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Li Yun Alvarado
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In This Newsletter

    #AmReading

    Nibi is Water / Nibi Aaron Nbiish
    by Joanne Robertson

    In honor of the U.S. District Court of DC’s ruling against the Dakota Access Pipeline earlier this month, we’ve been reading this sweet board book to our littles. About Nibi is Water: “A first conversation about the importance of Nibi--which means water in Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe)--and our role to thank, respect, love, and protect it. Babies and toddlers can follow Nibi as it rains and snows, splashes or rows, drips and sips.”

    For  more, check out my Bookshop list: Board Books for Social Justice.

      Friday, July 31 at 6pm PST

      12 Signs 12 Poets Con Mucho Mucho Amor

      Luivette Resto, my Boricua Poet Hermana, is hosting this awesome reading. Hop on Zoom this Friday, July 31 at 6pm PST, and enter the Webinar ID: 880 7505 3193

      5 MISTAKES WRITERS MAKE WHEN BUILDING THEIR AUTHOR PLATFORMS
      Mistake #4 Social Media Exclusively; Ignoring Website & Email

      Welcome Back !

      If you missed the emails discussing the previous mistakes, click here to access them.

      In the first three emails, I outlined the many benefits of focusing on cultivating community and on doing so strategically. (FYI: Before diving in to Mistake #4 below, you’ll want to make sure you’ve read Mistake #3: FOMO instead of Strategy & Intuition).

      I also know that at the heart of wanting to learn more about “platform building” is a desire to have your work read, shared, and (if it’s on sale) purchased.

      Many people believe the best way to do this is by growing your social media account as much as possible and then sharing your work constantly in the hopes social media followers will eventually click, read, share, and/or buy.

      I’m here to suggest there are ways to leverage social media to get what you want: not just “followers” but actual readers and superfans.

      Quick Thought Experiment:

      1. Pick your favorite social media platform.
      2. How many “followers” do you have?
      3. What percentage of your followers would you guess have read your work? Have shared your work? Have purchased your work?
      4. Does the platform you chose have an easy way to track how people are interacting with the works you share?

      Vanity Metrics are not Enough

      If you’re like me, posting on social media can sometimes feel like screaming into the void. It can be hard to tell if anyone is actually clicking through and reading (or buying) any of the work I share.

      Here’s what I mean: if you have 1,000 followers but only 20 of those followers click on links you share and and only 1 of the 20 go the next step and purchase your book, then you don’t actually have 1,000 dedicated readers.

      And if you don’t have 1,000 readers, then what you have is a vanity metric: a number that feels and looks good, but that ultimately doesn’t deliver when it comes to growing a readership and cultivating a real community.

      Vanity metrics can be helpful. They give “social proof” as in “this author is legit” which can help grow your following further. There is nothing wrong with having a social media growth strategy. 

      The problem is when you stop at growing your social media. Finding you on social media is just one step on "the reader journey," and you don't want it to be the last step.

      I believe social media can be especially valuable as a means of enticing your followers onto your website, and -- when you're ready to start one -- onto your email list.

      Build Your Foundation: Website & Email List

      In my course You Need A Website: Five Days to Your First Author Website, I go into detail on why having an author website is essential and why social media is not enough (click here & I'll add you to the course waitlist & send you a free flowchart). 

      For now here's a little preview:

      I strongly believe that every living writer needs a website (only mega-famous living authors might be able to get away with not having one).

      If you’re a writer, you need a website.

      Your website is like the foundation on which all of your other community cultivation “rooms” are built. This doesn’t mean your website has to be super flashy or that it needs to be the place your community and you “hang out.” It just needs to exist as a place where you can showcase your works and your crafted author story. 

      To be clear: if any of your work has been published and you aspire to continue publishing more work then you need a website

      (Still not sure about being ready for an author website? Click here and I’ll send you my “Do you need an author website?” flowchart to help you decide).

      And when you're ready to add an email list to your strategy, your website becomes an excellent place to encourage readers to sign up for those emails. 

      Choosing to email your community regularly is a commitment,  but it's also one of the best ways to cultivate community through direct communication with your most loyal people.

      Yes, creating and managing a website and email list can be more work than posting on social, but if you’re committed to being strategic, then you’re willing to put in a little more work up front if it means cultivating a more vibrant reader community in the long run.

      At the end of the day, you have infinitely more control over your website and email list. That control means you get to connect with your community on your own terms, as opposed to being at the mercy of Mark Zuckerberg and his algorithm.

      Here’s an example of the value of connecting by email

      I could have posted this 5 Mistakes email series on my blog, shared those blog posts on Facebook, IG, and Twitter, and crossed my fingers that the algorithms cooperated and a good number of my ~1,000+ combined “followers” read the posts.

      Instead, I chose to take a much needed social media break for the entire month of July.

      I haven’t looked at Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter for the last 28 days. 

      Even though I had a new publication. Even though I had a reading this month. 

      Why didn’t FOMO derail my attempt at self care? 

      Because I have a website where I can posts updates about the publication and the reading (it was awesome BTW! I'll share the replay when it's available). 

      And, maybe more importantly, because I have email subscribers like you with whom I can communicate directly through email. 

      I’ve thoroughly enjoyed writing up these weekly insights and knowing I can deliver them directly to your inbox (thanks again for allowing me into your space!).

      Ask yourself:

      • “What would it feel like if I could unplug from social media entirely whenever I wanted or needed to?”
      • "Might knowing that I could connect with my people directly through email make unplugging even easier?"

        Having email subscribers has given me:

        • the ability to take planned and unplanned social media breaks
        • direct access to readers like you who have given me permission to be in touch regularly
        • insights on what you and other subscribers are interested in learning more about

        Now I’m not suggesting an either / or approach here. I’m personally all about email subscribers AND a social media presence (what strategies you choose to focus on will depend on you -- see Mistake #3 again for more on strategizing).

        What I am proposing is that if your goal is to cultivate community, then talking directly to your readers over email might be one long term strategy worth considering.

        Tackling Mistake #4

        1. If you don’t have an author website, click here and  I’ll add you to the waitlist for my course: Writer, You Need a Website! (I'll also send you that handy flowchart I mentioned above). Let me help you create your first author website, so you have a strong foundation for your community cultivation.
        2. If you already have a website, take a month or so to learn about best practices for author newsletters. Take no more than a month or you’ll go down a rabbit hole and never take action. The resources page is a great place to start. It includes several email list related resources.
        3. After learning more, check in with yourself, and if your intuition feels excited about taking the leap and connecting with your readers via email:
          1. sign up for an email service provider (I use and recommend MailerLite). 
          2. Invite your people to subscribe. 
          3. Begin regularly communicating and cultivating community with your email subscribers.

        For a more detailed step-by-step guide on getting started with email, check out the resources page.

          Reflection Activity

          1. Brainstorm one topic you could email your readers about for each month of the year. Your ideas need not be elaborate! My January newsletter for the past few years has been a photo of me in my NYE outfit and a brief Happy New Year message.

          Final Note

          One of the biggest mistakes writers make is spinning their wheels on social instead of strategically cultivating their communities in other ways -- including email and in real life.

          Use social media to socialize: have fun, share your and others’ works, and connect with new people! And show up in a big way for your IRL and email community. They — more reliably than many of those social “followers” — will read and share your work!

          Picture of Li Yun Alvarado
          Con Mucho Mucho Amor,

          P.S. To access additional resources and all the "5 Mistakes" emails, click here.

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          Li Yun Alvarado

          2436 East 4th Street #1180, Long Beach, CA 90814
          United States

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