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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Are You Using the Subscribe Button on Facebook?

Along with Facebook's new Timeline, people now have the option of allowing others to Subscribe to their Facebook profile without accepting them as friends and allowing them to have access to their entire profile. This is perfect for authors who may not have set up their Author Page on Facebook, or for those who don't want to keep up with both a profile and an Author Page.

You can set some posts for only friends to view or to public for those who subscribe to your posts. You have more control over your content and how it's shared. Also, if you block a person, that individual will not be allowed to subscribe to your profile, so it's a win-win situation.

Here's the thing, way too many people have set their bios and all their personal info to private. How can someone know if they want to subscribe to your profile, if you don't tease them with something about you? Make sure you at least post a public bio and give them something to go by in determining if they want to subscribe to your page. You don't have to give up all your life's secrets, but you can share something.

I'm constantly getting friend requests from people who don't allow anyone to see anything about them. I'd like to know if they are Christian, if we have any similar likes or dislikes, if they are writers or readers or someone who just happens to be looking for friends and networking. Tell me who YOU are. Don't be so obscure. You can't build a platform on obscurity.

This simple act will increase your chances of subscribers, especially if you plan to use your profile as a way to build your platform and connect with other people who you don't personally know.

What about you? Have you enabled the Subscribe button yet?

Personally, I haven't enabled the Subscribe button on my page since I've already established an Author Page on Facebook.

Friday, August 24, 2012

New Publishing Trends Increases Authors' Need for Platform Building

It's true, history repeats itself.

It would be nice if society could learn from past mistakes, but we seem doomed to ignore the hard lessons previous generations have learned and make them our own challenges with a modern spin on it. While it may look a bit different with new technologies, different people, places, and time--the ultimate issues are still the same.

People are hungry for power. They work hard to build a business empire, rake in as much profit as possible, put competition out of business. They start out with excellent customer service because they have to, but once they're on top and the only game in town, they begin flexing their muscles and setting unfair prices, contracts, and percentage rates with their partners.

Who are we talking about? The publishing industry.

First, it was the small publishers who were ousted by the big six publishers in NY.

Now, it's the big six along with book stores, facing the threat of the powerhouse of Amazon.

As usual authors and agents are caught in the middle. We're still producing our stories. Agents are still submitting them, but we're all listening, trying to discern where the winds (or trends) will lead us.

Here's one thing that won't change: 
  • The old publishing model depended on an author's platform and their ability to promote themselves.
  • The new publishing model will still depend on an author's platform, and more so, especially their online platform. 
Do not be discouraged or deceived. Every new follower you gain on Facebook, Twitter, and to your blog--matters. Every new subscriber you receive to your email newsletter--matters. Each new connection you make on Goodreads, Google+ or Pinterest--matters. It's one more person who has the potential to hear about your books and buy them, including whoever they have the ability to influence. This is limitless. Promotion is hard and sometimes it isn't fun, but it does make a difference.

People can't buy books they've never heard of before. And even if they've heard of your books, you must give them a reason to buy your book over all the other many choices competing for their attention. Sometimes it's by allowing them a chance to get to know YOU through interviews, personal blog posts, book signings, and sharing the blessings God has given YOU to pass onto THEM. People are more willing to buy and support an author they feel like they know than from someone with whom they have no connection. 

Thus, authors not only need to network with agents and authors, but these days they MUST network with readers as well. Social Media has given authors a direct platform to readers. No longer must they work through the gate keepers of traditional media and old-fashioned PR to reach their readers.

I want to leave you with a link to a blog post that will make you think.
Amazon--Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts by Kristen Lamb

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Pick and Choose your Publicity Efforts Wisely

It's true that every little bit of publicity counts. Like pennies, the small things add up over time, but time is its own consideration. If you're limited on time because you're committed to working another full-time or part-time job, homeschooling your children, keeping up with your church activities, or struggling with health issues on top of writing and researching your books, you need to be "selective" in what you choose to do. Very few of us have unlimited time to spend on marketing and publicity.

Not every publicity opportunity is worth your time. 

It's "okay" to say "no" once in a while. 

When our books are first released, we spend so much time chasing publicity opportunities, many of which never lead anywhere, that when something falls into our laps that we didn't have to pursue, the temptation to jump at it is staggering.  We want to shoot off an email immediately shouting "YES, I'll do it!" Or if we were contacted on the phone instead of saying, "Let me check my schedule and get back to you," we want to give a confirmation right then and there.

Stop. Pray. Check your schedule. Pray again. 

Are YOU piloting your career, or are you allowing GOD to pilot your career?

If you're on deadline to finish a book or turn in edits, if you stop to squeeze in more guest posts or interviews on blogs, how will this affect the quality of your work? Which family member will have to sacrifice YOU in order for you to get this done?

Granted, there are times we MUST make sacrifices, but look at the opportunity. Is it a brand new blog with less than 50 followers with 1 or 2 comments per post or a well-established blog with 500+ followers with 10-15 comments per post? There are tons of blogs out there. Many of them are very good and have lots of great content, but most have very little traffic.

Before you agree to give away another free book after giving away 30 already, what is the purpose and the ROI of your effort? Is it a blog with the same followers who have already been exposed to your book on the first 30 blogs where you appeared and gave away free books? Will there be any requirements for people to enter the contest or can anyone who Googles "free books" and "book contests" enter who are only out surfing the Web for "free" stuff?

Publicity is great, but it is NEVER free no matter what anyone tells you. There is always the time required to provide a photo, book cover, answer interview questions, or write something fresh because you simply can't recycle anymore articles. Yes, it might only take a few minutes of your time, but so will everything else, even answering your email. All that time adds up to a lot of time NOT writing or researching. Consider the cost and then evaluate the publicity exposure.

Only YOU can decide if it is worth it or not.

Have you had to turn down any publicity offers? What were some of your deciding factors? You don't have to list the agency, blog or media outlet in order to share your experience and/or advice.

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