I first tweeted across Sheri Bell-Rehwoldt while she was tweeting under her @ToothFairyNews handle.. I thought? HUH? THE Tooth Fairy is on Twitter!?? I HAVE to meet her... And while checking out Sheri's website, and blog I realized she is an amazing and accomplished author of several books including:
I absolutely obsessed and had to buy 3 copies in order to have one for my kids as well as copies for the cousins (I was on my way to Utah to visit...) So I chatted her up on Twitter and get this! She LIVES in Utah... and agreed to sign my copies of the books!
Even better for you? She agreed to write a post for you today! I love her thoughts on social media and self promotion (writing or otherwise)...
When Carissa asked me to do a guest blog on an aspect of writing, I wasn’t sure what to chat about. But then I decided to go with the question that’s been on my mind 24/7:
How do I harness available technology to self-create my web presence?
Yup, that’s right: I’m talking about grabbing all that digital data by the horns and making it serve my goal of selling more books.
What? You thought I relied on my publisher’s markety mucks to do that? Yeah, well, maybe if I were Stephanie Meyer or J.K. Rowling! The reality for most writers, however, is that they must spend at least half of their writing time on promotion, whether they self-publish or allow traditional publishers to birth their book(s).
Gone are the days when a business (yes, we writers need to think of ourselves as business-persons!) could rely on business cards and newspaper ads. Today, no web presence = no business. And, in case you haven’t noticed, the web is poised to take over whatever aspects of our lives it doesn’t already have in its digital-streaming hands.
Bottom line: if you’re not tapped into the Net, you’re invisible. Nada. Blanko. Zip. Don’t believe me? Then consider the power of Facebook and LinkedIn. “Out of sight, out of mind,” as a wise person once said.
So think of any time you spend cozying up to the Net as a necessary investment. An investment that puts power into your hands. While the following suggested tools are slanted toward writers, the info can be used by anyone seeking to build an online presence. Hope you find it useful!
Critical Promotion Tools for Authors:
1) Website. Get one, particularly one registered in your domain name. This makes it easy for your fans to find you.
Of course, a blog may do nicely, if you don’t feel the need for a full-blown website. I currently use Blogger for my tooth fairy blog, as Blogger is fairly simple to learn and use. However, I’ve heard more than one person say that WordPress is better suited for business websites, as it allows more creative freedom in format and content presentation. The good news, however, is that if you start with Blogger, you can switch over to WordPress without losing any content.
And know that you can use either platform and hide the fact that it’s not streaming directly from your website. Basically, you reroute the blog address by making a change in the blog settings. So when my new interactive (Web 2.0-based) website is up (my current site is so Web 1.0!), my blog will stream from my website’s homepage. Then I can stop promoting the blog as a separate entity. Yay!
Tip: If you want to fully understand the differences between “Web 1.0,” “Web 2.0,” and even “Web 3.0,” some of which is already being used by Amazon and other retailers, check out this really good article.
Tip: be sure to register your website(s) and blog(s) with Google, Bing, Open Directory, and Yahoo. But don’t overlook social networking and bookmarking sites such as Digg (http://digg.com) and Technorati (http://technorati.com) and StumbleUpon (http://www.stumbleupon.com). Two other important sites are Plaxo (http://www.plaxo.com) and QAlias (http://www.qalias.com). And get yourself one or more stat trackers, so you know how searchers are finding you and what they’re reading on your site(s). Several I can suggest are Statcounter (www.statcounter.com) and eXTReMetracking (www.extremetracking.com).
2) Facebook account. Even if you decide to limit your “friends” to just those people you know well, you don’t want to miss out on this great marketing tool. Set up a Fan Page that promotes your book. One cool marketing trick: create “Post this to your Facebook” buttons that link to content on your website or blog. That way your friends are helping you to market!
3) Twitter account. Frankly, I think there’s a whole lot of unnecessary twittering going on, but if you have audiences you want to reach, it’s a neat communication tool. You can twitter about your book signings, blog interviews, even your awards -- but be sure to build your community first. Hard-sell on Twitter doesn't work. And remember: it’s not the size of your Twitter audience that matters, it’s who those people are. So have a plan in mind when you follow tweeters. Do you want to reach moms? Grandparents? Or specific professionals, perhaps? One group I am definitely interested in chatting with is dentists. But I am ruthless in deleting followers I don’t want to do business with. I instantly delete anyone who offers to get me “400 instant followers” if I click on some link. I also delete the gals who offer to show me their "sexy" photos. OY!
As you will quickly learn, there are a TON of softwares that have been developed around Twitter. Twitcam (http://twitcam.com) allows you to stream video. Twitpic (http://twitpic.com) and Twitgoo (http://twitgoo.com) allow you to share photos. And Twazzup (http://www.twazzup.com) helps you to quickly search Twitter to find info that other users have tweeted. They're just the start of your Twitter options!!!
4) So find the tools that keep your technology in hand. To be honest, I get burned out if I have to keep logging into Twitter and Facebook. So I use Seesmic (http://seesmic.com/), which allows me to simultaneously see both of my Twitter accounts, as well as the Facebook homepage. Specific to Twitter, it allows me to send out RTs (retweets), as well as track my DMs (direct messages).
Another site, Ping (http://ping.fm), allows you to update 40 social media sites (with more on the way), which makes it a very handy tool. But be aware that each site has its own "rules" for acceptable posting frequency. Obviously, you can tweet a good deal without upsetting anyone, but you wouldn't want to post more than, say, once a day on LinkedIn -- or risk alienating your contacts. Acceptable Facebook frequency lies somewhere between the two.
Hey, will you do me a favor? Pop on over to PolkaDotBanner, an online marketing site for writers, and read an interview in which I share a few other marketing secrets. Be sure to vote! Thanks!
Sheri Bell-Reholdt can be found on her website and blog and LinkedIn. She has written several books and recently her first humorous children's picture book, You Think It's Easy Being the Tooth Fairy?, is enjoying great reviews and steady sales. 15,000+ copies sold!! Currently, she's peddling her middle grade novel draft Junk Lot Jive, and working on a book about spy codes.