So Many Tools, So Little Time

by Tricia

in Authentic, Author Blogger, Building Community, Influence, Social Media

If you are an author with a book already out (self-pubbed, coming out from a publisher, or whatever) or you’re planning your promotional activities because you are going to write a book or you are writing a book, this post is for you.

There are a LOT of tools available on the Internet for authors to promote their books. If you sign up for my mailing list (http://www.realbrilliant.com/blog), I send out a free report detailing most of those tools. The list itself is imposing, right? How in the world is one person going to figure out how to promote themselves even using just five of those tools?

It can be done. But you’ll have to read this blog in the weeks to come (sign up to receive it via email or in your RSS reader in the sidebar) and you’ll have to understand that I don’t offer a “one size fits all” solution. I offer strategies and ways that authors can go about using these tools. I offer my ideas for how I’m using these tools. But, really, the usage of the tools and fine-tuning it to fit what you need (and what your audience needs) is entirely up to you.

Okay?

Great.

So, there are tons of tools out there—Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, email newsletters, Quora, Squidoo, Tumblr, Trunk.ly, Letter.ly, Dlvr.It, Flickr, Delicious, Stumbleupon, Digg, and on and on and on.

Did I just overwhelm you? I overwhelmed myself. There is no way that an author can jump on all of these tools TODAY, start using them effectively, and see an instant result. No way.

But there is a way to begin slowly to seek out the tools that you (and your audience) use regularly and to begin to engage with that audience and to find out if those tools are actually going to help you find readers who will BUY your books.

3. What’s your engagement? If you want to engage with readers using images, think about Pinterest and Flickr. If you want to engage with words, think about a blog, Twitter, email newsletter, and Quora. If you want to engage with video, think about a video blog, YouTube, and Vimeo. So, how do you want to engage?

Hold up.

Before you choose this, you probably should figure out what sort of audience you’re seeking, right? Yep. Very important.

2. So, who’s your audience? If you are going to answer everyone. BUZZ. (That was the buzzer of doom you heard there.) Nope, nope, and nope. Everyone is not your audience. If you’re writing fiction, still, everyone is not your audience. You need to do some research, find books like yours, find out who reads them and how they buy them, find out what makes them hand them to friends or suggest them on blogs.

But, hold up.

Before you go here, you’ve got to nail down exactly what you are doing. If you’re writing a novel, what’s the genre? If you’re writing nonfiction, what is the premise? This is what I call “finding your story.”

1. What’s your story? Not your book’s topic, not your last book’s topic, not what you want to sell right now, but what inspires you, what is the thing you can’t shut up about and talk to everyone about because it is your passion. Call it an axiom, call it a theme, call it the thing that describes your niche, whatever. It could be a word, a theme, a saying, a quote, an emotion, a truth.

You’ve got to get that set BEFORE you can even begin to go out and use these tools.

It’s a challenge, sure. But one that I hope you will accept.

Next up, case studies of how a fiction author and a nonfiction author took their story to their audience and what tools they chose to use.

Questions or comments?

Meg Moseley May 26, 2011 at 11:37 am

I know this is going to be good. But yes, I am feeling overwhelmed already. I might need to take a break before I burn out, then take a deep breath and start again at Step One.

Thanks, Trish. I’ll be back…

Tricia May 26, 2011 at 12:40 pm

Meg,

Whoa! No overwhelming allowed. I’ll remember that as I continue on and slow it down a bit. Hang on!

Laurie Thompson May 26, 2011 at 10:20 pm

Great post, Tricia! I think I’m getting closer to knowing the answer to the “what’s my story” question, but I still don’t feel like I’m communicating it very well. Do you think authors should just put it out there, like a marketing slogan? Or is it more like voice, something that you can immediately feel but isn’t directly spelled out, that grows organically out of the whole body of the piece (or in this case, the author’s whole online presence over time)? I’m hoping your case studies will answer this, so I’m really looking forward to them! :)

Tricia May 27, 2011 at 8:01 am

Hi, Laurie!

I’m glad this is sorta helping. :) It’s not a marketing slogan, but it sums you up: what’s your passion, what lens do you use to view the world. Not a voice either, more like a viewpoint, a take. If you already sum up what you write in this way, you might be close. I think with some case studies (or perhaps we should talk backchannel; since you’re now EMLA, you have me as a resource), this will become clear. My main case study is out of the country for a few weeks, but I’ll dig up some others and see if we can’t get one up sooner than later.

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