Tag Archives: social media

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:

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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:

What Inspires You?

by Shelley Rogers Landes, Marketing Manger

in·spire  verb \in-ˈspī(-ə)r\:  to influence, move, motivate or guide

 
At the beginning of my professional career at Macmillan Publishing, I remember being the youngest person on our sales team and I was proud of that fact.  I always felt lucky to be in the right place at the right time and to work for managers that valued my opinion and encouraged my development as an  account manager and sales professional.

I look around our offices today and realize I have suddenly become one of the oldest people on our team and often wonder to myself, “….how did that happen?”  Some of my colleagues are honestly old enough to be one of my kids and a year ago, that really bothered me.

Twitter, Facebook, Hootsuite, LinkedIn, WordPress, Flickr, Yahoo IM, You Tube. I had a vague knowledge of social media and could talk my way through a meeting but the reality was, I was being left behind.  As a marketing manager, I was diminishing my value proposition to my employer as an effective part of our marketing team because I was feeling uninspired to know and use the tools that are essential to our industry today.

Once I got past the fact that I had aged much quicker than I had realized, I will tell you that much of my inspiration, energy, education and enthusiasm in 2010 came from the wide eyed, untarnished and courageous ideas of this young creative team I work with on a daily basis. 

While I have taken the position of the “industry veteran” on our team, my young colleagues have taught me a whole new way of communication through social media.  I have been inspired to keep up, stay fresh and educate myself about trends and technology that are essential to the success of my job.

So what inspires you as an author?  What inspires you to write every day?  What drives you to want to create your next masterpiece?

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.

Valentine’s Day: Books We Adore

by Sandy Dunwoody, Literary Publicist

Who knew that a holiday honoring a beheaded saint would turn into such a huge Hallmark event? Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate love (whether it’s with a spouse, significant other, your dog, your goldfish…you get the idea).  At AuthorHive, our passion is for books—because whether or not you have someone to cuddle up to this Valentine’s Day, you can always cuddle up with a good read.  It’s getting a little steamy in the AuthorHive office, as staffers share their romantic holiday picks:

 

Shelley’s Pick:  Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah
Sometimes the strongest bond can be between two best friends. Spanning more than three decades and playing out across the Pacific Northwest, Firefly Lane is the poignant, powerful story of two women and the friendship that becomes the bulkhead of their lives. For thirty years, Tully and Kate buoy each other through life, weathering the storms of friendship—-jealousy, anger, hurt, resentment. Firefly Lane is for anyone who ever drank Boone’s Farm apple wine while listening to Abba or Fleetwood Mac.

Brittani’s Pick:  He’s Just Not that into You: the No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys by Greg Behrendt
Okay, so maybe this book isn’t romantic per se, but it certainly gives women some direction when dealing with the mysteries of men.  Have you ever liked a guy, but he’s given mixed signals? Former executive story editor for Sex and the City provides a simple answer:  He’s just not that into you. If you’re not convinced yet, read this smart, funny and surprisingly upbeat little book.

Jessica’s Pick:  P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern
Who’s up for a bit o’ Irish romance? Holly Kennedy is beautiful, smart and married to the love of her life-a passionate, funny and impetuous Irishman named Gerry. So when Gerry’s life is taken by an illness, it takes the life out of Holly. Before he died, Gerry wrote Holly a series of 10 letters that will guide her, not only through her grief but in rediscovering herself. Each letter sends her on a new adventure, each signed, “P.S. I Love You.”

Kelly’s Pick:  Chasing Harry Winston: A Novel by Lauren Weisberger
Chasing Harry Winston is a fun, flirty novel from the author of The Devil Wears Prada. Three best friend New Yorkers—Emmy, Adriana and Leigh—are facing the horror of turning 30. Recently dumped Emmy promises to make a drastic change and find guys from every continent for casual affairs. Beautiful Brazilian Adriana in turn tries to leave her old lifestyle of sleeping around and living off daddy in order to get a Harry Winston ring on her finger before the first wrinkles start showing. And Leigh, the one with the perfect life, doesn’t know what she needs in order to be happy and to be able to relax.

Sandy’s Pick:  Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
What can I say—I’m partial to the old-school kind of romance.  This classic follows the classy Elizabeth Bennet and her family as they deal with issues of manners, upbringing, morality, education and marriage in early 19th-century England. Things get saucy when an eligible bachelor and his handsome (but arrogant) friend shack up at a nearby country estate.

Happy reading! Happy Valentine’s Day! Don’t forget the chocolate!

Check out additional recommended reads:

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!