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Marketing through followers

Discussion in 'Marketing' started by Steerpike, Jan 16, 2014.

  1. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Most of my social media interactions for SciFi, Fantasy, etc are via G+, where I have over 1000 followers and expect to have over 2000 in the coming months. Of course, any post I make goes out to all of them, but I'm curious about everyone's thoughts on marketing in that situation in ways other than something like "here is my book."
     
  2. AnneL

    AnneL Closed Account

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    I've avoided G+ because google already knows too much about me, so its culture may be really different, but on twitter "Here is my book" is pretty much standard, and also retweeting people's positive reactions.
     
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  3. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    I haven't paid any attention to G+, so I'm not prepared to comment with a lot of specifics. But in general, the idea is two-fold:

    Tie your book to your G+ brand, so that all your posts link to you, and you link to your book. Then you can post pretty much anything that appeals in any way to your audience, and because it promotes you, it promotes your book.

    Find people who might be especially interested in your book or in helping you out, and talk to them a bit about it. Look for ways to create opportunities, the win-win scenarios. If you're not sure how to do that, or not comfortable doing that, start by looking for ways to make yourself available-and-on-topic. For instance, "Hey, me and a few of my friends are having a great chat in Google Hangouts about blogging/writing/publishing/whatever if anybody wants to jump in. Yes, you are welcome, even if I barely know you." That kind of thing.
     
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  4. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

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    I've met about as many writers (or more) on Google+ as I have here at Mythic Scribes. There is a lot of marketing potential there. The problem is (and I brought this up recently) is that I DO see a lot of writers just saying "Here's my book." The ones that haven't are the ones that have gotten my attention.

    They've done this several ways:

    1. Posted excerpts. I hope he doesn't mind me mentioning him, but that's how I got interested in Robert Bevan's work. He posts excerpts from his WIPs and you can see his writing style on display in small snippets. This may not work for some writers, but it works for his style.

    2. Join communities and interact with people as much as they can. I know it's hard to just hang out in communities all day and comment on every single thing, but it's good to offer advice or just comment on someone's blog if you find it interesting. I hope my blog can provide a small platform for more people to find new authors. That's one thing I'm trying to highlight.

    3. Post artwork. This can easily get my attention because it's not text. If I see cool artwork it may attract me to read the rest of the post. I was attracted to Mythic Scribes's own Ankari's novella after seeing the awesome cover art in one post.

    One problem with communities is that I tried to form one that would feasibly connect authors with readers by discussing not only writing, but also reading books. In theory, it would be kind of like a mini-Mythic Scribes. However, in the community, I decided to not allow blog posts. This basically means no one posts because the culture of communities tends to be sharing blog posts or links to novels. I suppose this method works for a lot of people. Hell, it's worked to get some viewers on my blog and that's where most of my traffic seems to come from: Google+. I share blog posts as well, but I always try to have a point of discussion so people can talk about something. Usually when I post something it's because it's a topic I'm interested in and I want to hear other people's opinions about it. "Check out my blog" or "check out my book" has never and probably will never work for me.

    All that said, there are certain writers I've met on Google+ who I would buy books from if one is released simply because:

    a. they're cool
    b. they talked about their work some so it's not just "boom, here's a new book"
    c. they had good cover art
    d. they share a bit about what their novel is about instead of just saying "here's my book"


    Marketing to other writers helps obviously because it's a network and you can build off that, but I've yet to figure out where to find readers. I would assume if you showed up in a Star Wars community and said, "Here's my book that's like Star Wars" it may attract some people, but probably would annoy others who are there to discuss Star Wars. It's a really delicate balance I think.

    But yeah, readers seem to be hard to find. Like people who are genuinely only interested in reading books and not writing them. I guess Goodreads is a good place to look?
     
  5. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    For most authors, you're looking at readers who read a lot in your genre, but aren't highly invested in many of the specific books they read. You're not realistically competing to be the first book on their list but the fiftieth or hundredth. Many of the people who read that much are going to have a passive investment in the industry - much of what appeals to writers will appeal to a lesser degree to them. That is, they're lurking out there, even if they're not posting.

    But targeting low-involvement readers directly is extremely difficult. By definition, they just aren't interested in following blogs or commenting about authors or any number of other high-involvement activities. They just want to read a good book and move on to the next one. Ideally, you want to "catch" these people, and hope that your book is good enough to make them into a moderate-to-high involvement fan. But that only comes after they've read you. To appeal to them in the first place, you need to focus on reach, not investment. You want to get your book mentioned everywhere, rather than focus on being a big presence in small communities (unless you know how to saturate those communities..... but that's a little more difficult).
     
  6. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    I'm not entirely sure this fits here, but I'll add my two cents anyway.

    I'm currently not actively marketing my writing (as there's nothing to market). However, what I do is that whenever I finish a scene I put it up on my wiki and I post a link to it on my facebook page. I don't know if people read the scenes I upload, but I do know that people notice my posts that I share.
    Every now and then people comment on it and ask how it's going. Usually it's something along the lines of "I've been thinking I should read your stuff but I haven't gotten around to it." That's fine though, at least for now. The quality of my writing is questionable at best, but at least they know I'm doing it. They're getting used to the idea and that's a good thing.

    My thinking is that once I'm able to post about my book being done, I'll have an easier time convincing people to check it out - or to share the link to it so their friends that I don't know can see it too.

    This is pretty small scale as far as marketing goes, but I think the principle is sound. If I had a blog where people could follow me because they're interested in my writing I could probably do the same thing.
     
  7. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Thanks, guys. I do see a lot of the "buy my book" posts go around, but I can't imagine they're very effective. At best, I skip right over those when I see them, and at worst they annoy me to the point where I block the author when I see enough of them coming from the same person.

    The branding idea is good. I have an interesting dilemma there, because my Google+ name is my real name, and I write under a pseudonym. I could change my profile name to match the pseudonym, or just note the difference when I make posts discussing my books.

    I didn't create the Google+ profile with marketing in mind. I'm one of those readers who buys a lot of books, but I don't follow authors on twitter, or read their blogs, or see what they're doing on Facebook. I don't care about any of that crap, so I guess it makes me less likely to engage in it myself. It just so happens I've had a marked increase in Google+ followers the past couple of months, and that got me thinking about it. I don't intend to turn it into what is solely a marketing vehicle, though. I'll engage followers as I always have, but also use it to market when the time is right. I'll probably limit social media to Twitter and G+ to start. Facebook is limited for me, and I don't think a blog would be worth the time unless I really put tons and tons of work into it, and there's just such a glut out there. Plus, I don't enjoy it. I do enjoy G+.

    Doing extra things like posting excerpts, or Q&As, or making oneself available via hangouts all sound like good ideas. I'll probably do each of those things to some degree. I don't want to become focused 90% on marketing and 10% on writing, though.
     
  8. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

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    I'm getting to the point where I don't think a blog is absolutely necessary, but a website would be a good future investment. I've heard authors say that having a website allows readers to use it as a marketplace as well, so that might be a good idea down the road. I personally like blogging, but I don't use it as any kind of promotional tool right now except for other writers. I just like talking about fantasy related topics. I can't really post blog-like things here at Mythic Scribes (although my articles I write here do fall into that category) so I need that other outlet I suppose.
     
  9. Bansidhe

    Bansidhe Minstrel

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    I cross-post to Google+ (as well as FB, Twitter, Tumblr, Goodreads, etc), but the majority of my content originates from my Wordpress site. There I blog about my writing journey, progress on my Production Schedule, what I learned that week in writing, and share the inside scoop on being published. Even though I end up connecting to mostly other writers (of all levels in their careers), most writers are also passionate readers. I'm starting to share more of my research notes and setting inspirations, and my progress updates share little teasers of what's happened, and what's coming next, without spoiling anything as a way of intriguing followers.

    If I end up doing a "Hey, I have this book" sort of thing, it's usually an announcement in the form of a milestone reached so my excitement inspires others. I then offer followers something in exchange, i.e.--Want an ARC? I'll put you on my ARC list. Let me know if/where you post a review, and get a free gift from me." Or, "Hey, my latest release is up for Pre-Order on Amazon--if you snatch it up, let me know, free gift, etc." I've also found that readers like Progress Meters that show how you're coming along on your latest WIP, and once I week I post a little snippet between FB and Twitter (since most of my followers are from Twitter). I share pictures on FB to break up the monotony of text, since readers love the visuals.

    In this day and age of the social media landscape, marketing has never been more easily managed--but it's also never been so noisy. I try to study what successful authors are doing for a minimal outlay of time and cash (Hugh Howey's an excellent example). I've found that being warm, generous of spirit, and approachable are really my best assets when it comes to marketing. I'm excited to be an author is this day and age, and I've found that by sharing this excitement I'm cutting though a lot of the noise to engage the people I want to engage. For instance, if you enjoy a book, try getting an enthusiastic social media message to the author so they can then share it with THEIR followers--you'd be surprised how this one simple thing can widen your sphere of influence, because you end up tagging other fans.

    This reply was much longer than I intended, but I hope it helps!
     
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