Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it." ~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Marketing for Insecure Writers

Today we have Jim Bronyaur, author of thrillers The Devil's Weekend and In the Corner  talking about MARKETING. Yes, like it or not, it's that thing we have do as authors. 

But since this is the first Wednesday of the month, the theme is ANXIETY and INSECURE AUTHORS, right? We need tips to make us feel less insecure about the biggest task facing us after we publish our books-- MARKETING and PROMOTION.  

Take it away, Jim.

Marketing. Okay, I’ll wait for everyone to run or yell or boo at me. *checks watch* Okay, we’re back.

Marketing. Online marketing. Social marketing.

These are all essential tools for yourself, your book, and your platform.

The first thing you need to do is understand that your book is a product. And you, as the person selling that product, are indeed a business owner. Your business is to sell your product, your book. This right off the bat is where some people fail. You need to see the big picture of the product and the business and find a plan that works for you.

So, you have your product, your book, and now you want to market it.

Good luck!

Traditional marketing holds its own ground, but not for books and authors. I dare you to tell me without looking what the last four sidebar ads you saw on Facebook were. I bet you can’t. Because we’ve grown accustomed to ads. They are on pages, newspapers, even on the glass of the rink on a NHL hockey game!

So to market your book, you must do so in a way that’s new, different, and effective.

Personally, and as I’ve said before, the best marketing plan is to have another book in the works, ready to sell. The more you have out there is the more you can sell. The law of numbers is actually on our side as authors. Embrace it.

Good marketing means you’re real. You’re human.

This is why Twitter is popular. You have 140 characters to share a message, and no, that doesn’t link up every ten seconds. Please don’t pester everyone with your links, over and over. I personally tell myself I’ll Tweet my book maybe once a day, maybe.

So, without linking your book, how does Twitter help?

Twitter is a giant network.

You can find people to talk to. People who you can network with, share ideas with, and find new avenues of selling books with. You can join in on conversations via hashtags such as #amwriting. For those not familiar with hashtags, these are search items on Twitter. For example, if I put in #amwriting and search it on Twitter, anyone who has tweeted that hashtag will show. This allows me to engage in conversations and find potential new people to follow and new followers.

Another trick with Twitter is to use hashtags around your book, without being pushy.

I may Tweet something like this… “Current review for my #horror #thriller #ebook available on #kindle…”

All those hashtags can help me.

Another place to be is KindleBoards. Here you will find a community of authors with open arms. They share ideas, thoughts, history, and numbers.
Yes, numbers.

On KB, every month people will share their sales for the previous month. They will go into detail, discuss why the books sold may have risen or lowered. And I’m talking some heavy hitters here… people who sell twenty thousand books a month! And they are willing to share their advice and what they’ve done to get to that point.

How does that help you market?

You’re networking. You’re talking to new people, finding new places. That’s what marketing is all about.

I’ve gotten several interviews and guest posts and traffic to my blog and books from KB. Authors will hold contests and events, looking for other authors to help.

A perfect example… coming in October, I have a month long blog tour going on with several other writers I met on KB. We are all promoting each other’s books on different dates, etc.

Now, here’s possibly the best marketing plan out there… don’t market yourself.

I’ll say it again.

Don’t market yourself.

That’s right, don’t market yourself.

What does that mean?

That means just be there.

Be in the moment, in the now of writing and publishing.

Establish a blog that provides something that people want. I struggled with this for years until I finally started one. I decided to use my financial background to help analyze things. One of my firsts posts was the explaination of why Borders closed. The post still gets dozens of hits a week. I went out and tracked down other writers and brought them to my blog to talk about selling books.

I gave people a reason to come to my blog.

And yes, on my blog are links to my books, but the blog is not about my books.
I’m also active on Twitter using the hashtags (like I said above). I talk about books, publishing, and basically give people a sense of who I am, why I write, and the fact that I know what I’m talking about.

That’s my marketing plan.

I want to talk to everyone about books. I want to learn, I want to teach, and I want to enjoy.

Face it, you all know I’m a writer. So instead of trying to shove my totally awesome kick butt horror novels on you, I’m going to share everything I know about publishing. I’m going to be personable, real. I’m going to be someone you trust, and hopefully someone you enjoy to read… so once you’re done with this guest post, and my other posts, you’ll be ready to head over to Amazon and buy my book.
And that is new marketing.

So, remember, if you want to market your book… don’t.

But no seriously, like I said, posting your book on ads doesn’t work. Not anymore. You have to be face of your book, your product. You have to be out there, talking, posting, and being a human.

This is publishing, and it’s a business.

Thank you, Jim, this post was packed full of helpful information. Just like your blog! Anyone who hasn't been there, definitely go check it out. And guess where I met Jim and invited him to be a guest on my blog? Yep, Twitter!

35 comments:

  1. Wow, I don't use twitter a lot but these are some awesome tips.

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  2. Great tips! Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us all.

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  3. This is a fabulous blog post. Being out there without being in your face. Great advice.

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  4. Great post, Jim. I love love LOVE Twitter!

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  5. Sounds like I need to use more #hashtags in my tweets! I like you used your financial acumen to write a post that people want to read. I've never been to Kindle Boards before. Thanks for the info!

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  6. Such a great post. Gives me lots to think about. ;)

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  7. This is awesome, great advice! Thank you for sharing Jim! (And KB is an amazing place...which reminds me I need to pop over!)

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  8. Kindle Boards is the one place I've not explored. I think I went once and it was just everyone hawking their books so I got off without really getting into it.

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  9. You're right on all these marketing points, but I think there's one thing authors forget "who they're selling their books to."

    I'll blog about it over on Bang Out the Prose.

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  10. Jim, I like and agree with your philosophy. As one who has spent most of his life in management, sales, and promotion, I know the importance of innovative promotion. I still haven't gotten into Twitter and this is the first I've heard of KindleBoards--I'll have to keep those in mind for future reference. Relationships have always been an important factor in maintaining customer loyalty, but now more than ever with all of the social media opportunities.


    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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  11. Great advice, Jim! Nobody likes to be force-fed a steady diet of "Buy my book!"

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  12. Thanks Karen, for having a blog that consistently gives such interesting and relevant writing info!
    I love the marketing philosophy, Jim, and am off to read your blog (& maybe even buy one of your books, effective marketing or what?)

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  13. "If you want to market your book . . . don't." That's actually really great advice. Thanks for this post Karen, it taught me quite a bit.BTW- you should make it a stickie on the side of your blog.

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  14. Hi Karen, This is Pat.
    I'm having big problems commenting. On some blogs it seems I can only do it without a name.

    This was a good and interesting post. Now, if I could only get that darn book done!

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  15. Still haven't figured out the Twitter thing. And while I have the groove of my blog down pat, I probably sell myself more than my books. In fact, I know I do. So far it's working though...

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  16. Love that---don't market your book. Imposing myself onto people isn't me and it's sooo difficult, but being myself, that's easy. :) Thanks for the Twitter tips. I'm like Alex, haven't quite glommed onto Twitter yet.

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  17. Thanks for the marketing advice! :) Great post.

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  18. Such a great post! Love visiting your blog!

    Lola x
    http://lola-x.blogspot.com

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  19. Fantastic tips. I do agree that promoting others works a hundred times better than promoting self.

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  20. one writer on one of the panels at bouchercon gave similar advice... he said stop worrying about your amazon rankings and focus on the next book! the rest will come
    good post

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  21. Such helpful stuff, thank you Karen and Jim!

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  22. Great advice. I didn't know about the Kindle boards. I'm going to go check them out! Thanks.

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  23. I agree with all of this. The majority of the books I hear about (and more importantly, want to read) are through blogs and other social networking sites.

    But I think there is a place for book touring. You never know when someone will write a blog post about seeing you on tour. I know I've written several blog posts after meeting people in person. So even if the day doesn't generate stellar sales, the reach could be farther.

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  24. I think this is a fantastic post that captures the heart of social marketing. It's the whole luck = preparation + opportunity formula. Be there and be ready when it happens. Great advice~ :o) <3

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  25. Thanks Jim for all you sound advice.

    Thanks for hosting him Karen...

    I don't use Twitter that often, preferring to blog. I might have to change my thinking on this and spend some time each day on Twitter.

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  26. Smart advice. My blog focuses on book publishing and promoting, with the occasional LOL Cat thrown in for good measure.

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  27. Kindle Boards...that is a new one on me. I still haven't got the hang of Google+. Very slow in coming to terms with and feeling comfortable with any new social media.
    Enjoyed the post Karen and Jim. Wonderful down to earth advice.

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  28. Great article, Jim. You're so right that a direct pitch doesn't work. Getting to know people and taking an interest in them does. I have to get more active on Kindle Boards.

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  29. Eek *scurryies under a rock* Marketing is a scary subject. There is so much more an author has to know and handle themselves these days; its not just writing the book.

    I'll have to admit I'm lacking in that department.

    I like your plan, Jim, of not pushing your novels in every post. I've stopped following blogs after the writer has inde published, and every post seems to be about how awesome a writer the person is, and how well - or not well - the sales are going.

    The publishing world today is a difficult place to navigate. The big houses only publish known authors; and its not like you "get to know" an author when you're standing in the aisle at a B & N or other bookstore reading book titles to find something new to interest you.

    So while I agree that NOT pushing your book on your blog is sound advice, I understand the compulsion. It's not our Granddad's publishing world out there; times have changed.

    ......dhole

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  30. Thanks Jim (and Karen!)
    That was a great post! And you're so right, we become immune to ads, esp when everything is an ad, or an ad for a writer friend, but we dont (I hope)become immune to people, or to connecting over a shared love of writing, and books.

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  31. There's a LOT to take into consideration and ways to appeal to potential readers. Thanks for the great tips!



    ♥.•*¨Elizabeth¨*•.♥

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  32. Great guest post. All us insecure writers need all the tools we can get :-)

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  33. Great advice, thanks. I'm still kinda insecure though ...

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  34. Very useful! Thanks for having guested (new word?)
    Probably not, but I am going to leave it there as a clue to how good you were at wiping away the wee bits of insecurity that were hanging around my head. I'm smiling....

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  35. Wow, you are all SO very awesome! Thank you for the amazing comments here. I'll be following up with some blog posts in the next week... I'm working on some Twitter posts, and more about social networking (because sometimes too much can be BAD).

    Thank you for reading, and for stopping over to my blog too.

    I'll be back here soon, no worries! :)

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