Author, marketer and social-media guru Chris Brogan posted a great list of suggestions for authors interested in raising awareness of themselves and their work via social media. It is comprehensive and, as one who have connected with many wonderful people through nearly each of the items in the list, I’m confident this plan would “work”.
An Author’s Plan for Social Media by Chris Brogan (more on this list and lots of other goodies on Chris’ blog)
- 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.
- Set up a blog. If you want it free and super fast, WordPress or Tumblr. I’d recommend getting hosting like Bloghost.me.
- 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.
- Start an email newsletter. It’s amazing how much MORE responsive email lists are than any other online medium.
- Have a blog post that’s a list of all the places one might buy your book. I did this for bothTrust Agents and building blocks.)
- Consider recording a video trailer for your book. Here’s one from Scott Sigler (YouTube), for his horror thriller, Contagious.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?)
- 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.
- Work with your publisher for a blogger outreach project. See if you can do a giveaway project with a few bloggers (here’s a book giveaway project I did for Donald Miller’s A Million Miles in a Thousand Years book).
- 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.
- Ask around for radio or TV contacts via the social web and LinkedIn. You never know.
- 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.
- Whenever someone writes a review on their blog, thank them with a comment, and maybe 1 tweet, but don’t drown them in tweets pointing people to the review. It just never comes off as useful.
- Ask gently for Amazon and other distribution site reviews. They certainly do help the buying process. And don’t ask often.
- 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.
- Start showing up at face to face events, where it makes sense, including tweetups. If there’s not a local tweetup, start one.
- 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 o
Great list, right? That said, as I read it I began to wonder if there is a difference between doing these things intuitively and digging into them as a formula to sell books. I’ve followed Brogan for awhile now, seen him live and “spoken” with him online. I even wrote a snarky little piece about him where he kindly set me straight about who he is and what makes him tick (I did apologize by the way).
While Chris makes it plain that he is a marketer who uses social media to connect for that purpose, I believe he is a genuine guy. The kind of guy that would have found an artful and sincere way to connect with people if he’d burst on the scene in the 1900s instead of the 2000s. Which begs the question: Can anyone do what Chris does and get the same results regardless of their motivation?
I’m not sure.
It’s kind of like romance. What’s the difference between a man who has a deep desire to please his wife or his girlfriend and the one who reads an article in Cosmo and follows the steps mindlessly to get what he is looking for?
And what about people of faith? Is loving Jesus, allowing oneself to be transformed by that love and serving others as a result of a transformation of heart the same as following Jesus to get to heaven and tap into God’s favor for my life?
The same question runs through all three examples. Is it possible to have an honest relationship a business prospect, a love interest or even with God when our own needs are our first priority?
Look forward to hearing from you on this…