Tuesday, January 17, 2012


"The best way to successfully market something is to have true believers with big followings talk about [your book] on the Internet. Since we have many authors who are socially popular, a multiplier effect begins to take place," says Trey Ratcliff of www.stuckincustoms.com in his guest post on Gigaom, "Why e-books will be much bigger than you can imagine." Ratcliff is talking about the market multiplier effect of Twitter, Facebook, and blogs. He is a successful publisher of digital photography books  - not exactly an easy niche.

Points here include:
  • If mid-list authors (and I'm one) continue to promote and market our titles at book launches and local fairs, by readings and signings, by media releases and interviews, and online just to "friends," our reach is woefully local in scope. 
  • E-titles are even harder to sell in person -  there's nothing for potential readers to look at, handle, and read, and nothing for authors to sign.  
We all enjoy meeting readers in person, but the effort often results in a handful of sales. Today, we must reach out globally online to sell thousands of books and help our fellow authors by spreading their book news electronically too.

Here are some tips to multiply the online markets for your titles:
  • Posting info about your book on your Facebook timeline reaches only your friends as most of us have our privacy settings tightly buttoned up. Granted it maybe more if you allow "Friends of friends" to share your posts, but you're not capitalizing on the hundreds of thousands of FB users who read avidly and have the same interests as you do.
  • A FB business page, in contrast to your personal timeline, is public. Think how many FB readers out of the 895 million you can now reach. So separate the personal from your book business, get a biz page, and begin enjoying the results of "long reach."
  • "Share" your colleagues' FB business posts - spread their news.
  • On Twitter I've developed relationships with many writers I've never met by responding to them and helping. If they retweet me, I get more and more followers, more and more reach. Twitter has increased my book sales more than any other social media site.
  • Twitter is a conversation, not a virtual soapbox for your products. Yes, you can tweet about your book once in a while, but not all the time. And, don't ask strangers on Twitter to review your books.
  • On Twitter you can help your fellow authors by retweeting their tweets as you probably have many followers who do not see them. So set the example of spreading the word here too.
  • Also separate your business from your personal tweeting - you can have twoTwitter accounts.
  • And then there are blogs. Not yours, but those with huge readerships. Aim to get mentions on these blogs. Make it easy by following the "big" blogs using Google Reader.
  • Big bloggers dislike being pitched with a title.
  • Join in the conversation by contributing useful comments. The blogger will start to recognize you and comment back. 
  • After a while, offer to write relevant guest posts; then if appropriate offer to be interviewed on the blog.
  • Your own blog is different. It's the place to provide information and assistance for your writing community within your fiction genre or your nonfiction subject. Resist the temptation to sell here. Yes, you can list your titles on the sidebar, but don't shove them down the throats of your readers.
Expect to start seeing your tribe increase in about six months and don't stop the habit. For mid-list authors this is a long-term gig of developing relationships.

On the issue of your time: It's worth investing your time on this approach. As an author, I spend no more than half an hour at the beginning of my working day on social media sites for business purposes. This includes reading my fave blogs and interacting on my FB biz page, Twitter, and Google+. (I'm not counting the time I spend on my own Beacon Blog for Writers that you're reading now.)

QUESTIONS: What social media works well for you as an author?
                         How long did it take?
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