sandy, please click here to go to her website.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Before You Download That Image for Your Blog, Read This

I don’t know about you, but I got so sick of hearing about copyright issues and constantly scrolling through image after image in what was said to be a free database, only to find it was watermarked.  

Are you with me?

So I did some research, and found this handy-dandy little website called myecovermaker.com.  

And guess what?  It’s not just for making covers for your ebooks!  And, best of all, it’s FREE! 

Note:  There is a paid option, but you can get what you need from the free version.




Here is a gallery of some of the cool blog images I’ve created over the years:













It takes anywhere from ten to thirty minutes to create a professional-looking image for the header of your next post.  The more you’re seasoned with it the less time it takes, as there are some fussy details depending on what you want to do.

Here is a quick breakdown of how to create a simple design:


Step 1.  First, select which free type of cover you want (free designs have a tag in red that say FREE).  I recommend using the second option, paperback stack.

Step 2.  Then you select your background. Now, don't be fooled; you can select any one of the backgrounds, but if you only want to use a portion (say you like just the colour of a piece of one of the backgrounds), you can crop the cursor so you can zoom in on that particular portion of the background.  Or, if you like the whole thing, simply click 'select and continue'.

Step 3.  Next is where you can insert text and images.  If you have an image already saved to your computer, simply click on 'upload images' and choose from there.  If you want to select from the supplied images, you have your choice of symbols, stock photos, graphics and shapes.  

You can crop, move and resize all images and text within the provided box, and you can also use special features with text such as font, size and effects.  You can change the colour of a portion or all of your text and/or images.  You can also rotate, flip, contrast or bring text or images to the front so it stands out better.  Play around with it and see what works for you.

Step 4.  When you're satisfied with your cover, click on 'finallize' and you can change the size of the cover there.  If you want to make changes, simply click on 'edit cover' and go back.  If you're happy with it, I recommend selecting the 2D rather than the 3D cover, otherwise your work won't be flat and it won't appear proper for your blog post.

I've been using this free service for about 3 years now.  If you're interested in creating a free book cover using this site, here is an example of what you can do (I used it to create a cover for my first novel):



I invite you to share some of the free things you've made in the comments below.  Post a link or the image itself!  Let's have some fun!

Sandy is the author of fiction and memoirs.  Her latest release is a funny, kid-style memoir called No Thanks, Mommy, I Peed Yesterday.  

Coming Soon!  Don't Mess with Daddy's Girl, Book Two in her police procedural series, is a gripping romantic suspense about a man's love of two things: his girlfriend and the stock market.  Learn more.




Subscribe and get Book One for FREE today!  Click here for details.

To learn more about Sandy, please visit her website by clicking here.  








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