Here’s a freebie: if I were an author looking to get the most out of the social web (and I am), I’d do something along the lines of what I’m about to share. Your mileage may vary, but here’s a decent approximation of the things I’d do. Please feel free to share liberally. Just link back to An Author’s Plan for Social Media Efforts, please.
An Author’s Plan for Social Media
- 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 both Trust Agents and Social Media 101.
- Make any really important links trackable with a URL shortener. I know exactly how many people click my links.
- Start listening for your name, your book’s name. ( Covered in this post about building blocks.)
- Consider recording a video trailer for your book. Here’s one from Scott Sigler (YouTube), for his horror thriller, Contagious. And here’s one from Dallas Clayton for his Awesome Book. (Thanks Naomi for pointing this out).
- 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 of them).
This sounds like a lot of steps. It is. But this is how people are finding success. Should this be the publicist’s job? Not even a little bit. The publicist has his or her own methodology. The author will always be the best advocate for his or her own work. Never put your marketing success in the hands of someone else. Always bring your best efforts into the mix and you’ll find your best reward on your time and effort.
You might have found other ways to be successful with various online and social media tools. By all means, please share with us here. What’s your experience been with promoting your work using the social web?