Ellen Byron / Post

I can’t believe I know how to…

When I began writing mysteries, I knew that a lot of the promotion would fall on me. What I didn’t know is that I’d have to pick up some new skills. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter are useless if you don’t have cool stuff to post on them. The thing is, I have the attention span of a gnat, which gives me a pretty shallow learning curve. Still, I’ve managed to pick up a few skills, and as I belly up to the promotion bar for FATAL CAJUN FESTIVAL, the fifth book in my Cajun Country Mystery series, I thought I’d share them with you. (BTW, see how I linked the title of my book to Amazon? That was skill #1!)

1. MAKIN’ GRAPHICS. Some people are truly skilled at this. I am not, which is why the photoshopped featured image in this post was created by my graphics guru, Hunter Martin, not me. (Fellow author Judy Penz Sheluk turned me on to him.) There’s always a point in time where my A.D.D. triggers impatience and I start screaming at the computer. But I have progressed far enough where I can make my own rudimentary graphics like those below. Why rudimentary, you say? Because I’m too cheap to pay for a cool background and too impatient (see above) to learn more than the most basic skills. Still, I can’t believe I know how to make these with Canva

2. MAKING’ A SNIP AND SKETCH. I wish I remembered who turned me on to to the Windows Snipping Tool. I can’t link to it because it’s on each individual machine. (Type “Snipping Tool” into your taskbar. You can use it to “snip” something and turn it into a JPEG. It may not be available on older versions of Windows, though.) The updated version, “Snip and Sketch,” even lets you draw on your brand-new JPEG. I may do it with the dexterity of a preschool toddler handed crayons for the first time, but it allows me to turn this…

Eliza 8

… into this. (Hah! I got in another hyperlink.) See if you can spot the ten hidden book covers before you look at the answer graphic. (Note: photoshopping the book covers into the original picture was again the work of graphics guru Hunter.)

3. SENDIN’ OUT A MONTHLY NEWSLETTER. You know how I mentioned screaming at the computer? There was a whole lotta that when I first started my newsletter. Well, technically my web designer, Catherine Respess, started it by creating the template. Still, after much cursing and tear-shedding, I embraced it and now-gasp!! – I actually look forward to sending it out. You can check out the most recent issue by clicking here.  And you can sign up for it – which you should, because it’s pretty dang good – here.  (Man, I am rocking this hyperlink thing!)

4. MAKIN’ VIDEOS. Videos were my bete noir until I discovered a site called Lumen5. Like Canva, you can do simple stuff for free. Given the aforementioned limits on my attention span,  coupled with my cheapness, you will pretty much always get the same type of video from me. But still… I can’t believe I know how to make them! The thing is, I had trouble figuring out how to share them. Which led to…

BONUS “I CAN’T BELIEVE I KNOW HOW TO... make a Youtube channel! Yup, I made an Ellen Byron Youtube channel, which makes it much easier to share my videos. If you search for it on Youtube, you won’t find it, don’t ask me why. But if you click here, you’ll get there.

I’ve picked up a few other skills too, but my A.D.D. just kicked in and I have to go do something else. But since I’m so click-happy today, I’ll leave you with one more hyperlink that has zero to do with anything, but makes me so happy. Click… here! Wait for it…

Readers, what do you think of graphics, videos, and newsletters? Authors, what unexpected skills have you picked up?

47 thoughts on “I can’t believe I know how to…

  1. Since I do my own covers, I’ve had to become better at graphic design too. I can’t say I’ve mastered the newsletter bit, but they do manage to go out. And I have yet to venture into videos. I am in awe of anyone with a YouTube channel!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. You’re an inspiration, Ellen! I’ll need to learn all of this stuff for my next book, I know—and my editing biz also. I’m still recovering from a FB Live I did once at a Beach Boys concert that was a complete disaster. (People literally laughed at me—glad I could provide some amusement.) But I DID figure out how to work with our Chicks back-site from my phone!!!

    Liked by 4 people

  3. What a fabulous post, Ellen. One skill I never thought I’d have as an author is doing a weekly post featuring my cat, but Monday Morning Maria has become quite the popular thing! lol. Figuring out how to share it from Instagram to Facebook was a bonus, too. Now, I just have to hope she doesn’t start demanding royalties for the use of her image.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. I love the way your mind works, Ellen! You’ve inspired me to go dig up Canva, which I’ve forgotten about completely (even though I’ve been paying for it – sheesh!)

    Liked by 4 people

  5. You’ve long been my go-to person for inspiration about promotion, Ellen, and this post sets out some–but not all–of the reasons so very well! I wish I had your energy and drive to do all that you do. And congrats on the new book–coming out NEXT MONTH! Yippee!

    Liked by 4 people

    • So glad it’s helpful! I’ve learned a ton from my fellow authors. And then there are the things I’ve had to teach myself. Sometimes kicking and screaming, as my family can attest to!

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    • It’s a pleasure, Connie. I loved your book. And I have to say, I wish I knew then what I know. I’m on my fifth book and I’ve only just embedded an FB pixel in my website. I don’t even know what it does. Luckily, Wix just sent an e-blast about that. #alwayslearning

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post, Ellen! I love your Find-the-Cover graphic — even though I wasn’t sharp enough to find them all! And thanks for the Red Hot Louisiana Band clip to get me moving. I think Gaynell and the Gator Girls should open for them at the Cajun Festival!!

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  7. You’re rocking it like a NERD, Ellen! I like doing graphics and the computer stuff, but we own a printshop so when I get stuck on something, I have professionals at my disposal! I’m a big fan of Canva (but I can get by on the free version … so far, anyway) and I’m smackdab in the middle of transferring my So Seldom It’s Shameful Newsletter from MailChimp to MailerLite. They have some slick technology over there for cheap so once I finish with it (which may be sometime in 2025 at the rate I’m going), it’ll be pretty coolio!

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Your Canva graphics are works of art compared to my sad attempts. I haven’t tried videos, but I’ve noticed especially on Instagram, videos draw attention. Even when I post a video of my dogs chasing each other, that gets much more attention than some of the artsy photos I buy from Shutterstock. I’m about to move my newsletter from MailChimp to MailerLite too. I’m amazed that I can get a newsletter out all by myself.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I’m using Buffer now for most of my Instagram and FB posts and you can do links through them. Or you can create an Instagram post on your phone and then go into the post on your computer and add the link in a the comments. As for videos, start in your phone’s gallery and there’s a link to Instagram feed there. I just loaded “Digging for the perfect word” from my phone – a video of my dog scratching under the bookcase.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t want to pay $30 a month for Buffer. I’ll look for the video link on my phone. But it’s not videos on my phone I’d want to put on Insta. It’s the ones I make on Lumen5. They have a way to do it but it’s complicated and my brain goes on overload.

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  9. Terrific post. And I’m listening to Zydeco Boogaloo right now and rockin’ it. There is SO much to learn and so little time to implement those lessons and still write. Lots better when they are fun and easy.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Ellen, It’s Monday and I’m exhausted. Please no more than one (maybe two) tips per entry. Kidding (kind of!) Loved the pup in sky in your revised photo. Too cute–Made my day 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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