Tag Archives: blogging

Borrow Your Brilliance

by Brittani Hensel, Project Coordinator

My boss recently gave me a book about brainstorming called, “Jump Start Your Brain” by Doug Hall.  I flipped through it a little bit, but one chapter called “Borrowing Brilliance” stopped me in my tracks. I thought about all the times I’d people-watched while walking in the mall, getting fashion advice from magazines, listened to other people brainstorm, watched them while they work, and the ever-present question, “What would you do?”

After reading Jump Start Your Brain I quickly realized, I’ve always borrowed brilliance. I have always looked to those wiser, older, and more knowledgeable than I to gain information and principles that I could use as well.

This book offered a “David & Goliath” example in which you can learn something by “looking at other David’s who have done battle and won” to learn how to succeed yourself.  Very similar to learning from other people’s mistakes I’d say.  But, that’s precisely how I’ve lived my life. I’ve learned from other people’s actions, fashion, writing, and even communication skills.

Authors come to me often and ask what they should write about on their blog, and while the answer varies from author to author, it’s always the same.  “Take a look at this blog, this blog, and this blog.” I tell them that often reading a blog will give them inspiration on how to write one. It’s how I’ve always led my writing, especially for blog topics. Borrowing ideas and “brilliance” from other people seems to fuel the fire the best, and I say why not use the kindling?

As an author and marketer, take heed from your favorite writers, mentors, and friends. Every second is a learning experience, and life always has something to teach.

Click on the images below for links to help jump start your own brilliance:

Market Your Book Like It’s Your Business

by Zac Workman, Marketing Specialist

Your book is a business….so treat it as such.  Daydreaming about the best-sellers list won’t get you any closer to breaking the top 10.  So how do you market a book like you would a business?  Let’s start with a few simple questions that will help you identify the best way to market your new book.  Like any business, these questions are key to identifying and creating a successful marketing plan for your book.

  1. What are your goals?  What is the purpose of writing your book and what do you want to accomplish?  The case may be that you are just interested in making your book available for family and friends or maybe you are hoping to sell thousands of books.  Whatever the case may be make sure your goals are realistic and achievable.
  2. Who is your target market?  Let’s consider the Christian genre which is vast so you must define who exactly you are targeting and why.  Knowing your audience will help you decide how to sell your book to readers.  Consider the demographics of your audience to determine your marketing focus.  If you find your target to be a very small niche group, marketing will be extremely important and it will need to be very focused.  If this is the case, you may want to consider expanding the appeal of your book by making some changes to increase your customer base.
  3. What makes your product appealing to your target market? Labeling your book “Christian” isn’t enough.  You need to identify what makes your book stand out and use this to your advantage.  Consider the specific characteristics about your book that appeal to your audience.  Maybe you are an expert on the subject matter of your book or you have a unique story or point of view.  Whatever the appeal of your book is, it is essential to identify what separates your book out from the competition and then using it to your advantage.
  4. Where does your product fit within your industry?  The Christian book industry is very large so you need to identify where you fit within that industry.  Start by identifying who your competition is and what their strengths and weaknesses are.  Focus on their weaknesses, because this is where you have an advantage.
  5. Where is the best place to reach the target market?  So how will your reach your audience?  In today’s digital world, start on the Internet, including searching for related websites, and using social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, website reviews, blogs, and e-mail marketing.  The majority of your books will sell through some venue on the Internet, and it makes sense to start your marketing efforts there.

Stay tuned on tips to execute that all important marketing plan!

Building Relationships with Bloggers

by Kelly Rynard, Literary Publicist

WARNING:  The referred link via Unmarketing contains harsh language that may be offensive to some.  We used this link as a literal example of what not to do when reaching out to fellow bloggers.

Scott Stratten of Unmarketing recently tweeted, “There are comment train wrecks, and then there is this bit.ly/hwK8Qa.” And “this” is an excellent example what NOT to do when commenting on a blog. Basically, this particular author was upset with a critics review and took matters into her own hands.

As a social media specialist, I train author’s everyday on how to use social media sites to their fullest potential. One of the most popular questions I get asked is, “how do I reach out to bloggers?” and “what am I suppose to say in a comment?”

As we work to build relationships with fellow bloggers, there are few simple rules we like to follow:

Be Selfless. If you want bloggers to promote you, you must first promote them. Think about building a relationship based on their perspective, what can I gain from this.

Comment on Comments. One of the greatest things about blogging is receiving comments. It makes you feel appreciated and respected. In return, your reader feels the same way when you take the time to respond to their comments and it keeps them coming back to read more.

Comment on your Reader’s Blogs. Leaving thoughtful comments on your reader’s blogs is all about giving back. You will begin to see your relationship grow when you take the time to engage and promote other bloggers.

Create Valuable Content. Create posts that have a subject matter that is of value to your readers. Find out what they want and then give it to them. Write to the people that actually read your blog.

I heard Stratten give a talk about month ago on social media and he gave some interesting tips. He calls people on the internet that have nothing better to do than say mean things, trolls. “Don’t feed into the troll,” he says.

So on that note, if someone posts a comment you don’t like, don’t shoot yourself in the foot and “feed the troll” just to make a point.  Stay positive, engage fellow bloggers that have common interests, be selfless and be patient.  It takes commitment and rock solid content to build a strong blog following.

To get started with our own blog, let AuthorHive help get you started.  Check out the following book for a comprehensive look to starting, maintaining and expanding your blog site:

I have writer’s block….I don’t feel like it……

by Chris Bass, Director of Author Marketing Services
I have a raggedy yellow piece of paper that my father gave me about 30 years ago.  Written on it are these words, “Nothing great was ever accomplished without discipline.”

Today you might be feeling full of excuses about why you can’t write, why people aren’t reading your book, why you can’t come up with anything worthwhile to say in your blog.  You have a choice to make.  You can listen to the excuses or you can get busy about doing something great.

Stay disciplined even when you don’t feel like it. Experience tells me that in the long run you’ll find you’re doing great things.

Is Social Media Really An Effective Way to Promote Your Book?

by Megan Leiter, Events and Social Media Coordinator

As someone who fulfills social media setups for AuthorHive authors and is currently acting as the Social Media Services Coordinator, I can give you a big honest YES to this question! Many of the authors I talk to daily ask, “Will anyone really read my blog?” and, “How are people going to find my profiles on all these social networking sites?”

Here are five ways to make the most of your social media profiles to promote your book:

1) Tags, Tags, Tags! :  A “post tag” is a keyword you can attach to each new post you put on your blog and essentially how people are going to find your blog site. When you attach keywords to your blog’s content, it’s more likely someone searching for those same keywords will find your blog through a search engine. Key Tip: you should always attach your pen name and book title to each post along with any other relevant keywords associated with what you’re writing about in that particular post.

2) Reaching Out:  The whole point of social networking is to be social on the internet – crazy I know! That means you’ll have to put some work into reaching out and contacting people through your profiles by sending out messages, updating your statuses in Facebook and Twitter on a consistent basis, creating event invites for book signings or speeches you may be giving, and more.

3) Fresh Content:  For a lot of people within the “blogosphere” once someone finds a blog they like, they visit it daily to check out what the contributor has to say. There’s nothing more disappointing to a devoted blog reader than going to your favorite blog(s) to find the blog contributor hasn’t posted any new content in a week or more. Keeping readers engaged through fresh content means being committed to keeping that connection alive by making the time to continuously post new content which means more than once a week.

4) Gathering Friends:  Exposure is the key to publicity. The more people you can gather to follow you on Twitter and like your fan page on Facebook, the more exposure your messages will have.

5) Time:  It takes a lot of time and commitment to build a fan base for a book so please don’t expect to be an overnight social media sensation like Susan Boyle (the Scottish singing talent discovered on Britain’s Got Talent who became an overnight sensation on YouTube.com). Just as it took time to write and produce your book, it will also take time to create your social media fan base.

I know many authors are intimidated by social media because it’s a new beast in the world and perhaps out of their comfort zone. Many authors I speak to vow to forgo the social media aspect of promotions entirely and I think the only person this is a disservice to is the author themselves. Facebook currently serves over 300 million users (and is still growing) and Twitter serves 190 million users. To me, that’s an awfully big market to be left untouched just because you may be unfamiliar with using a computer or don’t want to put the time into keeping up a social media presence.

If you’re not sure where to start, ask a friend or family member for help or call AuthorHive and we will get you on your way!

Need a New Angle? Jane Fonda Can Help!

by Brittani Hensel

I know what you’re thinking.  “What can Jane Fonda teach me about my book?”

The athletic workout queen has just released a new workout DVD and has completed research for her new book, Prime Time: Creating a Great Third Act.  The typical stereotype of older men and women neglecting the former workout routine they once had at a younger age is something Fonda says should change.

In a recent AP article, Fonda discusses that as she got older, she realized she was in a great position to help and teach older men and women the keys to staying active and being healthy.

I know…you’re still confused.  What Jane Fonda has done with this new workout DVD and book is something any author can do when they realize their book is a little out-of-date.  Instead of retiring and living with her millions of dollars made when she was young, and hip, she’s taken what she knows and assured her followers she’s still young and hip. She didn’t just sit back and think, “Well, I’ve had my moments, it’s over now.” She found a way to use what she knew to further her success as a professional workout guru.

Take a country old-time cookbook for example.  Typically country, old-time recipes call for nearly a million tablespoons of butter, and another fifty cups of vegetable oil.  But with health conscious news articles on the rise, and the public well aware that they should start monitoring their cholesterol, this cookbook seems, well…old.

If I’m the author of this cookbook, my first goal is going to be modernizing my cookbook.  A couple of tips for putting a new angle on this cookbook include focusing on that new angle of health consciousness, and explaining how to turn old recipes into healthy ones. Every cook knows there are reasonable and tasty substitutions that can turn a recipe around.  Just like Fonda, authors can take their old ideas and modernize them.

Some suggestions include:
1.  Use social media to talk about your brand
2.  Remind your followers you’re still hip: You’re an expert, and you know all about your book’s topics.
3.  Focus on what you know: If your book is about cooking, talk about the new topics and ideas in the news. If your book is about spelunking or hiking, talk about new inventions that help make these activities safer.

As always, Author Hive is here to help your book meet those timely topics and promote your brand!

Earning Trust with Social Media: How to Use Social Media Beyond “Hawking Wares”

by Sandy Dunwoody, Literary Publicist

Anyone who has ever been a social media skeptic—particularly in relation to marketing products and building brand awareness—is now painfully aware of the powerful impact that an online presence can have. Through social media, users are finding jobs, products are finding fans and media members are even finding stories (a national survey conducted earlier this year by Cision found that an “overwhelming majority of reporters and editors now depend on social media sources when researching their stories”).

In all of the aforementioned cases, networkers have gained interest, trust and loyalty through social media—which is no easy feat.  A rookie mistake is to just set up social media sites and desperately hope on a wing and a prayer it will take off on its own.  Another mistake is to send into cyberspace repetitive and impersonal posts that boast “Check out Billy Bob’s (insert product here) –It will CHANGE YOUR LIFE!”

Imagine yourself as a consumer:  Would you take an interest in this person or product?  In order to generate interest, you must put effort and work into the relationship-building aspect of social media beyond simply “hawking wares.”

The Enlightened Consumer
In part due to social media and the age of instant communication and information sharing, businesses are quickly adopting an even stronger customer-centric approach in order to be recognized among all the noise and build a fan base. Consumers today have the power to spread support for or veto products instantaneously; therefore, it’s more common now for the consumer’s interests to be represented and feedback listened to.

After all, if every consumer’s opinion is broadcasted to a forum of millions of potential readers, wouldn’t you want comments to be positive rather than negative?

Converting Visitors to Followers
Let’s assume you have a finished product and you’re ready to promote it online. Your Twitter page, Facebook Fan page, official blog, and other sites have been set up, but now what? Before you dive into social media, consider things from the average consumer’s vantage:

 –“And WHY should I care?”  Your focus is on your product, but resist the urge to post about it only. Give visitors a reason to be interested beyond your own product, and you’ll reach a wider audience and earn followers. Keep posts personal and varied—more people will become engaged if they know the sites aren’t maintained by a single-focused robot.

 –“You’ve got to give love to get love.”  As cliché as it may sound, you must give due attention to other products and related services to receive attention in return. If you’re an author, support other authors when possible. When interacting with potential followers, take an interest in and comment on what they are reading, writing or involved with.

 —What Can I Get Out of This?  Providing posts of value to consumers is a must. Make it a priority to dispense valuable tips, previews, photos and thought-provoking questions as often as possible. Research and share interesting statistics, articles or videos related to your genre, and make sure to supply interactive options like email subscriptions and applications.  

By taking the consumer into consideration, you’re more likely to build relationships that yield positive results (a win-win situation). As a consumer, what would you like to see done more often with social media?

Check out the books below to learn more about social media marketing: