Monday, June 25, 2012

Why Authors Need to Do the Marketing

I recently attended a full day writing seminar. The rapid change in the publishing world was the hot topic. One of the signs of the changes is that writers have to do most of the promotional work—even when they are published traditionally by one of the Big Six. The reason for this necessity was best explained at this seminar:

With the advent of social media, the way products and services are promoted has changed. It's not just the publishers who expect us authors to get out there and make ourselves accessible, the readers expect it also.

A publisher could fake a twitter account—and they have been known to this for some authors—but it doesn't work because it comes across as either fake or as spam. No one likes either.

Authors can't afford to be shy anymore. People want to get to know us and have some connection with us. The happy by-product of this is that the authors also get to connect with their readers. How awesome is that?

As a reader, how has social media helped you connect with your favourite authors? As an author, what part of social media do you enjoy best?

--
Thank you to Precy Larkins for the Booker Award. Please pop in to her blog and say hi to Precy from me.

I've been meaning to say that the Make Believe anthology is on Goodreads. It would be awesome if you could pop on over and mark it on your to-read list.

Photo: I took this shot of the Sydney Opera House past the Harbour Bridge at sunrise.

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56 comments:

  1. I really love using social media as a way to connect with other writers, and with people who read my blog (and hopefully my books when it's published!). I like to show that I'm not just some robot looking for followers. I WANT to interact with others. :D

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  2. I like social media, but I detest the constant spamming. Jesus H.

    My choice is generally Twitter. Facebook is going to go the way of MySpace eventually, thus while I still use it, it is mainly to chat or message my author pals and/or interact with readers.

    But back to the marketing. Some people do not realize that while spamming may indeed sell some products, they are a total turnoff to most. I delete or unfollow people that fall into the spamming category.

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    1. I agree with your opinion on FB. I think it's already starting to go that way. And yes spamming is bad.

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  3. I think social media is awesome for connecting authors and readers but it does get exhausting trying to buy/read/review so many books. Where would we be without it now?

    Denise

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    1. yeah, I know what you mean. I've bought a bunch of books to support fellow authors and I'm struggling to find the time to read them all! Eeek! Slowly but surely, I guess :)

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  4. I definitely prefer blogging. Still haven't figured out Twitter although it's helped. But it seems that's where some authors do nothing but send out links about their books.
    I can see why it's important to be online and let readers get to know us. I'd much rather be here than out doing physical appearances. And for me it's grown far beyond promoting my books - it's about supporting others. That is the real joy.

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    1. The authors that spam their books don't understand what social media should be--a way to connect rather than a way to sell.

      And yes, being able to help others is the true joy

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  5. I enjoy meeting new people regardless of the platform but it's usually through Twitter or blogging!

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  6. social media do help, I had cases of writers coming to my site and saying hello because they saw me tweet about their books or movie adaptations of the same....

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  7. I'm totally old fashioned. I like my favourite authors inaccessible and mysterious! I like social media for fun! LOL! Take care
    x

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  8. I enjoy social media, but it's a real time-sucker. And I'm with Alex--it needs to be about more than just tweeting one's new releases.

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  9. Interesting. I bet the best writers are the shy type, people who pay attention and notice details and communicate best on paper. I wonder how many great writers will get bypassed in this new world?

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  10. You're absolutely right. I'm still trying to break into the social media. As a member of a group of writers at the World Literary Cafe we tweet about one another instead of promoting ourselves. But if you don't make connections that are "organic" and about you, readers will not find you. Reaching out to readers directly is best, without trying to sell them. Again, making the connections...

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  11. About five years ago, I connected to one of my favorite YA authors through her blog on LiveJournal. It was something very new at the time and I remember I advised her on how to handle the onslaught of baby books -- she was pregnant -- and she mentioned me in a later post. That was a very cool experience.

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    1. Your story made me smile. That's a great connection you made with that author and it was possible because she made herself accessible.

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  12. All such valid and true points, Lynda. It's a tricky balance... coming across as real, making real friendships, and promoting... I'm glad I just get to enjoy the easy part right now ;)

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  13. I have actually connected with some of my favourite authors this way. It's been awesome. Great post.

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  14. I don't read social sites for my favorite authors. I do go to their website to see what they are working on next and when they anticipate releasing it.

    In general, I prefer blogging. It's more connection with readers or authors than other types of social sites.

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  15. I hadn't really thought of it that way before but readers do expect to be able to find their favorite authors on the internet. In this day and age if they can't make themselves available the readers will find someone who can.

    My preferred method is through blogging and websites. I'm still too chicken to tackle twitter and I don't care for facebook.

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    1. And it's not only that, but it's the way information is found and shared in today's world. The connections make it important because it turns the authors into real people, which when done right will create reader loyalty.

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  16. We always must be careful out there. We've got spammers trying to hack us with their enticing links.

    I like fb the best. Seems I can relate more on a one to one.

    Great post.

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  17. As a writer, I believe I enjoy blogging the best, and the reader in me loves to get a comment back from authors.

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  18. I love being able to tell an author directly "Hey, I love your book!" and for them to be able to say "Thanks!". It adds that level of connectivity and familiarity that allows them to properly connect with their fans.

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  19. I like blogs and Twitter best. I'm on FB, but am a terrible FB pal. Twitter is great for target marketing, but you can't sell, you have to be sociable. Like on the blogs.

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  20. i am really enjoying blogging too---always good advice :)

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  21. As a reader, without social media, I would never have connected with some of my favorite authors, especially the ones who are now reading my ARC for an author blurb. So it directly benefits me.

    As an author, the same goes, but even more so is the fact that I've connected with so many others who've helped me on my journey. This is kind of what my own post is about today.

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  22. I’m already seeing authors who are traditionally published marketing their books, but they don’t need to put in the amount of time and energy that a self-published author must.

    From a reader’s point-of-view I like to Google a favourite or new author, bookmark them and keep up to date with their latest works – book launches, festivals, reviews, writing advice etc. (many trad. published authors are starting to do this now).

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    1. I think things have changed so much that traditionally published authors do need to put in as much energy in marketing as self-published authors now.

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  23. I think I would still feel too shy to actually try to directly connect with authors that I hold in high esteem, lol. But it's nice to know the possibility is there nowadays.

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  24. I use Twitter to follow leaders in the industry, both trad and ebook and those involved in marketing and social media helpful to writers. Their tweets lead me to interesting and helpful articles as well as connecting with writer friends. I also use FB, but I'm in closed groups that are around certain subjects. Some have strict rules about spamming. I also have a bunch of friends there. I try to do about a 1/2 hour when I get up, then wait until to check in again. I found many opportunities just because I do social media such as lit contests and scholarship. I'll be going off to an awesome writer's retreat in just a couple of weeks, all because I heard about the scholarship and applied. I won.

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  25. You're right, with Twitter, there has to be a real, live person who can sustain a convo for the interaction to feel real. I'm not doing enough on the marketing side, but I try to do what I can each day.

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  26. The advent of the internet has really made people of all walks of life so much more accessible. It's definitely changed the way authors life/write/market!

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  27. Thanks for sharing this. I hadn't thought about it from that angle, but it really makes sense. Now that I think about it; I'd not have connected with some of my favorite authors otherwise.

    Congrats on the award!

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  28. For me blogging and twitter have helped me meet people and keep track of the industry and what's going on... love it.

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  29. As a reader, I love reading about an author's process and struggles, knowing that one day I'll get to read that book they were tweeting about.

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  30. You make a valid point, Lynda. Today publishers are expecting us to actively market our books and connect with our readers. I prefer blogging to connect with other writers and my readers.

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  31. Believable ordinary, with a surprise.

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  32. I haven't checked Twitter in long weeks and doubt that I will any time soon. It's one promotional link after another. FB is too much sharing. I can't handle 200 family vacation photos. Think I'll remain with blogging and let the chips fall where they may.

    Think social networking needs to shake out. I need time for my husband, life's routine and responsibilities, and simply refuse to live at the computer at the expense of so much else. I'm still searching for that moderation.

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  33. Lynda, interesting post. I love blogging and will continue,(although blogger is driving me mad recently), it is where I set out on my journey to meet other writers.

    I use a FB account to connect with writers only. When my book was released I popped onto Twitter a couple of times, and found followers each time. Most were authors. I decided to up my game on there and have gained over 500 author followers in three weeks. Every day now I am meeting more and more. So I eased off of FB and spent the time on Twitter. They both help my platform building.

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  34. I like to blog, but it takes away from the actual writing of a manuscript. There needs to be more hours in the day or my kids need to learn how to cook:)

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  35. All of the promotion tasks takes away from the writing time. My thought is you can't do everything-- well.

    Love the post.

    Teresa

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  36. Your question at the end made me scratch my head. I realized I only follow a handful of "famous" authors on Twitter. I actually left a comment on a famous authors blog the other day and was so nervous to hit "publish." I'm such a dork. I do think they checked out my blog after that comment though. :))

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  37. i follow dan wells =) he's the best! and his bro robison. i always feel lowly when it comes to big authors...i dont really have to worry about promotion yet. get published, with all that work is next, then promote! i love the work! and no one will work harder for me than me!

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  38. Social media can be intimidating. Especially Twitter.

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  39. Most of these comments I agree with, but as an Indie writer I knew this was the path I would need to take, I am amazed to hear that with traditional publishing writers still need to follow this same pathway. Wow!

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  40. There are many books I buy without encountering the writers online, but I'm more likely to buy a book if I follow the author's FB page, Twitter, or blog. I feel like I "know" the person and I'm curious about their writing. Also, I like to support bloggers by reading their work.

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  41. very interesting post..keep them coming dear
    Tasty Appetite

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  42. Just added MAke Believe to my Goodreads to read.

    Learning a lot from this post and the comments.

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  43. I'm a big fan of social media to connect with authors. I like them all--published, not published, whatever. But I have to say that when I got 2 likes from two huge authors when I posted I finished my WIP, that was a big boost. Who knew they knew I existed?

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    1. That's truly awesome. It's nice to know you exist ;)

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  44. oh, yes. Social media is totally a great way for authors to connect with readers. It's also a way to connect w/friends and family who might not know what you're up to--LOL! I intend to use it, but you know, I've never actually used it to contact authors I like... hmmm... :o)

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  45. My focus has remained on blogging. I find it limiting in many ways and probably more time consuming, but it has the potential for greater depth and intimacy. I haven't used Twitter or FB much for my own purposes or to connect with others. If I'm not reading these feeds I can only imagine that a lot of others aren't either.
    You make good points about the changing face of promotion not only for authors, but for all business.


    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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    1. I'll be honest. I'm not totally convinced by FB especially now that only a small percentage of my followers and friends there see my posts. I have to pay FB for a higher percentage (which I refuse to do).

      I think we all have to find what works. We can't spread ourselves too thin, though.

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I'd love to hear your opinion. Thanks for leaving a comment.