Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Tag Archives: author promotion

Is #SocialMedia Really Good for #BookPromotion?


I’ve certainly gone out of my way over the last 5 years to figure out what might be called “Rational-Book-Promotion”

If I’d done every technique that’s been touted to give me millions of paying customers, I’d be dead from overwork—and I may not have any more sales than I do now

Plus, I’m a firm believer in giving my book away (as well as offering it for sale)—many are the folk who can get on-line but not buy stuff

One of the most rational posts I’ve done about advice for writers is Bad Advice for Writers = Most Advice for Writers.

And, one of the most honest posts I’ve done about book promotion is Authentic Book Promotion ~ Does It Sell?

Here’s an excerpt from that post:

“There are many things an author can do to increase the likelihood that their book will sell.

“None of those actions will guarantee sales…

“Some writers think landing a traditional publishing deal will assure book sales.

“Not so…

“Perhaps, if you’re an extremely famous person, your book will sell—perhaps…”

And, one of the most penetrating posts I’ve done about authors and social media is Selling Your Soul With Social Media.

I quote a writer named Leo Babauta:

“Converting visitors into buyers is a soul-less use of your creative energy. Reject it, out of hand.”

“I find more value in creating something of value. I find influence a better metric than sales or traffic or reader numbers.”

“When everyone yells ‘Look at me!’, become quiet.”

“When others try to pull visitors to their sites, let people find you themselves.”

“When others brag of their success, let others laud you instead.”

Advice like that may take longer to “work” but the results will be solid and sound, you will still be yourself, and your conscience will be clear

Plus, concerning social media, it may not have the impact so many “experts” claim it does.

I direct you to an article entitled Majority of Links on Social Media are being Shared Without Users Actually Reading Them.

It deals with a study by Columbia University and the French National Institute.

The study is about sharing links to news stories; but, personally, I feel, if a user shares news links without reading what’s linked to; and, the practice is widespread; we might be able to get a hint about what folks who share writer’s links are doing, too

So, one finding from the study is that:

“…only two out of five people will click through and read the story from links on social media.

“The other three will share the story to their friends and followers without having ever read the story.”

One of the study’s co-authors said:

“This is typical of modern information consumption. People form an opinion based on a summary, or summary of summaries, without making the effort to go deeper.”

So, if this study was well-conducted with a significant base of data; and, if we can assume the activities portrayed actually do apply to social media links from writers, what kind of method is there for writers to generate a following (that doesn’t cost more than an internet connection and some time) that can be done rationally, sanely, and productively?

If you’re really serious about “getting the word out”, go read all my posts about Wattpad; then, give it an honest try—I’d say, about 5 months should show you what I’m talking about………

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#BookMarketing ~ Making Sense of #AuthorPromotion


I’ve written here before about Book Marketing… 

I’ve discussed my disdain for the term “marketing” and my grudging acceptance of “Book Promotion“.

I’ve explained that snagging a traditional book deal doesn’t guarantee a writer can forget about promoting their book (unless that “writer” happens to be wildly famous…).

I’ve discussed the buzz-term, Author Platform (and, its cousin “Personal Branding”).

In fact, there’s an excellent article, by journalist Ann Friedman, that traces the history of Personal Branding and leaves you wondering whether current advice for writers is, in any way, rational. The title is very revealing—Me Inc. ~ The paradoxical, pressure-filled quest to build a “personal brand”.

Just one quote from the article:

“I’ve noticed a paradox: The more time I spend defining my personal brand, the more contrived it feels when I talk about myself.”

Even though the article casts a rather lurid light on branding, I recommend eager authors read it as part of their making sense of what to do to promote themselves.

One thing is certain.

If you publish a book and tell no one about it, no one will buy it—even if you want to give it away, no one will take it if you don’t tell them about it

So

Writers have a need to consider various promotional strategies and choose or create one that won’t drive them crazy

So

When I decided what to write about today, it actually wasn’t, at first, about what Ann Friedman had to say about Personal Branding.

It was about what Fauzia Burke, Founder & President of FSB Associates, has to say about Book Marketing.

She started her company in 1995 and there should be no surprise that she can say it was “one of the first firms to specialize in Internet publicity and marketing for publishers and authors”.

So, here’s me, not liking the term “Book Marketing”, in fact not liking most of what most anyone has to say about the topic; and, here’s the title of an article by the Founder of one of the first companies to specialize in the field—10 Things I Know for Sure About Book Marketing.

I’m going to list those ten things and urge you to go read the full article—also, I must ask you to be aware that some of her points sure don’t sound like a person who runs a marketing firm

1. You can’t just do social media.

2. Don’t try and do everything.

3. Don’t try to promote your book to everyone.

4. The tortoise can beat the hare.

5. The age of generalists is over.

6. Think long-term.

7. Talking to people is a great privilege.

8. Go for engagement.

9. Start now.

10. Give value to your customer.

If you happen to read Fauzia’s article (and/or Ann’s), I’d love it if you could share your thoughts and feelings in the Comments
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So Ya Think Your Book Will Be a Bestseller?


This post is for those who are brave enough to self-publish; though, it could apply to those going the traditional route, too; and, if you’re not an author, do, please, share it with any writer-friends you may have… 

I decided to write this post after I read Kate Evans‘ article, The Measure of Success in Indie Publishing.

Just a few of Kate’s thoughts:

“…I continue to attempt to market my first novel…

“…I shrivel at the kindly meant enquiry, ‘How are sales?’

“…my lovely novel, my first-born, has not sold as many copies as I thought it would.

“I am lucky to live in an era where I have access to the free marketing potential of social media. I realise that. Yet I have still to work out how social media sells or, indeed, whether it does at all.”

And, she sums up with:

“…the meaning of success comes from within, from the joy of writing, of telling stories, of the imagination.”

If you scan the ‘Net for articles on Book Promotion, something like 90% of them will talk about social media.

And, I agree with Kate that working out social media’s worth is tricky

I said this post might also apply to those treading the traditional path because, due to radical changes in the book market, the big, trad-publishers are expecting authors to have a social media platform of their own (before being considered for publication).

Time was an author could count on the publisher to promote for them; yet, even then most books never sold like most authors wished

So, should all authors just calm down and get used to only selling the statistically-expected 500 books or less?

Well, one thing that changes the equation is that e-books (displayed on digital shelves) will be available for discovery much longer than most print books in brick-and-mortar stores.

So, assuming an author has many years left on earth, they might see better than average sales.

Obviously, if a writer sticks to pumping out popular-genre-books and pulls a few well-organized attention-grabbing stunts, they might sell a few more books.

But, it’s more than likely better to buckle down and take the time to build a strong, secure, honest Author Platform while continuing to write and finding a way to make a living that won’t drive you crazy

Naturally, all the old methods of book promotion are still there—book signings, radio/TV interviews, newspapers, etc.—but, for most of us, they’ll all be rather local, without the Reach of well-planned, persistent on-line activities.

As a start—to begin a quest for creative ways to reach readers—try my past post, Breaking The “Rules” of Book Promotion ~ 6 Different Views.

And, if you’re sincere about taking charge of your own promotion, do read Jane Friedman’s article, The Online Presence That’s a Natural Extension of Who You Are and What You Do. (Is It Just Fantasy?).

Here’s an excerpt from that important article:

“To begin to inspect this problem—and a beginning is all that’s possible for this blog post—I’ll discuss a few writers who exhibit the following qualities:

  • Their writing work is clearly central to everything they do. Or think of it as: writing as guiding star (as it should be).
  • Their voice, online or off, is authentic.
  • Their online presence and engagement is unique to them and, at least from my POV, sustainable and meaningful.”

She shares the efforts of five extremely different authors, then says:

“All of the authors I mentioned—who are quite different in terms of their success, genre, and personalities—are able to focus on their writing and maintain an online presence, while appearing to remain whole. Each has found the right approach based on their strengths and goals, and you can do the same.”

And, I’ll close this post with an exercise

What follows is from another past post about Author Platform. See if you can come up with a few fresh ideas for your own platform from all the different definitions

“What’s a platform for?

“Here are a few definitions from my Oxford dictionary.

All the meanings have been used in various articles I’ve read about Author Platform:

*architectural plan
*draughtsman’s drawing
*chart, a map
*plan of action, government, administration, etc
*scheme, a design, a description
*thing intended or taken as a pattern, a model
*raised level surface or area
*natural or man-made terrace, a flat elevated piece of ground, a tableland, a plateau
*level place constructed for mounting guns in a fort or battery”

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Authentic Book Promotion ~ Does It Sell?


Let me first address the issue of book sales.

Promotion for Writers

Image Courtesy of Adam Page ~ http://www.freeimages.com/profile/atom_balm

There are many things an author can do to increase the likelihood that their book will sell.

None of those actions will guarantee sales…

Some writers think landing a traditional publishing deal will assure book sales.

Not so…

Perhaps, if you’re an extremely famous person, your book will sell—perhaps…

I wrote a post last year that led to six different ways to think about the task of promoting a self-published book—Breaking The “Rules” of Book Promotion—showing that originality and authenticity could help boost sales and certainly will let you sleep more soundly…

There’s also a recent post over at Writer Unboxed, by Jane Friedman—The Online Presence That’s a Natural Extension of Who You Are and What You Do. (Is It Just Fantasy?)

Here’s a brief excerpt:

“To begin to inspect this problem—and a beginning is all that’s possible for this blog post—I’ll discuss a few writers who exhibit the following qualities:

  • Their writing work is clearly central to everything they do. Or think of it as: writing as guiding star (as it should be).
  • Their voice, online or off, is authentic.
  • Their online presence and engagement is unique to them and, at least from my POV, sustainable and meaningful.”

She shares the efforts of five extremely different authors, then says:

“All of the authors I mentioned—who are quite different in terms of their success, genre, and personalities—are able to focus on their writing and maintain an online presence, while appearing to remain whole. Each has found the right approach based on their strengths and goals, and you can do the same.”

If you’re a writer floundering in the Sea of Promotion, head on over and check out the whole article.

If you have all that stuff taken care of or don’t care a fig about it, share the link with a writer-friend :-)
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Building An Author Platform ~ One Critical Step . . .


The universe of Book Promotion gave birth to the term Author Platform and I’ve been amused ever since…

Author Platform

Image Courtesy of Simeon Eichmann ~ http://www.freeimages.com/profile/simeon

There’s nothing inherently wrong with the term but there are plenty of folks who use it in funny ways.

Some writers build a platform to promote themselves according to instructions from “experts”…

Some build a platform for their books and then hide under the platform…

I’ve written a number of posts about Author Platform but, before I tell you my One Critical Step in building one, here’s a question:

What’s a platform for?

Here are a few definitions from my Oxford dictionary.

All the meanings have been used in various articles I’ve read about Author Platform:

architectural plan
draughtsman’s drawing
chart, a map
plan of action, government, administration, etc
scheme, a design, a description
thing intended or taken as a pattern, a model
raised level surface or area
natural or man-made terrace, a flat elevated piece of ground, a tableland, a plateau
level place constructed for mounting guns in a fort or battery

Obviously, an Author Platform is constructed to Elevate the writer—raise them up above the Crowd—give them a place to deliver a Message…

But, what many writers forget to do before building a platform is to choose a blueprint that They have drawn up and that makes the Platform serve their Own Purpose.

That last sentence contains what I consider the most Critical Step in building your Author Platform.

Just one example of borrowing someone else’s blueprint:

There are writers out there who’ve created a “level place constructed for mounting guns in a fort or battery” and proceeded to Blast their Message into the roaring crowds of Social Media; then, discovered they didn’t like the result because their Big Guns didn’t have enough Ammunition to justify the Fortress of their Image.

Perhaps someone like James Patterson needs a Platform in a Fort—you may need a different approach…

There is a particular site that might be a good place to begin building an Author Platform—About.me

One reason About.me is a good place to start is that, unlike so many social media spaces, you can Customize it to serve your particular Purpose.

Check out these 10 very different About.me pages

So, to be absolutely clear, the one Critical Step I think a writer needs to take is not to make an About.me page—it’s to take the time to ask yourself some Deep Questions about how you want/need to present yourself to others—the Message you want to deliver to the World—then, perhaps, customize a Free About.me page…

Since I’ve been spouting off about it, here’s My About.me Page :-)

By the way, there are many ways to build a following within the About.me website—check out these Tips for creating your own Platform
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