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Archive for the ‘2013 Winter Author Blog Challenge’ Category

Winter Author Blog Challenge #11: Tips for bringing your Squidoo author lens ALIVE

Woo-hoo! The Winter Author Blog Challenge is underway. This time around, the Challenge is just 15 days, and our focus is social media. The goal is for participants to post all 15 days, following the daily prompts provided, if they so choose. As with the inaugural Author Blog Challenge that took place last summer, I’ll be playing along with all of the posts, even though Marcie and I are the hosts!

Uh-oh. I missed another one. Ah, well, I guess I’ll be backtracking to get GoodReads in there sometime soon! However, I’m plunging ahead. Here we go with the ELEVENTH prompt of the Winter Author Blog Challenge:

Do you have a Squidoo lens? Founded by Seth Godin, 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. The credibility-building potential rivals Quora, but unlike question-answering sites, Squidoo users are free to create content of their choosing. The SEO rankings are quite high – but it remains incumbent upon the site’s users to double-check the veracity of information provided. Challenge questions: What are the benefits to using sites like Quora and Squidoo for building credibility? What can they offer that your website or blog doesn’t already do? How could this help you sell more books?

Squidoo is a site that allows YOU to become THE expert in your field. It’s a great place to easily demonstrate your expert knowledge and potentially get paid for it! Founded by Seth Godin, this popular free site enables users to create single webpages (known as lenses) about their interests and recommendations. Users can even earn money for charity or themselves. Squidoo users write articles, share videos, add photos, add RSSs feed from their blogs, add their Twitter feeds, favorite links, and more. Squidoo also makes it easy to earn money from eBay, Amazon, Google AdSense, and by referring other users to Squidoo.

You may wonder what the point is of recreating all the same material you may already have on your blog or website. Here’s the thing: Squidoo has a Google page rank of 8/10, which is incredibly high, meaning that publishing on Squidoo will increase the likelihood of great search engine rankings, as well as providing strong backlinks to your website or blog. Additionally, this site allows you to go deeper on a single area of expertise than you might in a single blog post or even a page of your website.

Squidoo for Authors

Start by creating an account, including fully developing your profile with a short bio and head shot. You may want to have a number of lenses:

  • A lens for your specific area of expertise
  • An author lens for yourself, especially if you’re starting to gain some traction and notoriety around your book(s)Squidoo
  • A lens for each of your titles. Include the following items on each individual book’s lens:
  1. Author bio
  2. Book summary
  3. Cover image
  4. Excerpt (or link to a download)
  5. Reviews
  6. Links to the place(s) where your book is available for sale.
  7. Link to your author website.
  8. Link to your book trailer.
  9. Links to your blog, website, and all your other social media platforms.
  10. A calendar that includes dates for your signings and events.
  11. Images from the same signings and events.

Still not sure what to use for content? If you have a special report that you’re already giving away, can you rework it (so the copy is not exactly the same) and release it on Squidoo for added exposure? Here’s an example I wrote.

Tips for Improving Your Squidoo Results

  • Even if it’s a topic you’ve written about at length before, write original content and use updated graphics for the best SEO results.
  • Begin generating traffic to your lens by visiting other Squidoo lenses related to your subject and posting comments that encourage those individuals to visit your lens. As with commenting on blogs on similar topics to yours, this will help you gain ranking and recognition on Squidoo and should be a regular part of your Squidoo success plan. You not only will enhance your traffic – but this is one of the social aspects of this social media site – and you can create lasting and valuable connections with others who may take an interest in helping you promote your book.
  • Once you create a lens, update it periodically and then hang onto it. Each lens helps your overall Squidoo status, so you don’t ever want to delete your lens as a means of updating your overall profile. Be sure to republish your lens after every update.
  • Squidoo has a built-in backup system that allows you to “export” your lens to your hard drive. Do this with some regularity, too, in case you ever accidentally delete your lens or have other problems with it.
  • Join Squidoo groups in your area of interest to further your contacts and promote your lens. Besides on-the-nose matches for your topic, search for ancillary subjects that are allied. For instance, if you’re writing about residential plumbing, it might pay to check out lenses on lighting, electricians, roofing, construction, landscaping, etc.
  • You can link your Squidoo lens to Twitter for increased exposure.
  • Create a lensroll (akin to a blogroll) with your favorite lenses, whether they’re yours or created by others.
  • Add a link to your lens to your email signature, or places you put your other social media links.

Making a splash on Squidoo requires regular maintenance. I’ll admit I haven’t given it the attention it deserves, but that will be changing! Remember that a complete lens has far more than just text content. You also want to include graphics and images, write a full bio, add your Amazon and/or eBay links, create polls, and make it all extra useful by creating a table of contents.

One of the biggest advantages of social media is the interconnectivity of all the platforms. I mentioned Tweeting your Squidoo updates earlier. Or you can create an infographic specifically for Squidoo that you repin on Pinterest and also link to your Facebook Fan Page. Here’s one person that had the right idea, but the wrong application. This is a Pinterest board titled “Why Authors Should Be on Squidoo.” Oops, though – just one measly little pin of a book that has nothing to do with this subject.

squidoo on pinterst

Pinterest/Squidoo fail…

One website contains a list of lenses about books and authors. Sign up here to have your lens listed.

If you’ve done lots of work on your Squidoo lens(es) and are still seeing little results, you can check the health of your Squidoo lens here. Just plug in the link to your lens and you’ll receive an instant analysis about what’s working and where you can improve it.

Yep, Squidoo is another potential tool in your book marketing arsenal. Nope – you won’t have time to do everything. But explore each social media option you come across to determine whether even a small presence might help enhance your reach, grow your platform, create a bigger following, and ultimately sell more books.

In the meantime, come Squidoo with me!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________Microsoft PowerPoint - Create a Fan Page 2013 ebook

Need help creating – or updating – your Facebook Fan Page? At nearly 200 pages, this eBook is chock-full of screen shots and details about how to create or improve your Facebook Fan Page. Includes details about adding a MY BOOKS feature to your page. Grow your Fan Page and grow your list of potential readers! Get Using Facebook Fan Pages to Market Your Book and/or Build Your Business today!

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Winter Author Blog Challenge #10: The GoodReads Author Program means good book promoting!

by Laura Orsini

Woo-hoo! The Winter Author Blog Challenge is underway. This time around, the Challenge is just 15 days, and our focus is social media. The goal is for participants to post all 15 days, following the daily prompts provided, if they so choose. As with the inaugural Author Blog Challenge that took place last summer, I’ll be playing along with all of the posts, even though Marcie and I are the hosts!

Alrighty then … catching up on my GoodReads post! This was the TENTH prompt of the Winter Author Blog Challenge:

Are you on GoodReads? It seems a pretty obvious place for authors to hang out, yet I’m not sure authors are using it to quite the maximal benefit. If you are on GoodReads, how often do you visit/use the site? How often do you update your reading list? What other kinds of things do you post? Are you finding yourself using it the way social media was intended: to create a community? If you are NOT on GoodReads, have you made a deliberate choice to skip it? What other mechanisms do you utilize for meeting other readers/writers/authors? How else could you begin to create your very own community?

When invited to join GoodReads a few years ago by a real-life friend, I did so somewhat half-heartedly. I didn’t even create a profile till a year or so ago! Then every once in a while, I’d get email notices that someone else I knew had joined. What’s this joining stuff? I thought, still doing nothing about it.

goodreads

A lifelong reader, I badgered my dad into teaching me to read at 4 because I wanted to be able to read the Sunday comics to myself. I zipped through towers of library books every summer, earning badges and ribbons and prizes in their annual summer reading programs. Then I grew up and was able to start buying books, and my library has never stopped growing. Its growth has slowed somewhat in the last couple years since I’ve become a Kindle owner, but if my husband and I didn’t periodically purge our books, we’d be sleeping standing up between the stacks. While I will occasionally recommend a book (see my newsletter for last month’s recommendation), even with my bibliophilic ways, I’ve never felt any pressing need to share the titles in my library with large masses of people – which seemed to be the entire purpose of GoodReads.

Until I learned about the GoodReads Author Program.

If you’re an author whose response to the question “Are you using GoodReads to promote your books?” is “Not really,” you’re missing a HUGE opportunity. More than any other site, this is THE pace you should be promoting your books! Did you realize that GoodReads has a built-in mechanism for you to do just that via their Author Program? Better still, it’s F-R-E-E! About 50,000 authors are currently listed on the GoodReads Author Program.

STEP ONE: Sign Up

The GoodReads Author Program is designed for authors of published books or those in the process of publishing a book. The system works best if your work is already listed on a bookseller’s website, like Amazon.com or BN.com, but GoodReads will accept any author who has published a book, including foreign (non-U.S.) and self-published authors.

  1. Sign in if you are already a GoodReads member. If not, sign up for an account.
  2. It’s a good idea to join under your published name so your author profile name will match your book(s).
  3. In the search window, search for your published author name. The author name is listed below the title of your book in the search results. If your book is self-published and is not yet in the Goodreads database, you can add it manually.
  4. Clicking on your name takes you to your basic author profile page. This page has your name at the top and Author Profile to the right of your name. This page is part of the GoodReads author and books database, completely separate from your member profile page (the one that lists your bookshelves and friends).
  5. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Is this you? to initiate a request to join the GoodReads Author Program. Then prepare to wait, as it generally takes a few daysyou’re your request to be processed. You will receive email confirmation your member account is successfully upgraded to an author account. Joining the program merges your author page with your member page.
  • Enter your full published name, email address, and a password.
  • Click Create an Account.
  • Check your email and verify your address by clicking the link in message they send you.

STEP TWO: Take Control of Your Profile

So you can look at this as just another thing you’ve got to do, one of an endless array of online profiles, or the opportunity to distinguish your profile as a scintillating destination for your target readers. Certainly, some of these aspects overlap the profile features on other social media platforms, but some are unique to GoodReads. Here are some of the things you can include in your profile:

  • Add a picture and bio.
  • Share your list of favorite books and recent reads with your fans.
  • Use GoodReads as your blog platform and generate a band of followers.
  • Publicize upcoming events like such book signings and speaking engagements.
  • Share book excerpts and other pieces of your writing.
  • Post a quiz about your book or a related topic.
  • Add your video book trailer or other promotional or book-related videos.
  • Join one of the thousands of groups – but avoid too much self-promotion.
  • Add the Goodreads Author widget to your blog or website to highlight reviews of your books.

STEP THREE: Promote Your Books

The GoodReads Author Program also makes it easy to spread the word about your books. Here are some of the promotional tools you can use:

  • Advertise your book to the Goodreads community of 14 million readers.
  • Generate pre-launch buzz with a book giveaway.
  • Lead a Q&A discussion for readers on your profile or participate in groups and discussion forums for your books.
  • Link your blog feed to your GoodReads Author profile. To syndicate your blog on Goodreads, you will need to find the RSS or Atom URL for your blog. This is usually your blog’s URL with a “/feed” on the end. Example: https://marciebrockbookmarketingmaven.wordpress.com/feed
  • Go to GoodReads.
  • Click your name in the upper right corner to go to your author profile.
  • Click Edit Profile.
  • Under your picture, click Add/Edit Blog.
  • On the right side, find External Blog Feed URL.
  • Click Change if the URL field isn’t showing.
  • Right-click in the field space.
  • Left-click Paste from the dropdown menu.
  • Your URL should now show up and look something like this: https://marciebrockbookmarketingmaven.wordpress.com/feeds/posts/default
  • Decide whether you want to Show Full Post and check or uncheck the box.
  • Click the Add Feed button.

A Few Last Tips

Be sure your profile is complete and accurate. Make sure that your book(s) has the correct ISBN/ASIN, publication date, and cover image. book-loverBe sure to include page count. Some of the more die-hard Goodreads members enjoy announcing their progress as they read with comments like, “I’m on page 289 of 624.” You want this kind of commentary, as it can be something this small that translates to commentary and discussion about your book.

As Rachelle Gardner suggests on the Books & Such blog, when it comes to book reviews: “List the books you’ve read and want to read. Write brief reviews saying why you like your favorite books. Be genuine. Treat it like a discussion forum, not a promotional tool. Since you’re an author, think carefully about whether you’ll post any reviews that aren’t positive; at the same time, you don’t want to post only gushing, over-the-top positive reviews. Be honest but circumspect.”

Another suggestion comes from Patrick Brown, Goodreads Community Manager, via a Writer’s Digest article: “If you’re not comfortable writing reviews, make an inspirations shelf and add the books that have meant the most to you as a writer. Not only will these books show up in your update feed for your fans to see, they will also make your profile a more engaging place for readers.”

GoodRead suggests offering multiple giveaways, each open for about a month, as a means of pre-release promotion. Ideally, you’ll start about three months before your launch date. Then run a second giveaway a few weeks before your book hits the shelves and web. GoodReads places no limits on the number of giveaways you can run.

Encourage your fans and followers on other social media sites to review your book on GoodReads. Also encourage participants with a GoodReads badge on your blog and website. Because GoodReads reviews are often exported to other sites like Powells.com, USAToday.com, etc., a GoodReads review can have much further reach than a review on other sites.

Looks like I’ve got some work ahead of me to catch up on this whole GoodReads opportunity!

In the meantime, find me on GoodReads.

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________Microsoft PowerPoint - Create a Fan Page 2013 ebook

Need help creating – or updating – your Facebook Fan Page? At nearly 200 pages, this eBook is chock-full of screen shots and details about how to create or improve your Facebook Fan Page. Includes details about adding a MY BOOKS feature to your page. Grow your Fan Page and grow your list of potential readers! Get Using Facebook Fan Pages to Market Your Book and/or Build Your Business today!

Read Full Post »

Winter Author Blog Challenge #9: Paranoia or practicality? A host of opinions about saying NO to FourSquare

Woo-hoo! The Winter Author Blog Challenge is underway. This time around, the Challenge is just 15 days, and our focus is social media. The goal is for participants to post all 15 days, following the daily prompts provided, if they so choose. As with the inaugural Author Blog Challenge that took place last summer, I’ll be playing along with all of the posts, even though Marcie and I are the hosts!

Here we go with the NINTH prompt of the Winter Author Blog Challenge:

What are your thoughts about FourSquare? For those unaware, FourSquare is a location tracking platform. Its users foursquare“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 for the discounts. Or perhaps you want people to know which bookstore you’re in for your signing or event. Are you using FourSquare? Is there a way to use it to encourage better attendance at your signings and events? What are the pluses and drawbacks? Be sure to give us the link to your profile!

For lack of a better term, I think of FourSquare as a location revelation platform. People who use FourSquare and sites like it “check in” at various locations with a mobile device and are able to find out (track?) where their friends are. The 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 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.

I'm WATCHING you!

I’m WATCHING you!

I recall meeting a guy nearly a half-dozen years ago who had an idea for an application like FourSquare. His thought was that you could simply send out a message that said, “Hey, I’m heading to the Community Art Cinema. Anyone want to catch a matinee of A Clockwork Orange?” Then those online at the time and interested could find you and hook up. I didn’t quite get it then (although Facebook and Twitter were in their infancy, no one was using them via their phones of for messaging like this), and I don’t really get it now.

I’ve never been what you’d call a privacy freak. If you want to know about me, just Google my name and quite a bit is revealed. I also know the risks of putting anything anywhere on the Internet. If you don’t want people to find you – or steal your content – don’t be online. Ever. For any reason. Not condoning plagiarism, fraud, or similar malfeasance – just aware that it happens, and exposure to such risk is the cost of participating in the World Wide Web.

All that said, I have no desire for anyone except my husband to know where I am 24/7 – and even he doesn’t know every detail of my days because our relationship is built on trust so we don’t require each other to wear ankle bracelets. Common sense also tells me that it’s probably best not to announce to the world where you are at every given moment of the day. The only benefit I see from doing so is to earn points or savings on certain items, but when it comes down to it, is any savings really worth exposing yourself so thoroughly?

I was concerned I stood alone on this issue, but the app has a tiny user base (compared to other social networks) that seems to be declining. Maybe everyone is starting to reconsider the desirability of location revelation on a mass scale. According to an August 18 New York Post article, “The mobile network counts 25 million members, even though … data shows far fewer active ones.”

Additionally, most Winter Author Blog Challenge participants stacked up with an unfavorable outlook on FourSquare. Here’s a sampling of what they had to say:

ASHLEY HOWLAND. Today’s prompt was about foursquare. I think I have an account, but never use it. I don’t like the idea of people knowing where I am all the time. So I’m not convinced this is of any use to me as an author or just in general. Will be interested to read other people’s takes. READ MORE HERE.

MERLENE FAWDRY. When I do want to publicise an event I tend to use other methods, print invitations, flyers, email, Facebook and other media On the plus side, it does have great maps and this could be useful in the absence of a GPS – or a print copy street directory. This works for me. READ MORE HERE.

RUNDY PURDY. Call me paranoid but I really wonder if people are thinking about these possibilities and implications enough. Yes, it is fun to share where you have been, what you are doing, but are you confident who is seeing that information? Would you be comfortable if the entire world could see that information? The more you become a public figure the more pointed these questions become. Authors want to use social media to get their name out in the world, but there is a negative side to that greater visibility. Sometimes you attract the attention of less savoury characters. Do you share on social media with that possibility in mind? READ MORE HERE.

MELISSA KHALINKSY. One of the drawbacks is remembering to check in, also, I don’t want everyone to know where I am when I’m out with my kids. Also, when I’m on my mobile, I’m conscious of not going over my data limit. It’s different when I’m somewhere I can connect with WiFi. I’ve also only just started adding friends to my list. I haven’t used discounts or special offers yet, mostly because the places I’ve been visiting haven’t had offers listed. READ MORE HERE.

SANDI TUTTLE. There is a saying: “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you.” I don’t think I am paranoid, but I really dislike the thought that some unknown someone somewhere in Cyberspace can figure out that I’m getting a manicure. Perhaps this is just my age showing. I see all the ads on TV about how cool it is to ‘connect’ and how easy it is to use your smart phone to find the perfect fusion restaurant on a Thursday night. Except that I think my husband would rather starve than eat fusion, we haven’t eaten out on a Thursday night in 20 years, and I can’t imagine anyone being so interested in our location that they need to use some Eye in the Sky to find us.

I remember some early applications of cable TV that didn’t pan out because they were ahead of their time. Eventually, the practical application for the technology caught up with what they had, and a new fun thing was packaged and sold to the masses. It is possible that FourSquare is in this position. READ MORE HERE.

JO MICHALES. I find FourSquare to look a lot like my Google maps app. While I can see the usefulness of it if appearing in public, I’m a bit of a private person. I’m not really keen on everyone being able to find me anywhere I’m hanging out. Same reason I use a pen name. Not awesome to have folks you don’t know loitering on your lawn or sending you angry letters because you had the audacity to write something they didn’t agree with.

Now, if I wanted to know where to find something and didn’t have a different maps app on my device, I’d consider using FourSquare for that function. But to have a whole plethora of people knowing where I am at any given moment of the day? No, thank you. I’ll pass. READ MORE HERE.

Would love to hear your take on FourSquare in the comments section below. Do you see a practical use for authors – or is it just better left alone?

Sorry – you won’t be finding me on FourSquare. But look just about everywhere else!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________Microsoft PowerPoint - Create a Fan Page 2013 ebook

Need help creating – or updating – your Facebook Fan Page? At nearly 200 pages, this eBook is chock-full of screen shots and details about how to create or improve your Facebook Fan Page. Includes details about adding a MY BOOKS feature to your page. Grow your Fan Page and grow your list of potential readers! Get Using Facebook Fan Pages to Market Your Book and/or Build Your Business today!

Read Full Post »

Winter Author Blog Challenge #8: Quora can help you establish your credibility, something every author can use

Woo-hoo! The Winter Author Blog Challenge is underway. This time around, the Challenge is just 15 days, and our focus is social media. The goal is for participants to post all 15 days, following the daily prompts provided, if they so choose. As with the inaugural Author Blog Challenge that took place last summer, I’ll be playing along with all of the posts, even though Marcie and I are the hosts!

Drum roll, please … here is EIGHTH prompt of the Winter Author Blog Challenge:

Are you using Quora? If you aren’t familiar with it, Quora enables users to ask questions and receive answers from those quora 2who allegedly know something about the topic. This is a phenomenal way to demonstrate your expertise – and even if you’re a novelist, you have an area of expertise – perhaps it’s simply “publishing your novel.” Unfortunately, it seems you’re required to have an account before you can dig around – UNLESS you know a person’s profile link. Here are two you can check out:

http://www.quora.com/Seth-Godin

http://www.quora.com/Laura-Orsini

Yes – I just put myself on par with Seth Godin! Here’s your challenge: What’s the one question you would like to find an expert to answer? And conversely, what’s the one question you would feel most comfortable/confident answering? If you’re on Quora, please be sure to give us your link!

Credibility means the quality of being logically or apparently valid. It is the thing that makes people respect you as an expert, the thing that gives you an edge because people seek you out for your knowledge. And with credibility comes reputation, as well as authenticity, believability, sincerity, legitimacy, plausibility, visibility, trust, and word of mouth. There’s almost no better way to create credibility than by authoring a book.

However, of all the social media platforms, Quora is one that can quickly help you stand apart as an expert in your subject matter or industry because it enables 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.”

Answer sites like Quora are a wonderful place to demonstrate expertise in the subject matter of your book, creating followers, and perhaps eventually readers. Even as a novelist, you have an area of expertise. Perhaps it’s simply “publishing your novel” – or perhaps you did an enormous amount of research on British clothing and customs of the 1940s for your World War II romance. Guess what – you can use that expert knowledge to make a name for yourself on a platform like Quora! And is it impossible to think you might parlay that into guest lecturing for a university level history class? The only limits on your marketing and platform-building are your abilities to generate great ideas, leverage your contacts, and take action.

Speaking of taking action, here are 7 good reasons to build credibility:

#1 — Generate a perception of trust.build-trust

#2 — Create a showcase for your knowledge.

#3 — With credibility comes implied quality.

#4 — Increase your exposure.

#5 — Improve your audience’s recall and recognition.

#6 — Create heightened demand.

#7 — Inspire brighter visibility.

Active involvement on Quora can help you achieve all of these. That said, I don’t use it nearly enough. But this Challenge is motivating me to add to my Marketing To-Do List, too! As with Google+, I’ll offer an update on this in 6 weeks.

In the meantime, let’s Quora!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________Microsoft PowerPoint - Create a Fan Page 2013 ebook

Need help creating – or updating – your Facebook Fan Page? At nearly 200 pages, this eBook is chock-full of screen shots and details about how to create or improve your Facebook Fan Page. Includes details about adding a MY BOOKS feature to your page. Grow your Fan Page and grow your list of potential readers! Get Using Facebook Fan Pages to Market Your Book and/or Build Your Business today!

Read Full Post »

Winter Author Blog Challenge #7: Authors, jump into Google+ while you can still create a BIG splash!

Woo-hoo! The Winter Author Blog Challenge is underway. This time around, the Challenge is just 15 days, and our focus is social media. The goal is for participants to post all 15 days, following the daily prompts provided, if they so choose. As with the inaugural Author Blog Challenge that took place last summer, I’ll be playing along with all of the posts, even though Marcie and I are the hosts!

Our regular readers who are keeping careful track may have noticed that we just leapfrogged over Day 6. Not to be too snarky, but it’s my blog and I retain the right to do so. Actually, Day 6 is on YouTube, and I want to do the post justice, which is going to take a little longer than normal. I will get back to it. For those reading a couple days behind, we may be all caught up by the time you’re reading this!

So I’ll post the DAY 6 prompt with the DAY 6 blog post. Right now, we unveil the SEVENTH prompt:

Have you jumped into Google+ yet? If you are a regular user, you are still considered an early adopter, and that’s a great place to be in order to make a name for yourself while few others are – especially if men are among your target market, as most users right now are male. As marketing pro Linda Sherman puts it, “GooglePlus can give you access to influencers (i.e., other early adopters) who might not notice you elsewhere.” This is a CHALLENGE, so here’s my challenge with this prompt: If you’re USING Goolge+, tell us about your experience. If you’re NOT using Google+, don’t just write, “Blah, blah, blah I’m not using it …” and call it a post. Do a little research. Learn one thing about Google+ that you find interesting, that might make it worth your time and effort to explore. No – I’m not suggesting you be on every social media platform, but the goal of this challenge is to explore the various social networks, so let’s do that! And if you are on Google+, be sure to give us your link.

With roughly 135 million active users, Google+ is still considered new – some even say a ghost town. The good news is that becoming a regular google+user now, while it’s still in its infancy can, as marketing pro Linda Sherman puts it, “give you access to influencers who might not notice you elsewhere. People who are ignoring it are falling behind,” she said in a recent Forbes  interview with Dori Clark.

Right now, Google+ users are predominantly male, so if your books have a large male readership, you may want to focus more attention there.

Google+ Features

You may have begun to see little +1 icons showing up around the web. These are comparable to Facebook’s  ubiquitous “Like” buttons.

Google+ Communities enables you to build new connections with active Google+ users. And unlike Facebook, which presently does not allow Brand Pages to join groups, Google+ allows Brand Pages to create and join Communities.

Google+ Local Pages gives you the opportunity to indicate your business on a local map that links to your account. It does require that you have a local business with a legitimate (i.e., findable via search engine or directory assistance). If you have a GooglePlace account but not a Google+ account (or vice-versa), be sure to use the same Google account as the first one when setting up the second.

Google Hangouts gives Google+ members the opportunity to hold video chats with up to nine other participants. This is unlike anything offered by Facebook or Twitter. NOTE: You must have a webcam and a mic to use this feature.

Use Hangouts to:

  • Host or join a writing group with people beyond your local community.
  • Hold virtual readings with your biggest fans. If you’re open to the idea, you might even read work in progress, and let the fans give you feedback.
  • Interview other author and invite a few of your followers to listen in.
  • Take a break to connect with real people with human voices.
  • Inspire other writers by holding a virtual writing workshop.
  • Hold brainstorming or collaborative writing sessions.

Use Google Authorship to link your Google+ profile to content you create. Follow these steps to do so:

  • Make sure your profile includes a photo with a recognizable head shot.
  • Check that your byline appears on each page of your content (for example, “by Marcie Brock”).
  • Confirm that your byline matches the name on your Google+ profile.

Improve your SEO. The Google search engine indexes everything posted publicly on Google+ gets almost instantly, making the “+1” feature as important as a “Like,” if not more so. The more active you are on Google+, the more likely your blog or website will be to receive +1s. Improve your odds by adding a +1 button to every page on your blog/site.

Use Google+ Sparks (essentially a reader for syndicated content) to generate ideas for blogs, articles, media releases, special reports, and your next book! Add a particular keyword and you will receive content related to that topic delivered direct to your inbox.

Another great feature of Google+ is that it allows for long conversations during which you can build relationships and readership. As with Twitter and LinkedIn, use Google+ to connect with fellow authors, bloggers and readers. If you want to see what other authors and writers – some of them very connected and/or impressive, are up to, here’s a List of Recommended Authors and Writers on Google+.

Authors on Google+

Authors you may know on Google+

I’ve got a lot of work to do to get my Google+ profile up to speed. I’ll check back with you in 6 weeks to let you know my progress!

In the meantime, come Circle me on Google+!

Laura

RESOURCES:

http://www.christophergronlund.com/blog/tjw/2011/07/19/google-plus-for-writers/

http://www.buzzom.com/2011/07/how-authors-bloggers-and-journalists-can-benefit-from-google-plus/

https://plus.google.com/authorship

http://lindasherman.me/what-you-are-missing-on-googleplus/
__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________Microsoft PowerPoint - Create a Fan Page 2013 ebook

Need help creating – or updating – your Facebook Fan Page? At nearly 200 pages, this eBook is chock-full of screen shots and details about how to create or improve your Facebook Fan Page. Includes details about adding a MY BOOKS feature to your page. Grow your Fan Page and grow your list of potential readers! Get Using Facebook Fan Pages to Market Your Book and/or Build Your Business today!

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Winter Author Blog Challenge #5: Nine ways authors can Pin for success

Woo-hoo! The Winter Author Blog Challenge is underway. This time around, the Challenge is just 15 days, and our focus is social media. The goal is for participants to post all 15 days, following the daily prompts provided, if they so choose. As with the inaugural Author Blog Challenge that took place last summer, I’ll be playing along with all of the posts, even though Marcie and I are the hosts!

And now we unveil the FIFTH prompt:

One of the newest and fastest growing social media platforms is Pinterest? Have you jumped onboard? What kinds of images do (or could) you post that are related to your book or the topic of your book? What other kinds of images do you post? Are you linking each post back to your blog, website, or Amazon page? IF YOU’RE NOT USING Pinterest, what’s holding you back? Take a look at book marketer extraordinaire John Kremer’s Pinterest Boards. After perusing them, how MIGHT you use Pinterest to brand yourself and your book? Is it something you’re considering? Be sure to give us your Pinterest link.

As with everything we post on the Marcie Brock blog, these are our opinions (and suggestions) only. And it is our opinion that of all the current social media platforms, Pinterest is one of the most fun. If you haven’t jumped in yet, we caution: B-E C-A-R-E-F-U-L!!! It can be a monstrous time-waster, but you will probably have tons of fun while you’re wasting it.

I have 27 boards – and as I looked them over again for this post, I was so pleased by all of them that  it’s almost hard to say which is my favorite. Of course, Ireland wins because … well, it’s Ireland! Elegant Christmas comes in a close second. After that, I like all of them.

Pinterest boards

I love Client Books because it’s a chance to both promote my clients’ books and my company’s range of skill and offerings. In the image below, the only cover I didn’t design was Honor O’Flynn.

Pinterest client

  • I post on Marcie and ABC sporadically, doing a bunch at one time.
  • Since TRAVEL is one of the most popular categories on Pinterst, I created the Writers’ Retreats and Author Birthplaces boards.
  • Inspirations by Laura is a grouping of inspirational images I created and posted to Facebook over the last couple years.
  • I worked so hard on the Social Media Icons for my newsletter that I decided to post on Pinterest because I’d love to come across them on someone else’s site someday.
  • Moon Glow seems to be getting the most likes and repins. And Open Sesame is a collection of mesmerizing doorways and passageways.

Some of these are just for enjoyment, but a good number are “work related.” The thing is, your Pinning needn’t be a time-waster. If used properly, Pinterest can be a phenomenal tool for marketing your books. Here are nine ways authors can use Pinterest to grow their platforms and sell more books.

1. Literally sell books. Your cover image becomes vital here (for those of you skimping on a cover designer or having your next-door neighbor’s kid do it), because Pinterest is all about the images! In the edit window, if you include a price, Pinterest automatically inserts a tab with the price in the upper left-hand corner of your image.

Pinterest pricing

The illustration above is purely for explanatory purposes. In this case, I’ve linked the pin to my Amazon store, so a book by Thomas Aquinas is for sale there, but that’s not entirely clear from the image.

2. For fiction authors, create a Pinterest board for the main characters or settings in your book. You can encourage reader/fan involvement by asking them to suggest images your words evoke. Of course, this might not work for me personally, as one of the most delicious aspects of reading fiction is getting to imagine the scene in my own head – so I might not want others’ ideas influencing my reading pleasure. Then again, maybe once I’d finished the book…

3. Offer your readers an insider’s look at your process: your writing space, the view from your office window, your dog asleep at your feet, your favorite tea mug, the coffee shop where you go to edit, images of members of your critique group.

4. Imagine your book’s success. Which cities would you like to visit for your book tour? At which writers’ retreat would you love to spend the summer or winter? What kind of writing studio or library would you build?

5. Make friends and influence people by promoting your friends’ and favorite authors’ books.

6. Pin special offers, discounts, and coupons.

7. Generate after-party enthusiasm by sharing the pictures of your signings and readings.

8. Share your own inspirations. Pin images, quotes, and people that inspire you.

9. Hold a contest: PART 1: Offer a giveaway for fans who buy your book and send you a picture of them reading it in a creative ay or place. PART 2: Create a Board for all the images you receive. PART 3: Have your Pinterest followers vote on the best picture. Ask your followers to share their favorites on Twitter and Facebook.

REMINDERS

  • Large, captivating images work best. Keep this in mind when you’re designing your book cover!
  • Add the “Pin It” widget to your website and/or blog.
  • Give your boards short, catchy names.
  • Images that are longer than they are wide get repinned most often. Think infographics!
  • Remember to ENGAGE. Don’t be a one-sided Pinner. If you like someone’s images, comment on them – start conversations with people.

Get creative like New Leaf Literary Agency, where each literary agent has his/her own board and each book has its own board. Thanks to Katrina Lantz, Novelist for sharing this!picture placeholder

Lastly, don’t be like this guy! He has the vanity name Pinterest.com/author – and yet he has NO PINS!!!

In the meantime, come Pin with us!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________Microsoft PowerPoint - Create a Fan Page 2013 ebook

Need help creating – or updating – your Facebook Fan Page? At nearly 200 pages, this eBook is chock-full of screen shots and details about how to create or improve your Facebook Fan Page. Includes details about adding a MY BOOKS feature to your page. Grow your Fan Page and grow your list of potential readers! Get Using Facebook Fan Pages to Market Your Book and/or Build Your Business today!

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Winter Author Blog Challenge #4: Nine ways authors can used Linked in for professional promotion

Woo-hoo! The Winter Author Blog Challenge is underway. This time around, the Challenge is just 15 days, and our focus is social media. The goal is for participants to post all 15 days, following the daily prompts provided, if they so choose. As with the inaugural Author Blog Challenge that took place last summer, I’ll be playing along with all of the posts, even though Marcie and I are the hosts!

Here we go with the FOURTH prompt:

LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking site. Launched in May 2003, it has undergone many metamorphoses – the most recent of which involved retiring two of its most popular features, LinkedIn Events and LinkedIn Answers. Are you using LinkedIn to promote yourself as an author? Does your professional profile include or feature your writing? What is the best connection you’ve made through your involvement on LinkedIn? Who would you still like to connect with? Might LinkedIn be a good vehicle for making such a connection? What is your biggest question, frustration, or suggestion regarding LinkedIn? IF YOU’RE NOT USING LinkedIn, why not? Here’s a good overview of LinkedIn’s features. After perusing it, how MIGHT you use LinkedIn to help build your author profile? Is it something you’re considering? Be sure to give us the link to your LinkedIn profile.

If participants in the Winter Author Blog Challenge are gnashing their teeth at all this social media mumbo-jumbo, it mayLinkedIn icon please them to know that their fair host is also struggling a bit – particularly since today’s topic, LinkedIn, is perhaps my most underutilized social media platform.

The thing is, LinkedIn has LOTS to offer authors – and non-author businesspeople. Here’s a quick list of ways you could be utilizing LinkedIn to promote yourself as an author. (Take note, I said promote yourself, NOT promote your book. This seems a good place for my regular reminder that the first word in social media is SOCIAL, so even on LinkedIn, that means keeping the selling to a minimum. Like any social platform, your goal should be to build connections.)

  • Change careers to become a writer? LinkedIn is a great way to reconnect with people you used to know way back when. Yes, Facebook can do that, too – but I’m talking less about your high school chums than a colleague, manager, or other professional you used to know who might be a great connection today.
  • If you fill out your profile completely, LinkedIn offers excellent SEO support. Depending on your industry/genre and your other SEO efforts, your LinkedIn profile could be one of the first two or three to come up when someone searches your name or other pertinent information about you.
  • More so than any other social network, LinkedIn offers you a place to demonstrate your expertise and let your credibility shine
  • With no fewer than 325 agents and editors on LinkedIn, it’s a great tool for getting connected to publishing industry professionals.
  • You’re not the only expert on LinkedIn, right? So why not utilize the mountain of expertise there for help/research/interviews for your book – even fiction!
  • It’s even possible to create connection with the superstars in your industry. Once you’ve done so – and I mean more than a passing, “Hi, I love your book” – you may be able to approach them for blurbs or testimonials for your book.
  • Looking for some publicity for your forthcoming title? Use LinkedIn to rub cybershoulders with TV, radio, and print media producers and editors.
  • LinkedIn has an app called “Amazon Reader” that allows you to give descriptions of the books you’re reading. Why not spend those 5,000 characters describing YOUR book? Then ask your LinkedIn connections that you know personally to include your book on their  Amazon Reader pages.
  • Are you looking to do more speaking? There are a number of speaker groups you can join which feature regular announcements about speaking opportunities. It seems that many of these are unpaid, but ask if you can sell your book at the back of the room! One author was unable to find contact info for the director of a conference at which he wanted to speak on the conference website. So he headed to LinkedIn, connected with the director personally, and was invited to join the conference faculty!

As with all social media, success at LinkedIn requires time and commitment. The energy on this platform is definitely more professional than Facebook and it offers a more substantial representation than Twitter. If you haven’t found either of those to your liking, perhaps LinkedIn is more your speed.

LinkedIn

You can find my LinkedIn profile here. And while you’re viewing, why not stop by and endorse me for Blogging, Social Media Marketing, and Marketing?

In the meantime, come Tweet with us!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________Microsoft PowerPoint - Create a Fan Page 2013 ebook

Need help creating – or updating – your Facebook Fan Page? At nearly 200 pages, this eBook is chock-full of screen shots and details about how to create or improve your Facebook Fan Page. Includes details about adding a MY BOOKS feature to your page. Grow your Fan Page and grow your list of potential readers! Get Using Facebook Fan Pages to Market Your Book and/or Build Your Business today!

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Winter Author Blog Challenge #3: I’ve come a long way from my status as a Twitter virgin

Woo-hoo! The Winter Author Blog Challenge is underway. This time around, the Challenge is just 15 days, and our focus is social media. The goal is for participants to post all 15 days, following the daily prompts provided, if they so choose. As with the inaugural Author Blog Challenge that took place last summer, I’ll be playing along with all of the posts, even though Marcie and I are the hosts!

That said, here’s the THIRD prompt:

Are you on Twitter? Perhaps more than any of the other social media platforms, Twitter has developed its own language. Tweets. Twitterverse. Rewteet. Are you invested in the lingo? So how do you make a statement in 140 characters? Are you following more people or are more people following you? How do you decide whom to follow? Do you reciprocate and automatically follow back everyone who follows you? What kinds of things do you post? How often do you post? What advice do you have for those who are just getting started? IF YOU’RE NOT USING Twitter, go look at it (twitter.com) and either find your favorite author or put “author” in the search field and look around. What’s your take? Which tweets interest you? What would you post if you did decide to create an account? What’s the likelihood you’ll be following @AuthorBlogChal anytime soon? Be sure to give us the link.

Much as with Facebook, I was also a Twitter early adopter. Although I certainly had my “I couldn’t care less what people are feeding their pet gerbils for lunch!” moments, I soon realized there was a great deal of value to be gleaned from learning to Tweet. I was more irritated with the cutesy Twitter lingo that seemed to spring up like weeds after a rainstorm (two of two of the words I most revile are “blogosphere” and “twittersphere”). And, like most people, I had no idea how to begin.

funny tweets

I think even today, seven years after Twitter’s inception, you can tell the feeds belonging to Twitter virgins from those who have multiple Twitter handles by their very first tweets. Those who start right off posting content have obviously been Tweeting awhile. Those who write “This is my first Tweet” are brand new.

What I eventually found was that Twitter is just a giant chatroom, with 500 million other people in it. The great news is that you get to decide whom to follow, with whom to interact, and how you interact with them. If you want to read tweets about what people are watching on TV every hour of the day, you can find them. If you’re more interested in connecting with literary types (agents, publicists, editors, publishing execs, book designers, other authors), they are there, too.

It was suggested to me when I first got started on Twitter that I stick to my professional subject: publishing. And that worked for about a month ― until I started to see all kinds of other topics that interested me: politics, personal development, spirituality, marketing, alternative health. So I started following people tweeting on those subjects, as well. Most people I follow can still be slotted into one or more of those six categories.

I spent an enormous amount of time in the beginning building my Twitter presence ― no less than an hour a day for three straight months. It paid off, though, in that even when I don’t post a tweet for weeks at a time now, I’m still adding a dozen new people a week, at minimum. Yet I’m nowhere near the stratospheric record of my friend Stephanie Quilao (@skinnyjeans) who organically grew her following to 57,300 people just by writing good content and being INTERACTIVE (aka social) on the site almost from Day 1. Her feed is so popular, she was named one of the top health influencers, right alongside @DrWeil and @DrOz, even though she’s a “civilian” just like you and I.

HootSuite_Logo

It took me a while to embrace HootSuite as a mechanism for managing multiple Twitter feeds, but now I wouldn’t do without it. At present, I “manage” five Twitter feeds. I use the term loosely, in that some get a tweet once a month, while others are fed much more regularly. Without a doubt ― and understandably, I like to think ― the one that gets the most attention is @phxazlaura, the one I spent all that time building. The others are @authorblogchal (of course!), @1001rlqfw (MY book), @WomenLeaders4Peace, and @ABWA_VoSEN.

People often want to draw comparisons between Twitter and Facebook. In my opinion, that’s like comparing a big-box department store to the facebook vs twittergeneral store in a small town. They serve a similar function, but in wildly different ways. Although Twitter has expanded to make video and photo posting easy, it still remains a microblogging site ― quick hits of 140 characters. Facebook, on the other hand, allows you to post entire photo albums, you can see the video without having to open an additional window, and your text posts can be seemingly limitless (actually, the limit is 8,000 characters).

The platforms are different, as are the users. I had a ball when I started using Twitter, but the variety of capabilities makes Facebook my preferred platform. I think I learn more from Twitter, but I find more inspiration and connection on Facebook. VisualScope.com has a great way of making the distinction: “Twitter is better as a fresh news portal and directing traffic. Facebook contrasts in that it still reigns as the king of relationship-building.”

As far as discerning which one an author should begin with, the only way to answer it is by discerning where his or her readers are spending their time. If you’re writing nonfiction about a timely, topical subject, Twitter is your better bet for creating conversation. For timeless fiction, Facebook is a better place to create a community of fans and followers.

If you’re not yet using Twitter because you don’t see the value, I encourage you to explore a few popular author feeds, do a search for a term that interests you and read the feeds, or take a spin around Time magazine’s 140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2012. You may just experience a change of heart.

In the meantime, come Tweet with us!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________Microsoft PowerPoint - Create a Fan Page 2013 ebook

Need help creating – or updating – your Facebook Fan Page? At nearly 200 pages, this eBook is chock-full of screen shots and details about how to create or improve your Facebook Fan Page. Includes details about adding a MY BOOKS feature to your page. Grow your Fan Page and grow your list of potential readers! Get Using Facebook Fan Pages to Market Your Book and/or Build Your Business today!

Read Full Post »

Winter Author Blog Challenge #2: The challenges of being a Facebook early adopter

Woo-hoo! The Winter Author Blog Challenge is underway. This time around, the Challenge is just 15 days, and our focus is social media. The goal is for participants to post all 15 days, following the daily prompts provided, if they so choose. As with the inaugural Author Blog Challenge that took place last summer, I’ll be playing along with all of the posts, even though Marcie and I are the hosts!

With that, here’s the second prompt:

Do you have a Facebook fan page for yourself/your book? How long ago did you start it? Did you do it yourself or have someone help you? Are you seeing lots of new people liking it? What kinds of things do you post? What have you found to be the most effective way to get fans/have people interact? IF YOU DON’T HAVE a Facebook fan page, tell us about the fan page for an author you know or like. Why do you like them and why did you “like” their page? What do you think they are doing well that you would like to model with your own page? Do you have a goal date for creating your own fan page? Be sure to give us the link.

I have been blessed with the MOST amazing mentors! One of the most influential is my former personal trainer, Scott White. He gave me a foundation for everything I know about social media, Internet marketing, and building my business. In fact, I doubt I’d be sharing this blog with you if not for his patient coaching and early mentoring. He’s the reason I joined Facebook and Twitter. He introduced me to Craigslist. He taught me about GotPrint.com — the best business card and postcard deals on the web!

FB personal

It was way back in early 2007 when I got started on Facebook. This was L-O-N-G before Fan Pages existed … so for a long time, my personal page was all I had, and I have yet to grow the support for the Fan Page for my business to anywhere near the 2,569 friends I have on my personal page. Interestingly, in all my study of Facebook Fan Pages, I know quite a bit about how it all works (wouldn’t it be a blessing if Zuckerberg’s minions would stop “improving things” long enough for us to figure out how the latest changes worked?) but seem to spend quite a bit of my energy building and supporting others’ (clients, husband, organizations I belong to) pages as mine rather limps along.

Although politics interests me and I follow many political topics, pages, and personalities, I tend to try not to post incendiary stuff on my personal page. Of course, what’s innocuous to me may be a lightning rod to someone else, and I did delete/block a few people during the most recent presidential campaign. The reason I mention this is that I’m still juggling the personal and professional on my personal page, perhaps the biggest challenges of pre-Fan Page success.

As client work has increased, I’ve slowed my personal posting down a bit, but the three things that helped me grow my personal page were the daily posts of: (1) an image that contained words of some sort, (2) a writing quote, and (3) a writing prompt. I posted these every day for nearly 2 years. I’m a bit more sporadic with my posts now, but I still put up images with words and the writing quotes, always accompanied by the same image. No one has told me they miss the writing prompts. Perhaps if I heard feedback to that effect, I’d start those up again, too.

fb posts

Though many have complained about the new (a year ago) Timeline feature of both personal and Fan Pages, they’re actually quite useful on the Fan Page side. One important thing you can do is create events or milestones to document things like your book launches or readings and other successes. The feature allows you to include up to 5 images, and used well, these become a great selling tool!

Jenn's signing

Here’s the post we put up to celebrate the success of a client’s first book signing event. Jenn Laurent is in California and we’re in Phoenix, but we celebrated virtually. This post was our opportunity to share Jenn’s success with our fans and by doing so, showcase our skill and expertise.

Laser FG

A similar story is true with this post, celebrating 4 years of working with a valued client, Samuel N. Asare of Laser Financial Group.

Another important thing authors can do with their Fan Pages is add the Author Marketing App. This is a great way to give your Fan Page followers an overview of your published work. The app installs as a tab on your Author Fan Page and then allows you to add details about your books and upcoming events. If you’re selling your books on Amazon, listing them is as easy as entering the ISBN!

There are dozens of little secrets like this that can help you improve your Facebook presence, and as a result, perhaps help you sell Microsoft PowerPoint - Create a Fan Page 2013 ebookmore books. If it’s just not your strong suit to learn it, know it, and do it, consider hiring a pro to help you maximize your success. If you want a step-by-step guide through the process, please consider purchasing our eBook, Using Facebook Fan Pages to Market Your Book and/or Build Your Business. It’s just $12.99 for nearly 200 pages of screen shots and step-by-step instructions.

Facebook pages we own, have built, or manage:

Write | Market | Design

Albert Mensah Student Speaker

CareerPro Résumé & Writing Center

Mickey Clement – Acoustic Guitarist

ABWA – Valley of the Sun Express Network

In the meantime, we’ll see you on Facebook!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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Winter Author Blog Challenge #1: The Genesis of Marcie Brock

Woo-hoo! The Winter Author Blog Challenge is underway. This time around, the Challenge is just 15 days, and our focus is social media. The goal is for participants to post all 15 days, following the daily prompts provided, if they so choose. As with the inaugural Author Blog Challenge that took place last summer, I’ll be playing along with all of the posts, even though Marcie and I are the hosts!

With that, here’s the first prompt:

Tell us about your blog. How long have you been blogging? Do you write on a regular schedule? Do you plan your topics in advance or write as the spirit moves you? What was your favorite post? At which post do you look back and wonder what you were thinking when you wrote it? What has been the best feedback you’ve ever received? Have you ever written anything that was perceived as controversial, though you didn’t intend it that way? What tips would you offer other author bloggers?

Marcie Brock was born on May 2, 2011, so she’s about to turn 2. Marcie is my alter-ego. She’s a savvy communications expert who LO & Marciewill share with you everything she knows about marketing your self-published books. The blog came about as I moved deeper into book marketing as a significant component of my business. After years of working as an editor, helping my clients get their books written and published, I began to notice that most of them had very little skill when it came to marketing these books they’d worked so hard to create. I had marketing expertise, so it was a natural fit to expand my services to first include — and now focus on — marketing their books. I now specialize in teaching self-publishing authors to think like marketers, meaning that they are planning their launches, building their platforms, and crafting their marketing strategies from the moment they begin writing.

As valuable as I KNOW writing on a regular schedule to be, life and business don’t always allow for it. It helps me stay organized to have  themes, and I believe it also helps my readers, as topical series allow me to explore topics much more fully than random single topics would. Of course, being a continuous learner who loves to share what she learns, I also write impromptu posts fairly often.

It’s funny that what I enjoy writing is not necessarily what readers seem to see, like, or comment on. Of course, blog posts that teach (which is most of them) are fun. Blog posts where I tell stories about real-life incidents are also enjoyable. But the post I truly love is the one titled, “The Art of Captivation: What makes us LOVE that book, movie, song…?” U2 is my favorite band on the planet. I was listening to the A side of Joshua Tree for perhaps the 500th time, when the question occurred to me. What makes me LOVE this music so much? And what draws us to particular art or movies or books?

The post that shattered all records was just about a year ago, on March 7, the eve of International Women’s Day. Marcie Brock had been getting some good traction in the search engines because I was posting pretty regularly, and then a strange thing happened. It seems that traffic to the International Women’s Day site itself – which had the #1, #2, and #3 results for that term – overwhelmed the site to the point that people were unable to load the pages they were seeking. Our post contained just basic information about IWD, with links to a few events around the world and a link to the main IWD event calendar. But it must have been enough of what people wanted, because we captured the residual benefits from ranking #4 for the term “international women’s day” with NEARLY 1,000 HITS over March 7 and 8! Our previous high had been 192 hits in a single day.

In July 2011, I wrote a post I thought was very clever, titled 10 Ways Marketing is Like Bowling. It was a fun little post inspired by a girls’ Marcie the bowlernight out with some new friends. Imagine my surprise to receive this EXTREMELY disapproving comment:

Too bad you brought beer into this article. It was quite funny and interesting, but then you mentioned alcohol and you lost my attention. People really should stop advertising alcohol and associating it with fun. Alcohol is the leading cause for accidents, violence, abuse, job loss and heart attacks and strokes. Advertizing it is wrong.

Seriously? I wasn’t glorifying drinking, but obviously this was a trigger issue for the commenter. One thing I’m learning the more I put stuff out there: there’s no pleasing everyone. I choose to allow unfiltered comments on my blog, as I don’t want to put any extra barriers (besides the internal spam filter) between my readers and their ability to comment. And so far, this is the worst feedback I’ve received. When people write snarky comments on your blog, you have the options to comment back, hit the delete button, or let them stand without reply.

For more ideas about blogging, see the many posts I’ve written on the topic.

Happy blogging!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________Microsoft PowerPoint - Create a Fan Page 2013 ebook

Need help creating – or updating – your Facebook Fan Page? At nearly 200 pages, this eBook is chock-full of screen shots and details about how to create or improve your Facebook Fan Page. Includes details about adding a MY BOOKS feature to your page. Grow your Fan Page and grow your list of potential readers! Get Using Facebook Fan Pages to Market Your Book and/or Build Your Business today!

Read Full Post »

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