Friday, October 31, 2014

The Professional Persona

Therese and Morgan Say: Creating this Author Marketing 101 site, and now our Guide and Journal, began because we were hearing tons of misapplied marketing terms being directed at novelists. If you're new to this site please review our Persona and Push, Pull, POP pages! Novelists need a Persona for their marketing plan while it is their novels that need to be branded by genre. 

Persona vs. Brand: What's the Difference?
Most, if not all, of the marketing information targeted at authors tout the necessity for an author to develop their "brand" and "platform". One of the main reasons we started this website is our strong conviction that this advice is WRONG.
CORPORATIONS and businesses have brands. Politicians and activists have platforms.
So, what's the difference between a "brand" and a "persona"? [Read More!]
Okay, you've worked on your persona and have a clue about your brand. You're ready for the social media circus but... Which one is right for you and your audience? Not all networking is like grandmas sharing baby pictures, or foodies discussing recipes.

Linked In: Keep it Professional, Please...
Never heard of Linked In? Linked In is a professional networking site where people in different industries gather to share information. The key word in that last sentence is professional. On our newly minted Social Media Content Spectrum, Linked In content should be closer to the "Pious Grandmother" end of the spectrum. In other words, if you wouldn't want your average grandmother to read it, don't post it on Linked In. (Though your pious grandmother may actually enjoy fluffy pink kittens, don't post kittens either - leave them for Twitter and Facebook.) [Read More!]

Or maybe the whole social media thing is just too confusing. You're nostalgic for the days when there was a daily newspaper with a book section....

If you feel even Google is too confusing, and there's no proof any of that social media stuff works to sell books, you can return to your cave and write novels as a starving artist. Go for it. You'll be joining the time honored tradition of being consumed by your art. At least your brilliance will be found sometime in the future, right?

Don't despair! Digital media hasn't stood the test of time like chiseling stone tablets but success stories do continue to sprinkle from the internet clouds.
Here's an interesting one:

Taking the Long View (featuring Tawna Fenske) 

Haven't heard of Tawna? That's okay, we haven't heard of you - yet. But we applaud Tawna's marketing on every level so her website is a great case study for you to use as an example of all our tips and tricks.

We're sending you on a bit of a webbit tour with all these links.

In the business of publishing today it is in your best interests to keep your eyes open to all options, just don't make yourself crazy. Go back to your writer cave for a month or two and draft your next novel. Take a break to refill your creative well. Maybe you need to wait until the next new moon to take a look at your publishing options for your next novel.

We've already got a post about that, too:

The debate over whether to publish via Traditional, Indie, Digital, Print, or Self has ebbed and flowed over time. In fact, authors are now encouraged to have a HYBRID publishing career strategy. Don't You just LUV how fast the advice changes? [Read More!]
The Professional Author knows to focus on the craft of writing and the art of storytelling. The Professional Persona is for turning that craft and art into a career.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Grow Your Audience with Solid Media

Social Media is dynamic and changeable. As referenced in our previous post, each venue has a specific flavor and audience demographic. Any one could be the place where an author or entrepreneur gets attention and becomes an overnight sensation.

The Myth is that you need to be the loudest voice in the noise, or share the most pictures, or posts, or links, or likes, or shares. That is how the innovators and adopters made social media sites work for them in the early days. Yep, social media has been so dynamic and explosive that what worked three years ago is no longer valid. What hasn't changed is that social sites are a venue for discoverability of your author persona and books. What do you want discovered?

Giethoorn Village in the Netherlands **
Our previous post also highlights the popular trend for sharing content in text bursts and quick links. 140 characters per Tweet? Pictures only? What is that media content and where is it? Who is looking for it? Why?

The internet is the information highway and maybe Social Media is currently a new version of gridlock. (This is another reason why texting and driving are never done together!) YET, a link to media you have authored can drive traffic to your website and novel, whether by Tweet, Pin, Tumblr, or add-your-choice.

That solid little media piece you wrote, whether a blog; poem, interview, or review, that is worthy of being shared quickly through links, or hashtags, could be all it takes for a magic carpet rides to dreams come true and stellar sales. Right?

A novelist today needs to Sell Well. Your primary job is to write great stories that your audience will want to read. No matter how amazing your marketing plan, or how socially skilled you are on every digital media site, sales are based on your product being discovered by buyers. For novelists, product = your books and buyers = readers.

Readers read more than just novels. If the only content shared in text bursts and quick links is the release date of a new novel every year or two, that is not enough to generate reader recognition. Blog posts, short stories, fun quips, (all easy to find on your website!) are the solid media that can be hashtagged and Tweeted. It is the Content of the Media that Generates A Share Factor.

This is information that is being shared all over the web, so here's another example of the same concept being explained:

How to Avoid the “Extra” Work of Social Media   By  
[... ] Social media is a form of content, and can be seen as micro-publishing. Each post is sharing a tiny bit of your story, message or perspective—possibly something informative or inspiring. The posts might end up being part of a larger work. They might be daily creativity experiments. And they might offer you insight into how your audience thinks and engages with your work.
  • Nonfiction writers who author blog posts (part of the social media universe, in my view) compile and edit them into a larger publication.
  • Artists or illustrators who post quick images on Pinterest or Instagram and later publish a high-quality print book collection that includes some of those images.
  • Fiction writers who post about their research and inspiration for a novel, giving readers a sneak peek of what’s to come.
Or, think of it like this: You’re micro-publishing and sharing things you’re happy to give away, and that reach a very wide number of people, because they can spread freely. [Read More...] 

 Include All Relevant Media in Your Marketing Plan
Writers often want to engage in debates over the merits of Twitter vs. Facebook, Goodreads vs. Amazon author pages, and 'what is this Google+ thing?'. The reality is only two questions need to be considered:
  1. Where will you find your audience?
  2. Which media outlet do YOU like and will FREQUENTLY use? 
Remember, Media is the TOOL and Marketing is the CONTENT. A well thought out marketing plan will provide the roadmap for how you are going to connect with your audience. Through these touch point connections, your ultimate goal is to build interest and SELL more books. [Read More...]

**And that fairy tale village and canals featured above? It's a real place you can visit, and wasn't it nice to rest your imagination on that image?  :D

Friday, October 3, 2014

Back to Basics: Go To Your Audience via Social Media

In our last post, we talked about how to 'know' and 'define' your audience. Now that you know your audience, let's talk about how to focus your marketing efforts with special attention given to catering to your audience's needs and natural habitats. Today's post will focus on Social Media.

Social Media

There are some authors who believe you have to be everywhere online to find your audience. As we've said before, this sort of thinking is called the 'shotgun method' - yes, you are going to hit something, but you're also going to hit a whole lot of nothing. Think about your target audience and do a little research to determine which social media sites your audience frequents. Then take a moment to think about what YOU enjoy. If your audience loves Twitter, but you hate being confined to 140 characters - then don't use Twitter. Trust us when we say that your love or hate for an activity will shine through. Have fun and your readers will have fun, too.

We Goggled 'user statistics for social networking sites' to do some quick research for this post. Below is an Infographic on some of the major social media platforms.

Here is the link to the Leverage New Age Media to access a printable image.
It is easy to find out which sites have the most users, but it takes a little more work to determine which sites your audience frequents. The Infographic above really got us what are the gender and age breakdowns for each of these platforms? Here's what we found...

Second quarter 2013 data. Here is the link to the article 
12 Awesome Social Media Facts and Statistics for 2013

Morgan says: Ok - I'm a bit of a data geek. I often like to compare multiple sources to try to find a cross-section of information in an attempt to get an unbiased picture of what is really going on in markets I'm studying.( Here's where my corporate day job best practices creep into my writing career.  :D) Below is another graphic using fourth quarter 2013 data across a broader spectrum of social media platforms. (MySpace...really???) Since I am targeting 16-21 year-old readers, I will take a hard look at Instragram and Tumblr. Both platforms are of particular interest to me, since I LOVE taking pictures. (I carry my digital camera with me 24/7.) So it would be easy for me to post pictures from my adventures via my Instagram account to start building a presence even before my book is published. Yes, I am already on Facebook - but, I primarily use this account for interactions with friends, family, and my Author Marketing 101 readers who <no offence to anyone, please> tend to be older than the demographic I'm targeting for my fiction. Are you starting to get a feel for how to pick social media platforms based on your audience and your interests?

Fourth quarter 2013 age breakdowns from Smart Insights.

Please note: the social media landscape is an ever changing landscape. When you revisit your marketing plan, carve out some time to re-evaluate your online activities. Ask yourself these questions:
  • What is bearing fruit? (Decide what 'bearing fruit' means to it number of followers? Is it the number of folks who leave comments? Is it the number of hits?)
  • What am I enjoying? (Have you decided that you really hate Facebook or Twitter or whatever? Cut the chord and move on to other activities without guilt. Remember this choice is a business decision, but be sure to let your followers <regardless of how few or how many> know that you are leaving this platform and where they can find you. No need to give a reason other than you are consolidating your efforts.)

Know your audience and do research to determine the best social media activities for your PERSONA. Work smart to save time so that you have even more time to write your next book!