Advice from a Published Children’s Author: Sue Fliess

I’m very excited to introduce Hubber Sue Fliess, also known as AroundTownSue on HubPages.  Sue is a very successful published children’s author having published over 120 articles, with 6 published children’s books and another 8 under contract to come out in the next two years!  Her Tons of Trucks book has sold roughly 40,000 copies since its release in 2012 and her Robots, Robots Everywhere! book, released in August 2013, had a run of 50,000 copies and has already gone back to press!  She does school visits and speaking engagements at conferences as well as book signings at book stores.  Check out her Amazon page or your local book store for her available books! Without further ado, let’s dive into the treasure trove of information that Sue has to offer!

Briefly tell us about yourself.  

I’m a children’s book author of over a dozen books, Senior Copywriter for eBay and whenever I can be, a freelance writer. I live in the Bay Area of Northern California with my husband and two boys and our rescued English Lab, Teddy. My background is in public relations, marketing, and art. Oh, and I love to travel!

Becoming a published author is a goal for many of our Hubbers.  How did you get your start?

First, I’d like to emphasize that getting published should be among many goals, but not the only goal. I just read an excellent book on writing that, if you read only one book on writing this year, let it be this one: Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. Writing should give you joy whether you get published or not. I was fortunate enough to get published, but I will say that once I sold a book, an author friend pulled me aside and said, “Congratulations! Now remember, you’re only as good as your last book.” So hitting that publishing goal delivers new pressures. Be happy to create work you’re proud of, keep writing and improving your craft, and then if publication happens, you’ll likely be more satisfied with your accomplishment.

When I started out in 2005, I realized my only credential relevant to children’s book editors was that my first job as a publicist for a big publishing house. In an effort to gain more writing credentials for my manuscript submissions, I ventured into other types of writing. So I got a gig writing articles (my first published pieces) for an educational website while working on my children’s stories. I talked with librarians, joined SCBWI, started attending conferences, and formed a writing critique group. And as soon as I submitted one manuscript to publishing houses, I started working on the next one. I had roughly 6 stories out on submission at any given time. Then I finally got an offer from an editor for my first book, Shoes for Me!, illustrated by Mike Laughead. That story had been rejected 24 times. It only takes 1 yes.

Can you briefly describe your process when writing a book? What were your greatest challenges when you first started?  Are they the same today?

I usually get an idea for a book and think about it for a few days before writing anything down. Then if I’m still excited about it, sometimes I will look on Amazon to see if something very similar is already out there. If not, or my idea is different enough from what exists, I’ll start writing the story. Since I mostly write picture books, I just jump right in, no outline or anything. I try to give it a title, but not always. I work in spurts, so I may work on something madly for 3-4 days, then let it simmer, come back to it to polish it enough for my critique group to see, then work on it with their feedback in mind until it’s ready to show my agent. She may have editorial feedback too, and once I’m finished, she starts submitting it to editors.

It’s a challenge to manage all submissions, rejections, follow-ups on my own. I did it for a few years, and then was able to land an agent. I think agents are more open to taking on picture book authors than when I was starting out, so that’s good news. But many more houses are closed to un-agented, or unsolicited manuscripts, so if you can invest the time trying get an agent, I recommend it. Now that I have an agent, my biggest challenge is carving out time to write! But meeting with my crit group once a month is a big motivator. I don’t want to be the one who isn’t bringing anything to the group!

Publishing Information:  How did you find and attract your publisher? Do you recommend authors getting started with ebooks?  Did you go that route at first?  I know you have written a Hub on this; is there anything you would like to add/update?

I am still a firm believer in trying to get your work recognized by traditional publishers before self-publishing. All of my books, with the exception of my touch-and-move novelty trucks book, has an electronic version and the publisher takes care of making that happen. There is less of a stigma associated with self-publishing today, but it’s harder to stand out in that market, as anyone—quality writer or not—can self-publish. You have to fight more for credibility than you do if a publisher pays you to make a book. I am traditionally published and of course, now there is no reason for me to publish my stories on my own.

In re-reading my Hub on my publishing tips, the only thing I would change is that many more editors are accepting email submissions now – likely if you’ve met them at a conference. So the waiting time to hear back is often shorter, and you may not have to wait 3 months to ping them. Still respect their time, but following up is getting easier. Also, the editor I mention in my “Bonus tip” just bought a fairy manuscript from me last year – so I’m finally getting to work with her!

If you could give three pieces of advice for our authors that want to publish a book, what would they be?

  • Do your homework. Starting out in publishing is like starting out in any industry. Learn who the players are (editors, agents, other authors), attend conferences, take workshops, hone your craft. Don’t expect to meet an author and get an introduction to their editor or agent. It’s tacky.

  • Read as many books in the genre you are trying to break into as possible. Use your library! Check out a hundred books to see what they do right, why they got published.

  • Be patient. It took me about 3 years to get an offer, and that was actually surprisingly fast for this industry, so I feel very fortunate. Timing is everything, so don’t rush it. If you are meant to be published, it will happen at the exact time it’s meant to happen. If you are not meant to be published, there is a world of good that can still come from your writing – share it with others. Talk to kids about writing. Teach. Keep writing.

Thanks Sue, for giving us your time and expertise.  I hope our Hubbers have learned from it; I know that I have!

For more information on Sue:

Official Webpage

Facebook Author Page

twitter: @suefliess

And if that’s not enough, Sue also sings.  She has written and performed two writing parodies for buzz marketing! Check them out:

How to Effectively Use Pinterest by Hubber Glimmer Twin Fan

screen-shot-2014-01-16-at-10-16-54-am1I’d love to introduce our Guest Blogger, Glimmer Twin Fan.  She has kindly written this post to educate us on some of the Best Practices of using Pinterest .  She has had over 100 THOUSAND Pins to her Hubs and is a great member of our Community!  Thanks, Glimmer Twin Fan, for taking the time to educate us all! (You can also check out her Pinterest page directly to see how it’s done by a pro.)

A Guide to Using Pinterest by Glimmer Twin Fan

If you write Hubs and haven’t joined Pinterest yet, you should probably think about it.  According to searchenginewatch.com, as of June, 2013, there were approximately 70 million Pinterest users worldwide.  That’s potentially a huge audience for your writing.

In reading the Forums here on HubPages, I sometimes get the impression that many people don’t think that Pinterest is suited to their Hubs.  Granted, some topics are more popular than others, but I’m pretty sure you’ll find that there is something for everyone, and with the right Pinterest board organization, your niche may be a lot more popular than you think.  Just do a search and I bet you’ll be surprised at what you find.

Over the 19 months that I have been writing here on HubPages, and pinning my work, I’ve learned a lot about Pinterest.  Some things are great and some things are not so great.  I’ve also learned a few tricks along the way. Hopefully these tricks will help you, too.

On Pinterest:

1.  Set up individual, topic-specific boards.  If you have Hubs about travel, set up a travel board. If you write about Philosophy, set up a Philosophy board.  You get the idea.  Lumping all of your pins into just a couple of broadly titled boards is confusing to potential followers, and whether we want to admit it or not, we all want more followers on Pinterest. Every follower represents a potential reader.

2.  Set up a group board.  My one group board generates at least 5 new followers a week.  That may not sound like a lot, but it adds up.  Group boards are probably the best way to get your pins and your Pinterest profile out there.  Some group boards have a couple hundred followers, but others have a couple hundred thousand followers.  Pin something to the right group board and chances are good that you’ll get some repins.  You can find more information about group boards in my Hub The Basics of Using Pinterest Group Boards.

3.  Choose a really good cover pin for each of your boards.  By default, the cover pin on your boards is the first pin you put in that board.  It is easily changed.  If someone is searching for a particular topic board, they are usually drawn to an enticing photo.  Let’s face it, that’s really what Pinterest is all about, pretty pictures.  I have often found a cover photo on someone’s board that has intrigued me, gone to take a look, liked the board, and decided to follow that pinner.

4.  Follow people.  I don’t mean to just randomly follow thousands of people, but follow ones who seem to pin things that interest you.  Not only does it sometimes bring you followers, you are exposed to their pins, which you’ll enjoy.

On your end:

1.  Choose a great photo for the beginning of your Hub.  This is the image that shows up on Pinterest when a reader uses the “Pin it” button on the right hand side of a Hub.  I know it’s been said here many times, but I can’t emphasize it enough.  A good photo matters.  If someone is looking for a meatloaf recipe, they’d much rather repin an image of a delicious looking one, than of a grey, out of focus one.  I have been working hard at taking better pictures for my Hubs.  I’ve taken pictures outside and in various parts of the house, on cloudy days and sunny ones.  Sometimes I’ll take 50 to 60 pictures of the same thing.  Then I upload them to my computer and start deleting the ones I don’t like.  I use iPhoto to brighten them up. I have noticed that since I have been working on my photography, my personal Hub pins have become more successful.  Many pinners only pin for the photo and don’t even bother looking at the link. Why not capitalize on that by using an eye­-catching image?

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2.  Use a vertical photo at the beginning of your Hub.  Vertical photos are ones that are taller/longer, not wider.  The bottom line is that they are more visible on Pinterest, so why not tap into that. Take a look at your Pinterest feed and you’ll see what I mean.

3.  Use images with text on them.  You may not want to use them for all of your Hubs, but in many cases they are well worth it.  I have found a lot of success with these types of images, especially on my recipe Hubs.  They are useful if you don’t have a great picture, or any picture at all.  They also help prevent people from taking your photo.  Most people who are using someone else’s photo aren’t going to waste time trying to clean up a lot of text, they will just move on to the next one that suits their needs.  There is all sorts of software available to help you add text to your photos.  This software can also add various effects, like borders or shading.  It’s fun to play around with the various options, in fact, it can be a little addictive.  I use Fotor.  It’s free, and it’s easy.

4.  Pin your own things and pin other things as well.  Don’t just pin your own articles.  If you are interested in the Macabre, search on the Macabre and if a pin interests you, pin it.  The more you pin, the more your name gets out there, especially on very specific topics. Sometimes you’ll be surprised by a pin.  I pinned someone’s Hub that still gets repinned at least 20 – 30 times a day.  As of the day I wrote this blog, it was up to about 2,500 repins.  It’s too bad it wasn’t one of my Hubs, but I know I have received a few new followers because of it.

5.  Pin popular pins.  There’s a reason most of these pins are popular.  If you like one, repin it.  On the top left of your Pinterest feed is an icon with three horizontal bars.  Click on it and choose “Popular” and see what you can find.  Many times, I’ll get a few repins when I pin a popular pin and sometimes even a new follower.

6.  Pin at the right time of the day and week.  This is a tough one, it’s different for various topics, and it’s certainly not an exact science.  After a lot of trial and error, I have found that for the majority of topics that I write about, recipes and crafts, the best time for me to pin is between 8pm and 10pm east coast time on Tuesdays through Thursdays.  Pinned to the right group board, I’ve had some pins get a couple hundred repins.  Not too shabby.  I’ve read that Saturdays are good times to pin, but I’ve never had much luck with that.  Play around with your pins and eventually you’ll start to see a trend.  Of course, pinning at the right time of the year helps too.  Seasonal topics are just that, seasonal.  If you go on Pinterest right now not only will you see lots of Valentine’s day pins, you’ll see more and more Easter pins creeping in.

A few Pinterest Don’ts:

Pinterest has many critics, and rightly so.  Since its inception there have been a number of lawsuits brought against them for copyright infringement.  Professional photographers, artists, writers, and others, all have issues with Pinterest.  Once an image is on Pinterest, it’s on there for good, and if a person earns their living from said images, they may be losing income.

Pinterest is becoming more vigilant about copyright infringement.  A few months ago I got a friendly email from Pinterest saying that they had removed a pin I had repinned.  Apparently the original pinner did not have permission to pin that image and the creator had taken action.

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1.  Make sure you are using your own photos, or photos that you have permission to use, before you pin one of your Hubs to Pinterest.  Also understand that once your image is out there, it’s out there for good.  Much to my chagrin, I have one recipe photo that I have found in many, many places, and I have never given anyone permission to use it.  It’s very difficult to get it removed.

2.  Pin from the source!  There are many websites out there, especially for recipes, that copy text and photos and take traffic from the original source.  These “middle man” websites, as I like to refer to them, get the income from the site visit.  Rarely do they have permission to use the photos.  Some will, every once in a while, include a link to the source, but that doesn’t get looked at very often.

3.  Another way to tell if a pin is not from the original source is if the photo has a watermark on it with a website that does not match the website listed below it.

4.  One type of pin, that I’ve been seeing more and more of on Pinterest, is a long photo that is made up of a number of step by step photos, maybe six or seven.  It’s usually a DIY project or a recipe.  Chances are good that someone has just used someone else’s photos and come up with a montage.  They are nice to look at, and give you the information you need, but they rarely provide a link to the source.

5.  Many pins link to an article that is a compilation of photos.  The pin photo may say “30 great ways to…..” or something like that. They have photos from various sites and encourage the reader to go to the links for more details.  I like pins like this.  They are not providing any details or instructions, they are just leading you to the source.  These pins provide a nice backlink to an article, and are a handy reference.

6.  If you see a lovely picture or a beautiful poem on a website, make sure you have permission before you pin it.  Many sites now have specific language on them that prohibit pinning their images and content.  You may love that poem, but don’t pin it or you could get in trouble.

7.  Don’t just repin an image without clicking on it and going to the link.

  • Sometimes you’ll get a warning from Pinterest that the link is suspicious.  Please don’t repin that, no matter how much you love the photo.
  • As noted above in #2, it may not be going to the original source.
  • As noted above in #6, you may not have permission to pin the image.
  • Don’t pin offensive images.  You could lose your account.

I realize that Pinterest is not for everyone, but it is well worth a try, no matter what you write about.  You may be pleasantly surprised by the results.

Five Common Mistakes Made by Online Writers: A Guest Post by WryLilt

A few weeks ago, WryLilt, one of our top Hubbers, made an incredibly generous gesture by opening up a Forum thread in which she would give a critique to anyone who asked for help with a Hub. Last week, she published a Hub guiding people through the most common mistakes she encountered when reviewing others’ work.

WryLilt kindly summarized some of the most common mistakes she covers in that guide in this guest post. Should you find her tips to be useful, be sure to read the entire Hub!

 

The Top Five Mistakes Made by Bloggers

 

I have plenty of my own projects now, but I love coming back to the HubPages community because it feels like home. Recently I started hanging out in the Forums again and saw a huge number of questions relating to why people were seeing issues with their traffic or earnings. Taking a look at many of these Hubbers’ Hubs, I saw some really obvious issues that could easily be fixed. I figured that it would be a lot easier to help all these Hubbers in one place, instead of going through all the Forum posts I kept finding, and then collate the information.

I started a Forum Discussion asking people to post if they wanted feedback on two things they could change to improve their Hubs. I was amazed at how many responses I got – and also by how many people were making the very same basic mistakes.

Five of the biggest mistakes I saw people making included:

  1. Titles – Both Hub titles and subtitles play important roles in getting Google traffic as well as helping people navigate your Hub. Make sure your title tells readers exactly what your Hub is about (leave out words you found in the thesaurus or “pretty titles”), and break your Hub up into subtopics so visitors can easily skim your content to find the information they want.
  2. Writing For Yourself – Sorry, but if you’re “writing for yourself” on the internet, you’re probably not going to make money. Unlike published writing, you don’t have editors to add red crosses throughout your content and cut out the purple prose, so you need to get it right to get the traffic. Online, you’re writing firstly for the reader and secondly for Google. Yes, that includes poems and stories – which may get you a following but are notoriously low earners if you don’t know what you’re doing. You can write on topics you love, but don’t fall too in love with your own voice!
  3. BOOOO-RING – Titles and content are just one step in creating an attractive and readable Hub. You need to keep the reader’s attention, especially if it’s a long Hub – having pictures, videos, and highlighted text boxes with interesting information will help keep your reader interested and scrolling. Don’t go off on tangents either – if your reader came to your Hub for information, give them that information instead of telling them about something else.
  4. Traffic Leak!!! – I’ve visited many Hubs where there are literally dozens of links. Links to other people’s Hubs, Wikipedia, random sites, even links to their own profile. I feel like I’m rolling my mouse through a minefield. If you do want to start throwing in some links, choose only a few so readers notice them – link to your own Hubs if possible, so you can redirect your reader to your own lower traffic Hubs in particular. If you really have to add links to other people’s Hubs or outside sites, add them at the very bottom of the Hub so people have to read all you have to say, first!
  5. Don’t Stress If You Don’t Get Traffic – Many new Hubbers see a dive in traffic and assume their work is done for. Wrong! It generally takes 6-9 months for quality content to start seeing regular search traffic, and with time that search traffic will begin to share your Hub with their own social circles, increasing your traffic even more. Stop stressing about traffic and go write more content (or do a Hub Challenge). By the time you’re done, you’ll have learnt a lot, and your first Hubs will either be seeing more traffic or you’ll go back and edit them when you realise how bad they really were (yes, I’ve been there!)

 

If you want to read more about everything from white spaces through to using teasers to grab readers, you can check out the full Hub I wrote on common new online writer mistakes.

Topics and the Importance of Proper Hub Categorization

With our ongoing Topic Expansion Initiative, new Topics are constantly being created to address specific niche subjects in overcrowded categories. With the creation of new Topics, it’s more important than ever that Hubs be correctly categorized. Here’s why:

Topic pages are visible to search engines and show up in search results just like individual featured Hubs. Basically, Topic pages are a second opportunity to boost your Hub traffic. By ensuring that your Hubs are published in the most appropriate Topic, you are:

  • Providing a user-friendly experience
  • Making your Hubs easier to find
  • Boosting engagement with your content
  • More accurately addressing the needs of niche searches
  • Ensuring that related Hubs that show up on that Hub are more likely to actually be related

What’s more, if you publish a Hub in a very specific leaf-level page that does not have many other Hubs, you will also have better odds of getting your Hub featured on the first ‘page’ of that Topic Page, which leads to more exposure and readers.

How can I categorize my Hubs as accurately as possible?

You can easily ensure that your Hubs are under the best possible Topic by taking a few moments to review the Hub Topic suggestions in the Hub Tool when you create a new Hub. If none of the Topic suggestions make sense, you can manually select the Topic you think is the better fit or run some searches using related keywords to see if the best-fitting Topic uses a different set of words than those used in your Hub’s title.

Why are the suggestions sometimes wrong?

Our Hub Topic suggestions are created using keywords, which means the suggestions are sometimes inaccurate (occasionally wildly so). For example, if I want to create a skateboarding Hub entitled “How to Do a San Francisco Flip,” our “Search” function for Topic suggestions has no way of knowing that “San Francisco Flip” is the title of a skateboarding move. None of the suggested Topics that show up involve skateboarding.

If I publish my Hub under the suggested Travel and Restaurant Topics, people searching for and viewing those Topic pages are unlikely to read my Hub, since they want to read about San Francisco restaurants and attractions, not skateboarding. But by taking a moment to manually categorize my Hub under the Skateboarding Topic or typing “skateboard” or “skateboarding” into the search box to look for better matches, I am ensuring that users who are looking for skateboarding Hubs will find mine easily:

Does categorization really matter that much?

Yes. You may have written the best carburetor installation Hub of all time, but if it’s categorized under Wire Wrap Jewelry, you’re losing all the readers who land on the Fuel System Topic page looking for Hubs just like yours. Don’t miss out on that audience!

Highlights from HubPages’ SXSW Talk on the Death of Blogging

Thanks to your support, I delivered a talk at SXSW about the death of blogging as a means of gaining and building traction online. Though I unfortunately have no footage or recording of the event, I would love to share the gist of the talk with you.

What does it mean that blogging is dead?

Blogging is not dead as a format; many people still blog, and most successful online personalities have blogs. Blogs make for splendid destinations on personal websites- places over which the author has complete control and can go into greater detail about his or her projects and goings on.

That said, blogs are no longer an effective means of building an audience online. The primary reasons for this include:

  • Blogs not always being the best means of communicating one’s message
  • Blogs not being convenient for online audiences, who have widely varying means of consuming information
  • Blogs not being a ‘sound’ investment if used alone (especially due to their typical lack of search-friendliness and the variability in traffic caused by the Google Panda update)

What, then, must one do to gain traction online these days? One must build an integrated, multi-platform personality. This involves:

  1. Establishing a clear message (or determining what sort of legacy one wants to leave behind)
  2. Getting to know one’s target audience (what they want and worry about, what makes them happy, what their interests are, and where and how they like to consume information online)
  3. Doing what it takes to reach as much of one’s target audience as possible (this involves building an active presence on the platforms that matter most to your audience)

What changed? What should we focus on now?

What changed to make blogging ineffective as a means of gaining traction? Let’s address the shift from the perspective of one’s message, one’s audience, and one’s reach.

The Message

The online world has grown far more complex since the early days of blogging. Back when blogging was new, the internet was more like a frontier village- a place where one could certainly be present, but have to choose between limited options. These days, the internet is more like a hypermodern metropolis. One can do anything, learn anything, and be anything.

This means that we can do more than just share a simple message through a limited format like a blog. We have the ability to build an entire legacy- to not only share content, but to build a career, directly affect others’ lives, start campaigns, and engage in nuanced, active dialogue.

Blogs are simply too limited to be able to carry the creation of a legacy by themselves.

The Audience

In the ‘frontier village’ days of the internet, people knew where to find you. Your blog, much like one of a handful of small houses in a village, could be easily found. As there wasn’t much else going on, people were happy to swing by and hang out in your house.

Now that the internet has modernized into a complex metropolis, a pan-internet culture has formed. People seek entertainment, education, information, money, products, socialization online. As a result, various social hubs (e.g. YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Amazon, etc.) have popped up to accommodate growing demand.

While you might enjoy the comfort and control that comes with interfacing with people inside your own house, people in the big city of the internet simply won’t know your house is there. If you want people to hear your message, you’re going to have to leave your home to frequent your audience’s favorite hangouts: the bars, clubs, restaurants, museums, parks, and libraries of the internet.

Yes, people will still visit your blog as they get to know you, but most of the interactions you have will take place in these social Hubs. For this reason, you must be willing to leave the comfort and control of your comfy online home to be where all the people are.

Reach

Independent blogs had more reach in the early days of blogging because there were fewer houses in the village, as it were. Today, the blogosphere is awash in competition comprised of a plethora of small blogs (covering everything you might imagine) and an impressive number of large, well-known blogs that have built up loyal followings over time.

Because your own blog faces so much competition, it is not likely, by itself, to stand apart from the crowd. Only by entering new platforms with room for growth and unmet demands, plus communicating through platforms (sometimes even other blogs) that see high volumes of social traffic can you effectively reach as many people as possible.

What is the best approach now?

By evolving into a vibrant metropolis that reflects nearly all facets of life, the internet has essentially become another dimension of the real world. In the real world, we do not interface with everyone only through phone calls, or only through house visits; we go all over the place and deliver our message in all sorts of formats.

The same must be done online. We must build integrated, multi-faceted online personalities that span across multiple platforms.

The Message

Before you can create a strong online personality, you must establish your goals. What sort of change do you want to enact? What sort of legacy would you like to leave behind? Your online persona, posts, and actions must reflect, augment, and build upon this legacy.

The Audience

Once you have a message, you need to establish which sort of audience it needs to reach. The more you know about those you would like to reach (what they care about, what they struggle with, what sparks their interest, and most importantly, where and how they like to consume information online), the better you will be at delivering your message.

Reach

Your message, however well-constructed and targeted, will not make much of a difference if it does not reach a large number of people. The final (and perhaps most crucial) aspect of building a strong online persona involves finding and using the channels and platforms through which you can gain the greatest reach.

For many, this involves having a presence on major social media networks (and as it happens, we offer convenient guides to using Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, and Twitter as a Hubber), but the ideal mix is different for everyone. Some audiences don’t use Pinterest/Twitter/Google/Facebook at all.

To really reach those for whom your message is intended, you may have to find small communities through which your audience prefers to interact. Alternately, you might need to establish a relationship with a prestigious blog or publication that your audience really respects.

The right mix of channels and platforms is different for every message and every audience; it is up to you to find the right one. Just keep in mind that the ideal channels will constantly change!

Be a person, not a platform

If you are to come away with one conclusion, it should be this: you must learn to see yourself as a person, not a platform. Do not limit yourself to a particular format just because you are comfortable with it. Be aggressive with your goals and don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone to make a real impact in the world.

We live in an amazing time; one in which the internet can be used to achieve great things. Don’t miss out on that glorious opportunity. 😉

The Perks of the HubPages Earnings Program

Are you signed up for the HubPages Earnings Program? If not, you might want to consider doing so!

Some of the major perks of this earnings option include:

  • Potentially higher earnings (our first group of beta testers earned 50% more from their work)
  • Access to the HubPages Ad Program (responsible for the boost in earnings many Hubbers experience), which features an optimized mix of premium ads from multiple ad partners
  • A lower payout threshold ($50 instead of $100), which enables many Hubbers to enjoy more frequent payouts
  • Multiple HubPages revenue streams paid through one channel (HubPages Earnings Program income includes Ad Program and eBay earnings as well as Apprenticeship Program bonuses and contest winnings)

Though these are compelling benefits, the HubPages Earnings Program is not for those who:

  • Prefer to analyze ad performance through Google Analytics reports
  • Feature AdSense ads on multiple websites and prefer to receive all AdSense earnings through that one channel
  • Are not able to set up PayPal accounts (PayPal is not available in some countries, and is our only means of distributing HubPages Earnings Program payments)

To get a full understanding of how these earnings opportunities work, stop by our official Learning Center guides to the HubPages Ad Program and the HubPages Earnings Program.

We hope you’ll consider signing up (to do so, visit the signup page and follow the step-by-step instructions, which will guide you through submitting tax information and associating a PayPal account).

How to Leave Good Fan Mail

Every time you Follow a Hubber, you have the option to leave him or her some Fan Mail. Fan Mail is one of the clearest ways to share the love on HubPages, as it’s all about highlighting what you love most about the person you have chosen to Follow.

To leave Fan Mail that a fellow Hubber is not likely to forget, we recommend:

  • Explicitly pointing out what you like most about this Hubber
  • Explaining which Hub or Hubs finally inspired you to follow him or her
  • Sharing which subject areas you most enjoy seeing this Hubber explore
  • Suggesting new subjects for the Hubber to cover
  • Mentioning something you and this Hubber have in common
  • Pointing out what it is that makes this Hubber stand apart from the crowd

In addition to boosting another Hubber’s mood for a spell, your Fan Mail has the potential to give someone else the much-needed confidence to publish something truly extraordinary.

We’ve all had moments when we have held our talent back because of a lack of confidence. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone popped out and complimented us in our moments of weakness? By leaving Fan Mail for another person, you might just become that person- and really make a difference.

Because you can only leave Fan Mail once, we recommend taking some time to think about what you would like to say to the Hubber you have Followed before submitting the message. If you are not ready to send Fan Mail right after you Follow someone, don’t worry! You have the option to move on to something else, then return to that person’s Profile to leave Fan Mail when you are ready.

How to Leave Good Comments

When we ask people why they love HubPages and chose this platform over others, they often refer to comments they get from fellow community members. Indeed, leaving insightful, meaningful comments on others’ Hubs is one of the most effective ways to spread the love on HubPages.

Not all comments are created equal. We recommend avoiding comments that are:

  • Short (e.g. “Good Hub.”)
  • Generic (e.g. “You did a great job with this Hub. I really liked it. I hope you keep on writing!”)
  • Self-promotional (e.g. “Great Hub. You should check out my Hub on X”)
  • Rude (this should go without saying)

On the flip side, we love to see comments that:

  • Are detailed
  • Are genuine
  • Refer to specific points in the Hub (e.g. “I had no idea that Blackbeard’s real name was Edward Teach!”)
  • Ask insightful questions (these might help the author improve his or her Hub or provide inspiration for a future Hub)
  • Point out any mistakes that need to be corrected (typically, these comments are accompanied by a “please delete this” note)
  • Add additional points that readers might also appreciate (“What an interesting Hub on the many uses for apply cider vinegar! I have also found that apple cider vinegar is great for red velvet cupcakes.”)

While leaving good comments does take time, it is a great way to make new friends on HubPages (and win over some Followers, too!). Making a point of providing detailed feedback on others’ work can help you read things with a new level of attention and think more critically about what it is that makes a successful Hub so successful. Of course, a great comment can also make a Hubber’s day- who wouldn’t want to pass up the opportunity to do that?

Participating in the Weekly Topic Inspiration Program

On HubPages, we’re all about giving as much as you get, which is why Weekly Topic Inspiration is such a fun way to spread the love in our community. This weekly challenge is all about sharing and getting feedback on your work- as well as constructively critiquing the work of others.

Weekly Topic Inspiration involves the selection of a new theme each week- one on which Hubbers are encouraged to write. Throughout the week, Hubbers post their Hubs as Answers to the Weekly Topic Inspiration Question and also share them in the week’s official forum (the current theme’s thread is always stickied).

By sharing your Hub in the thread, you can get valuable feedback on your work- as well as encouragement. You can also lend other Hubbers a hand by providing them with feedback on their own work and offering some suggestions on how they might make it even better.

We even provide search-friendly title ideas for those who would like an extra push. 🙂

If you’re looking for something to write about or hoping to make some new friends on HubPages, Weekly Topic Inspiration is a great place to start!

Helping HubPages’ Rising Stars

Many discover talented new Hubbers by chance, but by keeping tabs on each week’s Rising Stars, you can find our best new members in a jiffy.

The Rising Star Program on HubPages nominates eighteen Hubs each week, which are selected from three different Topics. These Hubs are showcased on their native Topic Pages for five days in special carousels, which invite visitors to vote for their favorites. The three Hubs from each Topic at the end of each week that win the most votes win their authors Rising Star Accolades, and are also featured in our weekly HubPages Newsletter (weekly winners are also announced on Wednesdays in the Forums).

By keeping tabs on each week’s new winners, you can discover which up-and-coming Hubbers are most worth watching. You can also spread the love and make these new Hubbers feel more welcome. Just drop by their Hubs and congratulating them on their accomplishment! 🙂