Cheating slightly today, but it says it far better than anything I’ve tried to write today.
This is a reprint of an article available on the marketing company I co-own, The Finishing Fairies.
The three pillars of basic indie promotion
I explain it a bit more in one of the books coming soon from myself and Kriss, but it’s important to look at your promotional efforts online and have a plan. But to have a plan, you have to know where to focus from the start. And in both mine and Kriss’ opinion, there are three minimum places authors need to focus.
They are, quite simply, your blog, your Facebook and your twitter. These three pillars will help you build your brand, and ensure that you’ve got a place to promote your books, long-term.
Your blog should basically be the first place you work on. It should be clear, and contain a media kit, news and information about your book, review quotes and anything you feel relevant to promoting you as an author. Remember too that though you should promote your books, first and foremost, in all but a very few cases, the brand is YOU, not your books. And because of this, whether you’re promoting your own name or a pen name, the things you need to do are the same.
Your blog should also be updated regularly – we recommend a minimum of once a fortnight, but ideally, once or twice a week. You don’t need to post every day, but if your readers are demanding more information from you, it’s probably a good sign that you need to post more – it’s also a great idea to answer comments that aren’t spam.
As for where to blog – Kriss and I both recommend WordPress self hosted – in fact, that’s what we run all of our own blogs (including this one) on, but as long as it’s stable and accessible, you can blog anywhere.
There are lots of ways to work with twitter, but you do have to make sure you’re not offering more ‘noise’ and instead become a trusted signal. It takes a lot of work, and a lot of support to ensure that you’re the trusted source, but first and foremost, the single most important tip is to give your own time generously – share more of other people’s work than of your own – we recommend a ratio of 1:6 or less. We’ll talk about content curation later in the month, but the basic concept is to search by keyword and share interesting articles that relate to the keywords you use in your book’s description, or the themes you talk about. Romance writers can talk about love stories, weddings and more. Thriller writers COULD become the premium source of information about crimes that people would be interested in studying. The choice is yours. The point is to be the expert that people come to.
There’s two parts to Facebook. The first is your personal profile. This is where you join groups, create pages and more. It’s important to remember that this will probably be in your name (and you can only have one of these), so joining groups means you’ve got to be happy that people know who you are. This is not ideal for pen names, but it’s important for the security and support of other users on the site. Please do not create more than one profile to join groups with – Facebook has been cracking down for a while now and you can lose ALL accounts, not just the spare ones.
As your brand goes, it’s important to remember that your personal Facebook is probably where you interact with family and friends – so there is no harm in saying ‘no’ to friend requests from fans. Aside from the fact that Facebook only allows 5000 people (which sounds like a lot when you start out), the whole concept of page versus profile is something that we offer clear guidelines on, simply to save confusion down the line. I’ll do a longer post on this later, but basically, if you’re doing promotional work, it really should be created under Facebook’s guidelines, on your page.
And as creating a page is easy, it’s important to make sure you do it as soon as possible.
It’s important to ensure that your brand is basically designed to match up. If you can, choose usernames that match your domain name, and keep your brand consistent – if you can’t do so, try to make sure that it’s close for consistency’s sake.
What do you think? Still think it’s the relevant three? With the shift away from Facebook right now, I think this is going to change in the next 12 months, but it’s a good start.
Stuck? I wrote a book about exactly this (and a few other things!).