As I’ve said many times before, marketing and publicizing a book can be daunting because of all the choices you have on how to best go about it. Plus, there is conflicting advice out there, so how do you know what you’re reading is good advice for you? Good question. I can’t tell you how much social media advice out there is really directed at major brands, not for authors and small business owners. This is the double edged sword regarding free advice. There’s plenty of it, but you have to figure out if it’s for you…or not.
Just remember: When someone wants you to spend money with them, you want to make sure they are the type of person or business that can really help you. It’s just as important that someone tell you what they can’t do for you as it is what they can do. I am often stunned by what I see going on in the name of “earning a living.” I don’t want you to be a target of that, which is why I’m going to continue this blog giving free advice — for authors.
We are back to publication countdown checklist; this time we’re covering what to do three months before publication date. Here is what to focus on now:
- Write six articles and guest blog posts
- Set up social media, including:
- LinkedIn profile
- Facebook page or group
- Twitter account
We are in the age of content marketing and everyone is hungry for it. This is good news because there is someone looking for exactly what it is you write about. It also means you have to create great material because there are a lot of people looking for coverage. You want to be in the top 10%. Let’s begin here:
Six articles and guest blog posts
It’s good to have these pieces fleshed out before publication day ever arrives. It allows you to have material on hand that can be used whenever the need comes up, and you won’t be up half the night creating it on the fly. One idea is to create an overarching piece about your work with five other articles covering different aspects of your message. Or, if you have multiple markets you speak to, you can write a piece for each market, e.g., leadership, millennials, careers, workplace, baby boomers, etc. Whatever applies to you and your book.
The shortest answer to the question about the difference between an article and a blog post is length. Depending on the outlet, articles can run 700 – 1000 words, whereas a guest blog post will run about 400 – 500 words.
You may already be posting to social media. The two main questions to ask yourself here are as follows: “Am I posting where my market hangs out?” And, “Do I love this platform?” To be consistent and effective, you need to answer yes to both of these questions.
If your topic lends itself to visuals, then Instagram may be a very good platform for you. Its users tend to be younger, but I think that is changing. The demographics of Facebook users tend to be older with an emphasis on more personal news. Twitter and linkedIn are more directed toward business audiences.
This is really a high level look at these different platforms. The main point to remember is to figure out how to share your message without being too “in your face” and salesy. It’s just a turn off. I know people do it. You’ve seen it too, I’m sure. There is this transformation (and I don’t mean in a good way) that sometimes happens to perfectly normal and reasonable people. When their book is for sale, they turn into carnival barkers. Don’t let that be you. Remember to share your story and make it interesting. Help people solve their problems. Be kind and helpful. This will draw in your perfect audience. Be patient though. It doesn’t happen overnight. Leave the heavy duty sales tactics alone. They don’t work anyway.
You get to decide where you need to be and what makes the most sense for you. Remember the two questions again: Where is my market, and what do I love to do? If you love to write, write. If you love to be on camera, be on camera. If you love audio, use audio tools such as podcasting and radio. Now is the time to get these things lined up and happening on a consistent basis. Consistency is everything.
To your success!
P.S. Every author is different. Every book is different. If you want to discuss what it will take for you to become visible and known (or as I like to call it, become the red sheep), then join me for a Media Strategy Session here.