J to tha M: Twitter for Marketing?

Oh, the Twitter Woes

J: Twitter is kind of driving me bonkers

M: Twitter always drives me bonkers

J:  my irritation is with authors who schedule twitter posts and then spam the hell out of people all day long with nothing but advertisements for themselves

or maybe even for others

but have zero engagement

M: some people only use it for that – promotion and marketing.

J:  and the >.< isn’t so much about scheduling posts

that’s all well and good

I use it for marketing, too

the >.< is when I open my twitter and the first 20 tweets are from the same author about various things

four times a day? fabulous!

every second? I hate you.

M: I don’t even know how to schedule tweets

J: you do use the auto post buttons from blogs

the “tweet this” feature

I actually pay attention to those

and find new books through yours

M: Oh, yeah, I do that for things I think are interesting to share or to help other people spread the word

J:  I think you’re doing it right

not only are you not posting 1,000,000 times per day about yourself

you’re using twitter to spread the word about others

M: I’m all about that

I know I “should” use it more, but I don’t enjoy it

I tried to get into it, I really did. You’re so active and in a good way on facebook, twitter

but I just can’t

J:  I do miss silly tweeting with you sometimes, but you’re not filling my timeline with auto-tweets, so we’re cool

M: what’s the point of auto tweets? Just to sell stuff?

J:  yes

M: I mean, isn’t the point of twitter to be interactive?

J:  yes

now you get me

M: well, that’s why I don’t use it so much. I don’t feel interactive enough. I like sharing cool things, or things that interest me

that might interest others

J:  but that is interactive, see? the sharing information

that’s what it’s about

YOU’RE DOING IT RIGHT!

M: but here’s my thing – I hate things only being about numbers, and that’s what twitter has kind of turned into. How many followers, who unfollowed. It’s too much like cliques in high school or something sometimes

J: It doesn’t have to be that way

M: Here’s the other thing – I can’t read all the tweets. So what’s the point of having followers or being followed if no one reads them?

this is what baffles me about Twitter

I have blah-de-blah number of followers. Great.

but what good is it if no one reads my tweets?

J:  I do try to track certain people who interact with me, but I also find it rewarding to scroll through the last hour or so of my full list of follows just to see things I might have otherwise missed

but this is where I get my >.<

M: can you really read tweets of the multiple thousands of people you follow?

J:  I DO actually pay attention to all that I follow

not all the time, which is why social media experts suggest tweeting at least four times per day

to reach the optimal number of people

M: that’s the finding a balance thing, isn’t it?

what twitter and other social media were maybe originally intended for and what they’ve ended up being

I don’t like the hypocritical “I hate twitter, but I’ll use it to sell my stuff”

to me that just seems wrong

it should be about interacting with people, but it seems to be all about gaining numbers and not really caring about people behind those numbers

J:  we both use Twitter for the same reasons, which are to engage and inform. I’m more comfy sharing personal stuff than you are, but it doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong. Most of my personal stuff is just making fun of Liam

and I’m cool with people tweeting about their lives, too

that’s interesting

well, those who tweet everything they do are also on my list

please don’t tell me you’re folding laundry on twitter

unless it’s part of a conversation, which is a whole other story

M:   if you’re just telling people you’re folding laundry, that’s not interacting

connecting, catching up, I can totally see that

but otherwise… I don’t know

J: but I do know a lot of my followers would be interested in some of the stuff I do. probably not all of them

I mean, if you tweeted pics of your dogs, I’d look at them

because it’s you

and your dogs

M: it does go back to your original point – oversharing whether it’s personal or professional

there’s an author in my list of people I follow that is auto tweeting the exact same thing from over a year ago

the exact same marketing/promotion message for the book

o.O

that’s not only annoying, it’s lazy

J:  there!

that’s exactly what I’m talking about

M: i don’t get it. as a reader, writer, or sometimes twitter user

J:  and chances are that’s the only damn thing she/he posts

that’s where I was going with it

M: and that goes back to my question: how does that help anyone if no one actually reads it?

J:  it doesn’t

it does nothing but annoy me

so this chat is my PSA to anyone who does that

STOP

the ones in your timeline really are probably pre-scheduled

which means that author opened twitter, scheduled tweets, and then never opened twitter again

so what they’re really doing is alienating potential readers

M: well, I’m not a big Twitter user, but that’s just my weirdness, so I’m not the best judge

J:  just for that, we should tweet-read another book together

M: it’d have to be a really spectacular book to get me on Twitter. Let me go find one.

brb

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J to tha M on Reviews, Marketing, and Cheese

What We’re Reading…or Not Reading

book reviews and author marketing

© Sutashiku | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

J: I read a book! Well, I read a couple, but my recent history suggests this is a rare thing. Of course, there was Ben Monopoli’s The Cranberry Hush. Loved. I think I might have a reader-crush on him.

M: I thought you’d like that one. Vince is very Holden-esque

J: Holden, yes. Vince, yes. But mostly the authors who created them. Also, our stalking has paid off once more. Interview with Mr. Monopoli coming soon! (We should maybe clarify that our stalking is in no way shady and almost always welcomed by the authors in question…)

M: Read his books and prepare to ask questions. There may be spoilers in the interview, but we’ll be sure to warn everyone.

J: I have The Painting of Porcupine City queued and ready to go soon. I’m also reading Elizabeth Hunter’s A Hidden Fire.

I’m only half done, but I do not hate

not even a little bit

in fact, I think I’ll love and have to order the next three immediately

M:  I love that

finding something you like and being able to read more

J:  I think you would like this one

but I’ll wait to rec until I finish

M:  I’m not a huge YA fan

they have to be pretty good

J:  it’s a vampire one

but I did not know that when I started. It doesn’t necessarily read like a YA, either.

M:  I read the beginning of an erotica BDSM trilogy by Lila Dubois. The first book was free – Undone Rebel – not sure if it still is. It was good. Not annoying, sexy

but I like a well-written, sexy story

J: it looks kind of cute, actually

M: it was

I liked both hero and heroine

cute, sexy, and free

J: one of the reviews says geek-turned-dom

tell me it’s the hero

please

M: it is

computer geek 😉

J: *dances*

i have such a soft spot for the geeks

M: geek dom

and fun

J: siiiiigh

M: I was very pleasantly surprised.

J:  I’ve got it but haven’t started it

but I will

M:  it’s definitely BDSM-y

good, though

Started a romantic suspense – jury is still out. Started pretty well, but then…

got kinda draggy and now looks like it will succumb to the Silly Romance Overreaction and Misunderstanding

I need to catch up on my reviews

which makes a good segue

I’ve gotten a few emails from authors patrolling reviews of books similar to theirs on Amazon

Sending the emails to the reviewers and asking them to read and review their book. This last one actually sent the book as a pdf attachment.

J:  I actually got a review request to my email, too

I didn’t connect the two until you said something

M:  I find this annoying.

I mean, I understand coming up with new and creative ways to get your book put there. All authors struggle with marketing.

But I’m pretty uncomfortable with people picking up my contact info from Amazon and

using it like that

And it likely violates a number of Amazon policies, not that that means much anymore

Something like that would never occur to me.

Maybe that’s why I suck at marketing myself

But I could never do anything like that, something that I find so annoying and, well, just uncomfortable

J: liam and I had a discussion about marketing the other night

I want to try a few new things in the future

M: I’d love to hear. Honestly, the only thing I’ve found that really helps is write a better book

“better” in terms of something that really connects with readers

J: we had visual aids and stuff

M: haha – omg

would have loved to see that

J: it was actually pretty funny

over dinner

a container of romano cheese

there may have been a mess to clean up

“this container of cheese represents my sphere of influence. I have reached them all. This piece of lonely cheese out here represents someone who would love my book but has no idea it exists. how do I reach that piece of cheese?”

“well, all of this cheese–” he dumps a handful on the table “–has to go tell that cheese.”

“but they don’t know that cheese. no one I know knows that cheese.”

M: mmm, cheese

word of mouth is so powerful. that’s the best way to reach people

figuring out how to get them to talk is the thing

J: that was another point. “this cheese may EVENTUALLY reach that cheese, but do we want to wait that long? how do I go directly to THAT cheese?”

J: I guess the most important thing is for people to just keep spreading the word if they find a book they like. Goodreads helps, but not everyone is on Goodreads. Same with Facebook and Twitter. You think?

M: I do. That’s why I love talking about books I enjoyed. I want other people to have a chance to enjoy, too, and help spread the word for the author.

J: So, who do we stalk this week for the blog? Whose amazing skills do we want to learn about next? Suggestions? Maybe Elizabeth Hunter?

M: Sounds good. I’m off to spread the stalk–I mean love.

brb

How to Create an Irresistible Author Brand in 3 Steps

Branding: First Step to Successful Marketing

Guest Post by Nando Rodriguez

successful author brandingAs an author, your personal brand should be enticing and as rich in character as your book topic. But we fail to brand or market ourselves with gusto because it means we have to label ourselves and categorize our worth within a genre—and you’re so much more than that, right? Are you funny, mysterious, helpful, or maybe even inspiring? And even if you could pinpoint your USP (unique selling point), how can the world possibly ask you to stick to just one heading? Think of your personal brand as an identity that incorporates you at a 360-degree level versus just one-dimensional and you’re already ahead of the game. Here are 3 tips to creating your personal brand.

1. You vs. Your Genre: How Do You Want to Be Seen?

Realize that you have hypnotized your audience with your words and subject matter, and they feel connected to you. Whether you penned a how-to or a memoir, your readers want more of you—and that’s a great thing, so give them more. It’s your chance to come out of the editing room dungeon and into the public light.  You’ve struggled in finding your writing voice, but now it’s time to find your personal brand’s voice. This is the tone, image and voice you want people to recognize when they see you at a book signing, visit your website, or listen to you in a podcast. And feel free to step outside of your genre for this, as it’s your time to shine as the author, or you can fully be an extension of your book’s brand. Ann Rice did this well when she was recognized as the queen of the vampire genre and would attend public affairs cloaked in darkness and mystery. Personally, I think it’s great marketing, but I’m not sure how long I’d be able to keep that persona going.

2. Identify Your USPs (Unique Selling Points)

When you go into business and you’re successful, it’s because you’re the solution to someone’s problem. UPS solves logistic problems, Applebee’s solves hunger problems and the Miami Tourism Board solves my yearly burn out problems. What problems are you solving? What are your unique selling points? Will your personal brand be seen as a leader in children’s genre, the self-help king, or possibly the quirky author whose humorous observations have sold millions of books, like David Sedaris? David solves problems. He helps people escape their personal lives as he involves his readers in his world for an entire book, and if you listen to David in a podcast, he’s 100% genuine in that he doesn’t do well with attention. It makes for an awkward listen, but you know what you’re getting when you tune in. His unique selling points are his idiosyncrasies, his quirkiness, and his powers of observation, which he then converts into humor.

Once you have explored the three items above, you will be able to establish your personal author brand and conquer the world, or at least Twitter. Be proud of your voice and expertise but make sure it aligns throughout. And don’t worry about being left behind once you have branded yourself, you can always rebrand at a later time and upgrade. Look what happened to Sofia.

3. Align Your Social Media Platforms & Everything Else

Once you’ve found an identity that resonates with you, “I’m an author who happens to be funny and writes about corn,” align all your social media platforms to that persona as well as your business card, website, and anything else that represents you, your book and your brand. This will further your brand by establishing trust and cultivating loyalty with your readers. On my way to work this morning, I looked up and noticed that Beyonce’s image was now gracing New York’s Times Square. Just last week it was Sofia Vergara plastered over three billboards sipping on a Pepsi. But as I was trapped in what felt like a “can you spot the differences” with my memory, Pepsi’s strong branding shone through. No matter whose image was on the billboard, Beyonce or Sofia, they aligned their branding across the board, literally.

What are your struggles with personal branding? Do you have problems narrowing down your particular USP? We want to know. Ask questions here, and we’ll do our best to answer!

Nando spends the majority of his time primping his hair and admiring his keratin treatments, but he also likes to help people brand themselves. You can connect with him on LinkedIn, follow him on Twitter, or visit his websites http://nandoism.com and http://www.interviewingU.com.

 

 

J to tha M: Buying a Spot on Bestseller Lists

Happy Birthday to M! Here’s Your Bestselling Book.

buying your way to the bestseller list for Fight for Your WriteJ: So, I figured out what I’m going to get you for your birthday today

M: Yay!

J: I’m going to buy you a spot on the bestseller list. That’s a pretty cool gift, right?

ps, my birthday is in September, in case you want to plan ahead

M: uh

J: not awesome?

M: Awesome if you have that kind of money laying around and that you think of me, but…

J: it’s apparently a thing

like, it can happen

I was floored

where was that article…

jasmine referenced it in her blog for us

Melissa: I read about it on my TWRP chat list. One of the authors gave a link

of course, my email crashed this past week, so it may never be found again

J: oh, I found it

http://www.leapfrogging.com/2013/02/18/debunking-the-bestseller-book-sales-spike/

that was a guy who did it

after he read this: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323864304578316143623600544.html

M: Yay, you! My email makes me want to cry still. I’ll get over it in a few days. Anyway…

Yeah. It made me shake my head. Surprised…hmm, not so much, but still.

J: I can’t imagine buying my own way there

but it’s different if you do it for a friend, right?

I don’t know how that would work…

I mean, I consider it like Lance Armstrong or Milli Vanilli

it’s not real

but when someone does it for you… what then?

I can’t imagine a better present than making you a bestseller, but is it real then?

M: I think most people never imagine that kind of stuff happens behind the scenes, so to speak. It’s almost misrepresentation. When you see “bestseller,” you think it’s because individual people are buying the book. Actual readers. Not publishers, companies, affiliates, or a friend who have money burning a hole in their pocket.

J: (I like to look for ways around my conscience, as you can see)

M: I mean, if you have enough money to buy three to five thousand copies of my book, maybe we should use it to rent some tropical seaside cottage with cute cabana boys and try actually writing a bestseller. That sounds like more fun.

or hire a marketing expert to market the book to readers

or just hire those cabana boys. I live by the water. Not exactly tropical, but close enough.

J: i’m coming over

But I totally agree with you. Why not put your resources into doing it right?

is it easy to be proud of a bestseller when you’re the one who bought all the copies?

maybe it is for some. I don’t know. I’m kind of confused by all of it, to be honest

M: But what if it launches a book that deserves to be there into the public eye? What if you use it as simply another line item in your marketing budget?

It’s obviously a very effective way to get your name out there.

bring attention to your book

J: *sigh*

I understand bringing attention to it

but still. it’s false

it’s false inflation

It’s a fake identity

it’s a book photoshopped into the hands of a super-celebrity

maybe it deserves the accolades, but when it doesn’t reach those accolades fairly, what then?

M: I can see the marketing argument. I can the reasoning behind bringing a book to the attention of readers that they will probably like anyway, to distinguish it from all the millions of others. But.

But.

Most readers don’t see the best-seller list as a marketing tool, so to speak.

They think it’s an actual representation of what is being purchased by people like themselves, and liked, and recommended, and then bought by more readers.

J: there are thousands of other writers out there who may have an EVEN BETTER book, but not the means to buy their way onto the list

how is that fair?

I mean, none of it’s fair, and we’d be here all day if we stomped our feet and yelled about what’s fair

but still

M: I guess, like most things, it’s all in how you see things, what conforms to your ethics, and what allows you to sleep at night.

Can’t deny it’s a good marketing tool.

Also can’t deny it happens all the time.

But, being perfectly honest, you also can’t deny it just leaves a bad taste

J: well, if readers all knew, then it would be fair

if they knew people bought good reviews for their books and had basements full of their own copies just to get that spot on the list, that might be fair

and knowing which authors bought that spot and which fucking EARNED it…well, it’s just not that easy

M: Right. If we didn’t think it’s exactly fair, think of the authors who didn’t utilize that neat little trick and earned their way by actually selling copies to readers.

but then, that begs the question, did any of them actually do that?

And to me, that’s where the real damage lies. You start doubting the validity of everything the bestseller list represents

J: also an excellent point. Are these big six books so popular because the publisher can afford to get those books on there?

M: and is it okay because readers ended up really liking the book and bought a million more copies, and that ends up being an honest representation on the list?

J: i just don’t know. I think I’d be upset if I read a book that didn’t deserve to be there and found out later the spot was purchased

I’d feel super cheated

M: I think most readers and authors would

I also think others wouldn’t care.

And still others think it’s a great idea

J: it’s those who think it’s a good idea that govern the rest of the world, too

well, and those who don’t even know it’s going on

M: No matter what you’re involved in, people do crazy things

J: siiiiigh

so no bestseller list for your bday?

appletini instead? I can go either way

M: Let me go find those cabana boys to serve us drinks all day while we write fabulous bestsellers.

brb

buying your way to the bestseller list for Fight for Your Write

freedigitalphotos.net/markuso

Have something to add? Go right ahead! Nothing new to say? Just tell M happy birthday, then! We love hearing from you.

How to Market Yourself on Twitter without Pissing People Off

Here Comes the Social Media Police

Twitter marketing tipsI’d like to start this blog post by saying that Twitter is necessary for the average (or above average) social media fanatic. So if you don’t have an account, you better get one—fast.  Twitter is a great tool to market yourself, whether it’s professionally or personally. If you’re an artist, a writer, or whatever you choose to do with your life, you should have one.

I will admit to you all that I didn’t even start using Twitter until about a year and a half ago because a friend of mine (let’s just call her “Sweet T”) told me how great it was.  I always love to see what my friends and colleagues are up to, especially if I don’t keep in regular contact with them.

Twitter is a simple way to share important information in 140 characters or less. What could be better, write? (See what I did there, y’all?) So anyway, I wanted to share with you 5 simple steps to market yourself on this little gem of a tool…without pissing people off.

1)     Keep it updated.

Don’t tweet for one day and then leave it alone for a year. Just don’t.  Not sure what to say? Perhaps mention some of the work you’re doing, links to an article you wrote (I use bitly to shorten articles), pictures of restaurants, concerts, or events you’re at, and so on and so forth. People like to know what you’re doing (and what I mean by that is, people like to creep.)  Also have a profile picture of yourself—no, not your favorite beanie baby or a photo of Snooki. YOU.

2)     Make it entertaining.

I always love it when those I’m following post things that I get a good laugh out of, even if it’s a retweet.  Love retweets. Be fearless when it comes to starting dialogue. Maybe someone will reply. Definitely don’t be rude or ignorant, because that will probably help you to lose a follower or four. Just don’t be an asshole, okay? For instance, the whole Justin Bieber/Patrick Carney incident that went down a couple weeks ago—not cool. J. Biebs, you’re a little shit. (For the record, I never liked him anyway, but now I like him even less. Patrick Carney is forever my fave, and I respect him more because of how he reacted.) More on this raging lunacy here.

3)     Post relevant content.

Keep your followers engaged in what you have to say. Depending on your occupation and interests, post content you find useful and important. I always love it when those I follow post links to articles where I may learn something new and exciting. It keeps me wanting more.

4)     Use hashtags.

Hashtags are a great way for people to search for tweets that relate to a common topic and to create a community on Twitter. Now, some people take this a little too far. Please, don’t hashtag #every #single #word. That does no one any good and completely goes against the whole point of the hashtag. If you hashtag every word you tweet, I’m pretty sure 80% of your followers will unfollow. You look like an idiot. And you should most definitely not turn what was supposed to be one sentence into one word.  Fortunately, @OhHashtagAbuse is policing Twitter for us. Don’t get caught.

social media police

5)     Do not spam your followers.

This is for your own good. If you’re one of those people who constantly posts multiple unrelated updates to a trending topic, stop it. That gets annoying real quick. Don’t set up auto-tweets to market your book/album/brand new invention and then never log in again. And for the love of all that is holy, don’t spread hate via Twitter, especially if you want to keep your followers—and perhaps convince them to buy your products.

So there you have it, folks. Five steps to market yourself via Twitter without pissing people off. I do hope that has helped you in your quest to have people not hate you or unfollow you. Peace out.

Katie Marcario is a recent Nashville transplant who loves brewing beer and drinking that beer. She works at Kaleidoscope Media as the Director of Social Media and Web Content, but loves the chance to really speak her mind when asked. You can follow Katie @KaleidoscopePR or attempt to follow her personal account @kmarcario. It’s private, though, and she might be selective about her followers. She learned that trick from Jen’s husband.

(Jen would like to add that she no longer goes by the nickname Sweet T, and hasn’t since she left the black gospel choir in Brooklyn. She won’t answer to it; don’t even try.)

Real Authors, Real Questions: How to Market Your Books Like a Boss

Jasmine Henry Answers Authors’ Burning Marketing Questions

I’m just going to go ahead and get a whole bunch of awkward statistics out of the way. There’s a lot of information for free on the internet. 2 million blog posts are published every 24 hours, enough to fill Time Magazine for 770 years. Something like 3 million English books are released each year, despite the fact book sales have been on a steady decline since 2007. All factors equal, your book has less than a 1% chance of ever making it into a bookstore.

We’re living in an era of content abundance, which is why the small percentage of authors who are picked up by major publishers are resorting to even sketchier paid services to make it onto bestseller lists. Are you feeling depressed yet? Well don’t, because I’m here to talk about marketing. Not the kind of slimy marketing that means contracting with a “guaranteed bestsellers firm” and stepping back, but the kind that requires your time, muscle and sweat.

Jen was kind enough to ask her network for input on their burning questions about marketing. We received a few submissions, which I’ll be addressing in this post today:

Question #1:

Marketing for Authors

Tracy Slonaker wants to know where to put her energy, because she’s tired. You and me both, sister.

I’m a firm believer that you basically don’t exist online without a blog. BIA/Kelsey research has found that 97% of online consumers are headed straight to a major search engine to perform research on products and services. Only 3% of these consumers are ready to make a purchase the first time they Google. Having a website that’s filled with fresh and compelling content will put you first in line to make BFFs with major search engines. While the exact ins and outs of how search engines decide to rank content is a mystery, it’s clear that websites who often publish fresh, compelling and authoritative (original and well thought-out) information will probably be at the top of the search results for queries like “YA novel with lots of dragons,” or whatever else you write about.

Question #2:

author marketing tips

Sydney Logan wants to know how she can promote her personal brand without breaking the bank. She’s tried pens, magnets, keychains and more. What’s next?

I’m going to take a slightly controversial stance here, and warn you that I’m mostly operating off experience because I’m not aware of any double blind, scientific studies on author giveaways. Give away your time, because you can’t scale effort. It’s the most valuable, non-renewable resource you have, and it’s bound to result in word-of-mouth recommendations.

Consumers still value word-of-mouth recommendations more than any other form of marketing, according to Nielson Research. 92% of consumers trust what their friends and family have to say, while only 70% care deeply about online reviews. Building relationships with people who are going to tell their friends about how awesome you are might actually matter more than your GoodReads or Amazon rating. Your next giveaway should be an opportunity to give an up-and-coming author feedback on their first chapter, concept or steamy love scene. Total cost to you is $0, and I bet they’re going to be a lot more likely to Tweet to their friends and family about their new talented BFF author who gave them feedback and effort than a keychain.

Question #3:

Marketing for authors

Erin Anderson may have asked the toughest question of the night, so hats off to her. What’s the worst thing that authors do all the time?

There’s a lot of bad things I see often. Terrible email marketing that doesn’t follow the laws of the CAN-Spam act, which is federal law. Spammy social media and blog articles that don’t make sense to anyone who hasn’t already been reading the author’s blog for a few months. However, I’m going to go with my first impulse and say it’s simply failing to stand out. Why should anyone buy your book if it’s the same as 3,000 other novels published this year so far?

Kathy Caprino, who writes for Forbes, thinks that it really comes down to self-awareness and market research (buying your competitors’ books for a hate read). You have to know specifically what makes your [books] better…and be adept at communicating that.” Some of the artists with the best brand marketing I know aren’t afraid of the weird. Jen writes about her husband’s creepy tendencies. Nashville-based band The Lonely Biscuits sends their fans swag in exchange for hilarious memes. I can’t tell you where to hang your freak flag, but by all means, let it fly.

If you didn’t get a chance to ask your question on Twitter or Facebook, chat me up in the comments. I’ll be lurking and waiting for you, in a non-creepy way. I’m always happy to connect with talented authors, and it might increase the chances that Jen and M invite me back.

Jasmine has more than 11,000 followers on Twitter, even though she’s pretty boring. She likes riding in Jen’s car, wearing Jen’s pants, and eating Jen’s quesadillas. Also, she’s Senior Copywriter at Inbound Marketing Agents in Nashville, and you can holler back here.

J and M invite you to ask questions in the comments. Jasmine will be with us all day, so pick her genius marketing brain! If she can’t get to your questions today, we’ll invite her back for more fun and learning.