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February 2012 - Tweet Your Way to the Top

Of all the benefits technology provides, one strong advantage is the ease in marketing your own products. For authors, this means gaining higher notoriety at a lower price. Social networking, in particular, is proving to revolutionize the business world, and is an effective path for promoting a book title and gaining a following.

With the economy pinching our pockets, writers who seek to market their stories are finding it easier (and cost efficient) to network with other authors and publishers via social networking websites such as Twitter and Facebook. The burden of calling publishers and hoping to engage in conversation with an editor is eliminated, as authors turn instead to "following" publishing companies on these websites, learning vital information about promoting their works. Doing so allows prospective authors to learn more about the company, and potentially shape their works around the demands of the public.

Not only are social media tools a simple way to connect, but also a way to engage in conversations with potential buyers. Such interactions allow the public to gain a better understanding about the author. Interactions will help the readers further understand the authors intended message in their literary works.

Building a following on various social media websites may appear to be a daunting task; however, the steps are quite simple if diligent time management and patience are given. In his article, An Author's Plan for Social Media Efforts, author/blogger Chris Brogan shares the steps that are necessary to gain a following and have a presence in the social media world.

Reprinted with Permission

1. Set up a URL for the book, and/or maybe one for your name. Need help finding a URL? I use Ajaxwhois.com for simple effort in searching.

2. Set up a blog. If you want it free and super fast, WordPress or Tumblr.

3. On the blog, write about interesting things that pertain to the book, but don't just promote the book over and over again. In fact, blow people away by promoting their blogs and their books, if they're related a bit.

4. Start an email newsletter. It's amazing how much MORE responsive email lists are than any other online medium.

5. Have a blog post that's a list of all the places one might buy your book.

6. Make any really important links trackable with a URL shortener. I know exactly how many people click my links.

7. Start listening for your name, your book's name.

8. Consider recording a video trailer for your book. Here's one from Scott Sigler (YouTube).

9. Build a Facebook fan page for the book or for bonus points, build one around the topic the book covers, and only lightly promote the book via the page.

10. Join Twitter under your name, not your book's name, and use Twitter Search to find people who talk about the subjects your book covers.

11. When people talk about your book, good or bad, thank them with a reply. Connect to people frequently. It's amazing how many authors I rave about on Twitter and how few actually respond. Mind you, the BIGGEST authors always respond (paradox?)

12. Use Google Blogsearch and Alltop to find the people who'd likely write about the subject matter your book covers. Get commenting on their blog posts but NOT mentioning your book. Get to know them. Leave USEFUL comments, with no blatant URL back to your book.

13. Work with your publisher for a blogger outreach project. See if you can do a giveaway project with a few bloggers.

14. Offer to write guest posts on blogs that make sense as places where potential buyers might be. Do everything you can to make the post match the content of the person's site and not your goals. But do link to your book.

15. Ask around for radio or TV contacts via the social web and LinkedIn. You never know.

16. Come up with interesting reasons to get people to buy bulk orders. If you're a speaker, waive your fee (or part of it) in exchange for sales of hundreds of books. (And spread those purchases around to more than one bookselling company.) In those giveaways, do something to promote links back to your site and/or your post. Giveaways are one time: Google Juice is much longer lasting.

17. Whenever someone writes a review on their blog, thank them with a comment, and maybe one tweet, but don't drown them in tweets pointing people to the review. It just never comes off as useful.

18. Ask gently for Amazon and other distribution site reviews. They certainly do help the buying process. And don't ask often.

19. Do everything you can to be gracious and thankful to your readers. Your audience is so much more important than you in this equation, as there are more of them than there are of you.

20. Start showing up at face to face events, where it makes sense, including tweetups. If there's not a local tweetup, start one.

21. And with all things, treat people like you'd want them to treat your parents (provided you had a great relationship with at least one of them).

The number one rule of thumb for writers is to believe in your work. It is nearly impossible to sell a book to publishers if the writer is humble about their story. Remember, writing is an art and is something that authors should have pride in. Author and business woman Joanne Tombrakos stated (via Jane Friedman) that she has encountered an abundance of authors who "belittle the value of their book," a common mistake that lands their book in the reject bin. Writer should take action in their business selling techniques, and remain passionate about fulfilling their end goal.


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