Thursdays with Amanda: Marketing Tip and Social Media Critiques, part 12

April 18, 2013 | Written by Amanda Luedeke

Amanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent. Her author marketing book, The Extroverted Writer, is available from Amazon andBarnes & Noble.

I’ve been hard at work this month, marketing my book The Extroverted Writer…and I’ve learned A LOT.

So before I offer a few Social Media Critiques (the offer is now closed, for those of you wondering), I figured I’d give a few marketing pointers, based on what I’ve learned.

I’ve appeared on numerous blogs this week.

Am I missing anything? I feel I am. Which leads me to my point…

When you’re in the midst of heavy marketing, it’s so easy for things to spiral out of control–for you to forget what you’ve done where and when and then miss opportunities to connect with others. I can’t stress how important it is to stay organized during this process. Spreadsheets, calendars, and obsessive compulsive disorder are your friends at this stage in the game. Without them, you’re going to sink.

Another truth that was reinforced is that appearances on blogs and the like don’t always translate into big sales. But what they do is plant the seed. You see, readers aren’t going to buy a book on a whim. But they’ll buy it if they see it popping up in numerous places or if they read something about it and then a few months pass and they hear someone talking about it. You see, readers like to be wooed. They like to know that the book is going to be a good fit before they take the plunge. So when you’re in the midst of marketing craziness and you don’t feel as though you’re making any headway, remember that it takes time. You’re planting the seeds now, and hopefully one day you’ll get to reap that harvest.

Okay, now for a couple of SOCIAL MEDIA CRITIQUES:

1. Marie Andreas submitted her blog, Faeries, Dragons, and Spaceships

  • With a title such as yours, I expected a blog on fantasy and science fiction…but this is a blog for writers. I’m not sure the two mesh quite like you’re hoping. I also feel as though if you write science fiction and fantasy, you’ll get more traction in the long run by having a blog that caters to those fans (as opposed to having a blog that caters to other writers).
  • Your short story looks cool. I wonder if it should be highlighted more?
  • I’m not a fan of the writing progress widgets. First, if you don’t keep them updated they make you look like you never write. Second, they make you seem like a writer that hasn’t really finished anything.  Not sure either are what you’re going for :)

RECOMMENDATIONS: I really really like your writing voice, by the way. Just not sure it fits with this blog theme. If you have a site for writers, make it writerly. If you have a site about spaceships, make it…spaceship-ish.

2. Chris Plumb submitted his blog, Plumbed Down

  • I have a hard time reading the black text against the purple background at the top. This may seem minuscule, but it’s actually very important.
  • To look more professional, I wonder if you should have something designed for that top space where you have your blog title, etc? Just thinking it could be spruced up for a maximum good first impression.
  • Your right nav was difficult for me to notice. I kept thinking “where is his ABOUT ME page?” and it was hiding in plain sight all along

RECOMMENDATIONS: I wish I could impart great wisdom that would help you blog take off, but I think this is just one of those blogs that is more of a personal journey. Therefore, people don’t really read it to glean info or advice or help. They read for entertainment. So if you want to grow your blog, you’ll probably have to start hanging out online with others who write similar blogs so that you can team up and cross-promote.

3. Lynn Martin Cowell submitted her website and Facebook page

  • I like the look of your site. You may want to rearrange the items in your top nav so that the ones that people would be most interested in come first. Ones such as “Blog”, “Books”, “About Lynn” and “Freebies” are always fan favorites. So bump the others to the end of the line!
  • Reorganize your Freebies page so that the most-downloaded freebies are at the top
  • Your post on April 8 got a strong reaction! What did you do differently? Was it the fact that it was a reader-submitted question? A tough topic? Or the fact that your daughter helped answer? Was it because you did a giveaway along with it? Think through that, because more posts like that one could help grow your readership.
  • Your Facebook page needs to be a professional page…not your personal profile. So I suggest starting one right away!

RECOMMENDATIONS: Work to dial in your blog posts so that they draw a more consistent readership and better interaction. And start that Facebook page!!! You really shouldn’t be using your personal profile as your author hub. Give the page a try, and if you need more info on how to do it right (and why the page is better than the profile) check out old Thursdays with Amanda posts or my book.

 

Has anyone been through marketing craziness before? What did you learn?!

Posted in Marketing and Platforms, Social Media Critique

  • CathyShouse

    I experienced marketing craziness when my photo history book by Arcadia Publishing, “Images of America: Fairmount” released. Although it’s about my small town, it has photos from James Dean’s family and the Garfield creator, so it has some wider appeal. Mostly, I was covered in several local newspapers, announced my book signings, and then had reports in the paper after the book signings, along with presentations at historical society meetings. I really feared I had overdone it and people were sick of hearing about it and it would have a negative impact.
    One day, a neighbor two doors down (who happens to be an English prof.), was going to his mailbox. I forced myself to roll down my car window and call over to him “Have you seen my book yet?” He gave me a look of total surprise and said “You finished your book?” He ended up buying a copy, which never would have happened if I hadn’t spoken to him personally.

    Another thing I learned is that the publisher’s publicity often has little impact. They sent out media copies and I didn’t have a single person say they had received it when I contacted them. Unfortunately, I also didn’t realize the importance of “The Launch.” I had several people become interested in the book, but by the time I understood that the publisher’s efforts hadn’t helped and worked it myself, the reporters said the book had been out for too long.
    Thanks for your insights on these blogs. Very helpful!

  • Meghan Carver

    See, I knew my OCD would come in handy some day! Thanks for the validation, Amanda. I’ve written a few children’s books, one of which I’ve thought of giving away with an e-mail subscription on my homeschooling mom blog and a couple others I’m thinking of self-publishing to get my name out. I’ve been working on a marketing plan for that, just to get as much exposure as possible and get some practice for the future. Lists, lists, and more lists.

  • CharityHawkins

    Yes, organization was so helpful during the craziness. I am a nerd with project management tendencies, so I had a huge posterboard project timeline on my wall (because I liked to see everything at one time) then associated tasks for each item. I had lists for blogs to guest post on, lists of reviewers to send to, lists of reviews would run so I could comment. I’m glad it’s over!
    I think the best use of my time ended up being doing guest posts on big blogs. That translated the most to Facebook likes.
    The worst use of my time ended up being the press release and queries to traditional media outlets. They just didn’t care about my book. I found online people much more helpful.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lkharrel Lindsay Harrel

    Haven’t been through marketing craziness, but I’m happy I’ll be learning from friends–such as my awesome critique partner, Melissa Tagg (whose debut MADE TO LAST releases in September…plug plug)–who have been through it before me. ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/julie.z.coleman Julie Zine Coleman

    Good advice on the seeding idea… I’m finding marketing to be one letter, one guest blog post, one radio interview at a time. Yesterday my website received 140 hits after an interview with Moody’s Midday Connection. That was the largest surge of interest I have seen since my book released in February. Most of my growth in sales has been slow and steady. But mostly SLOOOOW!! I get up each morning and try to do 5 things a day that will continue to get word out to the internet: blog post, FB, Twitter, responding to other blog posts, etc. There is always something more to do, but I have a list that I keep adding to when I think of another thing and then just keep checking them off as I do them. After a couple of months, I’ve gotten past panic mode and think slow and steady wins the race.

    One other thing: marketing begins long before the book releases!! Build your platform NOW. You will need those contacts ready and waiting when you start to promote the book. It takes years to build an audience, so use the time while you wait!

  • http://forthisisthetime.blogspot.com/ Esther Aspling

    Thanks for the examples with the critiqued blogs! I loved being able to compare and contrast the things you showcased against my own blog.

    http://forthisisthetime.blogspot.com/

  • http://twitter.com/heatherdgilbert Heather Day Gilbert

    All the best w/your book, Amanda! And great breakdown of those sites. And yes, I love the fact that OCD comes in handy–though it’s weird, I’m not a list-person. But I know it is so important and you can’t always keep all the info in your brain. Great tips today.

  • Chris Plumb

    Thanks for the feedback. Most of what you recommended were things I’ve wanted to change, but the chosen blogger template will not allow me to mess with. It’s a give and take, as it is the only template that highlights my older writings (which are just as important to me as my current blogs), yet it has almost no html edit features.