The AZ Book Publishers Conference www.azbookpub.com 2009 offered a lot of great ideas, tips and techniques thus allowing me to take my clients/writers to the author stage in new and different ways. The result of this day well spent is positive and productive. I share some of that now with you.
Here are my comments and analysis from my notes on the first talk addressing the author’s platform and the web. Please take what works for you and contact me via comment or cell 480-250-5556 for a first hour consultation FREE to writers/authors. Look forward to hearing from you – enjoy!
· Why do buyers buy your book?
o They have a specific genre and topic in mind and have enjoyed this area for a long time, or have discovered it recently and it fits them. They are seeking your topic for research, education, information or pure enjoyment. Give them what they want and make it easy for them to find you – Marketing 101.
o They are interested in what you write because you have “touched a nerve” and you are someone they know or believe they can trust for information. They may have been inspired by your other writings.
o They have heard of your book through word-of-mouth, friends, family, co-workers, social networking sites and so you have inadvertently started your “author’s platform” and made yourself available to them and them to you – congratulations!
SIDE BAR…There is no more effective way than to have someone say “I just read ……..and I loved it, and I think you would love to read …….” That is why when I read a good book, and I read about 2-3 a month, I love to tell people by putting it on my www.twitter.com/PatriciaBrooks or by writing a review on Amazon for that book. For my authors, it would be a book review online on my Facebook http://profile.to/patricialbrooks or my blog and telling my friends, family and colleagues in any form needed.
· What is an Author’s Platform?
o You need a “team” to help you spread the word in this highly competitive marketplace. It is extremely unlikely that a direct mail piece; and I still believe they have their place, will be enough. It is really rare that a press release and a one-time article in the paper will be thing that “pushes you through the eye of the needle”, again I love media coverage. Remember, you must fall in “love with your laptop”, “work the web” and “ink the internet” with as much writing as you can by obsessing on you and your book.
o People who know you is only the start of it. There is a world out there of people who (1) think like you, (2) believe like you, (3) socialize like you, (4) grew up like you, (5) read what you read, (6) live their life like you do and (7) want to know you.
o Your work, family, friends, Facebook, Twitter, blog, website are your “teammates” and all of them and their connections and friends are your team along with your database that you are building. We called it our “Hot 100 Hit List” decades ago when I embarked on a sales career and collected business cards and kept in touch with people regularly, while building my Rolodex, I still do that and keep one for back-up. Guess that comes from being in Camp Fire Girls, we always had a plan B. My contacts, friends and family always know where I am and what I am doing.
SIDE BAR… Life in the world of writing and publishing is now about social networking as much as anything and keeping in touch in all the electronic ways out there, or at least 2 or 3. I prefer my blog and my Twitter, my LinkedIn page and now my FaceBook to compliment my two websites and those business cards and emails I have been collecting along the way. I fondly refer to them as “my tribe”. Sometimes I feel so connected I wonder if I have to wear lipstick to take out the trash!
· Why do I need an Author’s Platform?
o Determining if anybody knows you is the easy part because of course many do. By making a list of all the organizations you have been involved in, all the places you have worked, all the clients you have worked with, all the events you have participated in and all the places you have lived curing your adult life you will have a pretty good list as a starting point. For me, it is 30 plus years in business in AZ in several careers that have lead to other things including two home-based businesses and memberships in several key organizations. The books that have come from those personal experiences, as well as professional wisdom and contacts seem endless and for that I am most grateful. It will be that way for you too. You just need to start writing your lists and checking them twice! Start from today and go backwards and list everyone before you screen them.
o Your credibility statement is already partially out there with your bio and resume and vitae, but it can be condensed and fine-tuned, polished and made better with a professional editor. You want to be sure you “shine as bright as the North Star” and are showing your true colors as you project yourself to the world. Do not be afraid to show your personal side. Remember: People do business with people, not companies and they buy products from people they know and like.
o Selling online is critical to your success and paramount to your being able to compete in today’s world. If you are squeamish about being on social networking sites or are afraid to “toot your own horn” because you are a shy writer read “The Shy Writer” By C. Hope Clark www.fundsforwriters.com and hire someone to help you with your marketing and PR. You need a good web person like my friend Danita with www.DLWebWorks.com.
SIDE BAR…“You are nobody ‘till somebody loves” your blog, email, Twitter, online newsletter, Facebook, website “so find somebody to love” and they will love you back. That is the way this social networking works and happens. It is like “online dating” when you don’t want to be dating and dislike dating and love being married, like me and my husband, but we are on Facebook and Twitter and have websites and a blog. It is reality and you do want to live in reality don’t you?
· Who are they and how big can “it” get?
o Friends and family, colleagues, co-workers, trade organizations and anyone else who has crossed your path in your life qualifies to be in your “social network” and should be if they will be a positive force for good in your life. Subscribers to your blog are the “most beautiful people in the world” so pay attention to your list and it will make you a player online. Barbra Streisand was right, “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world” so make your services needed, leave good content online.
o Those who bought your last book are the breath in your step, the song in your heart and the most valuable source for keeping the “buzz” about you going to catapult your next book to a new level and take the first one along for the ride.
o Those who read your online newsletter are your loyal tribe of do-gooders who will be relentless in telling people about your writing. They should have found many great things in your newsletter that have helped them and so your book will be even more beautiful in their eyes if you pay it forward.
o Those who have attended past events/engagements are part of your delegation because not only will they come to you online in their home, but they will get dressed and drive to you and participate and be in attendance because they believe in you. Do not dismiss the importance of this special group that is like no other.
SIDE BAR… Online networkers are those crazy, lovable people who cannot wait to check email, collect things for their Twitter and keep making notes for their next blog. They are always looking at other websites for ideas and fell in love with Facebook the first time a friend from their class of 1968 found them – yes that is yours truly and it will be you too if you are receptive to giving it a try to sticking with it and making it work for you!
· Why is Online more attractive than Offline marketing?
o Easier and less time consuming is the obvious answer, but it is also what the majority of people are doing these days. We need to be willing to compete and keep up, or go more than the extra mile and exceed all expectations. You deserve your rightful place in the world of publishing as much as I do, or anyone else.
o Less expensive is good in this case, but Online should be supplemented with Offline ideas to personalize your overall marketing efforts. No one idea is the “end all” for you and with a good marketing plan in place, you will make the right decisions to balance your marketing budget and put forth your best efforts. Do the footwork and it will pay off in the end.
o Easier to do and lasts longer are two of the components that make Online so attractive. You do not need to be anywhere but in your home office with your laptop and you can teach yourself most of the areas we have discussed so far. The last longer part is true because the web is somewhat like a sponge, it soaks up everything, and lets it out when you release it, but it will not allow anything to dry up, even if you remove it from your web world. It is there for the duration, be careful what you wish for in this case.
SIDE BAR…You will be able to grow your network to be of value to your long range goals while savoring your experience when you are away. This is my favorite part because the Twitters keep chirping and the blog comments keep blowing my way and the Facebook entries keep funneling into my life and I love it. I can leave one for a couple days and go back and visit and everyone is still there and basically happy. My email will keep me aware of what is going on in my “web world”. It is as if the party never ends!
· Why do I need Websites and Blogs for my Author’s Platform?
o Technology can show you off in a way that you could not have imagined just a few years ago. It is moving very quickly and is ready everyday to make you look better. You must take advantage of most of it to compete.
o Blogging must be faithful because if you expect loyalty you much be loyal, just like any relationship, trust and loyalty are the keys to building that solid foundation. They will not leave you if you do not leave them. No abandonment issues in blog life.
o A good money investment if maintained because you are not paying for an expensive four-color brochure that needs to be updated every year because the numbers or people or addresses or products have changed. You can do most of this yourself, or hire a web person like I do to help out and be another set of eyes to make things better and generate more ideas. Looking professional and competing with the “big guys” is now possible for a fraction of the cost we once knew.
o Search engines are critical and are the caboose to your cause. “The Little Engine that Could” was one of my favorite books as a kid. It comes to mind because it is the story of optimism and the American Dream. If you have not read it you should and you will understand all there is to know about search engines, online marketing and why you should keep going despite today’s challenges.
o Track hits, sell product; keep notes, finish project. Pretty much the same thing said in two different ways. If you do not know what is happening in your life, how can you use this valuable information to the best of your ability? Why would you throw away the present and keep the box or the wrapping paper? Why would you not at least look at all the ideas given to you before making a decision?
SIDE BAR…Social networking is “touchy feely” and we can learn to love it and think we can handle it because somebody loves us, but we must know what you are doing. All of the social networking arenas have “how to do” info pages and instruction, and yes a lot of information, but take it one item at a time. When all else fails, read the instruction book. This is a learning curve item like many others; you can do business math, you can change the tire on your car in an emergency and you can learn to be a good social networker!