There is one magic trick for marketing your books (or blog or brand or self)…
What’s that you protest? Everyone else tells you “there’s no magic trick to successful marketing?” Yep, I’ve heard that too. Don’t believe them, they’re wrong.
There is one magic trick to marketing and it is this…
Don’t spread yourself too thinly.
Right, off you trot and get on with it.
Actually, woah, hang on… before you go, allow me to elaborate…
Go on, admit it – I had you at “kitten” didn’t I?
I see an awful lot of posts from indie writers complaining that they simply don’t have time to market themselves and their writing on social media. An awful lot. What with the demands of a ‘real life’ and the time we need to dedicate to writing whatever it is we’re trying to publicise, there just aren’t enough hours in the day.
And let’s be honest, there’s no point in spending all your time on marketing if it leaves you with nothing to market. I’m no economics expert (a lucky ‘C’ in O-Level maths in fact) but even I can see that the laws of supply-and-demand demand that there’s at least some supply.
And that’s where the kitten comes in.
Yes. You do. That was very nearly the most concise blog post in the history of blog posts. Until I decided it might be more helpful to elucidate a little… If you aim to self-publish then absolutely yes, you should maintain a blog or a website. To be frank, even if you’re heading down the traditional publishing route, you’d be well-advised to set one up. Major publishers no longer spend the time and money promoting poor starving authors like they used to and you’ll find yourself doing much of your own audience-building. Or else standing on street corners with a sandwich board. Now, I know many of you reading this have already carpe’d the diem and set up highly successful blogs, so please bear with me (or toddle off and entertain yourselves for a bit). If you’re amongst those, however, who are still pondering “but why do I need a blog?” I shall endeavour to explain. Continue reading
It is time for me to confess. I can hide my guilty secret behind a curtain of self-denial no longer.
I am enamoured with Google Plus. In fact, I may go out and get drunk and have “I heart Google+” tattooed on my bicep.
Now settle down, calm yourselves, please don’t carry on so! Allow me to explain before judging me, if you would.
Don’t Believe The Rumours
For a long time I, like many others, avoided Google+, believing the rumours that its user base consisted entirely of Google employees, a handful of early adopters and several sociopathically vain bon-vivants who could no more let a new social media vehicle pass untested than permit a bandwagon to roll by un-jumped-upon.
Then I saw the light…
Embed from Getty Images
Those very generous people at Getty Images have just done us bloggers a massive favour.
Now, we all know that adding images to a blog post increases engagement. What’s that? You didn’t? There’s always one. OK, let’s backtrack to step one for any latecomers – adding images to a blog post increases engagement.
As a species, we’re pre-conditioned to respond to visual stimuli which help us add context to our environment. If those visual stimuli include kittens, our responsiveness increases dramatically. There’s almost certainly some research which bears that out but, to be honest, I was too busy going “awwwww” at pictures of kittens to hunt it down.
Debate rages as to whether up-and-coming authors (yep, that’s us!) should set up Facebook pages as part of their marketing and promotion strategy.
Until very recently, I would have said yes, they definitely should; spread oneself as widely as possible in order to reach the largest and most diverse audience possible. Then Facebook went and changed their algorithms and I changed my mind.
Tut-tut Facebook, go to your room immediately!
The Author As A Brand (Oh Yes You Are…)
It’s now vastly more difficult for small brands – and yes, you ARE a brand – to gain visibility and thereby increase the number of their fans. This is because Facebook now prioritises content posted by the people who users interact and engage with the most.
OK, even I had to read that 3 times before I got it, and I wrote it. So let’s have a look at what this means, with the help of a very pertinent example.
OK, so here’s the thing about marketing yourself as a writer on the interwebz.
It’s bloody hard work.
Hemingway famously said:
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
And he never had to use Twitter.
So Who Made You The Expert Then?
“Ah yes,” you may be thinking sagely, “but just who are you, young whippersnapper, to deign to tell me how to promote myself or my novel online? What makes you such a guru eh?”
Anyone with eyes or friends can hardly have failed to notice that this week marks Facebook’s 10th birthday.
If you’re anything like me (and I do hope you are, you lucky people you) then your timelines will have been inundated with My Facebook films. If, at this point, you’re asking “what’s Facebook and what’s a timeline?” then your Author Marketing Plan is #failing #abysmally. Much like hashtags on Facebook really.
One ring to bind them
Yes, this week we’re all awash in personal lookbacks over the past however many years we’ve been sharing our lives online. Top-rated photos, most-liked posts and sundry other reminiscences all rolled up into a one-minute-five-second film encapsulating what FB regards as our most notable assets.
So, I hear you wondering aloud, what has any of this got to do with writing?
Image courtesy of ‘gallure’ at stock.xchng
I have just had my very first guest post published! It’s The Big Time for me all the way from here on in my loyal readership – hoorah!!
The very smart and very talented Larissa and Casey over at the Megaphone Society asked me to contribute a piece to their Blogging Best Practice series. The post covers topics ranging from how to make your blog catch a new reader’s attention, to ensuring that you keep your existing audience engaged and loyal. And numerous points in-between.
Needless to say, I’m highly chuffed, as they surely wouldn’t be asking me if they thought my blog was as useful as a badger in a bag would they?
Each top-notch bloggers in their own right, L & C formed the Megaphone Society to help like-minded writers spread the word about each other’s work. A jolly fine enterprise I say and all power to their quartet of combined elbows.
Pop on over and have a read when you get a moment. That’s not to suggest that you aren’t already blogging blooming brilliantly, but there may be one or two tips in there that make you go “Oooh, that’s a splendid idea!”
Or even “Oooh, I need to employ this man as a full-time writer, paying him lavish sums of cash, endowing him with fabulous gifts and generally making all his dreams of escaping the 9-to-5 rat race come true.”
Either works for me.