Answering: “What is Paperli?” for Authors

Pro authors ask me: “What IS Paperli (paper.li)? An online newspaper or magazine? If I see myself mentioned in a Twitter link, what should I do?”

Are people sharing your links on Twitter? Here's how Paper.li helps.

Are people sharing your links on Twitter? Here’s how Paper.li helps.

They’re confused even further when they click a Paperli (paper.li) link on Twitter that includes their author Twitter handle, then can’t find where in the paper they were mentioned and why.

So let’s clarify what Paperli (Paper.li) papers are, and aren’t, including:

* how a  paper like this is created, including how editors choose content,

* how to locate a link in a Paperli  to see how and why you were mentioned,

* if, how and when to thank Paperli editors for mentioning you,

* whether or not to Retweet paper.li links on Twitter that mentioned you.

HOW a PAPER.LI PAPER is CREATED

Understand: paper.li is an AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED link collector. It simply collects links posted on Twitter.  The “editor” of the paper (a Twitter user) sets parameters for his or her paper, then lets paper.li do its thing.
For example, my Family Faith and Writing Friday Post is set to automatically collect links I posted on Twitter the previous week on my Twitter page, @LaurieSargent. My goal is to offer a weekly summary of great links I shared. It shows in a newspaper style format, with headlines linking directly to the articles at their original sites.

Editors can control what links are collected in these 3 ways:

1.  Editors can set Paperli  up to  only gather links directly posted on their own Twitter pages, by them.
2. AND/OR: The paper.li site is is given a list of specific Twitter handles to auto-follow and post links from. That means any link that person posts. I, personally, only link my Paperli to a few Twitter handles: literary agents who pretty much always post items of interest to my writing audience.

So, no, author friends: I won’t automatically have Paperli  automatically add all your links to my paper via your Twitter handle. Here’s why: if you are like me, you tweet all sorts of links that may not fit the theme of my paper and my particular audience. My paper would begin to lose focus. HOWEVER, if we are mutual followers on Twitter, and I see great links to your articles, I WILL tweet those links, which WILL end up in my Paperli.

3. AND/OR: The paper editor tells paper.li to automatically find tweets on specific topics, identified by hashtags.  This too much of a wildcard for  me personally, for my own Paperli, unless I can quickly edit out any oddball stuff paper.li picks up for me. I don’t want readers to think I’m endorsing something I’m not. But if I get more active with editing my paper I may add a few hashtags.

Editors also control how often the paper is “published”. I choose weekly, so I can take a few minutes to edit/clean up the paper before it travels too far. Many with daily papers simply can’t keep up with that.

HELP! I SEE I WAS MENTIONED, BUT CAN’T SEE WHERE!

Be sure you are reading the right edition of the paper. If it is a daily paper and the paper.li tweet that mentioned you was from three days ago, go to that day’s edition. Click the Archives link (next to “Read current edition”), then the right date.

Also helpful, once in the correct day’s edition, is to click the ALL ARTICLES or STORIES links. There, the articles appear in list view; you might see your Mention more easily.

Note, authors, that your name may show up in a paper ONLY because you shared a link you found interesting. If the link you shared does not go directly to your website, but instead goes to an article on a different site, that’s where a click will take them to read the article. It will include a note that it was “shared by” you. This can still be nice because readers of the paper may then realize you have a tendency to share interesting stuff, so may click to your Twitter handle (linked to your name in the Shared by). They may then Follow you, and click on your website address in your Twitter bio to read about all your great books.

Just remember that Paperli’s focus is on the article shared, not the author of the tweet. If you see articles about other authors mentioned far more often than you, it’s because those authors are active on Twitter, posting great tweets that multiple people like and want to Retweet. Or they are such interesting people, many folks on twitter are tweeting about them. You can’t force this. Get active on Twitter, interact with others, post great stuff, and Paperli papers are bound to pick up your links naturally.

SHOULD AUTHORS THANK A PAPERLI EDITOR BY HITTING REPLY TO A PAPERLI TWEET?

 Well  . . . remember that tweets from paper.li are auto-generated. You are thanking the editor for something they may not even realized they did. Since my paper is a weekly (always on Fridays), I usually know who I’ve mentioned and why. But many papers are set to default to daily recreation, and even the editors don’t know what appeared what day. I suggest that you DON’T hit Reply on Twitter asking them why you were mentioned unless it’s a close friend. You will simply be making them do what you can do: go to the paper to find out. Honor their time.

HOWEVER: If someone regularly Retweets your links in their Paperli, it’s nice to send them a direct tweet or message, thanking them for getting your name out there so often.

Or if you find a link directly to your website in their Paperli, yes, thank them! ( If you’re smart, in your thank you, say “Thanks, XYZ for mentioning my article (include link) in your Paperli – I appreciate that. Friends, do Follow & visit XYZ (include their website).” The best way to thank someone is to direct others to them.

SHOULD AUTHORS RETWEET PAPER.LI TWEETS THAT MENTIONED THEM?

Maybe . . . if you trust the content of the paper, trust the editor, and think your followers might be interested in many of the articles in that paper. For example, one paper that often mentions me, which frequently contains other articles I like, is FAYL Parenting Ideas.  Retweeting is a nice favor to the editor.  Also, if a bunch of your author pals are also mentioned in the same automated paper.li tweet you are, a Retweet is a nice way to introduce your Twitter followers to them. But I suggest you check the paper first to be sure you truly want to lead your own Followers to that issue of that paper, which may have accidentally picked up a bizarre article via a hashtag.

And yes, do Retweet if the mention of you in the paper connects directly with an article link leading to your site AND you like the rest of the paper’s content. But frankly, it can be laborious to take time to see if my handle @LaurieSargent was in the paper because I shared a link to my own site or elsewhere. So if mentioned somewhere, I am simply grateful, say a prayer of thanks, and let God do His thing to let that Mention of me connect me or help others. I may get to know the editor of the paper, and if we are like-minded, I’ll do what I can to periodically shine the spotlight back on them.

Have you had a positive experience with a paper.li paper? Or have a lingering question about this? Leave a Comment below — I’d love to connect with you.

First name only is fine, and I promise not to send unasked for emails 🙂  But click Subscribe if you do want to keep up with my future posts, which will have lots of tips related to marketing and PR for writers.

Laurie is an author, editor and faith-based marketing coach who helps creative people clarify their work and reach niche audiences via print, broadcast, and social media. Laurie is the author of Delight in Your Child's Design and The Power of Parent-Child Play (Tyndale House Publishers), has contributed chapters to nine other books, and has enjoyed 100+ article sales to publications with an average circulation of 300,000 to one million readers. Radio interviews with Laurie on parenting and writing topics have been aired in 48 U.S. states and abroad.

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One thought on “Answering: “What is Paperli?” for Authors

  1. Additional note on weird auto-posts in Paperli:

    The automated blurb accompanying a link shows the title, first few lines of the article, and a photo from that article’s webpage. It does NOT show the comment in the tweet accompanying that Twitter link. So sometimes an article blurb in Paperli looks weirdly out of context, especially if the image was picked up from another place on the article webpage. (That happens occasionally.) This also means if you post a link to an article you were horrified by, Paperli won’t know that because your comment won’t go along with it. Or maybe just the first few lines of the article Paperli picked up look oddly out of context.

    The day my own paper is published, I do a quick 5 minute edit to remove occasional odd looking or misleading posts. Since I have to wait until after my paper is published to edit it (correct me if I’m wrong), those article links/blurbs sometimes end up in the subscriber email for that edition if in the “Headlines”, but then when the reader clicks through from the email to my Paperli they see the edited version. FYI, you can also move articles around in Edit mode, changing the headlines.