Are You a Lone Ranger Writer?

Are You a Lone Ranger Writer? In publishing, we’re constantly asking writers—typically a rather introverted bunch—to get involved, to engage, to network, to join groups and go to conferences. I often find myself wondering how many of you cringe every time you hear that kind of advice.   Maybe you’re not into the whole publishing “scene.” Maybe you don’t enjoy being in a critique group where people discuss your work.   Maybe you don’t want to be part of a crowd, you don’t want to go to workshops, you don’t think of writing as a group activity.    Maybe social media is not your thing. The thought of promoting your book gives you hives. You don’t want to be a speaker or a blogger or a Facebook expert.   Can such a person find success in...
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Fiction Writers and Platform

Fiction Writers and Platform I’m blogging at Books & Such today. Here’s a snippet: Every time I blog about platform or social media, the vocal response in the comments reminds me that it’s a difficult subject for many authors. Everyone wonders how and when to build a platform, and many writers aren’t enthusiastic about it. There are two things I’m constantly stressing to authors: (1) Building a platform is important. (2) Mastering the craft of writing is crucial. For unpublished fiction writers, these two things are not equal. Click HERE to read the post at Books & Such, and share your thoughts. Be Sociable, Share! ...
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12 Mistakes Authors Make in Connecting with Readers

12 Mistakes Authors Make in Connecting with Readers The whole idea of “building a platform” and “marketing your book” is to get people to read what you’ve written. Whether you’re traditionally or self-published, connecting with potential readers is crucial. There are many good ways to do this (although it’s not necessarily easy), and plenty of resources to  help you. Today I want to point out the most common mistakes I see authors making in the effort to connect with readers. 1. Not creating a plan or strategy for connecting with readers, but remaining completely haphazard. 2. Not understanding who their reading audience is. 3. Trying too hard to “sell” rather than gather a reading community. 4. Spending too much time on their blog, when that might not be the most effective way to gather a...
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I Didn’t Sign Up For This

I Didn’t Sign Up For This I don’t know a single writer whose publishing dreams included being a full-time marketer for their books.   The writing and publishing dream usually includes visions of spending several hours a day at the laptop, sending manuscripts off to a publisher, receiving big checks, getting fabulous starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, hearing from awe-struck fans who loved your book, being interviewed on the Today Show… and reaching the top of the bestseller lists.   And even for those whose dreams are more modest, the vision usually includes writing books and getting them sold to publishers, going through the editing process, and being available for whatever book promotion the publisher wants to do.   Blogging? Sending out newsletters? Maintaining a huge following on...
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4 Ways to Connect with Readers

http://www.rachellegardner.com//HLIC/d26744f33679d66aca95ce03a0c5ecaf.jpg Guest Blogger: Dana Sitar (@danasitar) Let’s start with what “connect with readers” does not mean: It does not mean “Get in front of your readers and convince them to buy your book.” It does not mean, “Aim for big numbers on social media or a high subscriber rate to your blog.” It also does not mean you have to answer every single email, reply to every tweet, return every share in kind, buy someone’s book if they bought yours, or re-tweet them as many times as they do you. These are all means to an end, the metrics online marketers have found to define your influence, clout, and worthiness as a thought leader. But these measurable stats aren’t the goal. A real connection is intangible and hard to measure. What “connect with readers” really means is forging a...
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5 Ways Authors Can Use Pinterest as a Marketing Tool

5 Ways Authors Can Use Pinterest as a Marketing Tool Guest blogger: Erin MacPherson We’ve been talking about Pinterest as a marketing tool for authors (here and here) and today I want to get your creative juices flowing by telling you about some innovative approaches to Pinterest marketing. There are many more, so please share your ideas in the comments and we can turn this post into a great Pinterest resource for writers. Here are my favorite ideas: 1. Recruit a Guest Pinner I’ve used this strategy to great success for about six months now and it’s not only helped me to build my Pinterest boards up, but it’s also allowed me to have new, fresh content to share on my Facebook page each week. I love it. And it’s so easy! Invite another author/blogger/writer to pin on one of your existing boards (or a secret...
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MyBookTable – A Better Way To Sell Your Books

http://www.rachellegardner.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Thomas-Umstattd-200x300.jpg This is a guest post from Thomas Umstattd (@ThomasUmstattd). Today he’s introducing a terrific new idea for authors that I thought you all should know about. * * * Most publishers require authors to have a website before they will publish them. The reasoning behind this is simple. The purpose of the website, for the publisher, is to sell books. The problem is that books can be really hard to sell on your website.     5  Problems With a “Books” Webpage Most authors add a “books” page to their website, listing all their books along with links to buy them on Amazon. It sounds like a simple solution but it often creates problems, such as: Bookstores get mad. Barnes & Noble gets ticked when excluded from the list. They have threatened to pull...
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Never Again Hate Self-Promotion

Never Again Hate Self-Promotion If you’re like most people, you’re probably uncomfortable with the idea of “self-promotion.” As a blogger, an author, a public speaker, or a business person, you need to promote your offerings so that people will know about them. But you’re self-conscious about it. You don’t want to bombard and annoy people, and you don’t feel right tooting your own horn. When you think of self-promotion, you think of people like Paris Hilton or the Kardashians… people who self-promote like crazy, and for what? Nothing of much value, as far as we can tell. So you’re turned off by self-promotion. Today I want to change that. After reading this, you should never again feel uncomfortable with “self-promotion.” There is ONE secret to embracing...
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Building a Platform vs. Promoting a Book

http://www.rachellegardner.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/megaphone-150x150.jpg You can’t promote your book without first having a platform. However… A platform is not enough. To sell copies of your book, you have to actually promote the book. Shocking, huh? You can have a huge platform — thousands of Facebook fans, Twitter followers, and blog readers. Maybe you’re even a public speaker, have a popular newsletter, you’re a go-to expert on your topic, or you’re already a bestselling author. But if you don’t actually put your latest book in front of people and make it easy and advantageous for them to immediately click-to-buy, nobody is going to buy it. It seems obvious. Even bestselling authors and celebrities have major “launches” for each book—they don’t just sit back and assume people will find the book...
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Can I Make More Money via Traditional or Self-Pub?

Can I Make More Money via Traditional or Self-Pub? These days, authors are carefully considering the merits of self-publishing versus traditional publishing, and many are doing both at once. (My upcoming e-book: How Do I Decide? Self Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing, will help with these decisions.) I’m having almost daily conversations with my clients, most of whom are already traditionally published, about various ways they can extend their brands, increase their income and/or grow their readership by self-publishing e-books “on the side.” I’m coming across some interesting questions during these discussions. One that I’ve been hearing lately comes from authors trying to figure out how they can make the most money with their next book: through traditional or self-pub. They’re trying to estimate...
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Does Your Project Need Funding?

Does Your Project Need Funding? Guest Blogger: Caleb Jennings Breakey (@CalebBreakey) Imagine finding hundreds of people eager to read your book. Now—are you ready for this?—imagine those same people financially backing you to write it. Enter the crowdsourcing awesomeness of kickstarter.com, faithfunder.com, and indiegogo.com. These sites are funding platforms for creative projects. But their concept isn’t centered on folks just shanding you money—it’s centered on connecting you with people who want exactly what you’re creating. Like your work in progress. SIX WEEKS, $10,000 I started my Kickstarter campaign after learning that enthusiastic backers pledged $100,000,000 to projects in 2011, a 300-percent increase from the previous year. How amazing, I thought. People believing in what their artists believe...
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How to Create Your Own Marketing Team

How to Create Your Own Marketing Team Whether or not you have a book to sell right now, you probably have reason to build a platform and gather a “tribe.” Monday we discussed blogging as one possible avenue for this, and I also gave you a list of several other ways to use the Internet to connect with people. But this is not an easy task, especially when you’re sitting at your desk by yourself trying to come up with creative ideas. Wouldn’t it be great to have a whole team of people with whom to brainstorm, exchange ideas, discuss successes and failures, and share encouragement? You CAN have your own marketing team — and it’s simpler than you might think. Most of you are familiar with the concept of a writers’ group or critique group, even if you’re not part of one. Your marketing...
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Should All Authors Blog?

Should All Authors Blog? A few years ago, the standard wisdom was that authors, both fiction and non-fiction, should have blogs in order to gather an audience and build relationships with readers. Now, not so much. As social media and online marketing have evolved, my thoughts on blogging have changed. I think each author needs to carefully consider whether blogging is an appropriate vehicle for them based on: 1. If they can do it well; 2. If they enjoy it; and 3. If their writing career can benefit from it. If blogging doesn’t suit you, don’t spend too much time trying to make it work. Why aren’t blogs the appropriate vehicle for all authors?  The proliferation of blogs in the last five years has made it increasingly difficult to stand out in the crowd. Many authors are blogging faithfully...
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Who Needs a Platform?

Who Needs a Platform? I was talking with a friend about a new consulting firm being built by a small group of professionals. I learned that, in creating their business model, they made a decision: a prerequisite to being a partner in the firm is that each individual must be building and maintaining a solid platform. The method is up to the individual: writing books and/or blogs, speaking to large groups, interacting with the public via social media or traditional media. It’s an acknowledgment that each primary member of the firm has the responsibility to: 1. Personally be proactive in reaching out to people who might potentially become their clients; and 2. Personally take part in increasing the company’s public visibility and reputation. Isn’t this the job of somebody in the marketing...
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