Thursday, January 20, 2011

One Strategy for Authors Plugging Books Online

Information is passed around the Internet at such a fast pace, as an author, it's crazy not to be connected. But with so many places to choose, where do you start? FaceBook, LinkedIn, Twitter? Blogging?

If you're a nontechie or are new to this game, right now is a great time because books on social networking and plugging your book online are hot. Peruse the selections and take your pick. My two current favorites are Red Hot Internet Publicity by Penny Sansevieri and Social Media 101 by Chris Brogan. Together they deliver enough tips and suggestions to keep me going for a long time.

This is one of my favorites:

The What's In It for Me (WIIFM) factor
It always makes me feel a little creepy when an author says something like "Please support me, buy my book, tell your friends about it, and spread the word." Why should I?

Both Sanseveri and Brogan address how people surf the Net, what they're looking for, and why people will not only make time to read your blog or newsletter, they'll pass it along or post it on social networks. Sansevieri says people scan and search for the most relevant information, with one burning question: "What's in it for me?" Whether learning a new skill, discovering a distant land, or gathering information for a project, Brogan says to consider the recipient of your message before you start sharing tidbits about your Xbox, cats or exercise routines that you think are so interesting on your food or travel blog.

"I'm glad you're proud [of running a marathon or meeting a celebrity] but is that really what you want to tell me?" asks Brogan. Be concise; get to the point. If I'm a customer, user, reader, you know what I'm thinking, right? How will this benefit me or enlighten my life? This means rethinking details that you think readers care about. Readers are liklely to leave and not return if you don't deliver usable information. Brogan gives an example of an ice cream truck that says "In business for 35 years," on the side, then Brogan asks: "Is it fresh? How does it taste? And, is it fun?" (Check out sales ads to see which ones address consumer benefits and which ones miss the boat entirely.) Focus on delivering benefits and you'll have readers who pass your blog post or newsletter on to friends and relatives.

Niche Marketing
Any book can be defined by it's niche or specific area of focus. Keep your focus in mind. "People don't buy books, they buy benefits," Sanseveri says.

For example, say you've got a great coffee table travel book with fabulous photos like this one about sailing in search of Southeast Alaska. A marketing message might say, "The pictures are so vivid and the stories so captivating, it's almost like you're there with the author." Or take this beautiful book on Treadwell, Alaska--the town that was built for gold and disappeared because of it--here the descriptions are so vivid, you learn how hardrock gold is mined and the details of a thriving company town that disappeared long ago.

Sanseveri's and Brogan's book are packed with tips, tricks, Websites and online communities. If you've already got a plateful of books to peruse right now, why not take in a social media workshop like this one at a local library just north of Seattle this Saturday.