i wrote a book – now what? 3 of 3

i wrote a book – now what? 3 of 3
rusty huber
09.08.2015

An Author’s Guide to the Web and Marketing (Part 3 of 3)

Marketing & PR

Marketing and PR (public relations) are two distinct yet related aspects of your business. Marketing is the aggregate efforts you make in advertising your book. This will include paid ads, promotions, special offers, and some part or your social  networking. Marketing is all about getting your product in front of a customer and closing the sale. Public Relations is any outreach that you make to the public, including your press kit/press releases, in-person networking like book signings or appearances, podcasts and radio shows, and any other outbound awareness-raising efforts.

Marketing Assets

Your marketing assets will include everything from the book itself, your website, your blog/vlog, social media profiles, your press kit/press releases, business cards, flyers, stickers, other people, or any other thing or idea that you have in your Marketing and PR arsenal.

Website

Websites have become a mandatory asset for any business, regardless of the industry, location, or target demographic. Due to its ubiquity and utility, the web and digital content have nearly replaced entirely the need for traditional printed assets like resumes, portfolios, catalogs, and press kits.

At the very minimum, every writer should have a webpage that contains their bio, a list of works, any relevant press or media, contact information, and a headshot. This content can easily be integrated into any platform containing your webstore, especially if you are using WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, or a similar content management system/template builder.

Aside from providing basic information about you and your work, your website needs to be the central hub of your overall web presence and marketing efforts. Every single point of interaction with a potential reader/customer needs to direct to your website, which will then drive them to a sale through your webstore or a link to your products on Amazon, iBooks, et cetera. An effective website is one that converts traffic into sales – so make sure you have plenty of engaging content geared towards capturing the interest of your potential reader.

Even if you are selling exclusively through Amazon or other major distributors, it is recommended that you have some form of website. There are so many routes one could take towards this end, that it would be impossible to summarize effectively, but to restate from the Webstore section of this handout:

In general, the best option is owning your own website – which involves acquiring a domain name and hosting service (web address and server space) and setting up a content system to live there. Services like GoDaddy and BlueHost are leading providers of domain and hosting services, but you should consult with an experienced developer or thorough tutorial before deciding on a domain name and hosting plan. That said, online services such as Wix and Squarespace make it very easy for novices to get a professional web presence without support, but it does come with a monthly cost depending on features you choose.

Blog

As a writer, you are in a unique position to make the most of this very useful tool to promote your book! You can (and should) use your blog to publish teaser chapters from your book, explanatory essays, reviews by reviewers, any press coverage you receive and offer bonus content not included in the book. All of these will be hosted on your website and searchable (findable by people searching for content like yours), this will also increase your SEO value.

Your blog should be treated like a content engine that supplies power to your digital marketing efforts. By sharing these articles to social media and other blogs in your industry or genre you can drive traffic from your social media profiles to your website. Aside from the obvious benefit of directing your audience towards the purchase of your book, your blog is also a great opportunity to establish authority within your field or niche in a way that is easily propagated through digital mediums, which affects not only your reputation as an author, but the relevance of your website to things like Google, Facebook, and other popular web portals,

Social Media Profiles

Social media plays a very big part in not only spreading awareness about new brands, but also in facilitating and reinforcing your personal relationships with potential and current fans. You will want to use as many as you are able to reliably keep up with. Having a social media profile languishing in neglect can be much worse in fact than not having an account at all.

Since you are a writer, you should consider starting a Tumblr and Reddit account. These are places where people who like to read go to find more substantial content. In contrast, Twitter’s ultra-short character limit may not be the best place to market your book, even though it is a very popular website/app. Your time would be best spent elsewhere unless you already have a large followship on Twitter or are using it as a way of reaching out to a particular individual or organization.

Similarly, Instagram is a picture based social media site. Depending on the genre of your work, you might have a tough time staying relevant while promoting your book through visual media. However, if your book is about the rainforests of Africa you could post a new picture of an animal or plant, some indigenous food, or any number of other very visually appealing and relevant eye-candy every day of several times a day if you wanted to.

If the internet were a place Facebook would be the largest country in the world. (Huffington Post)

In Facebook specifically there are two kinds of accounts that you can use: Profiles, and Pages. You must be a human being in order to have a profile. You cannot be a business or organization. If you are an organization or company, you need to make a Page for your business. The two are related because you cannot manage a Page for a business without first having a Profile for yourself. Additionally you must add someone as a friend to your profile BEFORE you can invite them to like your Page as a business.

You should get in the habit of friend requesting anyone and everyone you currently know and then start on reaching out to their friends. But don’t go on a clicking spree – Facebook will punish you if you think you are just trying to get the most friends possible. Periodically convert these friends into fans/customers by inviting them to like your Page. You can and should create a page for yourself as an author, as well a a Page just for the book itself.

You will eventually want to take advantage of Facebook’s Boost Post feature to extend the reach of your content and promotions beyond your own network. This can be a very technical process, so develop a good foundation first by sticking to the basics.

Network

Cliche as it is – being successful is more who you know than what you know. Any successful marketing efforts are centered around the establishment, development, and management of a network of individuals, groups, and communities. Your network is everyone you have ever known plus their friends too. It already exists, just waiting for you to use.

Friends & Family

It may feel uncomfortable, at first, to start inviting your friends and family to perceive and address you as a professional, but you need to start where you are. The people who know and love you will never mind you asking them to support your in realizing success with your written work. You should be connected to every single actual person you know in real life online.

Be careful to use privacy settings (for example the designation “acquaintance” or. “friend” in Facebook) to keep your work/life boundaries, so there is no excuse not to add everyone you know and invite them to like your page. All your past colleagues and professors, employers and employees, your mailman and mechanic should be in your network and know that you have written a book. .

Tastemakers/Thought Leaders

Every genre or niche area of interest has identifiable leaders and trendsetters that guide the movement the industry or scene over time. If you can get their attention, the rest of your audience will be soon to follow. Start a list of everyone important and relevant to your work and start the time-intensive process of infiltrating their network and getting their interest.

In addition to the obvious actions, like Following, Friending, and Liking, start analyzing their stream of posts for areas of overlap and craft plan for engagement. The point is to get in on the conversation, contributing to it in a meaningful way, and establishing yourself as a relevant voice within it. There are no short cuts or tricks to this process – just roll up your sleeves and get to work. You will know it’s working when it starts to seem fun.

Also, make sure to reach out to fans of these tastemakers as well as similar authors on an individual and meaningful level. Don’t be shy to let someone know that you think they would like your work too!

Online Communities

As with the trendsetters you identify within your genre, start a list of online groups or communities that are active on social media. Book clubs, coffeehouses, fan clubs, and groups of all sorts can be found with some clever searching and snooping. Apply the same tactics described above to reach out to these new networks and add them to your own. You may find that one group of die-hard genre fans that grows into an army of readers.

Events

Organizing events in your area can be one of the best ways to organically increase your audience. Meetups are a good place to start. Book clubs, in-store appearances, signings, and readings can all help you to get real fans of your work who are very likely to share your book with their friends because the met the author. Getting yourself onto a podcast or radio show about literature or about authors is another great way to expose your work to new and enthusiastic audiences. College radio and public radio stations almost always have a literature hour and there are many internet podcasts about pretty much everything these day so reach out and send them your press kit (a link to your website) and offer to come by and do an interview.

All of the other work you’ve put in establishing yourself on the web is what gives you the clout to go ahead and ask for these things – so don’t be shy. Although, it can sometime be useful to have fictional manager that can reach out on your behalf.

Interaction Cycle

Social media is all about staying current. Post on a regular basis about relevant things. Keep interaction with important people up on a regular basis and always be sure to respond to comments, notes, questions, and feedback. If you like something, be sure to hit the like button. Social media sites (especially Facebook) use complicated algorithms to determine what content is relevant to whom. If you don’t stay current, Facebook will notice that you hardly ever post and have low interaction and it will figure out that nobody cares what you say and it will further de-prioritize your content accordingly.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to your followers every time you have a promotional event, a press-released, appearance, book club, or whatever through event pages, shared blog posts, invites, and personal/group messages.

Indentification

Surf around on your social media communities. Look for other authors like you or books like yours. Take note: what communities are they in, who are their top friends and how often do they post, and about what. If they have a high-followship and continuous interaction they are doing something right. Adopt and adapt what is working for them, making it  your own. Look through their feed and see what you can relate to, add to, be an authority on, or otherwise involve yourself in. Be sure to reach out to them directly and become their friend. You should work to develop a actual relationship with this person(s), so be genuine and personalized when you reach out.

Reaching Out

After sending a friend request, most sites will notify you when a connection is made. Be sure to promptly follow up with a private message thanking them for connecting and take the opportunity to find out more about them. This helps a lot, not only in cementing new relationships, but also over time you get to read the pulse of what kind of people actually like your work and cater your posts toward those people.

Every post should contain three things:

1) Some kind of media – this could be a link to your website or your blog, or it could be an image or a video.

2) Your personal message – why are you sharing what you are sharing? Be personable and genuine- or whatever is in character for your voice as an author or the tone of the book.

3) Call to action – Ask for something! It could be simple like: “like if you agree”, “share if you know someone who…”, “leave a note about your _____”, – or, as direct as: “Come to the website and get my book today!”

You will want to vary these three aspects, but they should always be there.

Sharing/Interacting

One of the perks in having search for and selected certain authors, books, and other subjects or figures is that when you go through the feed of your Page you will be able to see what they post and share. So when you see something and say to yourself “Oh that’s perfect for my book, I wish I had posted that!” Well, you can and should. Just share it from their page to yours.

Self-Promotion

There is only one kind of effective self-promotion: shameless. Don’t be afraid to ask people to buy your book! All of the other work you’ve put in getting to know people, interacting with them regularly, and connecting with them on a personal level has been leading up to this point. And now that you have their interest, go a head and tell them what you want from them.

There should be a ratio of about 3:1 – three posts of funny, helpful, free content, with no sales objective to every 1 post where you just blatantly ask for help spreading the word or just out and out ask for the sale.

Remember that your digital marketing strategy is a constant cycle and you should be constantly and methodically expanding your online network in addition to the interaction and promotion.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR READING – IF YOU HAVE ANY ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS OR REQUIRE ASSISTANCE IN ESTABLISHING YOUR SALES AND MARKETING PLATFORM, FEEL FREE TO REACH OUT TO US!

RUSTY HUBER – rusty@manifestcreativestudios.com

BRYAN HARRIS – bryan@manifestcreativestudios.com – 657 204 6973

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