A Marketing Tutorial
What is Discovery?
- Accidentally stumbling over a great book while browsing a books store or library shelves. A small number of books get discovered this way, but the emotional impact is high, which is why users cite this higher in survey’s than is actual fact.
- Good old word of mouth, but increasingly happening online on a global scale thanks to email, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc. and with bits of the books (quotes, samples) included in the conversation.
- Discovering and sampling books in context, be it articles, blogs, festivals, events, readings, conferences, holidays, etc.
- Netflix or Pandora style or more typically based on popularity/sales
- Using price and special sales selectively as a tactic to reach new readers.
Discovery & Discoverability: Finding & Building an Audience
- Is the focus on the step beforehand. How do we make readers aware of our books, so that they when they search, they search for our books among the millions of other possibilities.
Search is not discovery
- When you are searching for an author or title you have, by definition you have already discovered the title or author because you are already aware of it. You are already on the next rung of the marketing funnel: interest and/or desire
- Is one of the few types of searches that serves a genuine discovery function, but if your you are not on Page 1 (thanks to good SEO), you are not visible.
Let’s bust a few myths:
- All you need is a good book (A good book is a requirement, but obscurity is far more likely than overnight success.)
- You need to be a geek to master this. (Anybody can get the hang of it.)
- The Retailer will do it. (Every author and publisher has to work on visibility for their title.)
Before Your Publication Date:
- Get your own URL
- Create a homepage
- Create a blog
- Use Google Apps to create a Gmail account with your own domain.
- Create a Twitter and Facebook profile
- Start posting stuff:
- What the book is going to be about?
- Background about the book: Why? What? For whom?
- Post quotes, background material etc.
- Wet the appetite of future readers
- Get potential readers to join your mailing list (make sure you have a mailing list!)
TIP: Curiosity is a powerful motivational driver
Step One: Get your own URL
- You will look 10x more professional and it costs ~ $10-15/year
- Check what’s available at GoDaddy or other Domain Registrars
- Make sure the URL is easy to remember and easy to type!
- Own name is always good, but name of your book series will work, too
- Use Google Apps to create a Gmail account with your own domain.
- If you are lucky your publisher might do all this for you (or at least help) and publishers should make sure all their authors do this!
Step Two: Create a Blog
1.Create a professional blog using WordPress
- You should be able to host a WordPress Blog off of your registered domain.
- You will need to pay for a hosting solution (not expensive) (see Step One)
- Find a WordPress theme (look) that works for what you write
- WordPress is more effort, but more professional–some community colleges offer classes in WordPress
TIP: Consider WordPress when you are more established or start with Blogger first (do the easy first, instead of procrastinating)
Step Three: Create a Social Profile
- Immensely popular with publishing insiders
- It’s a great way to be contacted by industry folks
- Twitter is not a top network for readers sharing books
- Great for sharing timely news as links
- Author readings
- Appearances on radio, TV etc.
- Any mention in news articles etc.
- Avoid being a used sales man and shouting “buy, buy, buy”
- Include sample links to your book when appropriate
Use Hashtags; this is critical to getting your posts shared
- Post sample of your books on
- Fridays for #Fridayreads
- Sundays for #SampleSunday
- Key Hashtags
- Christian Fiction #ChristFic
- Sweet Romance #SweetRomance
- Sale #Sale
- Free #FREE
- Seek out other (category) hashtags related to your book
- Measure engagement with bit.ly (or jbks.co) links (Bitly shortens links and tracks where they’re used/clicked on)
TIP: at Jellybooks, we see up to 50-100 readers downloading samples for a book posted to #Fridayreads even if it got no retweets (RTs).
- Follow authors similar to yourself (same [sub]genre, etc.)
- Follow their reader, many may follow you back, but don’t make the mistake of DM-ing (direct messaging) them
- Do not DM people to say “thanks for following, please buy my book”
- Avoid “selling” and focus on engaging
- Don’t be afraid to talk about topics you are passionate about, even if they do not relate to your book. Readers will identify to you as a person.
- Post when events happen to which readers relate
- When in doubt, 5 p.m. is best time for getting retweets
Author Examples on Twitter:
Tip: Twitter can be a colossal time sink for people who like writing. Allocate a dedicated time slot every day, i.e. ½ hour in the morning and ½ hour in the evening for Twitter.
Stimulate conversations around your book
- Include a link to your blog or homepage in your Twitter profile
- Highlight that you are writing a book and its title in profile
- First, upload an avatar (an “egg” looks very, very unprofessional)
- Second, customize your profile!
- Don’t look boring (boring authors/publishers = boring books)
- Have a link to your blog or homepage in your profile
- Upload a background
- Get a “verified” tag, if possible. It makes you look more “official”
- Create an author page (maybe a tab for your book) –not a profile, keep that for your personal friends + family; this is so an unlimited number of readers can connect with you.
- Keep a “Profile” for your personal friends and family, a “page” is for your public persona
- If you use a pseudonym/pen name have a page in the name of your pseudonym/pen name
- Avoid creating a page for each title, you might wish to create (but don’t need to) create a single for all books in a series or “story universe”, use tabs for individuals titles
- Respond to any comment within 24 hours.
- Number of likes doesn’t matter; conversations matter!
- No Facebook profile = inacessible to most readers
- Marketing effectiveness has dramatically declined since introduction of Edgerank (85% of posts not displayed)
- Focus on engaging with your “super fans”
- It is your most loyal readers who will spread the word, make them care, make them passionate
- Readers are more conversation focused on Facebook than on Twitter or Pinterest. On Facebook it’s about conversations.
The great strength of Facebook are giveaways.
- For example hold a giveaway for a $100 Amazon gift card (or BN, Kobo, Indiebound, if they prefer – be flexible) in exchange for readers joining your mailing list, etc
- A “fan gate” (= “like to enter” is a waste of time, because likes don’t matter, you want shares)
Engaging on Facebook:
- Facebook is a also a great place to promote and post pictures of author readings, conferences, etc. (images always do better than simple text posts)
- Encourage fans to post book related pictures
- Share fun bookish stuff, even if it is not directly related to you own book, but don’t get too personal (think of Facebook as being public)
- Promote books you like from fellow authors/publishers
- It makes you look selfless
- Readers appreciate great recommendations
- The recommended author/publisher may reciprocate
Other Social Networks:
Only if you already actively use them, in which case post about your upcoming book on these, too; Only sign up for what you will use:
Fiction Focused Social Sites
- Library Thing
Finding and Building an Audience: Let’s Bust a Few Myths
- Myth #1 – You need a social media guru.
- Truth: Author should engage with readers. Basic rules are fast and easy to learn.
- Myth #2 – Social Marketing is a silver bullet.
- Truth: It’s hard work and time consuming, but it’s (mostly) free.
- Myth #3 – Authors can outsource to publisher.
- Truth: Readers want to engage with authors. Publishers are coaches & assistants.
- Myth #4 – You need to cover every social network.
- Truth: Focus on those you actually enjoy. Do not create and then abandon profiles.
What are the motivations for sharing content?
- Social Currency
- We share things that make us look good.
- Top of mind, tip of tongue.
- Ease for emotion
- When we care, we share.
- Monkey sees, monkey does.
- Practical Value
- News you can use.
- Information travels disguised as gossip.
What Goes Viral?
- It’s inherently un-predictable
- Social networks are “chaotic”.
- They matter, but they are not gatekeepers. Anybody can be the trigger
- Small Worlds
- Its easier to go viral in a small, hyper-connected world.
- Thresholds & Cascades
- Virality depends on a critical mass for the trend not to die out.