“Are you crazy?” most authors ask me. “Don’t you realize how much time I have to write? Not enough!”
And they drop their head in their hands and sigh. “How will I ever do all this?”
I know. The idea that an author now has to handle the majority of their own publicity and PR on their own (unless you’re Dan Brown and have a publishing assistant to do it all for you) is hard to take. Not only do authors have to write the book, they have to write a blog to go along with it, have to Twitter everything they think on an hourly basis, have to gather a Facebook following, send out an email newsletter, handle some direct mail to bookstores and book clubs to set up book signings and appearances, all while striving to protect what was once their precious book writing time is a hard pill to swallow.
So how is it done exactly?
1. First of all you need to take a deep breath and realize that you are not the only one feeling this way. Every single author who has brought a book into the world — a book! — is weary and ready for the publisher to do their part and just sell it to everyone and their sister. You’ve finished the book. Great job. Now gird your loins.
2. Put on your marketing hat. It’s a different hat than the writing hat you’ve been wearing almost nonstop these past months (or years). This hat looks at your book differently. Looks at your book from the reading public’s point of view: what’s in it for me? Yep, that’s what they think. Not, lovely cover, wonderful writing (which comes later) but if there’s not something in there for them (that they consider you wrote just for them), well, I’m sorry to say it, but most folks won’t be interested. So, WIIFM? (What’s In It For Me?) What can you offer, what ARE YOU offering your readers? This is what you will be blogging about, talking about, speaking about, writing about, dreaming about, repeating over and over and over and over to everyone that you meet who wants to know WIIFM?
3. Don’t go overboard. Don’t go out and gather up thousands of Twitter followers right away, don’t start a blog yet, don’t do anything rash. Just hold for just a bit. What is your plan? How can you best execute your social media strategy for this book (and yes, for future books that may come later)? What is your goal? Monetary? Copies sold? Visibility? Speaking engagements? Consulting clients? You have to be clear before you start about what’s in it for you. Although it is MUCH less important than WIIFM. But it’s there. So figure it out.
4. Make a list of what you think might do the trick for WIIFM for your readership. Then make a list for yourself (your own WIIFM). Compare the lists. What areas overlap? That’s where you start. What if you don’t know what social media pieces will fulfill WIIFM for you or your readership? You’re thinking, “Ideas for what to focus on, please, Trish!” That’s why you may need more help with this. If you think you might need some help from a social media strategist, you’ll need to visit here. If you’re sure you don’t need help, read on.
5. Figure out the help you’ll need to do those social media pieces to ensure WIIFM gets fulfilled. WordPress or Blogspot? TweetDeck or Tweetie? Facebook Fan page or profile? Group page? How do you set up an eZine? How do you get a list of subscribers? My publisher sent me 1000 postcards to mail out for my book. Who do I send them to? My mom, my sister? Again, here is a place you can hire a social media strategist (read: me!) for help designing and implementing all this. But you can figure it out yourself. I know you can.
In future posts, we’ll talk specifics about putting together those pesky strategies and plans on paper and how to decide if you should hire a blog designer or if you should hire out your blog content or not. See you then.