The next broadcasts are scheduled for February 7th and 17th.
Today, she's answering some questions I posed to her about self-promotion.
Q: Whenever I read blogs about promoting writing, I keep hearing about a 'platform'. What do they mean by this term? Is it the same thing as the buzzword 'branding yourself'?
You are so right about the changing buzzwords in the industry – people are coming up with new terms to mean similar things and it can be confusing that is for sure. So I’ll try to clear this up for you and your readers.
Branding: this term is used to describe how you present yourself or better said, how you appear to others, or what you are known by. An example of this would be: Jane has have built a reputation for being a green living expert that specializes on educating her audience. So that is her brand. This also means that her logo, the colors she uses in her promotion materials, the website… everything that her put out there reflects this brand.
Platform: this term is used to describe how you get your branding known. It is kind of like a launching pad that you built that supports your marketing and promotion efforts. So this would include promotion materials you’ve prepared, a website that describes your services and/or products, blog, setting up social media, newsletter, e-newsletter, radio show, video series… or whatever you are choosing to utilize. When you have a platform created (and this can be an ongoing evolving process) it offers you a solid place to stand on and makes your other efforts more efficient.
Q: I had a self-published author tell me once that you needed to have 5 books in print to make enough money to support yourself. Is this true, presuming that one lives modestly?
Honestly the comment you heard does make sense in that book sales can fluctuate and the more books you have the better chance you have of creating a sustainable steady income. Sadly, though, in reality this isn't necessarily the case. For instance I've met authors who have written a small book, one single book, but then created a steady income out of it. They’ve built speaking engagements, alternate formats of the book (think audio CD’s, streaming video series, webinars, etc.) and have strong marketing skills. Other authors may have written 10 books and still have to work that ‘day’ job in order to make ends meet. So I would say that income is really an individual thing –your book last year might do well but next year’s book flops for the first year, but then sales pick up again 3 years later.
I think you just have to have faith in yourself and diversify so that you can have a steady stream of income (such as doing freelance work or offering workshops at the local college). The key to dealing with the low moments is to remind yourself why you are writing in the first place. If you are doing this to leave a legacy, because you love the craft of writing, because this allows you a chance to create positive change, to help evolve society, or some other greater good – then you can console yourself, knowing that this is more important than fiscal gain.
Q: Is it worth the money to buy ads on Facebook, Goodreads, or similar sites?
I am very wary of putting out money for advertising as an author. I’ve paid for ads early on in my career in both print and online publications/sites and haven’t had a good Return On Investment (ROI). After becoming a staff writer and member of the media, I learned that there are a lot of ways of saving money and creating a better ROI, which I share in our Purple Snowflake Marketing (PSM) book. I have found that there is a higher ROI for ads highlighting either the radio show or blog, and then from there they learn about our books and services. Sites like what you are talking about often offer what is called Pay Per Click (PPC) and this simply means that you don’t pay anything for your ad until someone clicks on it – and you might pay a few cents per click. But that can be dangerous to the budget if all of a sudden you have 5,000 clicks! So you might want to set up a limit if you go this route. The trick with advertising is to understand what your agenda is for that ad – meaning, do you want to drive traffic to your blog or website, or sell a specific product. Once you know what your agenda is for that one ad, you can then create engaging content for the ad that inspires the reader to what is deemed a: Call To Action (CTA). However, once you’ve engaged the reader to respond to your CTA is only the first step – what they see when the go to where you sent them is also an important thing to focus on. So, say for instance you’ve decided to send people who read your ad to your website home page – what will they see there and how does that help build your branding or increase your income?
Q: Could you offer us one tip on generating sales after the Honeymoon Period (described in Purple Snowflake Marketing)?
Ah… this is a great question. First, let me define the Honeymoon Period for your readers – this is the first year after a book is released, when the author has exhausted current contact lists and local outlets, and the author has usually run out of their initial promotional budget. The author’s excitement level also tends to run lower after the first year and they begin to tire of marketing the same product over and over.
So my tip today would be to get creative – I mean, yes you do want to do all those activities in the first year, but the life of your book may be 7 years or longer depending on the contract with your publisher. Branch out to other communities that surround your area, find new ways of getting media exposure, look for long-term promotion materials (like bookmarks) and get involved with organizations, and get busy online where there are tens of thousands of opportunities just waiting for you.
Q: Can an introvert successfully promote and publicize her writing? Never mind why I'm asking this.
(She laughs) I love that you ask this, since I am an introvert myself. The thing is that each of us has unique strengths and weaknesses, we have a unique location, a unique budget for each and every book we release. We need to constantly evaluate where we are at and what we can do. You’ll notice that our PSM book talks about creating a business plan for your career as an author, but then a marketing plan for each book you release. Those plans should be very flexible and should probably be revised every 3-6 months. Who you are on a personal level plays a vital role in this.
Most of us will try different things and go through a bit of a learning curve before we figure out what works best for us. Some of us are great at one on one networking, others do very well at speaking events; someone might be a great teacher, while others have fantastic technical skills. One person might excel at radio interviews, another might find better results through social networking, and someone else finds out that they have great results through blog appearances, or promotional articles in a variety of publications. Everyone is different and I think this is a good thing – after all we want to stand out and be noticed… not do what everyone else is doing and get lost in the crowd.
Thank you for spending time with us. I appreciate it. Below is information on Purple Snowflake Marketing, for authors who would like to learn more about promoting their work.
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For the average author the marketing and promotion of their own book is a mystery in itself, and outsourcing these activities can quickly erode their budget. This book has all the tools and tips for developing that marketing plan, and turn your writing into a professional career.
Purple Snowflake Marketing offers a realistic guide to what authors can expect to face and how to employ research and preparation to make a memorable first impression. As you put together a marketing plan, you will be able to proceed with the confidence of a seasoned writer. This book is packed with value, with over 1000 resources along with stats and inspiring quotes to assist you in developing that unique marketing plan for each book you write.