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514 Posts tagged with the marketing tag
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I've scoured the internet for a clear explanation of the difference between marketing and branding. I've heard people use the terms interchangeably, and frankly, that's just wrong. They serve the same purpose, but they are two different tools serving that purpose. After reading, rejecting those explanations that made no sense, and accepting those that seemed logical, here is an explanation of branding:

 

  • ·        Branding is an image and message tied to a product. In the case of an author, this would include the genre identity, category (fiction or nonfiction), age group of readers, style of writing, personal causes, and frequent topics an author devotes his/her online time to. These and other image definers contribute to how the author is seen by the reader. Personal appearance can play a part if the author makes appearance integral to his/her brand identity.

 

Marketing is a tad more complicated. Here is a culmination of the explanations I found:

 

  • ·      Marketing is a multifaceted tool the author will use to draw people to his/her brand. It can be by utilizing social media to build relationships with readers. It can be via advertising to make the public aware of a book signing or launch date. It can be done via interviews online and offline. Essentially, it is how you make the public aware of your image and message.

 

Going by these two definitions, you can see how they serve the same utility but in very different ways. The two go together, but they are not the same thing.

 

-Richard

 

 

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Richard Ridley is an award winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

 

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You're not just an author, you're a brand

Raising your marketing game

1,528 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: marketing, promotion, book_marketing, branding, author_marketing, author_brand
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Today's rule could essentially be summed up in the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young song, "Teach Your Children." The song is a classic that encourages us to pass along our knowledge of life to all the generations without judgment or expectation of anything in return. I know it sounds kind of heavy for a branding strategy, but the more young writers you selflessly help along the way, the greater service you do for the community of writers and society as a whole. And, yes, even though you shouldn't expect a return on your investment of time and knowledge, you most likely will receive enormous returns in the form of loyal disciples of your brand.


So, I say to you, seasoned writer, teach aspiring authors well. Share your dream with them. Find opportunities to assist other writers in achieving their dreams. Give them constructive feedback on their manuscripts. Help them navigate the indie publishing world. Give them marketing and branding advice. You may even encourage them to pass along what they know to up-and-coming writers.


Being an author is being part of a community. We don't have competitors. We have fellow authors. By helping to strengthen the community, you are helping yourself in the most unselfish way possible. You can't go wrong with this strategy. I don't care where you are in your writing career. You have useful knowledge to share. You probably don't even have to dig that deep to find it.


Grow your brand by following the rule of coaching, and teach the writers well.


-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.


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Bring Your Community Together through Writing

Your Brand is a Community

1,160 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, promotion, writing, branding, author_brand
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An essential element of any book marketing campaign is securing reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, book blogs, etc. However, to get reviewers to read your book, you're going to have to send them a copy. That generally means buying print copies, packing them up, then schlepping back and forth to the post office. This process can become time-consuming and expensive, especially if you're contacting a lot of people.


Another option is to send reviewers digital copies via Amazon. Given how much cheaper most digital books are compared to their print counterparts, this is a great way to get your work out there without breaking the bank. (Tech-savvy reviewers might be up for receiving MOBI files, which don't cost anything to email, so if you're techy too, you can always try that.)


Have you ever bought a digital book on Amazon as a gift? If not, here's all you have to do:


  1. Click the "Give as a Gift" option among the purchase buttons on the right side of the page
  2. Enter the email address linked to the recipient's Amazon account (Be sure to ask the reviewer for this information because sometimes people use a different address for online shopping than they do for other things. I know I do!)
  3. Enter the recipient's name
  4. Type in a personal note
  5. Click "Place your order"


That's it! Within minutes the recipient will receive an email from Amazon with a link to download your book to his or her Kindle device or reading app. For the diehard reviewers who insist on reading print copies only, you can still do the post office thing. Just remember to request the book rate. It's way cheaper than regular mail.


An added bonus of sending your book via Amazon is that you get a royalty for each one you buy, which brings down your overall cost. (This also applies for print versions you gift directly from Amazon, which will also save you that trip to the post office.) So what are you waiting for? Get pitching!


-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.


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Get Reviews for Your Indie Book

Dos and Don'ts of Soliciting Book Reviews

3,380 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, blogging, writing, book_reviews
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Today's branding rule is a simple one. Not that any of the rules have been particularly complicated, but this one is perhaps the easiest concept to grasp. You are an author, which means your brand is tied to your work. Otherwise it wouldn't be an author brand, it would be a personal brand.


The rule of productivity says the more books you have on the market, the bigger your brand becomes. That's it. As long as you do what you're supposed to do as an author--publish books--your brand has a greater likelihood of being discovered and growing.


Can you publish one book and establish yourself as a brand? It's been done, yes. Before Go Set a Watchman was published in 2015, Harper Lee was a well-established author after her one and only previous offering, To Kill a Mockingbird, was published in 1960. And I'm sure there are other examples too. Some may be recent inductees into the "overnight success" categories, but the truth is Harper Lee represents the exception to the rule. Such a situation is rare.


The rest of us must commit to writing and publishing as many books as we have in us as quickly as we can. The larger our catalogs of books available for sale to the public, the more opportunities we have of being discovered and solidifying our author brands. So, here&'s the shorthand version of the rule of productivity: Write. Publish. Grow your brand. Repeat. Write. Publish...you get the point.


-Richard

 

 

 

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Richard Ridley is an award winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

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The Power of Multiple Titles

 

You Have More Than One Book Inside of You

 

 

 

 

936 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: marketing, selling, branding, author_brand, author_advice, author_identity
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I often wonder what some of our legendary authors would do in today's publishing world when it comes to branding. I think we all have this notion that they would look down their noses at such pedestrian tactics--that they'd never stoop to marketing themselves, and I have to say, I disagree. I think they'd be branding machines.


Particularly Hemingway. I imagine that he just couldn't resist taking to Twitter or Facebook and firing off a comment about the day's events. He was a journalist, after all. He loved to comment on the news, especially war-related stories. I imagine he wouldn't be shy about using one of the most important branding tools used today in the world of social media. That is to say, I think he would be particularly adept at author engagement. If someone commented on one of his status updates or tweets, I like to think he'd respond and engage the reader. Granted, he would perhaps get into a verbal tussle or two with those who had dissenting opinions, but I also think he'd happily respond to those who were in agreement with him.


If you aren't engaging with your readers on social media, you are missing the opportunity to create dedicated fans--those who will see you as more than just some random author, but as someone they've made a connection with. They also become devoted members of your volunteer sales force. They will be more likely to spread the word about your book.


So, in conclusion, be like Hemingway (as I imagine him), and engage with your readers.


-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.


 

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Word of mouth is still king

 

Community engagement prompts

 

 

 

 

780 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: marketing, social_media, author_marketing, author_brand, author_tips, author_platform
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Reaching out to book bloggers is a great way to get objective, credible reviews. In addition to posting their reviews on their own websites, many bloggers are also active on social media, which can draw additional eyeballs to your work. (For example, here's a recent tweet by a blogger promoting her thoughts on my latest novel, Bridges.)


Like most people, reviewers often have particular genres they prefer to read. Below are some ways to find bloggers who might be a good fit for your book. These are not the only ways, but they will definitely help you find a lot of people to pitch:


  • Search the titles of popular books that are like yours, plus the word "review," then scroll through the results and see which are book blogs.
  • Search "book blog" plus words that describe your genre, e.g., "mystery," "romance," "thriller," "memoir," etc.
  • Search for companies that specialize in "blog tours." Many of them feature the "stops" on the tour, i.e., the bloggers they got to review their clients' books. Look for a book in your genre, and there you will find a list of relevant bloggers to pitch.


Once you find a blog that looks perfect for you, look to see which blogs that blogger follows. (There is usually a list on either side of the home page.) Click on one, then go back and repeat the process. Soon you will have a big list of bloggers to contact.


NOTE: When you start pitching, track your correspondence. I use a spreadsheet for this, but any system that works for you will do. Just use a system, or your hard work will eventually become a confusing mess. (Scrolling through the sent folder of your email is not a "system.") Recording your outreach can be a pain, but it's well worth the effort. Not only will it keep you organized now, it will keep you from having to start from scratch when your next book comes out.


-Maria


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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.


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Marketing tip: connect with book bloggers

Don't make this marketing mistake

1,073 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, blogging, writing, promotions, bloggers, marketing_tip
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Over the next several weeks we're going to discuss the different elements of successful branding for authors. Author brands are a mix between corporate branding and personal branding. You're trying to sell a product, yes, but more accurately, you're trying to sell you, the author.


Branding isn't just how you look or how you present yourself. Those things can come into play, even in the world of publishing. That's not to say you have to be a runway model or Brad Pitt to sell books. I'm referring more to style when I say "look." If you're the cowboy mystery writer, give your readers the cowboy mystery writer look.


Toda's lesson in branding is simple. In order to be associated with a brand, you have to demonstrate consistency: in your messaging, your appearance, your attitude. Consistency will help cement your brand and make you easily definable. And, yes, that's important because when your readers tell their friends about you, they'll know how to describe you. In essence, you will have given them a portable brand to share with their friends.


In addition to consistency in how you present yourself and message, consistency in where you "practice" your branding is important too. If Twitter is your thing, make that your primary branding pad. If you are more at home on Facebook or Instagram, that's where you're going to spend a bulk of your branding time. You can use other sites to support your brand building, but you're going to want to have a go-to site where people will expect to find you.


Consistently keep on message on your social media turf and make yourself easily definable.


-Richard

 

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

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Author Brand Success: Consistency without Stagnation

Can You Choose an Author Brand?



1,875 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: marketing, promotion, author_marketing, author_brand, author_platform
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The other day I was catching up with my friend and fellow author Andrea Dunlop, who is also a social media consultant. She mentioned that she'd had success promoting her debut novel, Losing the Light, on Instagram. Never having used the platform myself, I asked her if she could give me (and my loyal blog readers) some pointers, and she kindly agreed! Here's what she had to say:


A lot of authors are initially a bit baffled as to how to use such a visual medium for book promotion. To get you off on the right foot, here are four of the most common questions I get about Instagram from clients, answered:


  1. Who should use it? Any author can make great use of Instagram because, like Facebook and Twitter before it, the platform now has a critical mass of users, meaning that even niche books can find an audience with a bit of research and some canny use of hashtags. However, Instagram is especially good for any book that has visual elements (think cookbooks or design books) and books of any genre whose audience skews young and female. This is especially true for YA books but applies to plenty of literary and commercial adult fictions as well (and most fiction readers are female, FYI).
  2. What do I put on there? If you're using the platform primarily as an author, aim for at least 75% book-related posts. Note, I do not mean 75% posts about your book and your book only (please don't do that on any social media platform). Share reading recommendations, behind-the-scenes shots of your workspace, pictures of works-in-progress (marked up manuscripts, covers, page proofs, galleys) photos from book events, etc. Instagram gives you a lot of space to write captions, so take advantage and share some more in-depth thoughts on what you're reading or writing. You could really do all book posts if you wanted, but I think it's nice to use the platform to show off some of your personality as well with pictures pertaining to your hobbies, your pets, travel, where you live, etc. And don't forget hashtags! Some of the most popular for readers are #bookstagram, #instabook, #igreads, #bookish, and #booknerd.
  3. How frequently do I need to post? I recommend posting daily--three times per week at a minimum. Don't worry if it takes you a while to get the hang of taking photos, using filters, using hashtags, etc.
  4. What if I don't get very many followers? Not to worry. As with all social media, there's more to it than follower count. If you can build up several thousand followers or more, that's awesome, but you've got books to write, and this is but one platform in your overall marketing strategy. The best thing you can do is establish a relationship with readers and fellow bookstagrammers so that when you do have a book to share with them, you're already a part of a community who is excited to hear from you.


So, go, dive in! Feel the #bookish love. You can follow me (@andreadunlop), of course, and here are a few other authors who I think are killing it on the platform:

  • R. S. Grey (@authorrsgrey)
  • Tara Austen Weaver (@tea_austen)
  • Rachel Del (@racheldelxo)
  • Kevin Kwan (@kevinkwanbooks)
  • Liza and Lisa (@lisaandliz)


Many thanks to Andrea for sharing her expertise! To learn more about her consulting services, visit www.andreadunlop.net.


-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.


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Marketing tip: share what you've learned

Marketing tip: follow the 80/20 rule in social media

3,065 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, promotions, instagram
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Your book has been on the market for a few years. Sales were brisk in the beginning, but they are virtually nonexistent now. Here's how to let the title go and stop promoting it. You may want to write this list down and post it somewhere in your writing space.


  1. Don't--DO NOT STOP PROMOTING.


Nope, it's not a long list, but it is important. There is no reason for you not to promote a book you wrote a year ago, five years ago, or even ten years ago. As long as you don't have inventory or a nonfiction book that contains a time-sensitive subject matter, why would you stop promoting your book?


Your book has a publishing anniversary. That's a perfect time to promote it every year. If your book has a seasonal theme, that season occurs every year. Why shouldn't you promote it? If your book is a work with a historical event or figure at its core, then that historical event has an anniversary. The historical figure has a birth date. Those are other opportunities to promote your book, no matter how old the book is.


Conventional wisdom used to be that you frontload the release of a book with all your publicity efforts, and then you move on. Print-on-demand and digital publishing has made that sort of publicity strategy obsolete. Your book will never go out of print. Why, then, would you stop promoting it? To not promote it is wasting opportunity.


Don't move on in the sense that you will forget about your book. Move on and write your next book. Promote your next book. Just don't forget your previous books when it comes to promotion.


-Richard


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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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The Marketing Maze

The Grassroots Marketing Ripple Effect

 

 

 

 

1,385 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, promotion, promotions, marketing_advice, promotion_advice
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Blog content ideas

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Mar 8, 2017

Finding the right material for your blog can be time-consuming, particularly if you're trying to find material that never grows old. Here are five ideas for content to include on your blog.


  1. Top writing tips: You're a writer. You have tips. Give them. Chances are, you won't make dramatic changes to your writing philosophy over the years. If you do, just amend your tips to match your new methods.
  2. Historical piece: Write a blog post that deals with the history of your genre, your hobby, passion project, etc. A historical blog post is excellent for drawing visitors over a sustained period of time. The information contained within is used as a point of reference for the curious, and inquiring minds tend to crop up every day.
  3. Plant evergreens: Link to or embed evergreen (always relevant) material in your blog. Pick a topic that is applicable to your author brand, and make it a staple on your blog. You can always find "how-to" or "tutorial" videos to embed in a blog post. These videos are particularly useful for drawing in a steady stream of new visitors.
  4. Seasonal topics: Write about seasonal topics on your blog. You won't get a steady stream of visitors throughout the year, but you will see an increase in visitors as the season approaches every year.
  5. Write time-independent material: Do you have a killer recipe for brownies that you can post? How about a family remedy for a persistent cough? Whatever timeless material you can think of would make great material for your blog.


-Richard


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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.


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Resources to Help You Blog Daily

Never Too Boring to Blog

1,410 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, blogging, publishing, writing, blog_idea
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In a previous post I recommended developing a mailing list for a semiregular newsletter to keep in touch with fans between books. You might not have a book launch on the near horizon, but that doesn't mean you don't have other news to share.


Another good way to stay connected to your fans between books is through Facebook. Here's how I use it:


For my author fan page, I share the same things that I do in my newsletter, e.g., event photos, news about upcoming translations of my books, promotions for signed copies, photos of fans holding up my books (which encourages other fans to send me similar pictures), awards my books have won, etc.


If right now you're thinking, "But I don't have any awards or event photos, etc.," why not post a photo of yourself working hard at your desk? Or do you write at Starbucks? How about a photo of that? Be creative! This is an art, not a science. You can do it!


In addition to my author fan page, I created a Facebook profile for Waverly Bryson, the protagonist of four of my novels. Every day I log in and see which of her friends are celebrating a birthday, and I'll have her write each one a personalized birthday greeting. (If I've released a book within the past year I'll also include a link to the first chapter as a "gift.") Now and again I have Waverly comment on other people's posts, and sometimes I even have her post funny photos or videos of her own. Sometimes Waverly's friends post photos or notes about the Waverly Bryson books on her page, which I then "share" with all of her friends. It's fun for my fans and fun for me: a win-win!


How do you use Facebook to promote your writing? I would love to know, so please share in the comments section below.


-Maria


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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.


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How to Connect with Your Readers

Tips for Engaging Your Readers Online

 

2,437 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, writing, mailing_list, promotions, fan_page
3

Yes, bad reviews can be soul-crushing. They can make you question your abilities as a writer. They can leave you feeling hurt and depressed. You shouldn't let them have that much power over you because it literally is only an opinion. It isn't a formula devised by the reviewer that proves your book is bad. There is no concrete evidence in a review that proves you can't write. It's a collection of words that paints a subjective view of your book.


I've attended many public readings of works in progress, and you wouldn't believe the stark differences of opinion from those in attendance. Some were blown away by the reading, and others didn't get it. The same material was judged completely differently by two, three, sometimes by a half dozen people. Reviewers would get in heated arguments about their diverging opinions. Here's the thing, neither side, for or against, could provide absolute proof that their opinion wasn't just opinion but bona fide fact. It just wasn't possible to prove.


When you read a bad review of your book, keep this in mind: it's not a statement of fact. Accept it for what it is, a skewed view based on the reviewer's taste. I can&'t stand the movie The English Patient. A lot of people loved it. In fact, it won a truckload of awards. My opinion of the movie is based on my own personal taste. It doesn't mean I'm right. It just means it's not for me.


Don?t let bad reviews ruin your day. They're nothing more than opinions.


-Richard


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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

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Bad Reviews & Great Company

Get Reviews for Your Indie Book

771 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, reviews, review, writing, book_reviews, branding
0

 

I'm not going to lie. It is hard living a life, writing a book, and building an author brand all at once. It takes almost superhuman abilities to pull off every part of being an author today without falling short somewhere along the way. Stuff happens, and suddenly you find yourself having to choose which area of your authorhood matters most to you. Invariably, the writing will always win, as it should.

 

 

Here's the fix for that. Keep this one fact in mind, and you will find the resources to do everything you need to do to build your author brand and sell books. OK, be prepared to have your mind blown. You are not alone, and there is one aspect of your brand-building strategy that is tailor-made for incorporating the kindness of friends. That is the world of blogging. You are essentially the editor-in-chief of your blog. Your network of friends in the arts community is your staff of writers. Give them space on your blog to discuss whatever they feel passionate about.

 

 

You are giving them a platform, and they are giving you content that will attract visitors. It is a mutually beneficial arrangement. Right now, you probably aren't in the position to pay them, but your future goal should probably move in that direction. That way you can have more editorial control over what they write. For now, you don't have that luxury. That's why you're going to want to choose very carefully to whom you give space on your blog. Make sure that they don't stray too far from your brand identity.

 

-Richard

 

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

 

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Your secret weapon

 

How to help the author in your life

 

 

1,172 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: marketing, blogging, outreach, brand_identity, marketing_platform, social_meida
0

 

Recently an old high school friend asked if I would speak to his brother, Scott, who had written a novel and wasn't sure what path to publication he should pursue. I agreed and had a brief email chat with Scott to set up a time to meet for coffee when I was in town to visit my parents later that month.


Scott had a link to his website in the signature of his email (smart!), so I clicked on it to have a quick look. Not knowing what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised by what I found: good writing. The site was just one page and sparse on copy, but what was there was crisp, engaging, and funny. It wasn't a sample from Scott's book, but it was a sample of Scott's writing, and Scott's writing made me want to read Scott's book. See how that works?


I told Scott as much when we met in person, and he was surprised. He hadn't thought of his website copy as a "writing sample." He didn't even think of himself as a real writer because his book hadn't been published. But he is a writer. He wrote a novel, and he should be proud of that, no matter what happens next.


In previous blogs I've recommended putting the first chapter of your book(s) on your website, and I still do. Much like in an ice cream store, offering potential customers a free taste increases the chances they will want more--assuming they like it. But in addition to the first chapter, I encourage you authors out there to think of all the words you put out into the world--be it via your blog or your bio page or your Twitter posts--as writing samples, as chances to capture the interest of potential readers. Getting someone's attention is hard, so why not use all the tools available to you?


-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

 

 

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Marketing tip: put your first chapter on your website

 

Marketing tip: tap your network for contacts

 


 

1,548 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: marketing, website, help, publishing, writing, social_media, marketing_adivce
0

New technologies have brought us a lot of great innovations in recent years. Consumer-grade cameras have such powerful zoom lenses that you can now capture video or take pictures of individual craters on the moon. In some cases, surgeons don''t even have to be in the same room as a patient to perform surgery. They skillfully guide robot arms equipped with surgical tools to perform delicate operations from miles away. And don't get me started on driverless cars. I can't wait for the day when I can nap while I drive to see family and friends 800 miles away.


The most useful new technology for authors trying to build a brand today is livestreaming video. A number of social media sites have integrated the ability for you to post video as you're shooting it. More than a few of my author, actor, and entertainer friends have used the technology to post quick thoughts on world events, online challenges issued by their followers, readings from their latest works in progress, etc.


Live video is an awesome way to reach your readers and build brand recognition. Chances are you're not yet acclimated to performing live on camera, so my advice is to practice what you're going to say before you step in front of the camera. You don't have to memorize lines, but you do want to make sure you have a clear idea on how to present your thoughts coherently. Practicing with the camera off will boost your confidence, and you'll be ready to present your brand in the most positive light.


Don't be afraid to give it a try just because you haven't done it before. Experiment with it. If it's something you don't enjoy doing, don't do it.


-Richard

 

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

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Stay on the Cutting Edge of Technology

Be Authentic to Build Your Brand



1,017 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: marketing, indie, video, branding, social_media, live_stream
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