Friday, July 8, 2011

Creating A Promotion Platform Through Blogging

Laurie Creasy continues her series in Using Social Media Strategy 

Part One:  Promote Your Writing
Part Two:  Blogging: Improving Your Visibility

Your book is being published! Great news!

But now you have to market it.

You’re in one of two positions (either Type A or Type B):

  •  You have a blog and a presence on one or more social platforms (such as Twitter and Facebook)
  •  You just said, “Huh?” and scratched your head.
If you’re Type A, as soon as you get The Call, make sure each one of your accounts is neat, clean, and up to date.

  • If you've been slacking off on your blog, pick up the pace. Try a few new things – a contest, hotos from a writers conference, some video of your reaction to The Call.
  • Recheck your privacy settings on your Facebook profile. If you have posts or photos that could embarrass you – especially if you’re writing under the same name as your profile – tighten up the settings.
  • If you have a Facebook profile only, get yourself a Facebook page. A profile maxes out at 5,000 friends, and you probably don’t want to go through moving people to a fan page later.
  • Delete any … erm … unwise tweets. Yes, people will be able to find them forever, but most people aren’t techie enough to care.
  • If you have a presence on any other networks, make sure it’s all tidy. If you don’t want to put the work in to get it up to speed, then change the settings to private.
If you’re Type B, as soon as you get The Call, it’s time to think, and think hard.
  • Brainstorm ideas for a blog. (Friends can help.) Choose an idea you can have fun with and that won’t bore you silly in a week. You can photo blog or video blog, too.
  • At first, you’ll be spending at least an hour and a half a day (that’s if you write fast) writing a blog post and publishing it. Be honest with yourself and figure out exactly how often you’ll be able to do that – and it’s no shame to do it once a week only. (When you’re considering this, here’s a tip: People read thrice-weekly posts more often than they read daily posts. Save yourself some heartache.)
  • Write six or seven evergreen blog posts that you can put up when things are tight. If you have friends who are published authors or editors, beg them for a few evergreen posts. These can include book reviews, author bios – anything that’s not going to yell, “Written two months ago!” to your readers.
  • If you don’t have a Facebook page, start one. If you have no fans, bribe your friends and relatives to “like” your page.
  • Don’t jump into every possible social media platform. Right now, a blog and a Facebook page will be enough.
Ideas to help Type As:

  • If you've done a number of blog posts that can be combined – for example, how to choose a laptop, reviews of laptops, tips about programs that help writers plot, combine them into a PDF (you’ll want to do some polishing), and e-pub it for free or for a minimal fee to get your name out there.
  • Figure out a way to meet up with some of your fans – ice cream socials, tea parties, chocolate tastings. Keep it small and keep it simple. Hold some kind of contest so your fans can “win” invitations. Take photos and post them to your blog.
  • Have fun! It’s your first book – celebrate, and invite your fans to celebrate with you.
Ideas to help Type Bs:

  • Do a white paper – a brief report – on something you’re expert at. Include photos or links to videos if you want. These don’t need to be serious, professional three-piece-suit things. If you’re an expert at making seashell flowers, go for it. Are you expert at knowing who’s who among fallen angels? Write it up.
  • Go to a conference armed with a small tape recorder and an inexpensive video camera (take the tape recorder, because inexpensive video recorders have terrible microphones) and get a few quick soundbites from published authors. Ask each one the same question, then edit the answers together and post the video – complete with your name as producer, director, and interviewer.
  • Have fun! It’s your first book, and all published authors have been where you are now. Don’t be afraid to ask for their help, as long as you keep things short and sweet and don’t shove the camera at them under the bathroom stall.

Don’t just get fans. Figure out how you’re going to keep them. Be creative, be imaginative, and take a few risks.

I want to thank Laurie for sharing her professional knowledge of Promotion and Marketing with us this week.

Next week we'll be back to our normally scheduled authors.


tonya kappes said...

I started blogging two years before I became published. I knew that I needed to get my BRAND and web presence out there. It's so important to market yourself early!
We started our grog with a platform in mind so we did have a common and interesting blog in mind. Thanks for hanging out at Sia's this week! I've been reading, but lurking:)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I started blogging a year before my first book was released and after being told by my pubisher to get my butt online. I think I have a handle on it now for the next book!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Alex, I think you have a handle on effective blogging. Lol! Can't wait to read Cassafire!

Seriously, most publishers are insistent on their authors having an online presence. Ideally publishers prefer writers to be using social media to create a name before they are published.

Writers are many time introverts and that's not easy until they realize creating an online persona is not that different than creating a character in your Manuscript.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Tonya, I feel the same. If you're serious about being a published author,it is as you say: It's so important to market yourself early!

For one, it allows you the time to experiment and try different things. Build a network of friends.

Once you're published your time is so segmented and very focused on the current book hitting the market. Suddenly there are deadlines, blog tours, writing/editing the next book and juggling your real life around that. Very intense time. I can't imagine trying to do it all as well as creating your online presence and persona.

Anonymous said...

Hi Laurie. I like your easy-to-digest advise on creating a platform for writers who are at various stages in the process.
For writers who already have a presence on blogs, Facebook and Twitter, what's your view on an author web site?

Helen Ginger said...

Excellent advice. I would add, do what you can and do it well, but don't let it take over your time when you need to be writing.

Laurie said...

Hi, everyone!

Thanks for the comments. I really appreciate them.

James, I think an author website is a good idea ... but I also think you can combine a lot of website functionality into your blog.

Creating a website used to be about as pleasant as getting a root canal without anesthesia, but now it's getting much easier. If you're not a techie, I'd say stick with a blog that you can add on to. That allows you to add pages for your books, pages for excerpts -- you get the picture.

I've been playing with to aggregate my social media feeds. It's $20/year for all the bells and whistles. So far, so fun.

Sia, hit the nail on the head -- creating an online persona is exactly like creating a character. You want to be as forthcoming as possible, but it's no sin to hide behind a mask if you're terrifically shy.

Helen, great way to wrap everything up in a nutshell!


~Sia McKye~ said...

Helen, that's a good point. The building process does take time. I think it's a matter of scheduling, but for sure, schedule time to write. And like you said, do what you can and do it well.

Keep it fun for you, as the writer. Just as with your books, people can tell the things you put your heart into. Things you enjoy. It adds a inviting glow to your blog entries.

As a blog owner, maintaining a blog is work as well as pleasure. It's also good practice on meeting deadlines. Consistency is the key. You build/train your readers to check out your blog. So make sure the blog posts are there or you'll lose said readers.

Sarah Allan said...

Excellent post! I'm not a published author (YET!) but these are all great things to keep in mind. I started blogging in March, and still need to figure out how to get a handle on how to do it and not let it suck up my actual writing time. I will definitely keep your points in mind.