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Archive for February, 2012

Interesting marketing (read, social media) stats authors might find useful

If you’re a metrics junkie, you love numbers and stats. If you’re a book marketer, though you might find statistics boring, they are immensely useful in understanding where your market is and how they want to be touched. The following are some of the more interesting (OK, interesting to me) statistics from a couple recent publications.

NOTE: The following statistics are borrowed from two sources:

HubSpot’s 100 Awesome Marketing Stats, Charts, & Graphs and AdAge’s Book of Tens: Stats That Mattered for Media and Marketing in 2011.  Each cited its own sources in the original material — I have not reproduced those original citations in the following images.

http://adage.com/article/adagestat/stats-mattered-media-marketing-2011/231534/
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http://adage.com/article/adagestat/stats-mattered-media-marketing-2011/231534/
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http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/14416/100-Awesome-Marketing-Stats-Charts-Graphs-Data.aspx
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http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/14416/100-Awesome-Marketing-Stats-Charts-Graphs-Data.aspx
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http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/14416/100-Awesome-Marketing-Stats-Charts-Graphs-Data.aspx
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http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/14416/100-Awesome-Marketing-Stats-Charts-Graphs-Data.aspx
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http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/14416/100-Awesome-Marketing-Stats-Charts-Graphs-Data.aspx
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http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/14416/100-Awesome-Marketing-Stats-Charts-Graphs-Data.aspx
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http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/14416/100-Awesome-Marketing-Stats-Charts-Graphs-Data.aspx
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http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/14416/100-Awesome-Marketing-Stats-Charts-Graphs-Data.aspx
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http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/14416/100-Awesome-Marketing-Stats-Charts-Graphs-Data.aspx
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http://adage.com/article/adagestat/stats-mattered-media-marketing-2011/231534/
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http://adage.com/article/adagestat/stats-mattered-media-marketing-2011/231534/
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OK, that last one is probably more voyeuristic than useful, but you know who you are!

Even if none of these specific statistics speaks to you or your audience, you might want to think about going out to find stats that do apply in your situation. Who are your readers? Where are they? How much have they integrated social media into their lives? Where should you be if you want to connect with them?

Happy researching!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

Visit the Write | Market | Design Facebook page to meet other authors and aspiring authors who have a sincere interest in writing, publishing, and selling the best books they can. And if you need a self-publishing consultant in your corner for anything from advice on structure to developing a marketing strategy, drop us a note at MarcieBrock@WriteMarketDesign.com or give us a call at 602.518.5376!

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Like all tools, social media can backfire

Social media is indeed a fantastic tool for authors, but as with all tools, there are dangers. I am sure that as SBMs* you are way too smart to ever make any of these errors. Nevertheless, anytime I find myself thinkng, “It should go without saying,” I know the lesson most certainly bears repeating. Remember the first rule of social media? The SOCIAL part. Well, some folks seem to forget: errors are made by big companies, individuals, publications – almost all types of users have had their challenges. Read on and learn these lessons well.

USE YOUR COMMON SENSE. First off is a host of errors compiled from 2011. The headline on this should say “Twitter Fails,” as all are incidents in some way related to the microblogging site, but they are good reminders of what NOT to do. From extremely high-profile incidents like Anthony Weiner’s sex scandal to an F-bomb insult that cost New Media Strategies their contract with Chrysler, these are some of the higher-profile incidents from last year.

GET INVOLVED BEFORE THE DAMAGE IS DONE. From smaller companies like Paperchase to behemoths like BP, another mistake participants have made in the social media realm is waiting too long to get involved. Says SocialMediaInfluence.com about a plagiarism incident involving the upscale greeting card retailer: “Paperchase is learning a hard lesson: brands ignore Twitter at their peril. Paperchase is engaging with this community only now, just as a crisis arises.” BP suffered a far worse fate when a wise guy co-opted the Twitter handle @BPGlobalPR. Tongue-in-cheek commentary still rains from this microblogger – truly the last kind of “PR” the oil company could hope for.

OWN UP TO YOUR MISTAKES. In other plagiarism news, TampaBaySocialMedia.com details the wicked response from Cooks Source, a free advertising-supported publication distributed in New England, when they were accused of stealing content from a blogger:

A series of events came to a head concerning Monica Gaudio, a blogger and writer, discovering that an article she had written had been copied wholesale and reprinted in an edition of Cooks Source without her permission. During email conversation with the editor, Judith Griggs, she requested compensation for the copyright violation in the form of an apology (printed and via Facebook) and a $130 donation to the Columbia School of Journalism (roughly $.10/word). Ms. Gaudio, astonished at the reply she received to this request, printed Ms. Griggs’ response on her livejournal:

But honestly Monica, the web is considered “public domain” and you should be happy we just didn’t “lift” your whole article and put someone else’s name on it! It happens a lot, clearly more than you are aware of, especially on college campuses, and the workplace. If you took offence and are unhappy, I am sorry, but you as a professional should know that the article we used written by you was in very bad need of editing, and is much better now than was originally. Now it will work well for your portfolio. For that reason, I have a bit of a difficult time with your requests for monetary gain, albeit for such a fine (and very wealthy!) institution. We put some time into rewrites, you should compensate me! I never charge young writers for advice or rewriting poorly written pieces, and have many who write for me… ALWAYS for free! (excerpted)

Needless to say, DON’T steal other people’s stuff. Secondarily, if you screw up, own it. Trust me, I know how difficult this can be – and it’s only made more so on a ginormous public forum like the World Wide Web. But digging in and justifying your bad behavior is never, ever the answer.

LET BAD REVIEWS LIE. A couple years ago, there was the case of the Scottsdale pizza proprietress and her online war of words with a diner who wrote a less-than-flattering review of her establishment. From a MyFoxPhoenix.com story about the incident:

Among the comments from Joel T’s review about Amy’s pizza: “I took a bite and was immediately underwhelmed.” … “After two small pieces I decided I was wasting my calories and just gave up on it.”

“These people are internet bullies they have nothing to do but sit behind their computer and lie and try to hurt people,” says Amy.

“It was really strange that they chose to lash out at me,” says Joel.

And lash out, Amy did. Writing in response as Amy B. on Yelp she said, “Dear Joel T. it is blatantly obvious to me why you were alone on a Saturday night” and “the pizza was fresh and amazing.”

“If he has freedom of speech so do I!” Amy defends.

“I was just kind of shocked that someone would attack me personally,” says Joel.

The fusillade of internet crossfire between the two triggered a Yelp war from those supporting Amy – and those backing Joel.

It went on for months.

I’m not sure whether the episode harmed Amy’s Baking Company, but it sure did make her look like an idiot. This is just my opinion – but reviewers are entitled to theirs. She might have thought the pizza was amazing, but for whatever reason, Joel did not agree. It’s unreasonable to believe that everyone’s going to like her pizza – just as it is unlikely that everyone will like your book. Even the best books receive 1-star reviews on Amazon. Some are from cranks, of course, and others are from those who simply hold another point of view. If most of your reviews are positive, let the negative ones go. If the majority of your reviews are negative, it could seriously indicate some room for improvement.

DON’T WRITE/POST FAKE REVIEWS. Evidently, bad reviews don’t originate only with dissatisfied customers. This incident is a bit older (five years ago – eons in the lifetime of social media). MediaPost.com details the story of the CEO of Whole Foods who was discovered anonymously posting fake bad reviews of his competition. Really, John Mackey? Need we say more? Don’t write fake reviews! In a related move, the FCC passed a law several years ago requiring those who use online testimonials (a form of review) to notify site visitors when reviewers had been in any way compensated for the review. This means that if you give a free book to a reviewer – they must mention that fact in the review.

DON’T INSINUATE YOURSELF INTO A MEDIUM THAT’S NOT FOR YOU. The University of Orgeon’s Strategic Social Media shares the story of retail magnate Walmart’s attempt to crash the Facebook party back in 2007. Part of the reason for their failure had to do with poor planning. Other problems included trying to be something they weren’t (mimicking their rival, Target) and trying to force themselves onto a platform that didn’t suit them. This could be a valuable lesson for you. Just because one author sees significant success with a particular social media channel does not ensure that you will see the same results. As we’ve mentioned previously, find the one(s) that work for you. Don’t try to be all things to all people.

GIVE YOUR FOLLOWERS WHAT THEY WANT. I’ll wind up with another catchall story by HypeBot.com about five social media fails by musicians. Though I don’t necessarily agree across the board, I do like their opening remarks:

Artists have myriad possibilities when it comes to social networking. The way these are utilized is often woefully misguided, and as a result artists become their own worst enemy.

Musicians often fail to realize that potential fans are not interested in what your music means to you; they are only interested in what your music means to them. Similarly this approach should be taken with you status updates. You need to ask yourself, “Why would anyone care about what I am about to say?” Just because you want the world to know doesn’t mean the world actually wants to know.

HypeBot’s list of musicians’ social media fails:

  1. Putting too much focus on Twitter
  2. The lame question
  3. ME, ME, ME
  4. The overly positive 
  5. Posting quotes from famous people

Social media can and will work for you, provided you are smart, creative, interactive, and avoid the obvious and not-so-obvious landmines. Use your best instincts and you will likely do well.

MARCIE

*Savvy Book Marketer

__________________

Download your complimentary copy of the highly useful Website Design & Marketing worksheet from Write | Market | Design.

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

If you’d like us to add a link to your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog, please send us a note. If we think it’s a good fit, we’ll be happy to add you. Of course, we’d appreciate the reciprocity of the same!

Additionally, Marcie would be happy to make a guest appearance on your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog. Just let us know the theme or your idea (preferably including a 6-panel concept), and we’ll see what we can draft for you.

__________________

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Wednesday, February 22 – 25 social media success tips for authors
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7 things authors can learn from watching the Oscars

Perhaps you were one of the tens of millions who tuned in to watch Hollywood’s biggest night — the 84th Annual Academy Awards. Oscar parties aren’t just for the Hollywood elite; some average folks do it up big, with red carpet events, replete with voting and awards for most correct guesses. Whether you attended a private Oscar gala or watched from the comfort of your couch in an old pair of sweats, Savvy Book Marketers can take a few lessons from watching the Academy Awards.

  1. There’s no accounting for taste. My father used to repeat this phrase again and again, usually with the not-so-thinly veiled intention of letting me know he didn’t like what I was wearing, reading, writing, watching, etc. Well, I saw five of the nine films nominated for Best Picture and liked two of them, but even those didn’t seem strong enough to receive Best Picture nods. So it’s true. There is no accounting for why one person loves a movie  or a book  and another hates it. That’s great news for authors, because it means there’s probably an audience for your book somewhere. If you’re writing a business book, it might help to know what the audience wants first. If you’re writing fiction, you may have to go out and find your audience. Either way, your audience is out there waiting for you to connect with them.
  2. The best nominee doesn’t always win. A friend of mine feels Viola Davis was robbed last night. That’s not mine to say. Sometimes, the Academy coalesces around an actor you don’t think deserves to win. The same can be true of books. Ever wonder why a certain middling writer becomes popular? (A) They’re in the right place at the right time. (B) It’s who they know. (C) A little luck goes a long way. (D) All of the above. Create your own luck by leveraging all or your resources to position yourself to your own best advantage.
  3. You’re never too old. With nearly 200 acting credits to his name  some of them truly outstanding performances  one would have thought Christopher Plummer might have won an Oscar before now. Not only did it take till this year for him to earn the honor of oldest Oscar winner ever at age 82, but he was not even nominated until 2009. If you’ve been telling yourself you can’t write this book because you’re too old, throw that excuse out the window. Age is just a number, and it has no impact on your ability to write, publish, market, and sell a great book.
  4. Don’t do it for the glory. With 17 Oscar nominations, Meryl Streep was lauded last night as the actor with the most nominations of all time. Yet it was 30 years between last night’s win for her role in The Iron Lady and her prior win for Sophie’s Choice. But who would argue that she has made anything but amazing films in those last 30 years? While it may be true that it’s just an honor to be nominated, had she been motivated by the glory alone, she might have given up a long time ago. If you write with passion, your audience will feel that passion and connect with you much better than if you write for the paycheck or the glory.
  5. Make it long enough, but no longer. Did you notice that the awards program ended at 9:38 last night? Yes, they’ve shortened things up a bit by having one presenter hand out multiple awards, but this show felt uncharacteristically short. Additionally, I saw only one winner go over time with their acceptance speech. One of the first questions new authors often ask me is “How long should my book be?” Like the Academy Awards, it should be long enough, but no longer. Of course, if it’s 50 pages, it’s more like a booklet than a book, but there’s a new trend toward short works, so that may be a good thing. Write long enough to thoroughly cover your topic  then stop.
  6. Hire an entertaining host for your event. What would the Oscars be without the host? A circus with no ringmaster, essentially. But as we saw last year, the experience and skill of the host makes a big difference. Fame and beauty aren’t enough to carry the job. Having a host for your book launch event enables you to be fully present without worrying over all the details. You’re there to read, talk, answer questions, and sign books. You don’t have to greet the guests, serve the food, coordinate the seating, or bother about any of those details. Whether it’s one helper or a team, get others involved in your book launch.
  7. Rehearse your speech ahead of time. After watching about a half-dozen people fumble through their acceptance speeches, my husband turned to me and asked, “If you knew you were nominated, wouldn’t you prepare a few words, just in case you won?” Yes. Yes I would. And authors, you never know who you’re going to  meet, so make sure you’ve rehearsed a brief description of your book well enough that when the time comes, you can say it without fumbling or going on and on till the other person walks away out of boredom. Rehearse your book pitch till it rolls off your tongue fluidly!

Happy movie watching!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

Visit the Write | Market | Design Facebook page to meet other authors and aspiring authors who have a sincere interest in writing, publishing, and selling the best books they can. And if you need a self-publishing consultant in your corner for anything from advice on structure to developing a marketing strategy, drop us a note at MarcieBrock@WriteMarketDesign.com or give us a call at 602.518.5376!

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What YOU believe is real

The other day, I found myself pondering the phrase “How you do one thing is how you do everything,” and dismissing it, yet again. For instance, I’m incredibly organized in certain areas of my life – my computer files and blog, for example. Laundry, on the other hand, does not have the same priority, so it doesn’t get the same attention. How I do the laundry is not how I blog. I’ve never liked or believed this particular line of alleged motivational thinking.

Soon after, my mind flitted to a trip my husband and I want to take – and my thought was, “We’ve got to try to get that deposit in on time.” Immediately, I found myself tossing that idea aside, instead calling on Yoda’s famous line: “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” You see, Yoda’s aphorism is one I believe.

So why is one saying believable for me, while I dismiss the other one entirely? The answer is quite simple: because I choose to believe one and choose not to believe the other. I CHOOSE. No one outside of me makes a phrase true or untrue for me. It’s really just another way of looking at the Law of Attraction, or the concept that whatever you think about, you bring about. What YOU believe is real.

What if … someone told the Wright brothers they were idiots for thinking humans could fly, and they’d believed that person? What if … someone close to JFK had told him that going to the moon was a fantasy and he should come back down to Earth, and he’d listened to that advisor? What if … someone told Oprah, Bill Gates, Bono, Steve Jobs, Madonna, or any other accomplished person that he or she would never amount to anything, and they’d believed the naysayers?

Who are you listening to? The people who support you and tell you your book is brilliant and that you will go far with it, or the people who are threatened by your desire for success and want to keep you in the small box they find so comfortable? What YOU believe is real.

If you’ve been making a habit of believing the wrong stuff, STOP. If that means you have to get new friends, get new friends. If your writers’ group is full of whining wannabes who will never take the steps necessary to actually publish their work, find another writers’ group. If your spouse or family is unsupportive, make whatever peace you can with that, but go out and surround yourself with people who do support you. Meetup groups are a dime a dozen these days. Facebook and LinkedIn have great group tools for you to find others with common interests. Use NearbyTweets if you prefer Twitter. Just find a support network. It’s out there waiting for you.

What YOU believe is real. Isn’t it time you make it so?

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

Visit the Write | Market | Design Facebook page to meet other authors and aspiring authors who have a sincere interest in writing, publishing, and selling the best books they can. And if you need a self-publishing consultant in your corner for anything from advice on structure to developing a marketing strategy, drop us a note at MarcieBrock@WriteMarketDesign.com or give us a call at 602.518.5376!

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Beware those who call themselves “social media EXPERTS”

With all this talk of social media, I was reminded of an episode that occurred a year or so ago. I was invited to a “luncheon” that turned out to be nothing more than a thinly disguised sales presentation with a little serving of Vienna sausages. I am NOT exaggerating. More problematic than the food or the surprise sales pitch was the fact that the pitcher wasn’t very good at his service. Want to guess what his service was? Yeppers – social media.

This fledgling company was promising viral Internet penetration through the use of social media. But when I looked at the company’s own social media presence, I could hear crickets chirping. The only company on Twitter with a name even similar to theirs was in Australia; we’re in Phoenix. Nothing on YouTube. But they did have a Facebook page – with 10 “Likes.”

For a moderate fee, they were promising to not only manage my social media for me, but to also to help take me viral on the Web. As we noted the other day, it’s really difficult to manufacture viral.

The story gets better, though. When the presenter (and, I presume, head of the company) asked me if I was ready to sign up, I had to tell him honestly that I had some doubts. I’d checked his stats on three of the most visible SM platforms at the time, and the results were insignificant, at best. First, he insisted that I was looking at the wrong numbers. This was about viral influence, not just their statistics. “Really? But how can you influence anyone if you have only 10 followers?” No real answer for that one except to keep repeating that I just didn’t understand – and maybe they didn’t want me as a client anyway. “It’s by exclusive invitation, you know.” Next, he went home and unfriended me on Facebook. OK, then.

Here’s the thing. Would you use a dentist with bad teeth? Visit a hairdresser with terrible hair? Invest with a financial advisor who drove a beat-up jalopy? Probably not. We generally expect our experts to actually embody the product or service they’re selling. It’s one reason politicians who champion public schools and then send their kids for private education so often meet resistance. The message is incongruous with the messenger! In the same way, shouldn’t a social media company have proven a bit of savvy with the tools before offering their services to other people?

For a while there, it seemed every other person I met was adding “social media expert” to their list of skills and services. One guy on Twitter remarked, “That’s like saying you’re an expert at using the phone or sending an e-mail.” While that’s not exactly true – social media is still in its infancy and is morphing and growing daily – he does make a fair point. I think there are a rare few who can really call themselves social media experts. These are the people who are monitoring and measuring the trends, the ones who can tell us what’s coming up next while we’re still trying to master the last SM wave. They’re writing the blog posts I use as source material. And you know what else? They’re really in it – with lots of friends/followers/connections.

I honestly believe the thing that makes social media work is that it’s personal. Can you hire someone to be personal for you? Maybe. But they’ve got to know you and your book business really, really well. And then you’ve got to trust them. To speak for you. To write for you. To comment for you. To connect for you. To enhance and preserve your reputation for you. That’s a lot of trust.

Social media is a great way to shorten the sales cycle, take the temperature of your readers and followers, get to know new people, and generally make a name for yourself. I would think long and hard before deciding to outsource it, and then hire only someone with stellar references who’s been doing it well for a while.

Happy connecting!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

Visit the Write | Market | Design Facebook page to meet other authors and aspiring authors who have a sincere interest in writing, publishing, and selling the best books they can. And if you need a self-publishing consultant in your corner for anything from advice on structure to developing a marketing strategy, drop us a note at MarcieBrock@WriteMarketDesign.com or give us a call at 602.518.5376!

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A few general last words on social media for authors – for now

Our last few posts have simply been an overview of social media and ways you, as an author, can begin to use it as a marketing tool. Scads of eBooks have already been written about social media, and it seems a new one is coming out weekly. The thing is, the mediums change so quickly that as soon as you buy a book, it’s probably obsolete. It takes effort and energy to stay on top of them all, but you’ll do that if social media is important to you.

The new SM darling of the moment seems to be Pinterest – a pinboard-style social photo sharing site that allows users to create and manage theme-based collections of images. The site’s mission statement is “to connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting.” But that’s just what the high tide brought in last week. Watch for the next wave; it’s coming up behind you quickly, even if you can’t see it yet.

We touched briefly on this in the last SM post, but it bears repeating again. Although many of us have profiles and are active, to varying degrees, on many SM sites, each site has a different audience and purpose. Not every medium is for every author. Find the ones that work for you. Start by finding one you seem to enjoy, and experiment with it. If you find yourself creating high-quality relationships there, think about branching out to other sites as they make sense and your schedule can adapt to allow regular participation.

Personally, I find the Facebook writing and author groups much friendlier and more interactive than those on LinkedIn – but some might prefer the “professionalism” of those on LinkedIn. For me, Twitter is more of a resource for information on marketing and the publishing industry and a great way to connect with my contemporaries. Then, as Chuck Wendig writes on the Terrible Minds blog, “the blog is the central tentpole to the whole goddamn circus.”

Facebook has become so ubiquitous across the Web that it’s easy to link to it from almost any site or platform. If you’re on Facebook, make sure you link your blog, your website, and all your other SM profiles to your Facebook author page. (If you don’t have a Facebook author page, we need to talk! And we’ll be discussing it in an upcoming post.) And where possible, link your other social media accounts to each other.

Building relationships – the primary goal of SOCIAL media – takes an active exchange of thoughts and ideas. This is why I discourage automation. Posting by bot is anything but personal. To quote Wendig again, “Ensure that you do more than share links. Contribute original thoughts. Add conversation. Say something.” It’s easy to post and sit back and wait for the readers/followers/friends to come to you – but that’s not an exchange; it’s a monologue. Interactivity is how you build relationships.

When it comes to interacting, “Like” and “Share” things that genuinely appeal to you – not because someone asked you to like or share them. And, in the converse – this is just my opinion, now – don’t go around asking other people to like/share your stuff. If it’s genuinely good, people will pass it on. It’s hard to deliberately manufacture viral, especially by trying to copy a clever concept someone else has already used with success. (For example, how been-there-done-that are all those “Got whatever?” signs, t-shirts, and bumper stickers?) I’ll admit, The Oatmeal was quite inspirational in my decision to create this blog. But my blog is educational and instructional; The Oatmeal is often viral, funny, and very, very clever. I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t love for Marcie to go viral. We’re nowhere near that yet, although we are poised to top 10,000 views by the end of our first year, thanks to you SBM* readers!

Social media works if you use it. Social media works if you share authentically. Social media works if you show up regularly and interact on a personal level. Social media works if you don’t spam people with too many sales pitches. Most of all, social media works if you enjoy it. If you see it as a chore, just another thing on your to-do list, you probably aren’t going to see rave results. As with just about everything in life, you get out what you put into it.

Next week, we’ll start exploring some of the more popular social media platforms in some detail. In the meantime, happy connecting!

MARCIE


*Savvy Book Marketer

__________________

Download your complimentary copy of the highly useful Website Design & Marketing worksheet from Write | Market | Design.

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

If you’d like us to add a link to your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog, please send us a note. If we think it’s a good fit, we’ll be happy to add you. Of course, we’d appreciate the reciprocity of the same!

Additionally, Marcie would be happy to make a guest appearance on your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog. Just let us know the theme or your idea (preferably including a 6-panel concept), and we’ll see what we can draft for you.

__________________

PREVIOUS POSTS

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Wednesday, February 22 – 25 social media success tips for authors
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Come learn from the book marketing master: John Kremer is holding a seminar in Tempe, AZ on March 31st

Hello, fabulous SBMs*!

If you’ve been following us for a while, you’re learning lots to help you market your books. But if you want to supercharge your strategies and learn how to promote and market your books more effectively in 2012, you’ll want to check this out …

John Kremer, Book marketer extraordinaire and author of 1001 Ways to Market Your Books, will be giving a one-day seminar in the Phoenix area on March 31st.

Here are a few of the topics Mr. Kremer will cover during this power-packed seminar:

  • The top 10 things you can do in 2012 to sell more books
  • The keys to setting up and carrying out an effective virtual book tour
  • How to have your book, your website, and your brand go viral across the Internet
  • The inside secrets to developing relationships that will help you sell a lot more books
  • And much more …

Kick-start your 2012 book marketing efforts with a fully loaded plan to accelerate your book sales for the next 12 months – and beyond! In one day, John will teach you all the latest secrets successful book authors and publishers are using to sell more books every day.

To sign up for this insider’s Book Marketing to the Max seminar for only $89 (discounted from $130 for Marcie’s friends), click here: http://bit.ly/BMMaxArizona. At this price, even if you’re outside Arizona, this is an investment worth making!

DETAILS

Date: Saturday, March 31st, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Location: The Fiesta Resort, 2100 S. Priest Drive, Tempe Ariz. 85282; 480-967-1441; 800-528-6481; http://fiestainnresort.com.

Reserve Your Seat: http://bit.ly/BMMaxArizona

Note: The hotel is just a few minutes from the Phoenix airport. The hotel offers a free shuttle service.

BONUS: If you register for this seminar before March 10th, you’ll also receive a free ebook version of 1001 Ways to Market Your Books, as well as three other eBooks worth $100. But you must sign up by March 10th at http://bit.ly/BMMaxArizona.

I look forward to seeing you there!

Laura

*Savvy Book Marketers

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

Visit the Write | Market | Design Facebook page to meet other authors and aspiring authors who have a sincere interest in writing, publishing, and selling the best books they can. And if you need a self-publishing consultant in your corner for anything from advice on structure to developing a marketing strategy, drop us a note at MarcieBrock@WriteMarketDesign.com or give us a call at 602.518.5376!

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25 social media success tips for authors

http://www.blogwebdesigner.com/hand-drawn-social-media-icons-145

We’ve been discussing ways for authors to use social media for a few posts now. First we discussed the fact that social media is one tool you can apply to the many strategies in your book marketing campaign. Next, we looked at an overview of some of the most popular social media sites. Today, we’ve got 25 tips that will help make your social media process a successful part of marketing your book.

  1. Be visible. As with good old-fashioned face-to-face networking, you must be seen and heard to create relationships, which is the key to successful social networking.
  2. Be a real person. Use your real name – not your company name – unless you’re building a company page (or channel on YouTube). Your readers want to create a relationship with you, the author, not your books or publishing company. While it’s important to show up, it’s even more important that you be yourself. Authenticity goes a long way in the social networking realm.
  3. Brand yourself. Use the same headshot and screen name, if possible, across all your social media sites. This will help make you easily recognizable to your readers/friends/followers.
  4. Be personal. If you’re a stickler for privacy, social media probably is not for you, because it’s impossible to build authentic relationships without revealing something of yourself. This is not to say you should share your every move or reveal information that could jeopardize your safety. And no, your Twitter followers don’t really care what you had for lunch. But giving your friends and followers – your READERS – a glimpse into some aspect of your life will help them feel like they know you. As a result, they’ll want to check in regularly, eagerly anticipate your book when it comes out, and perhaps most importantly, tell other people about you.
  5. Engage with your readers/friends/followers. People are reading your blog, liking your page, or following your Tweets to hear what you have to say, so make sure it’s interesting. Share your writing, publishing, or marketing process. Interview other writers, bloggers, or book marketers. Stay ahead of the trends in your niche or industry.
  6. Be responsive. Yes, you may get tired of hearing it, but you’re going to need to remember it: the first word in social media is SOCIAL. If your visitors/readers/friends/fans take the time to like, share, or comment on your posts or Tweets, acknowledge them!
  7. Niche yourself and stay focused. You’re ahead of the game when it comes to niching, because you’ve already written a book with a specific audience. While a cornucopia of offerings can be interesting on your social media sites, the more you limit your posts to the specifics related to your book topic, the better you will likely do, particularly in terms standing out from other authors. Readers and followers who love what you offer will easily recognize your site as one that interests them. As a result, they’ll want to check in regularly, eagerly anticipate your book when it comes out, and perhaps most importantly, tell other people about you.
  8. Use images generously. Some of the most popular folks on social media sites are those who post a lot of inspirational content – specifically posts that utilize appropriate imagery. Credit pictures you borrow, or purchase inexpensive images from 123rf.com or istockphoto.com.
  9. Toot your own horn. If your book wins an award, let your readers/friends/followers know. Don’t hesitate to share your successes with your readers. Talk about client wins, new speaking engagements, and any book signings and events you schedule. In all likelihood, your readers/friends/followers will want to support you and share your good news, particularly if you discuss it in an interesting way that gives them value.
  10. Be a giver first. No one likes to have someone come at them with their hand out. It’s a bit of a dated phrase, but one still worth mentioning: go for the win-win. Rather than always pushing your book or asking people to like your page or posts, figure out how you can help others.
  11. Be positive. Even though we all have a bad day now and then, no one really wants to read about your whining or complaints. The caveat to this is if you have a problem you’d like others’ input to solve, or you have resolved a challenge and want to share your process. Make it educational, not pessimistic.
  12. Forget the naysayers. Some people still insist that social media doesn’t work. Ignore them.
  13. Put some time into it. One of the coolest things about social media is that you can connect with hundreds (or thousands) of people all over the world. It would take you decades to meet people in those numbers on a face-to-face basis. Social media speeds up the process, but it still takes time. Be willing to invest some real time in the process, and don’t expect miracles overnight.
  14. Be willing to take risks. That old aphorism, “Don’t try to be all things to all people,” was never truer than in the world of social media. The reality is that not everybody (even all of your friends or subscribers) is going to like everything you post. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t post it. Depending on your personality, your tolerance for conflict, and the subject matter of your book, you may or may not want to post controversial materials. If you’ve written a political or religious book, you can garner a lot of followers via social media – but just remember, it’s a public forum and those who disagree with you can see and comment (depending on your privacy settings).
  15. Take your arguments offline. Controversy notwithstanding, take any serious disagreements offline. Refrain from making someone wrong, belittling, or otherwise creating disharmony on your blog or social media sites.
  16. Be the expert. Within your industry or area of expertise, you must have an opinion and be willing to take a stand on one side of an important issue. Use your social media sites to share your knowledge and establish yourself as an expert. Others will soon start to notice. Before long you may be invited to share that knowledge on sites other than your own.
  17. Be a connecter. One of the easiest ways to help is by making connections between others. Every post doesn’t have to be about your book or related to your niche topic. If you know one reader/friend/follower would benefit by knowing another reader/friend/follower, give graciously by introducing them.
  18. Hold contests. Put on your SBM* hat and come up with creative contests to promote book saes. Ask readers to tell you the last word on a particular page. Ask readers to post photos of themselves holding your book on your social media site. Have them write an alternate ending. Reward those who have the most friends purchase copies. The ideas are endless.
  19. Publicize your events. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and EventBrite are great tools for publicizing your events. Use YouTube to create a short promo. Whatever you do, use your social media to let people know where to come and see you in person!
  20. Ask questions. Polling is a great tool available on certain social media sites. This is a great way to find out what readers think about topics in your niche. Perhaps you can even get ideas for your next book.
  21. Answer questions. While asking questions allows you take the pulse of your readers/friends/followers, answering them is another great way to demonstrate your expertise.
  22. Have a plan. This is probably one of the biggest failings when it comes to authors’ use of social media. First, create a book marketing plan; then figure out where you can use social media within that plan. Don’t leave it up to chance.
  23. Be respectful. Self-promotion is a good thing, but it’s essential to understand where, when, and how to do it. Toot your horn and advertise your events on your wall, site, or blog (within reason). DO NOT post ads for your book or services on other people’s blogs or sites. I’m fairly forgiving, but if someone posts an ad on my Facebook wall, I block them. No explanations and no second chances. It’s taken me two years to build the following I have and I am unwilling to let others co-opt my effort without at least asking. Certain group pages do allow self-promotion – but be careful to read, understand, and follow each group’s guidelines.
  24. Be consistent. One of the biggest keys to success with social media is showing up regularly. You cannot check in once every couple weeks and expect to build a following. Neither do you need to post a dozen times a day. Find a reasonable schedule that works for you – probably at least every couple of days.
  25. Have fun!!!! I love networking and meeting people. I love having conversations with strangers and exchanging interesting ideas. Remember the social aspect of social media. Don’t let this idea of selling a book or landing a client drive your every move. If you’re not enjoying yourself, your posts will probably feel forced and be boring. Trust me, your readers/friends/followers will see through you, and you probably aren’t going to have a lot of success.

Happy connecting!

MARCIE


*Savvy Book Marketer

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RESOURCES:

http://www.wsidesignermarketplace.com/content/designer/design_pulse/design_blog/top_10_tips_for_socialmediasuccess.html

http://www.startupnation.com/series/132/9333/social-media-6-success-tips.htm

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Download your complimentary copy of the highly useful Website Design & Marketing worksheet from Write | Market | Design.

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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If you’d like us to add a link to your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog, please send us a note. If we think it’s a good fit, we’ll be happy to add you. Of course, we’d appreciate the reciprocity of the same!

Additionally, Marcie would be happy to make a guest appearance on your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog. Just let us know the theme or your idea (preferably including a 6-panel concept), and we’ll see what we can draft for you.

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7 Mardi Gras lessons for Savvy Book Marketers

Mardi Gras is more than just a giant party in New Orleans. It’s also another great opportunity to review some basic book marketing ideas. Here are seven concepts related to this annual Carnival experience.

1. According to historians, Mardi Gras (“Fat Tuesday”) dates back thousands of years to pagan celebrations of spring and fertility, including the raucous Roman festivals of Saturnalia and Lupercalia. When Christianity took hold in Rome, its leaders decided to it would be easier to incorporate these popular local traditions into the new faith than attempt to abolish them. Eventually, the excess and debauchery of the Mardi Gras season, which begins with the Epiphany or Twelfth Night, became a prelude to Lent, the 40 days of penance, fasting, and abstinence from fruit, eggs, meat and dairy between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday.

MARKETING LESSON: Be willing to adapt. Don’t try to force an idea. If one thing isn’t working, don’t remain stubbornly committed to it. Reevaluate your situation and find another more effortless path.

***

2. The traditional Mardi Gras colors of purple, green, and gold are so intricately connected with this annual celebration that when you see them outside of a costume shop in early February, they still bring Mardi Gras to mind. And each color has a very specific meaning. Purple represents justice; green represents faith; and gold represents power – all good goals for an author.

MARKETING LESSON: Brand yourself for instant recognition. Wouldn’t you love for your colors, logo, or brand to be as instantly recognizable as strings of purple, green, and gold beads? They can be, eventually, but you have to start somewhere. Think of the instantly recognizable yellow cover of The Help or the white background and red lettering on The Joy of Cooking. Find colors, fonts, and a logo concept that work for you and your book, and then use them everywhere: your website, postcards, email signature, social media sites, ect.

***

3. The Epiphany marks the coming of the wise men (kings) who were believed to have brought gifts to the Christ child. A popular custom that began with the Epiphany but has morphed into more of a Mardi Gras tradition is the making of “King Cakes.” A plastic baby is baked inside the King Cake, and according to tradition, whoever finds the baby in their piece of cake must buy the next King Cake or throw the next party. A King Cake is made from cinnamon-filled dough shaped into a hollow circle. The cake is topped with a delicious glazed topping and sprinkled with purple, green, and gold sugar.

MARKETING LESSON: Put a prize inside your book. Remember Cracker Jack, the carmel corn treat that came with a free prize inside? You already liked the treat, but once you saw the free prize inside – something small yet precious – it became irresistible. You can do the same with your book. For more on this concept, check out Seth Godin’s book, Free Prize Inside.

***

4. Though Mardi Gras was originally introduced to New Orleans by French settlers in 1699 and eventually popularized by students who’d visited Paris in 1827, contemporary celebrations occur all over the world. Another common name for the pre-Lenten festivities that culminate on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday is Carnival. It is believed to be derived from the Latin word carnelevarium, which means “farewell to meat.” Beyond New Orleans, elaborate Carnival crowds also gather in Alabama and Mississippi in the U.S., as well as in Rio and the rest of Brazil, Quebec City, Venice, Germany, and Denmark.

MARKETING LESSON: Go global. It may take some time to catch on (in the instance of Mardi Gras, it took more than 125 years), but with the right planning and commitment, there is no reason you cannot take your book marketing campaign global.

***

5. Krewe is the word for an organization that creates the balls and parades during Mardi Gras. Each Krewe, comprised of a captain and several members, has its own style. Throughout the year, the Krewes build floats and hold secret meetings. On Mardi Gras day, the Krewe members don masks and ride on their floats. Every Krewe holds its own parade leading up to Mardi Gras.

MARKETING LESSON: Get yourself a krewe! We’ve talked about this before – you don’t have to go it alone. So don’t. Get a creative, visionary, enthusiastic team behind you, and you will accomplish so much more than you ever could on your own.

***

6. You may have seen (or heard tell of) the naked torso of a woman or two in the midst of the Mardi Gras mania. “Why would they do that?” is a logical question. Members of the parade krewes throw beads and coconuts and trinkets to the revelers, and some women will do almost anything to get the bauble thrower’s attention. For many, it’s less about receiving the gift than it is about receiving the attention.

MARKETING LESSON: You’ve got to be willing to bare it all. No, not literally. But writing a book means exposing yourself to the world. It means putting your thoughts out there where people can read them and – gasp – comment on them. Make the best book you can, and steel yourself to the critics. But don’t leave anything on the table.

***

7. Masks create an air of mystery and have fascinated people for centuries; the mask tradition remains a vital part of Mardi Gras. Whether the party is in New Orleans, the Caribbean, South America, or Europe, this pre-Lenten festival includes original masks worn by revelers at masked balls, krewe members in parades, tourists, and partygoers. The masks are thought to allow the individual hidden behind the mask to play out the final moments of fun and to bid “farewell to the flesh” before the austere Lenten season begins.

MARKETING LESSON: Play a role if you’re shy. A marketing challenge many authors face is that they prefer to write. They’d much rather sit quietly (almost anonymously) behind their keyboards and create new works. While ABW (always be writing) is an admirable goal, it’s not going to sell many books. If you want to sell books, you MUST create a visible presence. If this is difficult for you, create a persona that, while not too distant from the real you, is separate from you. What would you like to do but are too shy, hesitant, or reluctant to do when it comes to marketing your book? Great. Let your persona do that for you. Christine Comaford-Lynch’s Rules for Renegades has a lot of great advice about how to do this.

So get out there and employ one or two or all of these ideas and watch your marketing come alive!

Laura

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RESOURCES:

http://www.history.com/topics/mardi-gras

http://www.mardigrasday.com/history.php

http://www.toptenz.net/top-10-mardi-gras-traditions.php/krewe

http://www.beautifulmasks.com/history.php

http://www.mardigrasneworleans.com/quartermardi.html

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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Visit the Write | Market | Design Facebook page to meet other authors and aspiring authors who have a sincere interest in writing, publishing, and selling the best books they can. And if you need a self-publishing consultant in your corner for anything from advice on structure to developing a marketing strategy, drop us a note at MarcieBrock@WriteMarketDesign.com or give us a call at 602.518.5376!

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Cut the catastrophizing … even well-known authors have been rejected

If you’ve never visited UrbanDictionary.com, it’s worth a spin to see the online dictionary of slang words and phrases. It continues to grow daily, with more than 6 million definitions as of October 2011. Look up anything – even your name! I’d better warn you, though – some of the definitions and sample sentences can get pretty vulgar.

Fortunately, our names are more favorably defined than some:

Marcie. One of the coolest ways to spell Marcie. Typically, people who spell it this way are very cool and/or hot. Man, Marcie is so hot!

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Laura. A really, really cool person; guys want her and girls want to be her. Has many friends. Everyone likes her – they don’t only pretend to like her. Guy 1: Why can we never get a Laura? Guy 2: They all already have great boyfriends.

And now to the point of this post, today’s SBM* Urban Dictionary word of the day:

catastrophize (v) to hyper-imagine negative outcomes to a situation that have no basis in reality; to blow setbacks or problems out of proportion such that you spiral into an emotional catastrophe; to imagine that a situation is worse than it actually is.

Sitting stuck in traffic, Joe began to catastrophize missing his opportunity to deliver the perfect sales pitch and losing the commission he planned to spend on a new suit he would wear to the club to meet the perfect girl. He fell into despair as he contemplated how pointless his life would become because of this standstill on the freeway.

I tend not to go over-the-top in my catastrophizing – but I did catch my gremlin running loose again today as I wondered why I haven’t heard back from three prospective clients. “They must not have liked the work sample I sent.” “She must have decided to go with someone else.” “I guess my fees are too high.” Yep – these were the things that flitted through my mind … until I recognized what I was doing and fell back on a reminder from my friend, international sales trainer Connie Kadansky: “Don’t put words or thoughts in people’s mouths or minds.”

Connie specializes in teaching salespeople to overcome a challenge known as Sales Call Reluctance® – which is a fear of prospecting or self-promotion. It’s been a number of years, but I remember the conversation when she made the above comment. We were talking about the fact that salespeople often catastrophize in the same way I was doing, when she asked, “But why do we go there? Why should we ever assume that our prices are too expensive for someone? We have no way of determining their budget or how they prioritize their spending. We need to stop assuming and just get an honest answer.”

It was helpful to realize I just need to follow up – again – with my prospects and wait to hear back from them. And even if I follow up a dozen more times without ever hearing another word from any of them, I can still make the choice not to personalize their lack of response as reflecting on the quality of my work – or, more importantly, my worthiness.

I think this is an important reminder for authors who are shopping their books to agents and/or publishers, or who seem to be stuck with their marketing. Sometimes a bad book is just a bad book. But equally often, the only thing the rejection letter means is that your book is not the right fit for that publishing company (or the agent/reader who happens to be reviewing your submission).

You always have the option to reframe the lack of response any way you like,  but the reality is that you usually know only ONE thing for sure: you haven’t heard back yet. Nothing more. If you still need some cheering, perhaps you will take heart from some of the more famous author rejections:

  • “I’m sorry, Mr. Kipling, but you just don’t know how to use the English language,” said the editor of the San Francisco Examiner to Rudyard Kipling.
  • Dr. Seuss received many rejection letters, including the following: “[This book is t]oo different from other juveniles on the market to warrant its selling.”
  • Irving Stone’s Lust for Life was rejected 16 times, once with this helpful synopsis: “A long, dull novel about an artist.” The book went on to sell more than 25 million copies.
  • And The Tale of Peter Rabbit was turned down so many times that Beatrix Potter initially self-published it.

For further author challenges/rejections, please see Susie Smith’s blog and a list by Examiner.com.

Here’s to reframing those challenging thoughts!

Laura

*Savvy Book Marketer

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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Visit the Write | Market | Design Facebook page to meet other authors and aspiring authors who have a sincere interest in writing, publishing, and selling the best books they can. And if you need a self-publishing consultant in your corner for anything from advice on structure to developing a marketing strategy, drop us a note at MarcieBrock@WriteMarketDesign.com or give us a call at 602.518.5376!

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Book marketing ideas from A to Z for Arizona’s centennial (Part 2)

It’s February 14, 2012, and not only is it Valentine’s Day, but our great state of Arizona turns 100 today. This is the second of a two-part series offering some book marketing ideas inspired by life in Arizona. They may or may not deal specifically with books about the 48th state. (Read Part 1 here.)

N is for NASCAR. Though it seems that nothing can dim the world’s love for soccer (aka fútbol), NASCAR is one of the top spectator sports around the globe. Located just west of Phoenix in Avondale, Phoenix International Raceway is home to a number of NASCAR events every year. If you’ve never been, you should visit just to see for yourself. The grounds around PIR become a small temporary city – sort of a redneck version of a Deadhead caravan. Coordinate your auto racing book releases with allied sporting events – in Arizona and throughout the rest of the country (or world).

O is for O.K. Corral. Whether or not you believe the hype around Wyatt Earp, the O.K. Corral and the town of Tombstone are one of Arizona’s most famous tourist draws. According to an online article from the London Daily Mail, “Tombstone has survived largely by mining the legend of the West’s most infamous shootout.” A quick Amazon search reveals nearly 400 titles for the subject “O.K. Corral.” Who knows how many books are written per year about Tombstone and the other aspects of the Wild West? With hundreds and hundreds of little Western-themed tourist shops throughout Arizona (exponentially more, if you add in all the other Western states), it seems that any agile and assertive marketer should be able to get their book on this topic into at least a few of them.

P is for Petrified Forest. With the largest concentration of petrified wood in the world, Arizona is home to the Petrified Forest, which lies about 20 miles east of Holbrook. A 28-mile drive through the Petrified Forest National Park offers access to scenic overlooks and hiking trails where you can see the fossilized logs up close and personal. Museum Association bookstores are located within the park at the Painted Desert Visitor Center, Painted Desert Inn National Historic Landmark, and Rainbow Forest Museum, so if you’ve got a book on a related topic, you know what to do!

Q is for Quartzsite. Paul Winer, proprietor of the Readers Oasis Bookstore in Quartzsite, Arizona, is a character if ever there was one – perhaps because he is a nudist. Due in large part to this odd lifestyle choice, Paul and his bookstore have garnered attention in numerous national and international publications. While I’m not advocating taking up nudism (unless it really is your cup of java), there’s a strong lesson to be learned from Paul’s eccentricity. Find a branding statement that works to attract sustained attention to you and your book business!

R is for Route 66. Historic Route 66 runs from Chicago to Los Angeles, right through the northern Arizona towns of Holbrook, Winslow, Flagstaff, and Kingman. Got a book about an aspect of Route 66? Historic66.com has a page for you!

S is for Sedona. Making perhaps its biggest splash with the 1987 Harmonic Convergence, Sedona is known for its metaphysical stores, healing practitioners, and energy vortexes. While alternative health and formerly woo-woo topics like astrology and tarot are making their way into the mainstream – particularly with talk of the impending December 2012 end of the Mayan calendar – Sedona is a huge draw for spiritual seekers from all over the world. While these Sedona shops are no doubt inundated with queries from authors of books on related topics, a good marketing plan, strong message, and brilliant book will always warrant a second look from a smart bookseller.

T is for Tourism. With more than 300+ sunny days every year, Arizona is a prime tourist destination. Though its rank moves, depending on the source, tourism is usually listed among the state’s top three industries. And why shouldn’t it be? We’ve got mountains, lakes, streams, and deserts – attractions ranging from ghost towns to grand ballrooms. Books about the state run the gamut, from cookbooks to guidebooks to coloring books to picture books. For every tourist, there are a dozen shops to meet his or her taste. Some sell more books than others, but all are potential venues from which to sell – or promote – your book with an Arizona tie-in. You can reach these stores one of three ways: the Internet, the phone, or making the effort to meet the proprietors in person. Which do you think would be most effective?

U is for USS Arizona. Famously bombed and sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II, the USS Arizona became the watery grave to 1,102 sailors killed in the air raid. Portions of the ship still lie at the bottom of the Honolulu harbor, the location of the USS Arizona Memorial which opened in 1980. One of the ship’s anchors is displayed outside the Arizona State Capitol in Phoenix, and one of its two bells hangs in the clock tower of the Student Memorial Center at the University of Arizona (UA) in Tucson. Hundreds of books have been written about the attack on Pearl Harbor, many of which are dedicated, at least in part, to the Arizona. The UA Library’s Special Collections maintains a vast collection of papers, photographs, and memorabilia related to the Arizona. This is a unique situation of two diverse states with strong ties to a single event. Where can you find allied natural tie-ins for your book that allow you to cross-market it?

V is for Verde Valley. Tucked between the Mogollon Rim and the Black Hills mountain range, the Verde Valley is a lush little collection of communities filled with history, recreation, and natural beauty. While the small towns that make up the Verde Valley (Cottonwood, Clarkdale, Jerome, and Camp Verde) are similar, each also has its own distinct personality. This coming weekend [Feb 17-19], Camp Verde will host its 12th annual Pecan, Wine and Antique festival. A month later [Mar 17-18], Cottonwood will host a Jewelry, Gem and Mineral show. Almost every little town in America has festivals like these. If your book has a geographic angle of any sort, it’s probably worth the effort to get a vendor space at the relevant ones.

W is for Why. Seriously – we have a town named Why. According to the all-knowing Wikipedia, the town’s unusual name goes back to a time when the two major highways that ran through the area, State Routes 85 and 86, originally met in a Y intersection. At the time of its naming, Arizona law required all city names to have at least three letters, so the founders named the town “Why” to comply with the regulations. The Y intersection has since been reshaped into a more typical T. Why is mentioned in a book(let) about the unincorporated communities in Pima County, and its listing in Google Books is worth a mention because … well, you take a look. Hmmm… someone doesn’t know their geography very well. And it seems all Google Books listings include a QR code, but … why? If you’re using your smartphone to access the Web via a QR code but you see the QR code on a website… it’s giving me a headache just to think about it.

X is for (San) Xavier. Jesuit missionary and explorer Rev. Eusebio Francisco Kino first visited Bac, “the place where water appears,” in 1692 and laid the foundation for a mission church eight years later. He named it San Xavier in honor of his chosen patron, Saint Francis Xavier. Though Kino’s original church was never built and the Jesuits were eventually expelled from the area, the Franciscans eventually took over the mission. Construction of the current church began in 1783, and it was completed in 1797. San Xavier del Bac is considered one of the most beautiful mission churches in the Southwest, in part because its interior walls are elaborately decorated with original artwork that is continually repaired and maintained. The Mission is a fully functioning Catholic parish church that serves the Tohono O’odham people primarily, but is open to everyone. How big is your vision? How well do you repair it, when necessary, and maintain it? Whom do you serve? Every book marketer needs to know the answers to these questions.

Y is for Yuma. With a population of less than 95,000 most of the year (although it nearly doubles with the annual influx of winter visitors), Yuma is a tiny town situated in the southwestern corner of the state. Prior to the completion of Interstate 10 through the Phoenix area, the only thing I remember about Yuma was driving through it on my way to California. Then I had one of the best vacations of my life – in Yuma. I visited a friend and we had a ball just hanging out. We went to one of the two movie theatres in town and saw a movie I’d seen six months earlier in Phoenix – but it was funnier this time. We went to a scrapbooking store, and she taught me some cool techniques I’d never seen. I went water skiing for the first time – in Yuma! In short, it was an altogether surprising and enjoyable trip. The lesson to take away? Be open! Possibilities can show up anywhere, at any time, as long as you are open to recognizing them and capitalizing on them – be they bookselling opportunities, unexpected relationships, or potential joint ventures. But they’ll pass you by if all you’re doing is grumbling or complaining about your situation.

Z is for Zane Grey Cabin. Zane Grey authored nearly 60 novels, more than 200 short stories, 10 nonfiction westerns, hunting and fishing articles and books, and more than 130 movies were based on his works, virtually all of which were enormously successful. Grey’s books have been published in more than 20 languages, and estimated annual sales today are between 500,000 and 1 million copies worldwide. “My beloved Arizona” was the term of endearment Grey bestowed upon our state, and he built a cabin near Payson so he could spend more time here. Although the original cabin was destroyed in a fire, a very accurate replica was built in 2003. Grey fans from all over the world regularly visit Payson to see the Zane Grey Cabin.

Why was Grey so successful? According to WesternAuthors.com:

He started out an ordinary man. He attended the University of Pennsylvania on a baseball scholarship, earned a degree in dentistry, and later opened a dental office in New York. In 1907 he met Buffalo Jones, who invited him to go to Arizona with him and help rope mountain lions to sell to zoos. Grey answered the call to adventure and fell under the spell of the West. *** Grey’s first novel, Betty Zane, was a failure. In fact, he had to print it himself. After he went west, his fourth novel, Riders of the Purple Sage, sold more than a million copies. Following that, he wrote continuously until his death in 1939, sometimes averaging four novels per year.

So there you have it: book marketing tips from A to Z, inspired by some of the most interesting aspects of Arizona as we celebrate her 100th birthday. If you live here, get out and celebrate with your book! If you live elsewhere, give a ring when you’re in the area, and I’ll take you to my favorite writing/watering holes.

Happy 100th birthday, Arizona!

Laura

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A broad overview of social sites authors can use to amplify their book marketing campaigns

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The simplest explanation of social media is that it’s media created by the users. Whether it’s copy, graphics, music, video, or anything in between, the users create and share the content. This varies from traditional media (e.g., The New York Times, NBC, and NPR), wherein media companies shouldered the responsibility of aggregating and disseminating information to the public. If you’d like a more technical explanation, HeidiCohen.com offers a list of 30 different definitions of social media.

People tend to use the terms “social media” and “social networking” interchangeably, but there is a distinction between the two. While Social Media Today has a
post about the allegedly vast differences between social media and social networking, I think the differences are quite simple: social media is the channel or mechanism you use to share information, and social networking is the process of connecting.

There are dozens of kinds of social media platforms, from broad general sites like Facebook to incredibly specific sites on myriad topics like the arts, cars, health and medicine, finance, pets, and real estate, to touch just the tip of the iceberg. Today we’re going to examine brief explanations of the most popular ones. Some of these may not fall under the literal social media umbrella (podcasting, for example), but they are all ways of connecting or sharing information that begin online, so I am including them because they might prove useful in your book marketing campaigns. [Take a look at traffikd.com for a comprehensive – but by no means up-to-the-minute or complete – list of social media sites.]

One thing that connects all of these sites is that they either require or offer the option to create an online profile. Most of these profiles include a field for a link to a website (or blog). If you are active on any of these sites, you’re missing out if you have not included a link to your site. Brand yourself well by using the same picture and, if possible, the same screen name (your book title or publishing company?) across all the platforms. Remember – this is social media, so a picture of you is preferred over an image of your book cover or logo.

Saddle up, ‘cause here we go!

ANSWERING QUESTIONS. Sites like YahooAnswers, Answers.com, and Quora enable users to ask questions and receive answers from those who allegedly know something about the topic. According to techie-buzz.com, “Quora is a simple site where you can ask a question and expect an answer from other community members. It is similar to Yahoo Answers … in that sense. However, Quora goes much further than this. Quora basically documents knowledge through questions and answers and provides users with an easy way to find it.

AUCTIONS. While eBay is the first name in online auction sites, others now proliferate as well. According to an article by Billings Farnsworth, “The History of the Online Auction,” eBay was the first online auction site. It began in 1995, when Pierre Omidyar sold his first item, a broken laser pointer, which “sold for $14.83 to a man who collected such objects.

BLOGGING. We’ll talk in-depth about blogging in future posts. For now, it’s important to understand that blogging was one of the first forms of social media on the Web. It predates podcasting, Facebook, YouTube, and all the others. And blogging works, as long as you show up regularly, offer good content, use images with your posts, and interact with your readers and other bloggers.

BOOKMARKING. Social bookmarking is a way for Internet users to organize, store, manage, and search for favorite sites and resources online. Tagging, a significant feature of social bookmarking systems, enables users to organize their bookmarks in flexible ways and to develop shared vocabularies. Though one of the most popular social bookmarking sites is Delicious, StumbleUpon is my favorite. They provide similar functions, but through very different mechanisms.

BOOKS. As you may have gathered by now, each of these types of social sites has dozens of options from which to choose. Book networks are no different. Two I happen to like are BookCrossing and GoodReads. BookCrossing allows you to track a found book with a code (or leave a book in a public site and then see where it goes). GoodReads is one of innumerable sites that allow you to share your literary tastes, reading habits, quotes, and other reading-related information.

CLASSIFIED ADS. Certainly the mother of all classified ad sites, Craigslist began in San Francisco in 1995 as an email distribution channel for its founder, Craig Newmark, to share local events with friends. The site now has a presence in cities and countries around the world. If you doubt its utility as a social medium, let me just say that my husband and I met through a Craigslist post. You can use it (and other similar sites) to announce your events, hire people for your team, and follow conversation threads on your topic.

CONSUMER REVIEWS. In my experience, the most prolific of these sites are Yelp and Angie’s List – but there are tons of others around. Review sites have changed the way restaurants and other service providers do business, in that the consumer reviews often are posted instantly. The downside is that backlash can be harsh and difficult to overcome if someone posts a negative review. The best advice is to ignore the review, rather than engaging with the reviewer – which can escalate matters and never tends to show the review recipient in his or her best light.

DATING. Besides the online dating sites like Match and eHarmony, there are social networking sites where dating is the ultimate goal, but profiles and interactivity like quizzes and ratings proliferate. My only experience in these was with OKCupid – and it was fun enough, but geared for a much younger audience. Dating site or not, quizzes are a great way to interact with readers on thr subject of your book and potentially generate interest among new folks.

ENCYCLOPEDIA. Billing itself as “the free encyclopedia,” Wikipedia is a multilingual, web-based, encyclopedia project based on an openly editable model. Wikipedia is written collaboratively by largely anonymous Internet contributors who write without pay. Anyone with Internet access can write and make changes to Wikipedia articles (except in certain cases where editing is restricted to prevent disruption or vandalism). Users can contribute anonymously, under a pseudonym, or with their real identity, if they choose. Information in Wikipedia articles must be verifiable via third-party sources, but once you make a name for yourself beyond your own website, you want to make sure to create a page here.

FACE-TO-FACE. The ingenious Meetup site is the world’s largest network of local groups. Meetup makes it easy for a person to organize a local group or find one of thousands of already existing groups. More than 2,000 Meetup groups meet daily in local communities. Co-founder Scott Heiferman has said that the way people in New York came together in the aftermath of 9/11 inspired him to use the Internet to make it easier for people to connect with strangers in their communities. One caveat for authors: you cannot create a Meetup group to promote or discuss your own book. Get a friend or group of rabid fans to do it for you.

GENERAL. The social networking timeline is more or less: Friendster, MySpace, Facebook – which is poised to reach 1 BILLION users in August 2012. Though Google Plus is nipping around Facebook’s heels, it looks like “The Social Network” has a healthy enough head start to ward off any serious threats, at least for the time being. These general social network sites allow users to personalize their presence and share updates, written content, videos, images, music – pretty much anything that’s sharable. The average Facebook user has 120 friends and, depending on how each has set his privacy preferences, is able to interact with friends of friends – potentially expanding his or her network exponentially.

GOAL SHARING. Something of a subset of other social media platforms, goal-sharing sites like 43 Things allow you to set goals, see and support others’ goals, receive support for your own goals, and share how you accomplished them once you achieve your goals. Understandably, this site prohibits any postings that can be construed as promoting a business or service. “Write my book” is a common goal. You can even include a goal like “have my book reach best-seller status.” But you cannot directly promote sales of your book to other members.

INFORMATION AGGREGATION. Beyond simply sharing links, sites like Alltop and Squidoo (and dozens of others like them) allow the systematic sharing of information on particular topics. Alltop collects the headlines of the latest stories from the best sites and blogs on a particular topic, grouping the collections, or “aggregations,” into individual web pages. Squidoo is a popular free site that enables users to create single webpages (known as lenses) about their interests and recommendations. Users can even earn money for charity or themselves.

LOCATION REVELATION. I’ll probably never be accused of being a privacy junky, yet of all the social networks in the world, foursquare is the one I understand least. Users of this site “check in” at various locations with a mobile device and are able to find out (track?) where their friends are. Location is based on GPS hardware in the mobile device or a network location provided by the app itself. Many members use foursquare and its competitors (e.g., Loopt and Gowalla) for the discounts. Or perhaps you want people to know which bookstore you’re in for your signing or event – but use your common sense. If you live alone, don’t announce you’re leaving the bar to go home at 2 a.m.

MICROBLOGGING. With its 140-character limit, Twitter took blogging to a microscience. Smashing Magazine refers to Tumblr as “microblogging on steroids. Whereas Twitter and similar services limit posts to 140 characters or less, Tumblr lets you post updates of any length, although it’s best suited to short-format posts. Tumblr bridges the gap between full-blown blog and micro-blog.” Over the last few years, Twitter has emerged as a medium used in large part by the traditional media. It’s a great place to get quick glances into people you admire, want to meet, or who have shared interests. We’ll talk about it more in a future post, but suffice it to say for now that you won’t understand its power and potential until you try it.

MOVIES. If you’re a movie buff like me, you’re probably already familiar with RottenTomatoes and other movie review sites. Like many of the other sites mentioned in this post, RT allows you to log in via Facebook and share your posts directly on your Facebook wall. Such interconnectivity will make Facebook hard for any competing social network to overcome.

PHOTO SHARING. Some of the photo sharing mainstays include Flickr, Photobucket, and Picasa. These sites allow you to create public albums, copyright your images, or share your pictures privately, if you prefer. Related but different is the newest wave washing across the Web, Pinterest. Pinterest is a pinboard application that allows you to organize and share all the cool things you find on the web. People are using Pinterest boards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes, among a zillion other uses.

PODCASTING. Paul Dunay makes the excellent point for Marketing Profs that podcasting, while a social enough means of sharing information, is not technically social media, because “it is only when you get involved in the conversation that it becomes social. … Take it from me, I have personally recorded and hand-edited over 100 podcasts … and I can safely say they don’t get the level of interactivity (read, comments) like my regular old blog posts do.” For a comprehensive list of podcast directories, hit up podcastingnews.com.

PROFESSIONAL. While LinkedIn cornered the market for online business networking, Ecademy is doing a similar job on a much more international level. LinkedIn has great groups, resume boards, job boards, and other features of interests to professionals and job seekers. Even if you’re an entrepreneur, writer, or someone who has not held a “job” in many years, it would behoove you to create a complete LinkedIn profile, if only for the added exposure. Not to mention that its database ranks well in the search engines, and you never know who you might meet with an interest in your book, your topic, or you personally.

RETAIL. No one would question that Amazon has become a behemoth in online retail – not just books, but almost any product imaginable. However, there are other retail outlets geared at creative types. Zazzle, CafePress, and Etsy are among the myriad sites that allow artists to create and sell their own products. While Etsy has a much more juried fine arts and crafts-show essence, Zazzle and CafePress have a mechanism for creating basic things like T-shirts, bumper stickers, mugs, and greeting cards. If you can keep your fee to just $5, you’ll want to check out Fiverr, a site that will allow you sell anything in the world (songs, eBooks, instruction manuals, personalized golf balls, jewelry – literally, you name it) for five buckaroos.

SOCIAL ACTION. Sites like VolunteerMatch enable visitors to find volunteer opportunities and organizations to recruit helpers. Care2, on the other hand, puts users in touch with all sorts of social causes. Paired with more traditional social sites like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, these sites are revolutionizing social action in America and around the world.

TRAVEL. Sites like TripAdvisor enable travelers to plan and experience great trips. Offering advice from real travelers and planning features with links to booking tools, TripAdvisor sites are said to make up the largest travel community in the world. Similar – but with a focus on study-abroad programs – is StudyAbroad101, which promotes global citizenship by fostering the most meaningful study-abroad experiences for students and offering recruiting mechanisms for study-abroad program administrators.

VIDEO SHARING. If you’re not doing it, start. As the second largest search engine, YouTube is a place you want to have a presence. Additionally, AMD Web Services reports that video results appear in about 70% of the top 100 listings, the type of content most often displayed in universal or blended search results. (Marketingweek, 2011.) According to Rossiter & Co., People who view a web video are 64% more likely to purchase than other site visitors. (Comscore.) The best option is to host your own video so that every other video with similar tags (and audiences) doesn’t show up when people watch yours – but any video is better than no video at all.

WRITING. There are probably thousands of places to share your writing online, but here are a few sites I like quite a lot: Figment, an online community where you can create, discover, and share new reading and writing, follow your literary obsessions, and find fans for your work; 10 Day Book Club, an interactive manuscript development process that shares writers’ voices through a unique virtual book club format; Helium, a citizen journalism outlet offering a platform for writers to submit articles on topics about which they are knowledgeable; and Ficly, a place to play with storytelling in a collaborative environment where anyone can pick up a narrative thread and weave a prequel or sequel.

If you have a special interest, haven’t found the perfect social site yet, and have a lot of time on your hands, Ning offers you a means by which to create your own social network. I would be the last person to discourage you from trying – but if you do it, be prepared to put your heart and soul into. Remember that your readers are being drawn in a thousand different directions, so your site has to be active, dynamic, and interesting – with something unique that gives visitors a reason to keep coming back, and inviting others to join.

Lastly, it takes a lot of time to manage and maintain memberships in just a handful of these sites. One site offers an easy way to automate your posts. Ping.fm is a simple, free service that allows you update your status across many social networks with one click. Personally, I choose not to employ it because I understand that the users of each social site are different, and one-size-fits all posts generally don’t work. Would using Ping be easier? Of course. But as it stands, even if I don’t know each friend or follower on my social sites personally, I have qualified them – and when I post content or interact with them, they are getting it from me because I want that content on that site. If your choice is between using Ping and not doing it at all, I say use Ping. But where you are able, be present in real time.

Happy connecting!

MARCIE

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