Sunday, January 11, 2009

Twenty Seconds A Day for Great Marketing, Networking

Yes, I'm updating one of my books for writers. As always, it will be laden with information you can use no matter where you are in the publishing and/or promotion process. This is an excerpt from it on micro blogging. To be more exact, on Twittering because of all the social networks, this is the one I'm finding works best on my busy schedule. First we'll talk about social networking in general and then I'll give you some specific reasons to try Twitter.

Most authors have heard by now that social networking can be good for the health of their books. Most authors also have trouble finding time to write, so they can only spend so much of it chit-chatting online, however much they'd like to. Here are some specifics for streamlining your social networking to make it work for you, not against you. As usual, you'll see my recommendations are frugal with time as well as money.

 It's OK to put up a profile on a network (a complete one, please--nothing shoddy) and then sit back and let others invite you. Just being present is a good thing. It's about exposure.

 Unless you are just having fun, forget adding people in your neighborhood or old high school to your network. That is, unless they would also be possible readers of your book. Invite and accept people with whom you share career interests. Note that if they are interested in what you're doing, they'll probably find you. Or keep one of your networks for poking and fun walls and use the others to do serious networking. On the other side of the coin, give your followers/friends information they can use. They probably don't want to know what you are eating for breakfast or that you are off to bed.

 Build your buddy lists slowly and methodically. Make a list of those who are influential in you fields that are related to the subject or theme of your book. Ask them one or two at a time so you can connect with a couple of personal messages, perhaps explore a bit with each of them how you might work together.

Caveat: Some networks offer a way for you to use the list from your Yahoo or AOL accounts to invite people wholesale. That probably won't give you the advantages you're looking for and could backfire because it may feel a little spammy to some. Further, I saw someone booted from Twitter recently, presumably because she had invited 1,723 people in two days.

 Keep your biography (or profile) updated.

 Once you have a large group of friends you can create events on Facebook and some others. I like to recycle, so I'd make them events that I market to your general audience (or your own niche) and then include your Facebook pals, too. You may attract social friends to your network that way; those who aren't already part of your network will need to sign on to participate. You'll be doing them a favor if you're providing information that they need. It might be best for you to concentrate on only one or two of your social networks for this kind of activity. One person can only do so much!

 On some social networks you'll find a bar on your profile page that tells you which of your friends are also logged in; that lets you connect with them easily and personally to offer them ideas, ask for help or whatever. On Twitter there is a little message link you can use to reach followers individually.

This feature alone is worth the time it will take to build a reasonably useful profile page on one of these networks. Don't use it frivolously, though. Your network friends may be short on time, too. And they may start ignoring you, or worse, block you.

 Add your social network widgets (little logos that help people click through to your social network profile page) on you blog(s) and website(s). Mention them in your e-mail signature, too. Social networks are like anything else. For them to be successful, you'll need to promote them. Anyone who wants to see my e-mail signature to use it for ideas may e-mail me with SIG PLEASE in the subject line and I'll send you an e-mail. I'm at hojonews @ aol.com

 When people join you on Twitter, welcome them with a Tweet. To keep my tweets from getting boring (you know, nothing but welcome notices), I like to give a tip, then welcome them using their Twitter moniker. Sometimes the tip will simply be an introduction to my new follower letting people know why they should know that person.

Now, how can Twitter specifically help your book marketing.

1. Whatever you're doing to promote your book may be mentioned there. If it's online promotion, include the link.

2. You can use a related site called TwitWall.com to include longer pieces, like media releases or articles. There are other Twitter-related services, but you'll learn more about those as you go along. Usually from the tweets of those you are following.

3. You can reach out to your contacts to cross promote. Ask them to trade blog links. Invite them to support a project. Ask for advice. Conduct a poll.

4. You can let your followers know when you've posted a blog, updated your website, instituted a new service, produced a free white paper, released a book and on and on.

5. You can invite/follow influential people in your publishing niche to be friends and learn from them, connect to them.

6. And, of course! You can follow me to network and to get promotion and editing tips. Just sign up for twitter and then go to www.twitter.com/frugalbookpromo. Click on the follow bar under the picture of my Frugal Editor book and voila! I'll follow back. Now we're on a roll!

Caveat: I've gotten a bit addicted to Twitter. Because I like it so much. So, yes, I do spend more than 20 seconds a day. But I could keep it limited to that if I really, really wanted to.


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Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and two how to books, The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't and The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success. She is also the author of the Amazon Short, "The Great First Impression Book Proposal". Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor blog.

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