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Did you miss the San Francisco Writers Conference? Don’t worry. In today’s post, I’ll catch you up on the highlights of several sessions I attended.
The Hub and Outpost Method of Social Media Marketing
In this session, Joel equates an author’s blog as the source and the hub of an author’s online empire. That statement doesn’t negate the fact that in today’s world authors need to know about and use social media.
However, as Joel pointed out, there’s little point in running around online Liking Facebook posts, retweeting colleagues, and participating in LinkedIn groups if you don’t pay attention, first and foremost, to your hub.
Everything you do should emanate from your blog.
The outposts, if you follow his analogy, are the social media networks you use. But before you get tangled up trying to get 5,000 likes on your Facebook author page, take care of you hub.
Why should you blog? Here’s Joel’s list of reasons.
- If you have a self-hosted blog on your website, you know you need to update it frequently. This in itself updates your website and improves your site’s SEO (search engine optimization).
- You need a mailing list opt-in with what Joel refers to as an ethical bribe. What’s an ethical bribe you ask? You offer a giveaway that addresses a need, desire, or interest of your readership. You readers will receive the freebie after they turn over their email addresses. It’s not as sinister as it sounds. If you offer an awesome freebie, such as a free eBook, your readers will be pleased and won’t mind that they had to sign up for your blog or newsletter.
- One of the beauties of a blog is that it can help to foster reader engagement. You’ll want to survey your readers to find out what they want you to write about; then you’ll provide that content, and then they’ll reward you with comments, retweets, and other types of shares.
- Attract fans with your content, which needs to relate to your niche, and that your readers will love.
- Don’t forget to create content for newcomers to your blog.
An essential rule of blogging is that once you start, you must publish consistently. There’s no point in starting a blog, writing it weekly and then skipping a few months before you write a new post. Don’t disappoint your readers in that way.
Which social media sites should you use? Use the social media sites where your readers are. I’ve said this many times and everyone at the conference confirmed this maxim.
Here’s Joel’s social media advice:
- Focus on one or two social media networks where your readers hang out.
- Focus on developing relationships
- Be a follower first
- Remember that your outposts (social media) are for listening and your hubs (blog/website) are for speaking. Both will trigger engagement.
- Don’t burn out!
Don’t forget about the niche sites, which will have fewer people the members who are there will be far more engaged. Consider these:
- Social networks like ning.com
- Discussion boards
- LinkedIn groups
- Google+ communities
- Your email list
Here’s another mantra everyone repeated: Everything you do online must be congruent with your brand. Remember, as the author of many books you are your brand so take care of it.Focus on one or two social media networks where your readers hang outClick To Tweet
Jim Azevedo of Smashwords
Secrets to eBook Publishing Success
In a nutshell, here are the key points Jim shared.
- Write an excellent book. Yeah, everything hinges on the quality of your writing. Be fanatical about quality. Wow you readers. In other words, write the best book you can and then hire an experienced editor.
- Make sure your cover image is superb.
- Match your cover image to your target audience. Your book cover needs to look professional, and it must be an “arresting thumbnail” when it appears on other websites such as Smashwords, Amazon, iTunes, or Kobo.
- Make sure that your cover image tells a story. Romance book covers tend to do a good job at this.
- Publish another great book. Your new book will sell your previous book.
- Popular Smashwords authors write series, and they publish a lot of books.
- Don’t end your book with the end of the story. Be sure to: add a short bio, a list of your published books, links to your social media, and a newsletter signup.
- Give some of your books away for free. Remember that offering a book for free all the time – called perma-free – will create awareness of your other books. Also, when readers see that an author they are unfamiliar with is offering a book for free, all risk is removed from their purchase.
- Add your series starter at free permanently. Remember that when your series starts with a free book, you’ll sell 66% more books.
- Patience is a virtue.
- Collaborate with other authors. They have fans you don’t have, and you have fans they don’t have so collaborate.
- Maximize availability and avoid exclusivity. Make yourself as discoverable as possible. When you’re exclusive, you impact your global reach. Okay, Jim is saying that you should never sign up for Amazon’s exclusive Kindle Select Program. However, Joanna Penn and Nick Stephenson will tell you that until you have written three books, you must be exclusive. When you publish your fourth book, publish widely.
- He predicts that sales outside U.S. will eventually dwarf sales within the U.S.
- Price your books for success. The most common price point is $2.99 followed by $0.99 and followed by $3.99. But he advised that books priced at $3.99 will sell better. Books priced at $2.99 enjoy more downloads than high-priced books (at $4.99 or higher).
- Readers are willing to pay a higher price for nonfiction eBooks (up to $8.99).
- Be sure to make your eBook available for preorders.
- Data indicates that preorders lead to better reviews.
Secrets to Selling Everything You Write
Here are some of the tips that Penny shared:
Short is the new long in books. Don’t write lengthy books. If you write nonfiction, you can parcel chapters into shorter eBooks. For example, she plans to release Red Hot Internet Publicity into four eBooks.
Create boxed sets of books you’ve written for a series. Keep in mind that you have to consistently feed your readers something. (The more books you write, the more books you’ll sell.) Here are some of her spinoff ideas for boxed sets.
- Background information on the writing of the books.
- Behind the scenes stories.
- Deleted scenes from a book.
- A new perspective on a book or the series of books you wrote.
Don’t forget to tell readers what you want from them. Do you want them to write a review? How about signing up for your newsletter? Before you index, include a page with a call to action.
Or, you can write a thank-you letter to your readers and add it just as the book ends but before your index. Include in your letter:
- Thank you for reading my book.
- I’d like your feedback.
- I would so love your review of this book. (Include a link to Amazon.) Don’t’ put this information at the front of the book because “anything at the front of a book can get missed.”
- Give your readers your email or a link to your contact page. Then respond to each comment or query you receive. Why? Superfans want to feel exclusive.
Remember: To make the New York Times bestseller list, you need 1,000 super fans who will promote your book to all of their friends, family members, and colleagues.Create boxed sets of books you’ve written for a series via @CaballoFrancesClick To Tweet
About the Author: Frances Caballo is an author, podcaster and social media strategist and manager for writers. She’s a regular speaker at the San Francisco Writers Conference and a contributing writer at TheBookDesigner.com. She’s written several books including Social Media Just for Writers, Avoid Social Media Time Suck, and Twitter Just for Writers, which is available for free here on her website. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online, building their platform, finding new readers, and selling more books. Her clients include authors of every genre and writer conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Ask Frances to prepare a social media audit for you.