Social Media

  • How to use Facebook and Instagram ads

    How authors can use Facebook and Instagram ads.
    How authors can use Facebook and Instagram ads

    Have you ever tried to run a Facebook or Instagram ad directly to your sales or services page which resulted in little to no sales?

    I’ve seen both writers and editors mention that they didn’t find Facebook ads useful. Others will have had more success. It’s hard to know what went right or wrong without looking at the ads.

    I haven’t used Facebook or Instagram ads myself, but I did learn how they worked when I took the Copy Posse Launch Files course and the FB ads course at Copy School. I’m currently a member of Copy School which is located at Copy Hackers.

    So, what do you need to know about Facebook ads?

    First of all, it’s necessary to back up and look at some basic marketing theories. According to Eugene Schwarz, who wrote the bible of marketing, Breakthrough Advertising, there are five levels of customer awareness. And five levels of market sophistication.

    The five levels of customer awareness

    Let’s start with customer awareness. The prospect is the potential customer you want to target. Eugene Schwartz broke it down as follows:

    • Completely unaware – the prospect has a problem but isn’t aware of it as yet
    • Problem aware – the prospect knows they have a problem, but doesn’t know the solution
    • Solution aware – the prospect knows they have a pain, and knows the solution, but isn’t yet clear about the exact product or supplier
    • Product aware – this person is much more aware of their problem, likely solution, and the products available to them
    • Totally aware – this person knows what they want and they just need an extra push to buy the product. Some people in this group will sit on long waitlists and jump to buy as soon as doors open. They will pre-order books as soon as they hear about them

    To put it into simpler terms, you are really going to struggle to sell anything to the completely unaware group. And they are a big group. Trying to run an ad to a sales page isn’t going to convert this group.

    Neither are you likely to convert the problem-aware group. This is partly because the closer a prospect is to the completely unaware end of the spectrum, the more time it takes to convert them. They need more information. A single ad isn’t going to do it. You need to warm them up.

    The group most likely to convert is the completely aware – they would likely know your name already. Maybe they follow you on social media or they’ve read one of your books before. Maybe they subscribe to your newsletter. A time-limited offer could push this group over the line – for example, a 24-hour sale.

    But they’re the smallest group of all. So, you won’t get many sales from them.

    I remember a tutorial at Copy Hackers where the following breakdown was suggested:

    • Completely unaware – 30%
    • Problem aware – 30%
    • Solution aware – 30%
    • Product aware – 6-7%
    • Completely aware – 3-4%

    I don’t think these figures were meant to be a universal rule, but it’s a good example of what you might be dealing with. The two groups at the bottom are the easiest to convert, but together they might only be around 10%. Unless your market is huge, that isn’t going to convert well to huge sales. 10% of millions of people isn’t bad. 10% of a much smaller number is an entirely different matter.

    How to convert people

    So, how do you convert more people? The answer is quite simple – you need to move people from problem aware to completely aware. In the short to medium term, you can forget the completely unaware group. The effort to convert them is just going to be too much time and money.

    Because the less aware someone is about their own problem and the solution, let alone your product or service, the more they need to be educated. That’s a lot of copy and ads to write.

    It’s not impossible to convert them. But why focus on the bottom 30% when you have the problem- and solution-aware groups instead?

    Market sophistication

    So, what is market sophistication? This concept, also broken into five categories, deals with the spectrum of how new a product is to market versus whether the market is oversaturated.

    Level one is new to market. In the Copy Posse Launch Pad course, Alex Cattoni used the example of the Model T car. It was the first mass-produced family car. There are other examples of something that is the first to market. What’s important to consider here is how to market a product that is the first of its kind. You can’t describe it as being like something else, because there isn’t anything else.

    The consequence of being the first is that prospective customers will need a lot of information to understand what the product is and how it can help them. Because they have no point of comparison.

    At the other end, you have level five – here the market is completely saturated. This is true of the book market. When you’re operating in a saturated market, you are going to struggle to stand out. The competition is huge, prospective customers are overwhelmed by choice, and there are big names that are long established.

    I’m not going to dwell on market-level sophistication here because this post relates more to Facebook ads. If you’re writing in a completely new genre – does such a thing exist?! – then you could possibly be level one. But you still exist within the wider ecosystem of a saturated marketplace. Plus, you’d have the problem of having to explain to people why they should take a chance on your shiny new kind of story that they can’t fit into a pre-existing category.

    Back to customer awareness

    So, how does customer awareness fit into Facebook ads?

    Well, as I’ve pointed out above, your most likely buyers are going to be a small group. If you run the link from your ad straight to a sales page, you might get some purchases. But it takes a lot more effort to get a lot of sales. Because any potential readers stumbling on your ad are being bombarded with other ads too (saturated marketplace).

    The truth is, you shouldn’t run a Facebook or Instagram ad directly to a sales page unless you’re specifically targeting the most aware people, or you’re retargeting people already aware of your brand.

    So, if you don’t run the ad to your sales page, where the heck do you send traffic to?

    And this is where you need to stop and think about your overall sales funnel.

    Because this is what you need to do – funnel people through to the end goal of hopefully buying your book (or service).

    This is where conversion copywriting comes in.

    Conversion copywriting

    Even if you never intend to become a conversion copywriter, it’s really worth understanding the concept. The old direct response copywriting was more hard sell. But in conversion copywriting, the copy isn’t meant to get a sale. It’s meant to get a click. It’s meant to get the reader to take action – which could be clicking on a link, or signing up to a newsletter.

    You are basically funneling a prospective reader or client through a series of clicks. Conversion copywriting is also data-driven, but you don’t need to worry about that too much. You’re not pitching your services to a company. You’re trying to sell your book or service. You can however do some of the research a conversion copywriter would do when it comes to writing your Facebook or Instagram ad. Further down this post I talk about voice of customer data (VOC) and review mining.

    So, where do you send traffic from an FB or IG ad?

    To a landing page. So, what the heck is a landing page? Is it the home page of your website?

    The importance of landing pages

    If you’re intending to publish, you should have a website. But your landing page is not your home page or any page on your site that has a buy button.

    Traditionally, landing pages have one purpose and one purpose only. Usually, it’s to get people to sign up for a freebie/giveaway in exchange for their email address. The freebie must have high value and show your expertise.

    In the case of an author, perhaps you have a novella or juicy story connected to a series you’re writing. You will already know that authors often have one book free to let readers sample their work. It can be a great way to get readers hooked on a series.

    You see these books on Amazon.

    But here’s the problem – if you only make your freebie available on bookstores, you are missing out on an important marketing opportunity. You can’t build a relationship with them if you’re only marketing on other people’s land. Jeff Bezos’ land in this case.

    You should aim to have an author newsletter – and one that’s really interesting enough that people will want to open those emails when they get them. But if you only send traffic to the likes of Amazon, you won’t be able to warm up potential readers. You will be forever relying on the most aware – the smallest group of potential buyers.

    Your marketing strategy has to start earlier in the customer awareness spectrum. If your ad runs to a landing page where you offer a juicy story/novella, then the ad should be about that story, not the novels you’re selling on Amazon. And the copy on the landing page should be about that story/novella too.

    It’s too early to try and get people to buy. Some will, of course. But most won’t.

    As for your landing page, traditionally they don’t have navigation menus because those tempt people to click away from the page. And when it comes to the email sign-up form for the freebie – have as few fields as possible. In fact, at the most, you should only have first name and email address.

    Because the more information you ask someone for, the less likely they’ll sign up.

    Once they’ve signed up you then send them the freebie (known as a lead magnet). Owing to regulations on privacy and email marketing, you should have a double opt-in too. If you are using email marketing, you should definitely familiarise yourself with the rules.

    Your email newsletter as a sales funnel

    They have now entered your email funnel. So, what do you do now?

    Here’s what you don’t do: bombard them with emails saying ‘Buy my book’. That’s guaranteed to get people to unsubscribe. (Especially since your emails should make it easy to unsubscribe because of email marketing rules!)

    When people first sign up to a lead magnet (your freebie), that’s often when they’re most interested. If you’re good at writing emails, you can also build interest over time. But because other people are also sending them emails, you need to make sure yours stand out.

    Here are things to aim for:

    • Use a ‘from name’ they’re likely to remember
    • Write an automated onboarding sequence of emails for new readers to your newsletter. It should introduce you and show the value of being on your newsletter list
    • This onboarding sequence can be nothing more than a few emails before the recipient starts to get your normal newsletters
    • Email marketing is still the strongest form of marketing and because it happens out of sight, that fact often goes unnoticed

    Email marketing is a big subject in itself.

    The most important point about your email marketing here is that it should take up where your FB/IG ad and lead magnet left off. With your emails, you can establish a relationship with readers. This is something you can build on for current and future book releases.

    Voice of customer and review mining

    When you’ve made your decision about where and when you’re going to market your book, you still have to think about the wording of your marketing campaigns, including your Facebook ads. What language should you use to appeal to possible buyers?

    This is where voice of customer (VOC) data and review mining come in.

    Let’s say you write cozy mysteries. The first thing you should do is check out the reviews of competitor titles. Also, any websites that focus on the genre are worth checking out. You can also check out Facebook groups dedicated to fans of your genre. Why? You want to find out exactly how readers feel about this genre. What problems do they have? What are their criticisms? What words and phrases do they tend to use? This will represent voice of customer research.

    Because when you write copy, you need to speak in the language that your ideal customer uses.

    You need to reflect their language back at them.

    It’s not about copying someone’s review, it’s about collecting the words, phrases, and feelings/emotions that come up with this genre. This then gives you a vocabulary you can use to help you write your own original copy.

    Checking out competitor ads

    You can check out any ads your competitors are running on Facebook by going to the left-hand side of the page, scrolling down, and looking for ‘Page Transparency’. Go to Ad Library. Any ads currently running should appear, depending on the location you have chosen. If you opt for ‘Choose All’ you should see any ads running in any part of the world.

    But a word of caution – just because an ad might be running doesn’t mean it’s performing well. Don’t automatically assume it is. But it is certainly worth having a look at other ads in your market, especially from people who are known to be successful or where a product is successful.

    In the case of successful products, their success might depend on earlier ads and not the ones you see now.

    Nevertheless, Facebook’s ad library is worth checking out. But if you don’t see any book ads on many accounts, don’t be surprised. Many writers probably don’t use Facebook ads because of limited budgets or because they’ve heard too many mixed messages about ad success.

    The key though is to understand that ads are part of a funnel and not the magic button that leads to lots of sales.

    Conclusion

    If you run a Facebook ad expecting to get direct sales, you will likely be disappointed with the results. Because your Facebook and Instagram ads are only part of a wider marketing ecosystem. They are the beginning of a sales funnel.

    They send people over to the next part of the funnel – your landing page, where you offer a lead magnet.

    You get them signed up to your email marketing newsletter. And in your emails you lay the ground for marketing yourself and your books.

    There is so much more to be written about Facebook and Instagram ads. I didn’t tackle the importance of a good headline hook and other parts of your ad. Or the rules about what you can and can’t post.

    What I’ve written above is the simpler version or the overview. In reality, you can have multiple FB ads targeting different stages of awareness, etc.

    But while complex sales funnels might work for a bigger brand or a business with more money, authors don’t have the same level of funding. Consequently, you are better targeting your funnel towards your email newsletter.

    If you’re still working on your novel and need feedback, I’m available for manuscript critiques, opening chapters developmental edits, and full developmental editing. You can check out my services pages but I also offer custom work, tailored to your needs. If you’re interested in working with me, I offer sample developmental edits of up to 2000 words.

  • My best productivity tips for writers

    My best productivity tips for writers.
    My best productivity tips for writers

    I wrote most of this blog post in August 2021 and forgot to post it. Now here it is and it’s just as relevant!

    In the age of social media, constant rolling news, and a shorter attention span, it can be hard to focus on the task in hand. This is especially true if you’re working alone. Whether you’re a self-employed business owner or a writer, you need to develop good concentration skills.

    That fear of missing out when you switch off social media keeps you checking back on the slightest pretext. Because that is what social media companies want. They want you addicted.

    As for rolling 24-hour news, that also generates a fear of missing out on what’s happening. The news agenda is driven by ratings as much as anything. The problem with news is that it’s often distressing and something you can do absolutely nothing about.

    But it gets into your head and even when you’ve switched off the news, it’s still replaying on a loop. Making it hard to focus.

    If you’re someone who enjoys interacting online and following news, it can be hard to switch off. But if you want to do your best writing or other work, you absolutely must conquer any distractions.

    Checking in on Twitter every five minutes isn’t going to help you write a great novel. It will prevent you from becoming immersed in your characters’ world, which could lead to a surface-level story. Not something that will hook readers.

    I’ve tried a few different options when it comes to increasing productivity and decreasing distractions:

    • Temporary deletion of a Twitter account – you have up to 30 days to switch it back on
    • Avoiding social media earlier in the day to focus on more important tasks
    • Social media blockers – for hours, days, or longer
    • White noise apps – including rain sounds, cafe sounds
    • Plugging myself into headphones to cut off the outside world
    • Using a Pomodoro timer to pace tasks and blocks of time
    • Making a list of things to do and working my way through them
    • Task batching – setting aside a block of time to work on the same kinds of tasks
    • Task batching can be used to schedule social media posts before logging out for the day
    • I’ve also been impressed with apps like UnDistracted and Insight by Freedom
    • There’s also reading other writers’ work – I call it fuelling the tank because after enough reading, the motivation can be topped up to the point where you absolutely must get to your desk and work on your own story
    • You can also use music to get you into the mood – by finding tracks that fit the theme or scenes of your book. Like your very own soundtrack album. Used enough, these can quickly get you into the right frame of mind

    There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that taking an extended break from social media frees up more mental space. You can even block it for most of the day and only allow yourself a short break to engage with people you know there. Then hit the block again!

    I mostly use Rainy Mood as a white noise app – I turn it up high to block out background sounds, include talk, and plug in my headphones. As an editor, I find this just helps me concentrate more. It’s just me, the manuscript, and the rain!

    A Pomodoro timer allows for targeted break times. Then you can grab a drink, go to the loo, stretch, or just chill out for a few minutes before the next block of work.

    Having a list of things to do at the beginning of the day is also incredibly useful. It allows me to use my time more strategically, ticking things off as I go along. I tried this a lot more in the last week or so, and finally tackled tasks I’d been putting off for ages.

    Task batching is not something I’ve used so much as yet. If you don’t know what it is, it means putting the same tasks together into a batch rather than jumping around between very different tasks. So, if you have an editing business, you might put aside an admin day rather than try to fit in bits of admin around your editing hours.

    Because jumping from one task to another one that is quite different can be less efficient. You’re pretty much all over the place instead of focusing on the same kind of thing.

    While all of that helps with focus and avoiding distractions, you still have the problem of getting down to do some writing. Procrastination can be a terrible thing. Writers often sabotage themselves.

    However, it can also take some time to build up your writing muscles. I personally found keeping a daily word count very useful while working on some writing of my own.

    I originally wrote a draft of this post in August 2021. It’s now July 2022. I forgot to finish the post and found it while searching for another unpublished post.

    Since I’ve written about social media, distractions, and apps that help a few times on this blog, it’s clearly something that concerns me! But when I was doing research recently on social media companies hiring attention engineers, I discovered just how disturbing these apps really are.

    When I temporarily deleted my Twitter account recently, I suddenly found I had a lot more time on my hands.

    People often despair that they struggle to find time to write.

    But the truth is that often you need to claw that time back from social media and the 24-hour news cycle. The time is there, but you can’t see it. You’re on a hamster wheel of endless scrolling or checking your notifications.

    An app like Insight by Freedom will tell you exactly how much time you’ve spent on various sites. It’s worth considering how much of that time could have been spent on writing or other things.

    Otherwise, if you’re a fiction or memoir writer who is looking for feedback on your manuscript, you can check out my services page or contact me directly to discuss your project. You will find me at: karen@indiecateditorial.com

    More related posts from the blog:

  • Is social media harming the writing community?

    Is Social Media Harming The Writing Community?
    Is social media harming the writing community?

    Are you a writer or editor spending too much time on social media and feeling bad about it? Is it eating into your writing time, your editing time, your work hours, your free time, etc?

    Social media as slot machine

    Did you know that social media companies employ ‘attention engineers’ who use Las Vegas casino gambling techniques to keep you hooked? And all so they can make a profit at your expense.

    Dr. Cal Newport has compared social media to having a slot machine on your phone. The companies have invested tens to hundreds of millions of dollars to keep you on their sites.

    If you look at their sites a lot, they track user minutes and it increases their stock value.

    Even something as seemingly innocent as the ‘like’ button is a result of attention engineering. Let’s face it, people love getting ‘likes’ because it indicates social approval.

    And humans love social approval.

    Also, there’s a dopamine hit when you get liked, retweeted, and so on, and that can get addictive.

    Social media is designed to take up your attention – and as much of it as possible.

    Social media steals your life, motivations, and goals

    But what are you giving up when you spend hours on Facebook or Twitter?

    You are losing time you can’t get back. Time you could have spent on other things.

    Like writing a book, or finishing the book you’re currently working on. Or writing more books. Or going for walks, swimming, or cycling, etc.

    And at least as importantly, you could have spent more time with your family and other loved ones.

    If you’ve spent a very long time on social media, that time wasted can clock up to years of your life.

    What else could you have been doing with that time? Do you still read as much as you used to, or watch as many films? Do you socialise with others in the real world as much as you once did?

    Social media destroys your focus

    On top of all that, social media is not just a massive time sink, it’s also destroying your ability to focus.

    If you want to write, or you’re editing, you need to concentrate and immerse yourself in that project.

    However, social media has trained users to become more fragmented in their attention. Notifications break your concentration as you rush to check what’s happening online.

    You might intend to only check in for a moment or two, but even if you resist the temptation to stay longer, it will take you longer to focus again on your project.

    So, you’ve actually lost even more time.

    Is social media harming the writing community?

    I often worry about the potential harm caused to writers by online writing communities on social media. Because even if the communities have helpful information, the platforms they use are designed to be addictive.

    Like a slot machine.

    We’re told that the Twitter writing community is helpful and supportive. Yet, someone going in to ask the community a quick question might find they’re still on Twitter an hour or so later.

    That’s time lost to writing, and even if you go back to focus on your work, it’s unlikely you can just immediately concentrate again.

    So, how much are these online communities actually draining writers of time, energy, and focus?

    How much are they actually preventing you from fulfilling your writing dream?

    It doesn’t help that social media provides people with an immediate writing identity. You can put anything in your profile. Once you’re part of the writing community, you get validated, even when you’re posting too much to actually write.

    You end up with an unearned identity. Which fits with the modern tendency to want things now.

    Actual writing success takes a long time. Certainly, if you want to have a sustainable career, it will take years.

    But on social media, you’ll find people claiming social media is necessary for writers.

    Is it?

    It might partly come down to how much you’re able to resist the worst temptations and regulate yourself. I cover useful apps further down this post.

    However, there’s another problem, and it’s a serious one…

    Toxic politics and censorship

    The online writing community can be dangerously political and censorious. This can lead to self-censoring for fear of being attacked, which can block your creativity. There’s far too much herding going on.

    Some writers also use their followers to attack rivals and to bombard reviewing sites with negative reviews. This is reputation destruction, and it’s usually presented as righteous and virtuous.

    But that’s how censors saw themselves in both left-wing and right-wing totalitarian regimes and theocracies. There were a lot of politically captured artists, writers, film makers, editors, and academics in these regimes.

    They used the prevailing ideology to climb the greasy pole. They took out rivals.

    Sometimes rivals were actually sent to the gulag or killed.

    No one admires these regime artists now. When regimes fall, the arts pivot. Those who stood up to censorship and tyranny become lauded while old regime artists fall by the wayside.

    Sadly, people don’t seem to learn the lessons of history.

    That’s another reason why social media is dangerous. It encourages mass bullying, censorship and extremist ideologies.

    Additionally, the algorithms thrive on conflict.

    Nevertheless, if your ideology can’t compete in the marketplace of ideas without you silencing or bullying rivals, then there’s something wrong with your ideology.

    Minority writers living in fear

    And if you’re a minority writer who is now afraid to write fiction based on your own group, because your group is heavily policed by an arrogant and self-appointed activist class, maybe social media is the last place you should be.

    I’m seeing minority writers genuinely afraid of these online tyrants. The so-called ‘allies’ (who belong to the traditional oppressor groups) drown out the voices of ordinary members of minorities – and this is by design.

    We can’t have minorities thinking for themselves or just being individuals.

    If you’re a writer or any kind of artist or thinker, you can’t let these people get inside your head and block your work.

    If you’re a member of a minority or other historically oppressed group, you are not a member of a Borg-like collective, and you are not obliged to write according to the expectations of a grifting middle-class activist class.

    The definition of freedom for minorities should include the definition to be yourself and not a footsoldier for the left, the right, or anyone else.

    I see a lot of fear in the online writing community – fear of the bullies currently running riot. I see fear in publishing because activists have got into positions of power – deliberately too because this is how ideologues capture organisations.

    Even editing organisations are captured.

    Writers have been cancelled while rivals gloat and industry professionals celebrate on the likes of Twitter.

    The more time you spend on social media, the more you’re likely to have these toxic activist voices in your head.

    They will block your ability to produce your best work.

    They will prevent you from writing your own truth.

    And meanwhile, you are likely anxious about what you post – going back to see if you’ve offended some complete stranger from the other side of the planet.

    This is another reason why people often break what they’re doing in the real world to check social media.

    And this leads to anxiety and being trapped on a never-ending hamster wheel of social media posting and reading.

    Is social media worth it?

    I’ve blogged before on apps that are useful to help concentration and focus. But while social media’s attention engineering is hugely immoral, even impacting the human brain, the political aspect adds to the toxic mix.

    Then there is engagement. Twitter can be poor when it comes to engagement. The advice is to engage with other people’s posts – but this then circles back to the problem of how much time you’re willing to spend there.

    And even if you are getting engagement as a writer, is it delivering on sales or boosting your readership? Or is your readership primarily other writers who buy your book in exchange for you buying theirs?

    Of course, this is more an issue of your target audience versus the audience that’s easiest to grow. It’s also about learning how best to use a platform.

    Useful apps that give you back control

    It’s not that you have to give up social media. There may be platforms you find less time-consuming and less stressful. You can also use apps to control your access.

    I recently looked at more apps I hadn’t tried before. I find some of them extremely useful.

    The most useful of all is a straight-out social media blocker like Cold Turkey which has both a free and a paid option. I’ve used the free one for years and it’s definitely worthwhile. There are others like Forest, which allows you to grow a virtual tree as an incentive to focus.

    There’s also Delayed Gratification. This allows you to customise a list of sites where you can set up a 10-second or 20-second delay before you can access them.

    So, with Twitter, you could give yourself a 20-second delay that prevents you from immediately getting into the site. When you make things harder for yourself, it helps to break the habit.

    There’s also UnDistracted which allows you to control your use of Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Reddit, and Netflix. There is the option to block each of these sites, but you can also control whether you see the feed, the trending topics, recommended videos or followers, etc. With YouTube, you can force-direct to your subscriptions. Add in removal of the sidebar and recommended videos and you have fewer juicy videos to keep you distracted.

    There’s also Insight by Freedom which allows you to track your time on various sites. The bar graphs might truly shock you when you check where you’ve been spending time. Freedom also has a social media blocker, but it’s not free, apart from the trial. Insight by Freedom is free on the Google Play Store as a Chrome extension.

    There are many more useful apps. If you need to break your work time down into more manageable segments, you can use a Pomodoro timer.

    If you want to know more…

    There are a lot of interesting videos on YouTube on the subject of ‘Why I quit social media‘.

    Of course, being on YouTube means scrolling yet another site!

    But you’ll see what people have to say about quitting for months or even a year or more. How their lives changed.

    You’ll also see, particularly in the comments below, that many people who quit FB, Twitter, and Instagram choose to stay on YouTube, even though it too is designed to be addictive.

    All I can say is, beware of YouTube. It’s another rabbit hole. I think it has a lot of amazing content, which is why so many people justify still using it. But it’s best to use it in a controlled fashion. I find it useful to access YouTube via my TV because then I treat it as an alternative to real television (which I have little to no interest in).

    I also recommend checking out any talks Dr. Cal Newport gives on social media addiction. There are also whistleblowers from social media companies who have spoken out about the problems.

    Otherwise, I have some openings in my developmental editing calendar. You can opt for an opening chapters edit, a manuscript critique, an advanced beta critique, or a full developmental edit.

    You can check my editing services page.

    More posts from the blog

    Pressing the reset button

    Boost your writing with the Pomodoro technique

    Social media blockers

  • You need author photos but you’re camera shy!

    Blog image for 'Need author photos but you're camera shy?'
    Need author photos but you’re camera shy?

    The only time I ever felt comfortable in front of a camera was when I was too young to care.

    Once I hit adolescence, that awkwardness you see in pre-teens and teenagers was there. I was never happy.

    And this is true of many people.

    So what happens when you have a business or you’re an author and you need a professional headshot? Or even just a high-quality selfie? What do you do?

    If you have a real dislike of having your photo taken by others, you’re unlikely to look relaxed and happy.

    A professional photographer might know how to get you looking your best, but they cost money and you still have that fear of cameras.

    Maybe you don’t even believe a professional could make you look good.

    Low self-esteem and self-consciousness can really block someone from getting a professional shot in the first place.

    Of course, you have the option of taking a selfie.

    But what if you still hate the camera, still look awkward, and it’s still ten thousand deaths to take that photo?

    And even worse, you see great selfies from other authors, but yours somehow come out badly. You might wonder if they’re using filters – and it’s entirely possible.

    Then again, maybe they’ve learned how to use a mobile phone camera to best effect. They could have done it through trial and error. Or they could have followed a photographic influencer on Instagram or YouTube.

    There is a mountain of information out there for people too shy to have others take their photo.

    One interesting influencer on both YouTube and Instagram is Sorelle Amore.

    And the good news is that she has a selfie course called Advanced Selfie University.

    You have to sign up – the cost is fairly low – and you’ll learn about camera settings, lighting, posing (what works and what to avoid), clothing, and much more.

    Each lesson is only a few minutes at most. Then you can go off and try it out.

    There is a community of posters, leaving questions, answers, and comments.

    Among the comments, there are repeating themes of low confidence, fear of the camera, and not liking it when others take their photos. Their past experience has made them camera shy.

    The selfie course teaches them to be more relaxed in front of the camera, to take their time getting to know their best angles, to learn about the right colours to wear to flatter their skin tone, and so on.

    The course creates a safe space for people to experiment and post the results if they want – they don’t have to post anything.

    Seeing others struggle with self-image, unhappiness with their appearance, and self-consciousness in front of cameras shows that many suffer the same issues. You’re not alone.

    But the usefulness of taking great selfies goes beyond working on your confidence and self-esteem.

    It also goes beyond saving money on professional headshots.

    If you’re someone who would benefit from having high-quality selfie photos for marketing, this course will help you build up a good catalogue of images that might otherwise be pricey.

    And you can use these images on your author website, Facebook page, Instagram, Amazon page, Twitter, and more.