In Your Corner: Nail Down New Readers with Pinterest Book Marketing Tips

Think of Pinterest as a highly sophisticated scrapbooking or bookmarking tool – one that allows you share with and borrow from other users. That element of sharing can be a powerful tool, if you use it to your advantage.

Pinterest

Pinterest is a unique opportunity to reach out to readers and to the writing community in ways you may not have thought of. Once you’ve signed up for an account, apply these techniques to make a positive impression:

  • Build your presence. Once you’ve signed up, get started by building the identity, or brand, you want to project to other Pinterest users. First and foremost, fill out that profile as completely and creatively as you can. The more information you give, the more likely it is that people will follow you and pay attention to what you pin. Then get started pinning the things that resonate with you and define you as a writer.
  • Build pin boards. Create a separate board for each of your books, and perhaps extra boards for other books in your genre that have inspired you.
  • Promote visually. Writers illustrate with words, but Pinterest represents an opportunity to attach memorable visual images to your project. Do you have a book in progress? Consider pinning photos of locations represented in your book, or even actors who resemble how your picture your characters.
  • Go behind the scenes. Don’t be afraid to demonstrate how the “magic” happens with pictures of your writing desk, photos from book signings or industry-related events you attended. Allowing readers a peek inside your world puts a human face on the writing process and helps build a virtual rapport.
  • Pin promotions. Are you offering buy-one-get-one specials or redeeming coupons for discounts? Pin ’em! Post printable coupons, or offer a promotional code with links to your website or author page where your book is available.
  • Engage. Just as you would with Facebook, WordPress, Twitter and other social media, interact thoughtfully with other users. Post comments and useful links on their pinned items, and re-pin the ones you like.
  • Get “pin-able.” PSome studies suggest that users are spending more time pinning than they are Facebooking. Feed the sharing need by making sure that distinctive red “P” appears on your own website.

You are not alone. ♣︎


Elizabeth

ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Director of Sales and Marketing for Outskirts Press. The Sales and Marketing departments are composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.

In Your Corner: Making Your Presence Felt

It would be hard to get to 2016 and not feel convicted of the importance of social media in selling books–and, just as importantly, in selling readers on you, the author. The power and influence of social media is uncontested–after all, it has helped feed and foment revolutions in the Middle East, toppling dictators and spinning the mythological webs that create internet celebrities. They have also, demonstrably, created the framework by which self-published authors become self-sufficient and successful. Authors like Lisa Genova (Still Alice) and Hugh Howey (Wool) often credit their devoted social media fanbase for moving their books out of obscurity and into the blockbuster realm.

With that kind of a recommendation on the table, it almost seems a waste to not partake in the wave of social media platforms developing today, right? But wanting to start developing your social media strategy and actually building it from the ground up are two separate propositions. And ultimately, it’s hard to know where to start.

Luckily, there’s not so much one way to get it wrong, but rather so many ways to get it right. This is because there are so many platforms out there, including:

And so many more! Because social media is a moving target–for example, the short-video-hosting platform Vine, owned by Twitter, was shut down recently for its inability to turn a profit for company shareholders–there’s no predicting which platforms will be on the ascent in a given year and which will be on its way out, like the age-old example of Myspace, a platform which more or less lost all of its users once Facebook became peoples’ primary conduit of digital social contact.

This changing landscape isn’t a bad thing, in the end. It’s a strength! It means that yes, you need to be willing to continually adapt to new platforms and to pick up new skills, but it also means that if you’re not all that good at one, you can always capture your readers by making a comprehensive social media presence, rounded out with a variety of different smaller presences that weave together into something greater than the sum of their parts.

I guess what I’m saying is: Try everything. Try everything, and don’t hold on too tightly to any one of those things. Experimentation is the mother of invention, as is necessity, and these two forces will keep your social media presence in a constant state of evolution, well-suited to the M.O. of the Internet itself. Maybe soon we’ll have options to network not just with our friends and our refrigerators, but with our books as active participants themselves. Can you imagine what that might look like? I’d bet you five dollars that someone out there is already figuring out how to make it happen. And that’s the wonderful thing about change: it’s wild and wonderful and asks very little of us except the will to keep up!

You are not alone. ♣︎


Elizabeth

ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 18 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, pre-production specialists, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.

Navigating the Network | The Art of Self Promotion (part III)

Three weeks ago, I sketched out a few of the challenges facing self published authors looking to build their brands in the digital marketplace, and I made specific note of how great social networks can be as tools of self promotion.  Last time I blogged, I looked at the second and third of my top five points to keep in mind regarding self promotion, and recommended cultivating your physical network as well as developing physical promotional materials.  This week, I’m going to wrap up my top five points with a few words that count both as caution and encouragement––simultaneously!

To get right to the point:

4. Self promotion of any kind takes time.  And energy.  And constant attention.

Perhaps this is my caveat.  As I mentioned earlier, you’re not just in the business of self-promotion––as someone who’s interested in self-promotion, you’re actually in the business of writing.  So when weighing the pros and cons of starting a Twitter account or creating a blog on Tumblr specifically with the goal of promoting your book, consider the learning curve.  Consider the fact that the time it takes to establish a presence and reach your audience through social networks is directly proportional to how much time you put in, and that there’s a considerable element of pure luck involved.  Most tweets languish in the ether unread, and most Tumblr posts are not reflagged, and most Facebook followers are dormant, or run by bots.  So while all of these networks have potential to launch you into instant and global success, they are often high-maintenance and low-reward.  And they are habit-forming

As with all other forms of promotion, you must be deliberate about your use of social networks, carving out time on a regular basis to devote to building your brand.  Thirty minutes a day, three days a week, or every day during your fifteen-minute break between work shifts––whatever it takes, but not much more.  Because let’s face it: As someone who’s interested in self-publishing, you have other things to do.  You need to not just leave time for the other facets of your life––writing, working a job, working three jobs, family, and so on––but be able to throw yourself into them with passion and energy.

5. Everything changes.

If the rise of self-publishing and the ebook has demonstrated anything about the publishing industry, it’s that nothing can stand still for long.  This may be a disquieting fact for traditional publishing and the markets that rely on it, but opening up one’s options to change can also be a diversifying, enriching, and rewarding experience.  The digital and self-publishing revolutions are beginning to reach maturity, but on the whole they’re keeping a weather eye out for new changes, and new opportunities.  Perhaps the most key feature for success in self-publishing (and self-promotion) is a willingness to take advantage of them.  Keep asking questions.  Figure out what options work for you, and what feels comfortable for you, and what is too frustrating or too complicated or taking too much time––and adjust your daily practices as necessary.  Keep interrogating your options.  If a new technology becomes available, or a new acquaintance walks into your life, or a new story drops into your mind, don’t hold back.  After all, this is a business built on dreams.

This was just a primer!  You can find the first and second posts of this series here and here.  Check back every Wednesday to read more about the art of self promotion.  Over the coming weeks, I’ll be diving deeper into the how-to details of managing both social and physical networks.  If you have a question about any of these tools for self promotion, would like to hear from me about something specific, or have other big news to share, please comment below!

KellyABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.

Navigating the Network | The Art of Self Promotion (part I)

Ten years ago, self-publishing was by and large the province of wishes and dreams, and its successes were so rare that they warranted national attention.  In the early 2000s, authors like Christopher Paolini (author of the Inheritance cycle of fantasy novels) performed exhaustive regional trips to promote their books, visiting schools, libraries, and local coffee shops in a sometimes-desperate attempt to build a market base.  As the traditional publishing industry has struggled to overcome both infighting and growing competition from digital retailers––and as new avenues have opened up for authors looking to publish outside of these traditional structures––all parties have turned to a parallel revolution in hopes of finding assistance.  That revolution, you will have already guessed, is the tangle of startups, failures, and increasingly pervasive communications networks that we call, collectively, Social Media.

Fast forward to the present day, and you find yourself witness to the rise of these two new revolutionary forces––a self publishing industry with a substantial slice of the present ebook and print publishing market, and the aforementioned popular social networking platforms, typified by Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and so on.  It would be easy to link these two forces together, and to assume that a successful presence on the one side will equate to equal success on the other, but this isn’t strictly true.  Many new authors find themselves lost in the complications of navigating this network––so how might one make it safely through the white water? 

The task of building a brand, or finding a tribe, is tricky––but not impossible.  It is important to keep five points in mind from the very beginning.  Today we’ll examine the first of these points:

1. Social networks are fantastic tools.

Tweets can outdistance sonic waves, as the Daily Mail reported in May, and Facebook has proved invaluable in linking dissidents, outmaneuvering government censors, and supporting revolutions.  Social networks combine the appeal of a grass-roots movement with enormous computing power, a vast sociopolitical reach, and instantaneous delivery.  Authors like Hugh Howey and Amanda Hocking have become internet sensations (and self-publishing success stories) in part because they are so intensely engaged with their readers online.  You can use Facebook to build a fan page and coordinate events in cities across the world.  You can utilize Tumblr’s built-in question function to respond to readers’ queries about purchasing details or the more obscure details of a character’s backstory.  And with its 140-character limit and endlessly useful hashtag feature, Twitter is the ultimate paradise for spreading news and reviews.  While it might be a bit of an overstatement to say that social networks can do everything and anything, they can certainly do a great deal for the burgeoning author.

Check back every Wednesday to read more about the art of self promotion!  Next week, we’ll be looking at the analog social network––that is, what you can do to build your platform as an author even before you plug in to Facebook and Twitter.

If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

KellyABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.

5 Reasons Some Self-Publishing Authors have no Online “Street Cred”

You’re following the advice you’ve been given on self-publishing blogs such at this one. You’ve started a blog and are updating it regularly. You’ve got a small following on Twitter, Facebook, etc., but are you still feeling like no one’s really listening to you? Well, first off, it can take a while to get to the point where you have a “true following” because people are still feeling you out. They haven’t really gotten to know you, and they don’t know if you’ll be around for a day, week, month, year, etc. So, know that time can be your biggest enemy when you first get started. Once you’ve overcome the time barrier (usually after about 3 months or so), there may be another reason you aren’t getting noticed online.

Here are some of the top reasons that no one is listening to you online:

  1. Everything (or mostly everything) you post online is a request for people to buy stuff. People don’t like being sold, and that’s the quickest way to shut down interaction between you and your audience. Let them buy from you because they like you, not because that’s all you ever talk about online.
  2. You don’t provide anything of value. Have you ever heard of the acronym WIIFM? If not, it means “What’s in it for me?” By nature, humans are selfish, and if you aren’t giving them what they need/want, you’re useless and not worthy of their time — online or otherwise.
  3. You don’t play well with others. Could people feel put off by what you saying online? Are you being derogatory or insulting in any way? Make sure you are being sensitive to the issues of your audience and worse yet, don’t get into online arguments with others.
  4. You’re off when they’re on and vice versa. Are you posting at a time when your audience is actively online? Are you sleeping while they’re browsing? Unless you are scheduling your updates (which is highly recommended), you are missing your audience. You want to be most active when they are.
  5. You’re not connected with the right people. Are you missing the boat altogether? Make sure your audience knows that you’re out there. It’s fine to connect with others who may be outside of that demographic. However, you want to make sure you are reaching the people who could buy your book.

All of the above can be summed up into one simple sentence: Be where they are when they are, be nice, and give them what they’re looking for.

DISCUSSION: Have you ever missed the mark on connecting with your audience?

 

Weekly Recap:

Quick Question – What is Self-Publishing?

5 Things to Look For in a Self-Publishing Company

Bookstores Are In Trouble and What this Means to Your Self-Publishing Marketing Plan

Self-Publishing Book Review of the Week

Viral Marketing for Self Published Authors – Tip #3

Viral Marketing Tip #3 – Flow

Assuming you now have a profile on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and/or some other social networking sites, the next step is to ensure that your message can easily flow from one person to the next. Last week I wrote about setting up profiles on social networking sites. Viral marketing does not have to take place on the internet. However, the speed and convenience of the internet advances the effectiveness of viral (or word of mouth) marketing efforts.

Twitter is the perfect example of how people pass on information from one person to the next. Since you have to convey your message in 140 characters or less, this can be challenging, but it allows you to get creative with your audience in order to catch their attention. If you tweet something that people find interesting, they may retweet (RT) that message to their followers, and so on.

As a self-published author and expert in your field, your messages should convey who you are and what you know. Ultimately, this will generate interest and help people understand why they should listen to you (and buy your book).

Good luck and have fun!
Kelly Schuknecht
selfpublishingadvice.wordpress.com


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