Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Adventures in Self-Publishing: Marketing Workshops

Here are a few highlights from the next batch of RWA National workshops I attended.

(I've included the workshop numbers where available--I definitely recommend listening to these when they're released on audio.)

17-039 Hook a Reader in 140 Characters: How to Promote Using Social Media - Andrea Laurence, Vicki Lewis Thompson, Rhonda Nelson, & Kira Sinclair

*Great workshop--the info came so quickly I had trouble writing it all down

*Social media allows you to make a personal connection with readers, to build your author brand, and build reader loyalty

*Freebies for loyal readers are always a good thing (sneak previews, extra deleted scenes, any tidbits that further involvement in the world you've created)

*Relate all your posts/your blog design/your comments to your author brand. This doesn't mean constantly selling your work, which is quickly annoying to readers. It means giving readers more of whatever your brand is about:

--quotes from your books
--extra character info
--a look into your writing process
--books, movies, tv shows that inspire you or that relate to your stories in some way
--pictures get the most feedback (always remember the rights issue and post only legally obtained pics)

*Recycle/repurpose/link your posts/tweets/blogs. Make multiple use of your social media efforts.

*Maintain an up-to-date website (if you do nothing else, do this)

*Respond daily to comments; don't let your account stagnate

*Have a main platform--you can't do it all so pick one or two places to concentrate and link to those places from other sites (if you blog, tweet links to your blogs, instead of spending all day tweeting, too, for example)

*"Facebook is probably the biggest time suck ever created"--don't let social media take over your writing time. Plan your time and use it efficiently

*I have about two pages of notes just on Pinterest. You can use hashtags on Pinterest. If Pinterest is something you want to pursue, be clear on copyright issues (give credit to sources!) and don't just re-pin, add your own content. Making sure you have permission to pin is important--pinning products is usually safe because the companies want you to spread the word--so pinning images from Pottery Barn to show how much you love their sofa is not going to make them mad at you!

*Newsletters. Main Chimp, Constant Contact, and MyEmma are good newsletter management tools. Don't just use newletters to sell your book, again, use them like above--connect, build your brand/identity, give readers that extra something to keep them engaged.

There was a ton more info. Definitely get the workshop and listen if you're trying to maximize your social media efficiency.

17-050 Integrated Marketing Plans for Writers - Jennifer Fusco

*speaker was Jennifer Fusco, the author of "Market or Die" guides ( Every word out of her mouth was a gem on marketing. She has worked in the field for years and really knows her stuff.

*Spend less time on executing and more time on strategy.

*Define your position in the marketplace (she spend quite a bit of time on this). What is your brand about? Create a positioning statement that defines you as an author. (Example: Convince ROMANCE READERS that LAURA MOORE in the CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE MARKET can deliver ROMANTIC SAGAS that INCORPORATE BUILDING FAMILY BONDS THAT LAST.) This part was the least interesting to me, I guess because I have a clear idea of my Pajaro Bay brand--what it means, what it stands for. But the idea is that you examine everything in light of this position: does this post, does this picture, does this web design convey the position, or is it diluting my message or even worse, sending a conflicting message? Be clear, be consistent, and know who you are in the marketplace.

*Competitive comparison: look at an author you admire. See what they are doing and how they're doing it. What technology do they use? How do they connect with readers? How are they defining themselves?

*Execution: build a list of goals; analyze not only what works, but what doesn't and why it didn't work. Continue to learn and improve.

This is already a long blog so I'll continue the reviews next time, when I'll cover Building Reader Loyalty and Deconstructing Book Videos. I hope people are getting some use out of these blogs--it's helping me to go back over my notes--I'm remembering so much info I want to start using!

In the meantime, I'll do my own little bit of marketing: if you'd like to subscribe to my author newsletter (which hasn't come out yet, 'cause I have no idea how to do it yet, but I plan to put out about once every couple of months starting this fall), email me at barb at

Happy writing, everyone. :-)



Genene Valleau, writing as Genie Gabriel said...

Great info! But like all marketing info, so many ideas start popping I quickly realize I could spend all my time marketing. :) I have a basic marketing plan but am always gathering more ideas. So I really appreciate you passing along what you learned. Thank you!

Deborah Wright said...

Barb, thanks for sharing! I didn't make it to the workshops that you attended, and while the recordings are a great reference, nothing beats hearing from someone who was there in person.