I have to admit, I’m feeling kind of energized these days. I love the back-to-school feeling and even the cool, rainy weather–a nice respite from the overheated dog days of summer.
I had two clients’ books hit the Times list over the summer, I’m happy to report. Laurie Notaro’s IT LOOKED DIFFERENT ON THE MODEL and Celia Rivenbark’s YOU DON’T SWEAT MUCH FOR A FAT GIRL.
Both have terrific websites and Facebook pages. Celia is also on Twitter.
And so here is what I have to say about this, beyond CONGRATULATIONS FUNNY LADIES. (It always takes me a while to get to the point):
SOCIAL MEDIA, PEOPLE. SOCIAL MEDIA. These two authors *get* it. They practice it. And it pays off in their success.
Published author, not-published-yet author, it applies to both of you. It’s a brave new world, and finally authors have the power in their own hands to really truly influence their own sales. It’s enormously exciting. But it’s not easy. You have to hustle, hustle, hustle. You know who else is great at this? My new client Melissa Foster. Her salient info:
Her social network for women: www.TheWomensNest.com
I pride myself on my Klout score (www.Klout.com) which is right around 64, give or take a point. Do you want to know Melissa’s Klout score? A whopping 74. That’s celebrity level, folks. Melissa is out there, all the time, promoting her books, yes, but also, significantly, working to help other authors, posting inspirational tweets and useful links. She connects, she doesn’t just publicize. Not surprising that her self-published and small press-published books are hitting the Amazon bestseller lists and selling at ever higher five figure levels each month.
What I don’t want to hear is that you don’t know how to do it or what to do. The information is out there. So many smart, successful writers are blogging and tweeting essential tips for promoting yourself via social media that all you have to do, honestly, is start with a google search. If you need more guidance take an online social media course like the ones offered by Galleycat or Penelope Trunk.
Another reason why you can’t afford not to do this. Social media is free. It takes time to learn and master, but it is free. And I think it is far more effective than many of the things that authors pay for, such as traditional publicity targeting print media. Or running advertisements.
My take is that social media works so well because it helps you create community and that creates readers who come back to buy you again and again. Read a business classic called 1:1 Marketing by Don Peppers and Martha Rogers, agented by my long-ago boss, the incredibly savvy Rafe Sagalyn. It talks about creating loyal customers one at a time. Reaching and connecting with just one reader is far more valuable than sending out a generic message to one hundred folks or even a thousand. Make those connections with your readers: talk to them on twitter and introduce them to one another on Facebook. Create a mailing list so they can get new information from you, perhaps deleted scenes or a character who didn’t ultimately make the book. Make your readers feel part of something, included, invested. The more you connect with them the more they will help you spread the word about what a great writer you are.
Published authors, if you don’t “get” social media, there are plenty of people out there that do. You owe it to yourself and to your sales figures to start connecting. If there’s no time, you can do what many of my clients do and hire someone to help you or find an intern at the local college.
Unpublished authors, do you have a great book but can’t find an agent? There’s no excuse not to get that book out there independently and prove to yourself and to the world that there is an audience for your writing.
That’s my back-to-work pep talk for today, folks.
P.S. Because I try to practice what I preach, you can also follow *me* on twitter: @jennybent