If you’re a subject matter expert, one of the most common pieces of marketing advice is to write a book. Writing a book alone is not enough to get you noticed as an expert, especially if no one knows about the book.
This is where using social media to build relationships with thought leaders and infuencers can really come in handy.
As an author, selling your work is closely linked with selling yourself. This is a double-edged truth. On one hand, it gives a writer the chance to create a rapport with an audience. On the other hand, you put almost as much effort into maintaining your reputation as you put into your writing.
In this age of social networking, word gets out fast. What you definitely can’t do is wait for someone else to start creating a reputation for you. Taking control of your social media experience from the get-go, you are able to create a positive, authentic online brand.
Aside from a well-written blog, perhaps no social medium has proven more advantageous to me than email. You are not a market, you are a writer, so when it comes to marketing, a writer has to play to his strengths. Using email gives you a chance to shine. The trick with email delivery is not to become a spammer. Spamming people with emails about your writing is the best way to build irritation, not reputation.
It’s not a real-world fact, but it does seem to be part of the Internet belief system that anyone who is anyone has a website, or at least a blog. Instead of opting for a free blog site, buy a domain name that includes your full pen name, and here’s why: if you’re lucky enough to shoot into the author stratosphere, someone somewhere will undoubtedly buy up the domain name with you name and turn it into a “premium domain,” at which point they will charge hundreds or thousands of dollars for it, as opposed to the $10 or $20 you could pay up front.
Start off with promoting your writing on your site—from synopses to your bio to other published works. Then, it is time to make the site known. This is where social media sites came in. By pinning on Pinterest, getting others to digg it on Digg and trying to score a position on the front page of Reddit, you will be more than able to get your work out and noticed in the world. These sites are designed for easy browsing, which increases the number of visitors.
You can find the world’s readers on social media sites, but I find that readers are most responsive on social media sites that cater to their interests. The next step in brand-building is claiming a spot on Goodreads. Sign up for a standard account, search for your name, click on your author page in the search results and click the “Is this you?” button. As an author at Goodreads, you are able to share your work, special promotions, and mingle with readers.
Digital publishing has simplified the process of getting a book out into the world, which has made more and more people decide that they are writers. This relatively new type of publishing allows you to take control of your writing career and release books almost instantaneously that would otherwise be on hold for a long time. The marketplace for digital marketing becomes increasingly crowded each day, so a big part of building a brand is setting yourself apart from the crowd.
Personalize a user’s experience by creating book trailers and teasers to post around the web, as well as creating a strong theme throughout the posts on your website to draw in the target audience for your books. Give sneak peeks so consumers have some clue as to what they might get from your writing.
If not careful, social networking could become a major time-suck, stealing hours from your writing each week. People spend a lot of time on social networks and getting a lot of their information from these platforms. There’s no denying that social networking provides unprecedented opportunity for writers to reach an audience.
A good rule of thumb for any self-marketing writer is to keep it relevant with people. Discuss the things that you like and reply to people’s posts and tweets. By treating it like what it is, an open discussion, you will be able to build relationships and let any sales that might stem from those relationships come naturally.
The marketing part of being an author is the miserable part. You want to be writing, not selling. You can’t make a living as an author if your books don’t sell, though, and if you just suck it up and jump in, you’ll reach your audience, increase your sales and even have a little fun.
Name: Ivana S. Taylor
About: Ivana Taylor is the publisher of DIYMarketers.com – an online marketing publication that provides marketing strategies that help entrepreneurs and business owners get and keep profitable customers. She is the DIY Marketing expert and book editor for Small Business Trends and a contributing author to AMEX Open Forum. Her strategic consulting firm, Third Force specializes in helping companies find their best customers and be the one they choose – regardless of price. Ivana is the co-author of Excel for Marketing Managers. You can find her on Twitter as @DIYMarketers.