Friday, April 1, 2011

Leanna's Marketing Smackdown #3 - Tips for Writers

About the Marketing Smackdown:
Last year I wrote a quarterly column for my local RWA Chapter, RWA NYC, in their Keynotes Newsletter. Since then, several of the articles have been reprinted by other RWA chapters and since I'm continuing the column this year, I thought I'd offer the 2010 posts here too. While I'm not remotely a Marketing expert, I do spend a lot of time on various marketing platforms and happen to have a lot to say about it. I hope writers might find this useful, and that readers and fans might find it interesting (or perhaps daunting) to know some of the many things we authors are doing while trying to juggle everything else in our life.

Why do I call it the smackdown? Because it's me versus time versus deadlines versus marketing. All the time.

Marketing Smackdown #3 - A Few of my Favourite Things!

Copyright 2010 Leanna Renee Hieber

These are a few of My Favourite Social Media things:

10. Tiny URL – when posting long links to things, in group posts, or on twitter, the long URL’s get cut off, broken, hard to manage and use. converts a long URL into something manageable, for free. It rocks. I use it all the time. Create one for your books at Barnes & Noble and such, you can create it so that you remember it, for example, I created which is the letters of my absurdly long title plus the letters b and n for Barnes & Noble; that’s my pre-order link for The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker! I did the same thing for Amazon and Borders so that if I’m writing blog posts I can always pop those into links by memory rather than having to look them up every time and copy/paste. Also good?

9. Publishers’ Forums. Forums are great places where fans loyal, say, to the Publisher’s book club, will go for news, for contests, for community. If you’re targeting a publisher, see what everyone is talking about on their forums and perhaps track some of their authors, learn from them! A great example of this? Sourcebooks Teen Fire site:

8. Facebook Fanpages: Easy, free, user friendly, a nice way to separate out your personal self’s facebook page from that which is a “Product” – To get a product i.e. fanpage, go to one that’s established, I’ll give you my own, for example: . In the lower left hand corner there’s a button “Create a Page” – follow the prompts, and you’re off! You can also follow prompts from the Facebook homepage.

7. Book Trailers – I had such fun with mine, and using targeted advertising on YouTube was affordable and gained a lot of views (I have over 10,000 views of the first Strangely Beautiful trailer now) – for more on this, see my Do It Yourself Guide to Book Trailers .

6. Google Alerts! Go to Google, go to “More” and go to Alert and type in your name and the title of your book and what email you want the alerts to go to (You have to have a Google account to do this, if you’re on You Tube, Blogger, gmail, etc, you already have one). Alerts mean when all your lovely reviews pop up (well, and ugly ones too, you don’t have to click on said link if you see a sentence you don’t like) you know about it. You do need to know where you are on the web and when, and if someone has posted a lovely review you link to it, etc, you need to figure out what blog / online community has discovered you and also, argh, when your book is getting pirated.

5. Digg / Yahoo buzz / all those little options when you click the button that says “Share This!” - ok, the whole list is overwhelming. But if you just sign up for a couple, like for me, I do Digg and I’m already on Yahoo with my mail, so you can “vote” for content. When someone posts a nice book review, “Digg” or “Buzz” it! (Get grandmothers and family members who are bored at work to do this for you too), every ‘vote’ for online content gets it tracked to things like Google and it shows up on searches more easily.

4. Get your friends to “Like” the nice Amazon reviews, it puts them to the forefront. If someone has written a snark-tastic mean review, you can tell your friends to “dislike” the review, but DON’T respond to the review yourself in any way. Ever. That spells certain doom. Oh, and Amazon reviews will not make or break you anyway. Again: DO NOT RESPOND TO BAD REVIEWS. EVER. PERIOD. It makes you look unprofessional and always ends up turning out for the worse. Also, get your friends to Facebook "Like" your books on Amazon and also on Barnes & Noble and anywhere your book is sold that has a "Like" button. Likes breed other likes on Facebook, they're like marketing rabbits.

3. Book! This wonderful site is the perfect place to list your events, plus it routes all your events to your Amazon Author page (which you do have to claim but don’t have to upkeep) and to your Goodreads ( page. Again, claim this but you don’t have to upkeep it or maintain presence there other than having your info there, which leads me to…

2. Claim your author pages on Amazon and Goodreads! If you have an ISBN then you have an author page waiting for you at both of these venues, claim them and route your blog to it, link to your websites, etc, (just follow the prompts) its pretty user friendly! And your events will route there too, it’s lovely!

1. Again, Twitter – I know, Twitter is way old hat. It's so not new. And yet, I am serious, folks, it’s the very best tool of all. It is easy, gets you interacting with people, I found all my fave new book bloggers there and it continues to drive more traffic to my website than any other venue. I'm @LeannaRenee.

Happy Writing, happy selling!

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