Tag | author
If you’re thinking about going the book or author promotion on your own you might want to think about what some of the causes are for ineffective marketing. There are many resources available that will tell you all of the right things to do, but there are only a handful that highlight what not to do. Before you begin launching your strategy take a quick moment to read up on what can potentially hinder your success.
Not Knowing Your Audience & Your Budget
Marketing your book or yourself isn’t a hobby and it’s not something that just ‘add water’ to and then sit back and watch the magic. You need to have an understanding of who your target market is and what type of funding you have available to reach them. If you don’t determine where your audience is it will be difficult to know how to allocate dollars and create a spend forecast with enough longevity to make an impact with them.
Lack of Ambition & Commitment
As mentioned earlier marketing your novel and yourself means that you must be prepared to work and work hard. Many authors and speakers fail to register as a blip on the radar because they aren’t stepping up and building relationships, setting up meetings, scheduling events and initiating the activity necessary to generate interest and awareness about their product.
Inability to Understand The Process
Despite having immediate access to the internet and countless free tools, many folks still struggle with how to utilize them properly. It’s one thing to set-up a Facebook Page for you or your book and it’s an entirely different thing to know how to work the Page to your advantage. There are many different communication tactics, as well as applications that need to be executed with thought and purpose. In doing this, you’ll reap bigger and better rewards by connecting with your audience.
Not everyone has the time or the skills required to build out a strategy and maintain, or adjust, it on a constant basis, not to mention measure its outcomes. It can be an overwhelming process for anyone who’s new to the game. Fortunately, professional resources, like Leili McKinley, can help alleviate the burden and provide you with outstanding results.
Squidoo is an excellent and free way to promote yourself as an author, as well as the books that you’ve written. Create by Seth Godin in 2005, Squidoo is a social community that allows users to build lenses, or single online pages, to showcase a particular subject. Squidoo is like having a one-page website that will share images, links and other details on just about anything that you can think that’s worth promoting.
Getting started is easy. Sign-up for a free account and you’re off to the races. Squidoo recognizes that the majority of its audience aren’t tech-savvy and a simple content management system has been implemented to walk you through the ‘lens’ set-up process. If you’re new to the community, it might be in your best interest to take a look at other lenses to get a sense on how they’re used and built. This will make it easier to determine how to create our own.
So, what’s the point of having a Squidoo lens? First, Google loves Squidoo and values it as a highly credible source of content and information. This means that even if your personal website is buried somewhere on page 25 of the Google search engine results pages, you still have an opportunity to nab a piece of the limelight via Squidoo. Most lenses appear in the top 10 of Google searches and that’s a great thing for those of us who are just starting out.
You can build a Squidoo lens for each one of your books and even for yourself and then link them altogether for a collection of lenses that are all about your body of work and expertise. Pretty snazzy. Many authors feature downloadable ebooks, upcoming book signings, future speaking events and other details about where they’ll be and what they’re doing. You can even use your lens to help drive traffic back to your blog and website.
There are plenty of Squidoo resources available to help you get things going. The best sources tend to be from the Squidoo lensmasters themselves. Explore and enjoy.
Facebook Pages are similar to user profiles, but instead they offer a way businesses to showcase their brands, services and products, plus give people an opportunity to connect with them. As an author, having a Facebook Page for your book is a wonderful way to let your readers share feedback, provide praise and engage with you as a writer. Just like it’s important for your book to stand out from others within your genre, knowing how to make your FB Page a cut above the rest is important too.
When people hear the word ‘content’ as it applies to the web, people immediately think that it pertains only to what’s written. However, that’s not entirely accurate. Content actually encompasses quite few things, such as webinars, podcasts, PowerPoints and other various elements. For authors and writers, all of these various pieces can come together to create a substantial marketing presence.
Authors can use content marketing to develop PDF versions of select chapters from their current work, or even upcoming and in progress pieces, and make them available on their website for fans to download. Using available social media strategies like Twitter, forums and other platforms, authors can promote the availability of new content.
Beyond promoting their current books, authors can also develop content that can be positioned as a resource for other struggling novelists and writers. If you’re an author that has had great success in getting your book published my a major firm you might consider putting together an e-book that passes on your knowledge and experience to other writers. You’ll position yourself as someone who’s willing to help and who has hands-on experience. People value and respect both of these characteristics.
As an author, try to keep your content marketing efforts sincere. In other words, don’t get caught up in sounding too much like someone with a sales pitch. Sincerity will take you much further if you introduce your content as something that you feel could actually benefit others.
When you begin creating your content, think about putting it together in much the same way that you would write a book. Get organized, create a plan and begin assembling. Make your content shareable, show that it value, optimize it with keywords and don’t forget to set-up analytics so that you can track how many people are downloading what you’re giving them.
Authors may find that building good content might take some time, but the end-result is well-worth it.
Famous micro-blogging site Twitter is a social networking goldmine. Authors can easily connect with their audience and other key players like media contacts, literary agents and publishers to get the word out on their latest masterpiece. Like any social media tool, authors need to apply some strategy to their Twitter outreach in order to use it effectively.
Find Your Tweeps
Recent stats estimate that nearly 26 million people are using Twitter. Your job as an author is to try an find your niche within the mass. Search for other well-known authors and writers in your genre and follow them. More than likely you’ll begin to build a following of similar individuals who are interested in what you have to share.
Make Your Tweets Relevant
As you’re developing your follower base, make sure to stay on topic when you construct your tweets. Although it may be tempting to give a play-by-play on cooking scrambled eggs for breakfast you’re much better off sticking with book-related tweets. Save the personal aspects for later after you’ve built up a considerable following.
Hashtags are a fantastic way to organize and stream your tweets into a searchable category that people can find and read. Consider creating your own personalized hashtag or using some of the more popular ones like #book, #authors or #mysteries. Try not to use them for every single tweet that you send out so that you don’t appear to spammy. Use them sparingly and for tweets that you want to make a bigger impact with.
Twitter Requires Patience
Unless your last name is Kutcher or Spears, you’re not going to end up with millions of followers overnight. Slow and steady wins the race for the rest of us. Take the time to build relationships and engage in conversations with your followers. Tweeting takes time and dedication. If you’re only sending out a single tweet once every month then you’re not likely to see a rapid increase. Participate daily and stay on topic to reap the benefits of Twitter.
If Twitter is new for you, spend some time following others to get a sense of the flow of conversation and interaction. Once you’re ready, get ready for fun and launch your own account.
Blogging is more popular than ever and despite the fact that the majority of bloggers launch with a bang, many discover that there’s a considerable amount of work and commitment involved to prevent their blogs from fizzling out. If you’re an author, having a blog can be a powerful way to promote yourself and your published work. Here are a few reasons why authors need to jump on the blog bandwagon.
1. Build a cyber sales channel.
Blogs are actually quite flexible in terms of content and functionality. For example, you can integrate e-commerce so that blog readers can purchase books directly from your site. You can tie-in your blog sales outreach to services like Clickbank and even Amazon.
2. Connect with your audience.
You audience is much broader than just readers and fans. Through a blog you can meet publishers, literary agents and other authors to exchange information and build a social network to support your book.
3. Boost book sales.
As an author you have the advantage of never running out of great ideas for blog posts. You can use our book to generate hundreds of topics for posts. Try using an excerpt from you book and expanding upon it, touch on something unique about one of your characters, discuss plot or print out a teaser page to encourage sales. Endless opportunities exist for blogging authors.
4. Become search engine friendly.
The primary search engines, Google, Yahoo! and Bing, continually crawl the web looking for new content that is regularly updated. Every time you submit a post a search engine bot will come along and index it on the internet. That makes you more searchable and increases your exposure. People will have an easier time finding you and connecting with the material that you’re producing.
5. Develop conversations with readers.
Blogs aren’t a one-way street. Commenting systems enable readers to share feedback and thoughts and regardless of whether they’re positive or negative, participating in a dialogue is an excellent way to learn how to improve and expand on things that are disliked or favored.
If you don’t have a blog, there’s no time like the present to start one today. Give your fingers a run for the money and start typing.
Using a press release to alert the media, bloggers and the search engines about business news and happenings is a fantastic way to drum up some interest and exposure. The thing about press releases is that their content is structured very differently from a blog post or article. By following a few simple guidelines you’ll be able to create a solid press release that can work to your advantage.
For all the authors out there this next mention will sound familiar. Just like a query letter, your press release needs to have a great headline. The purpose is to hook the interest of the reader, but also be succinct and direct at the same time. The headline should summarize what the press release about, but be catchy enough to entice further reading. Important: don’t include jargon or slang in your headline.
When you begin writing the body, or content of your press release, remember to stick to the facts. Press releases should contain a who, what, where, when and why. Additionally, they need to be written in a third-person voice and should be kept free of opinion. Editorializing should be avoided. Think of the release just like a news reporter would approach a story. Personal opinion is pushed aside so that people can make conclusions on their own. This is true with how your present the content in your release.
There are many different press release distribution sites on the Internet. To get a good sense of the style and tone of a release do some browsing on the web. Soon enough you’ll be able to distinguish between good and not so good, plus you’ll get a better understanding of how the components work synergistically to develop an informative piece.
The last part of your press release should be your boilerplate. The boilerplate is standard on every release and once you’ve written yours you will use it on all your releases going forward. It should contain a four to five sentences about who you are, your website and any other relevant information, such as a social media address or blog site. Boilerplates aren’t fancy, they simply summarize who the press release pertains to.
Visit corporate newsrooms to see good press release examples and to get inspired to write your own.
After all your hard work you’ve finally completed your official manuscript. The big question, “Great, now what?” Well, you have two options to choose from. The first is the do it yourself method and self-publish and the second is to cast your line and hook a literary agent. For the purposes of this blog post, we’ll be looking at the latter.
The best way to get an agent is to start thinking like one. Literary agents get thousands of manuscripts every week. The vast majority are delivered without a request and as a result, many of them are shelved for review sometime later, if at all. Keeping your manuscript out of the dust pile means networking with agents and introducing yourself first so that when they ‘invite’ you to submit your manuscript it’s because they truly want to read it and they’re expecting it.
Networking with agents is much easier today that it was in the past thanks to technology. Find out the names of the agents that you’d like to pursue and connect with them through social media. Support them on Twitter and ‘like’ them on Facebook. Interact with short, brief dialogues, but don’t make them about you or your sales pitch just yet. Once you’ve built some momentum, indicate that you’d enjoy sharing your author’s resume for consideration and review. With a little luck, you’ll have an invite to share more.
If social media networking seem a bit tedious try joining a writer’s group or even attending workshops with other published authors. Connecting with other published authors, and editors, is a good way to build relationships and even request permission to name drop. Agents are much more receptive to people who are in the know with their clients than perfect strangers.
Take the time to investigate how each agent prefers to be approached. Just because a one person enjoys receiving an unbound printed manuscript with a business card stapled to the front doesn’t mean that they all do. Doing your home work shows that you’re professional and that you’re following guideline and protocols that agents have put in place for a reason. This will set you apart from the flood of others who haphazardly submit without a thought. In this business, having a leg up is vital and rising above your competition can be just the ticket that you need to succeed.
Because so many authors are self-publishing these days, many of them don’t have the luxury or access to a publisher’s in-house graphic design team. Plus, technology has moved books into an online world and graphics need to be flexible enough to upload and post on the web, as well as appear in print. So if you’re getting ready to tackle the design of your book cover consider some of these tips below to make the process simpler.
Your book cover should appeal to your audience’s interests, reading levels and background. Knowing what they want or what grabs them can help you determine how to present your layout and deliver the message on your cover.
Make absolutely certain that you’re using high-quality and high-resolution images in your design. You want your artwork to look clear and crisp regardless of it’s size. If you take shortcuts with your images you can potentially end up with pixelated and fuzzy graphics.
If you’re an author, chances are that you’ve written more than one book or that you’ll be writing more than one book. For this reason, think about creating a theme in the designs that you build and look at ways to tie the aesthetics of your publications together. Even though your books may be about completely different subjects, your theme can bring a cohesive feel to them that lets readers identify with you as an author of the work.
The choice of font that you incorporate into your cover can play a major role in giving the reader a tease about its contents. Use a script font to show off a feminine theme or an angled serif to create an Asian feel. The rule here is don’t flood the cover with too many different fonts and keep it legible. You don’t want people de-cyphering what your cover says.
Instead of coming up with just one great design, try to develop a group of three or four. Once you’ve got them laid out you can share them with others to get honest opinions about what they prefer and why. Although friends and family might seem like an obvious choice try hitting up strangers and conducting your own poll. It’s a great way to learn about what works and what doesn’t.
The advent of the web has completely revolutionized the way that books are printed, published, promoted and sold. Technology has made each of these components more accessible for the average person to use and benefit from. Instead of relying upon a publisher many authors now have the ability to do it all on their own and for a fraction of the price.
Let’s take a look at printing. Print-on-demand (POD) is a process where authors are able to upload a print-ready file to a POD publisher and when an order arrives for your book, the book is printed on the spot and delivered to your customer. Much cheaper than batch printing which include inventory storage and shipping costs. Another plus to POD publishing is that you’re not limited to just one. Use a group to determine the most affordable for you.
POD publishing transfers easily to large online retailers like Amazon.com and BN.com. As an author you can create your own page on these sites and as orders are requested you can have them fulfilled via your POD group. The general public will never know the difference and it gives writers a tremendous amount of control over the production of their books. Furthermore, you can also sell and promote through ClickBank, Kindle and on iPhone’s Smashwords – all are excellent tools and purchase points to boost your sales.
There’s been a lot said about promoting your book, but with web 2.0 the empowerment for authors continues. Instead of traditional book-signings and tours, writers can engage readers through podcasts, blogs, Google Book Search and social media. No matter how you slice it, promoting your book using various online tools and resources is a sure fire way to boost sales and build awareness about what you’ve written. That equates to exposure and more revenue for you.
In a nutshell, think of web 2.0 as a term that describes how writers can become more self-sufficient. Being able to do things on your own shouldn’t be viewed as a burden, but as a way to guide readers to your book and keep them engaged beyond the writing.