You're an author, which means that writing and promotion are always in the #1 and #2 positions on your daily “to do” list. They’re as inseparable as the two sides of a hundred dollar bill. So it’s time to let go of any resistance, fear, or judgment you may have about promotion, and make peace with it. Life's too short to be stressed out by something so essential to your writing success!
Here’s something that can help. I'm going to tell you a little secret, and you're probably not going to believe me, at first. That's okay. I can take it.
I believe in dreaming big, and reaching for whatever lights your heart on fire. None of us knows what the end result will be, so our real job is to make the journey joyful, and find meaning along the way. Writing, like life, happens one step at a time. Yet when you have a big dream, the steps you take are often bigger and bolder, and have the potential to yield magical results. That's why it's important to set your sights high, even as you take the next logical step, and the next, no matter how big or how small a step it may be.
Here Are SOME of the Ways Promotion Can Be Fun
Whether you're promoting your book, your blog, your services, or yourself (perhaps you're flexing your visibility muscles in order to add a few planks to your platform), there's a real potential for fun as you participate in promotional activities. Think about it. To create an effective promotion takes inspiration, imagination, innovation, and loads of creativity--everything that makes writing exciting, energizing, delicious, and joyful.
1. Creating Promotional Content
One of the hottest promotional trends, today, is "content marketing." So if promotion isn't one of your favorite things, you'll be happy to know that sharing helpful content is considered a key marketing strategy. So key, in fact, that Google is currently changing the way they index and rank pages for their search engine, and will soon be emphasizing quality content (as shown by how many Facebook "likes," and Google "+1s" your content has been given, in addition to other online social markers). Google will also be focused on linking authors with their content, no matter where that content is, and will be putting author profiles (your picture!) next to their search results. This gives several new layers of meaning to "content is king."
(Google search result with Author Profile)
While Goggle’s working out the kinks in their new “Author Rank” algorithms, you can have fun, TODAY, turning ideas that would normally become an article or blog post into multi-media content. Once you get past the technological learning curve, this really revs up your creative juices.
When I started studying internet marketing to promote my own writing and coaching career, back in 2005, my identity was so wrapped up in being a writer that I couldn't see beyond blogging and ebooks. All those other product creation and promotional formats that the marketing gurus were always talking about were for other people, not me. Until it began to dawn on me that each of these technological formats:
- AUDIO -- podcasting, internet radio, downloadable MP3s, CDs
- VIDEO -- YouTube, screen capture videos, webinars, DVDs
- WEB SITES -- blogs, author and book sites, membership sites
- AND MORE
…opens up a new avenue of creativity for writers. There are so many different ways we can share our words and ideas—our knowledge and wisdom—with the world, and each one of them unlocks a different facet of our creativity. The more of these formats we play with and explore the more creative we are, which enhances our writing rather than inhibits it. If you want to share a large amount of information quickly, create an audio product. If you want to show someone how to do something, create a screen capture video. If you want to walk someone step-by-step through a process over time, create a membership site. These can all stand on their own as valuable content, or they can deepen and expand the information you share in your book.
2. Creating Promotional Strategies
As you’re preparing to launch a new ebook (or give an older book new life), there’s nothing more exciting than focusing in on who your ideal readers are, and how to get your book into their hands.
Brainstorming ROCKS! When you start throwing out ideas and making connections, suddenly this dreaded promotional chore becomes exciting and fun. Invite some of your writer friends over, order some pizza, and take turns brainstorming promotional ideas for each of you. Together you’ll come up with some amazing ideas, energize each other, and end up with a list of great promotional strategies that you can start implementing immediately.
Here are some promotional ideas to loosen you up and get you started brainstorming. Don’t worry that there are a million others out there promoting their own books and products, because there's only ONE you, and you bring your unique vision and voice to everything you do.
Promotional Strategies to Build Your Platform
- Establish Your Unique Presence on Social Media -- If you’re not already, get on Twitter and Facebook. Have fun, be bold, and most importantly, be YOU! Stand up and stand out by starting a twitter chat or a Facebook movement.
- Boldly Blog -- Have a strong central focus, but don’t be afraid to mix-it-up and share different types of information, media, and posts to keep things interesting. While it’s important to share useful information, share it with attitude! Put yourself, your perspective, and your personal spin boldly in the picture.
- Start Speaking, NOW! -- Create a meet-up group. Do free online calls. Make a list of the groups you belong to, and offer your speaking services. I'll share another little secret with you, it gets easier over time. There may (or may not) always be that bit of nervousness before you go on, but the more you do it, the more you'll relax into that magical connection with your audience.
Promotional Strategies to Use INSIDE Your Book
- Write a Bio That Showcases Your Brilliance -- Your bio should make you, your expertise, and your other books, products, and services SHINE!
- Bribe, Entice & Invite Readers to Your Website -- Offer book specific bonus content to get your readers to opt-in to your mailing list.
- Shamelessly Promote Your Products and Services -- Believe it or not, readers want to know what you have to offer that will deepen their understanding or experience of what you've shared in your book, as well as what else you've written or created. Just to be clear, by shameless I don't mean pushy, I mean that sharing what you have to offer is nothing to be ashamed of. So, put what you have to offer in your bio, in a blurb, in a resource section, or a tasteful ad at the end of your book.
Promotional Strategies to Sell Your Book
- Fearlessly Collect Book Blurbs, Reviews, and Testimonials -- These don’t just give you credibility, they provide information about your book that helps people make the decision about whether they want to buy your book or not. A reviewer’s perspective of your book may strike a chord in someone’s mind or heart that your book description may not have.
- Piggy-Back On Your Competition -- What websites are they on? Where did they speak? What did they do? You don’t have to re-invent the wheel, but when you’re brainstorming off of your competition’s promotion also think about what they missed, or how you can take what they did to the next level. The wilder, the better!
- Interact With and Involve Your Readers -- Whether you have a call or contest, get readers involved. And by involved, I don’t mean just re-tweeting your book link. If you invite them to comment on your blog, ask them a deep or thought provoking question that gets them involved with the subject of your book, as well as curious about what the other people who comment have to say.
When you’re brainstorming, write every idea down. Nothing is too wild or crazy. After generating a ton of ideas, take a deep breath, sit back for a moment, and see which ideas start to catch fire. It’s rarely the ones you’d expect. Inspiration loves to drop you into uncharted territory, yet it never forgets where you’re going. Right when you feel on the brink of promotional chaos and overwhelm, your perception shifts, and you see the big picture. You understand how all the pieces fit together, and it starts getting exciting.
You have a promotional plan.
This is when marketing really starts becoming fun, when you “get it” that your promotional effort’s raison d'être, its reason for existence, is to be of service to both your writing and your readers.
I recently wrote a promotional plan for a client's book proposal. Because we knew her agent was going to shop the proposal to all the top publishing houses, I really dug deep. The audience and promotional plan sections, combined, were 35 pages, and span the time period from three months prior to the book's launch to one year after publication… and beyond. Working on her book proposal really stretched my mind about what's possible for a promotional plan, and brought home how important it is to include both what's worked in the past, or for others, as well as innovations based on the unique meeting points where you, and your book's subject, perspective, and audience intersect.
3. Coordinating a Big Book Launch
Whether your book is being published by one of the Big 6 publishing houses, a small press, your own imprint, or directly to Kindle, putting together a big launch (whatever big means to you), is an exciting proposition. It takes a lot of work, but on launch day it all becomes worthwhile. Simply knowing that your book is going to be seen and considered by thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of people through your launch promotion is awe-inspiring. Then, as you watch your book sprint up the Amazon charts, hopefully snagging the top spot for a particular category, or two, it's an amazing feeling.
Yes, you're right. Being an Amazon bestseller is not the same as being on the New York Times Bestseller List, but so what! I could probably come up with at least 10 major benefits of running an Amazon book launch campaign, including how it helps you sell more books long after the bestseller campaign is over, to getting approached by foreign publishers looking to do editions of your book in other languages (This has happened to several indie authors I know, after they hit the bestseller lists on Amazon).
4. Watching the Sales Roll In
Come on. Admit it. Selling your book is fun. It is! Whether it's a $0.99 ebook, a $19.95 paperback, or a $47 infoproduct, making a sale is fun. It not only has the ka-ching factor going for it, which is great (don't pretend that it's not), especially if it allows you to write full time, but it also comes with that special feeling you get when you realize that someone new, someone that you probably don't even know, is going to be reading your book. Whether it makes them laugh or cry, learn or grow, your words and ideas are going to be touching other people's hearts, minds, and lives!
5. Experiencing the Impact Your Book Has On Your Readers
Promotion is all about connecting with your readers. Once you connect, it becomes a two way street. It's not just that your words touch their lives; their response touches your heart. When you've moved someone, or helped them in some way, it changes both of you. When a complete stranger writes a glowing 5 star review of your book on Amazon, it's an amazing feeling. When someone emails you to tell you that your writing has helped them, or changed their life... WOW! Now that's what I call fun.
Yes, there's a lot to learn about the many avenues you can choose to promote yourself and your book. Luckily, on any given day, there are a variety of platform building, marketing, and book promotion conference calls, webinars and telesummits. Almost every week, I listen to a few interviews, or watch a webinar or two. That’s how I heard about YouTube's SearchStories technology, which I used to make the video, above, that inspired this blog post. If I get one or two useful ideas from a call that I'm on that become a permanent part of my promotional repertoire, I’m happy.
As you brainstorm and implement your promotional plan, remember: When you have a mind to, you can find the fun in anything.
So, have fun!
When it comes to self-promotion I used to be shy, but not anymore. I'll step up, speak out, and put myself out there. I've even taught a five week class called, "From Shy Writer to FearLESS promoter."
If you'd like some help making peace with promotion, finding the fun in it, or brainstorming some new promotional avenues, I can help.
We can focus on:
- clarifying, organizing, and creating your book or ebook, product, or service
- building some promotion into your book or product
- promoting your book or product online and off
- blogging to build visibility and sales
- or anything else connected to writing, promotion, ebooks, and this crazy creative life we're all in
There are more details on my coaching page.
If you have any questions, you can write to me at Julie@WritingSpiritCoaching.com