At the May meeting of San Diego Writers/Editors Guild, our own Larry Edwards provided tips on using social media to market books. Check out "What You Missed" for a summary of Larry's presentation.
At the May meeting of Publishers and Writers of San Diego, Fauzia Burke spoke on the subject of online marketing for authors, echoing most of what Larry presented. Fauzia recently moved to Carlsbad from New Jersey where she established her marketing and publicity firm, FSB Associates, 20 years ago.
This post continues Part I tips from Fauzia Burke.
Question: How often should an author post entries on a blog?
- Two times a month is often enough. More important than frequency is to stick to a schedule. And make sure the content provides something of value to readers, not just a series of sales pitches. [Webmaster's note: Fauzia confirmed the 80/20 rule Larry pointed out in his presentation in May--80% of the posts, in newsletters, or on social media platforms should inform, educate, or entertain. Limit sales pitches to no more than 20% of content.]
- As for content, the shorter the paragraph and the more bullet points, the more likely a reader will continue.
- Make it easy to read, especially on a phone.
- Dark backgrounds are bad.
- Graphics are necessary.
- Graphics options (not all are free, but they low cost):
- pablo.buffer.com [Webmaster's note: This option does appear to be free. The site leaves responsibility for ensuring the subscriber has the right to use images and/or that the images are appropriately attributed with the subscriber. It offers images from unsplash.com at no cost and also allows subscribers to upload their own images--subject to the above mentioned trust-based responsibility--which it assures subscribers will not be made available to other subscribers.]
- canva.com - $12.95 per month [Webmaster's note: I couldn't find a cost. This site offers multiple levels of licensing with lots and lots of legal language in the terms and conditions. I know people who swear by this product, but I can't find enough information about the cost to confirm the price Fauzia mentioned or what it covers.]
- depositphotos.com [Webmaster's note: This site also offers multiple levels of licenses with costs for images as low as $.15 and as high as $6.70.]
Question: Can you give us some examples of options to increase an author's level of engagement?
- Newsletters--a good option to get people to subscribe to build your email list.
- Email list--subscribers are more engaged through email mailing lists than through social media.
- Consider using an e-mail management system such as mailchimp.com.
- Social media--social media platforms are the #1 source of referral traffic to websites.
- Videos--Keep them short. Make sure the content is valuable and professionally presented.
- Most web platforms provide access to statistics about site visitors. Use this information to identify what information caught the attention of visitors and what didn't.
- Connect with influencers--other bloggers who share your interests and whose followers are more likely to follow your blog/website/newsletter.
- Be likable--readers are more likely to relate to someone they like. Review not only language but also images to ensure they are consistent with the following characteristics of a likable person:
- Ask questions
- Are honest
- Don’t seek attention
- Are consistent
Question: How can an author increase his or her visibility?
- Publicity – Book Review gives more credibility than an ad, though there is little control over either the message or the target audience.
- Advertising – You pay for advertising which allows you to control both message and target audience.
- Distribution – Get your book into bookstores or other places. Many non-bookstores may offer a tie-in with the subject of your book. Seek opportunities everywhere.
- Events - Book launch, book signings, book readings, presentations at groups.
Question: Do you have other tips for those who decide to blog?
- Take advantage of the statistics concerning your Website traffic, as mentioned before.
- Use your blog to demonstrate your skills.
- Use your blog to build your credibility. Invite established bloggers to guest post on your blog.
- Find a Partner where you can provide guest blogs. Some examples include the following:
- Huffington Post
- Other bloggers
- Other newsletters
- If you provide a guest post for Huffington Post or another large platform, post the content on your own site first. Two weeks later, repost elsewhere. This takes advantage of the fact that Google only lists initial post in search results which will draw readers to your post, not the other platform.
Question: How can I find bloggers interested in my topic?
- Google specific terms of a similar author and title, e.g., “Brene Brown” “Daring Greatly” “Book Review.” The results will include references of those you may find most useful.
A final comment: Remember that publicity is just an invitation to others to come back for more information.