Thursday, May 31, 2012

5 Ways to Boost Your Market Presence by Margie Church

Margie Church is the author of The 18th Floor, one of Sizzler Editions bestselling titles. Her next book for Sizzler will be Razor, co-authored with K. B. Cutter.
I'm here by request. Or was it threat? Humm, not sure, but I came, I blogged, I will politely answer your questions. Buy 15 copies of each of my books and I'll give you five more ways to boost your market presence. LOL Well, it seems only fair since you just boosted mine. *snicker* Okay, I'll knock off the nonsense. I know you're dying to know the secrets. Get comfy and let's see if I can lend a hand.
1. Determine your brand.
This is about your visual identity and tagline. There's a huge rush to get your blog started and website created, but you need to really think through this part of your branding strategy. It's better to be less adventurous to start, and build your identity over time, than to just do something, anything, and decide a few months later to scrap what you've done and start over. As you have undoubtedly discovered, promoting your books is time-consuming.

Try to formulate one simple sentence about who you are as an author. Keep asking yourself: does this statement reflect the kinds of books I write, the genres, the person I am, and the aura I want to create as an author? If you haven't got good answers, you aren't finished with the exercise. It could take awhile! Once you have something, stick with it. Brand building never happens quickly.

2. Be accessible.
We'd all like to think we can stay in our writing caves and the world will buy our stories and clamor for more. We find out that's a ridiculous notion while we're reading the fine print on the submissions form. For me, being accessible means social media and blogging. I spend a couple hours a day wading through emails, and my Twitter, Facebook, and Goodread feeds. The underlying goal here is to get readers to know YOU. Be approachable, engaged, and interesting when you respond. Think of this as attending a cocktail party alone. Listen more than you talk. You don't have to gab with everyone, but spread the love. Get to know a few more people every visit.
I am not a blogging maniac, but last year, I wrote about 100 guest blog posts. I average six book releases a year. You have to get the word out. I blog at my home, Romance with SASS, a couple times a month or whenever I have something worthwhile to say. I host others in between. My blog is networked to Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. I blog elsewhere to share book releases and guest posts like this one. I keep all my blog posts and occasionally freshen up something I've used previously, but I put effort into every post.
3. Fall in love with Facebook and Twitter
Many believe the more friends and followers you have the more successful you are. It's not a numbers game. Who cares if you have 2,000 friends if you don't know them, and they aren't your market? You don't have to friend or follow every request. I also unfriend/unfollow people who don't share my core values. If you're rude, homophobic, or blast political or religious groups, I'm going to quietly remove you.
Turn down the sales pitch and talk with people before they turn you off. Say hello, happy birthday, how are you, congratulations, buy my books. What's shaking, happy Halloween, TGIF, goodnight, buy my book. The weather sucks, my kid is sick, I got a raise, buy my books. How may I help, sure I'll blog with you, host a chat, what should I name this character, here's an excerpt, please buy a book.
Facebook lets you really build relationships. I use it heavily, and you can really get to know me well there. I announce everything related to books on Facebook. I belong to a number of groups and share newsy posts there, too. This amplifies my message. I'm careful to go back to read others' posts and some blogs and reviews, too. I also belong to a number of private groups that I use to conduct research and find beta readers. It takes time to build these relationships.
I use Twitter to share buy links, reviews, and blog appearances. I spend a lot of time trying to come up with clever 144-word tweets for my books. I see a direct correlation between my Twitter activity and my Amazon sales. I comment on other posts in my feed and I participate in #FF and #WW somewhat. I'd do it more if Twitter's automatic address feature actually worked for me. I acknowledge every new follower whether I follow back or not, every RT, list and favorite. Doing so is good social media manners. I usually don't follow authors unless they are brand new, or we're pals, or write for the same publisher. I follow publishers, reviewers, romance columnists, sex toys, romance sites, media reps, musicians, special interest groups, and anyone who might have Tweeps who will enjoy my romances.

I vet my friends and twitter followers to seek a larger balance of readers than authors. Readers buy more books than authors do, plain and simple.

4. Join a chat.
Whether your publisher hosts, or you visit a site that has reader chats, these are worthwhile. Lurk in a chat or two to see how well they're run and how many readers join in. Ask questions. Prepare at least 4 items, plus a contest for an hour-long chat. On your virgin chat, take an experienced pal with you. Sometimes the traffic is dismal, sometimes it's overwhelming. Pick a Friday or Saturday evening, or a Saturday morning to chat. Be yourself, have some fun, hold contests. Put your buy links, blog and website addresses on each of your posts if you're in a reader loop.

5. Participate in some kind of public event
Whether it's having a signing, doing a reading, teaching a class, speaking to a book club, or being on a panel at a convention, get in front of the reading public. You might be quaking in your boots at first, but you can get over that by preparing what you plan to say/read. Let the local media know you're going to be around and let them help spread the word about you. These days, the thrill of holding your book on release days rarely happens. Some of us will never hold our books in our hands—period. When you participate in these kinds of activities, being an author becomes very, very real. Buy an autograph pen and practice your signature. It's fun.

6. BONUS TIP
Build your back list. Work your rear off so as your following grows, they have other books of yours to buy. Push hard. Set daily writing goals and deadlines. The more you do this, the faster you'll get at writing quality books your readers can't wait to get their hands on.
So, those are five of my favorite book promotions and a bonus. I could write tons more, but you'd be asleep or outselling me. I'm happy to answer specific questions – fire away. And thanks so much for spending 10 minutes of your day with me!

Margie's website: Romance with SASS
Margie's blog: http://blog.RomanceWithSASS.com
Margie's Amazon Kindle Page: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_encoding=UTF8&field-author=Margie%20Church&search-alias=digital-text

13 comments:

  1. Love it! I really want to try the idea of joining a chat. I did it once and it was really fun, but that was awhile ago and I think I need to focus on doing those more. Thanks for the tips!

    <3's and fangs,
    Liz ^_^
    www.vampyrekisses.com

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    1. Ask around, Elizabeth. Some places are much more helpful to authors and others just provide the time slot. If you aren't used to doing chats, really visit a few times before you ask about reserving your spot to see how things work.

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  2. Loved this, Margie! Thank you for the tips.

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    1. You bet. Hope something on the list helps.

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  3. Who are you again?

    Just kidding, Margie, just kidding. Put down the riding crop.

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    1. I so want to try it out on your tender backside, David. LOL

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  4. Great blog Margie. I wish you success in all your endeavors!

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  5. Fantastic post with great advice..Thank you Margie..

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    1. You're welcome, Savannah. I hope some of it works for you.

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  6. Awesome post, Margie! The more I read from you the more I luv ya! Thanks for the great info.

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  7. Very helpful, concise, tips. Thanks for taking the time to write this.

    Naomi Bellina

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    1. You're very welcome, Bellina. Hope they help.

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