Monday, July 12, 2010

Social Media Marketing for Authors: Part 1


My Buzz Box & Branding



I’ve asked my new-found Twitter and Facebook friend, Laura Stamps to guest blog about the importance of Social Media Marketing for authors and talk a little about her success in this media.

Welcome Laura Stamps!

If you’re an author, social media is a primary tool for expanding your market. Why? Because this is where your readers hang out every day. And your readers are the ones who buy your books. How do I know social media marketing works? Because I’ve been a full-time author for 23 years, and like most authors 100% of the marketing of my books falls on my shoulders.

Need more proof? Several of my books went into the Kindle Store the middle of May. Less than two months later I’ve sold 619 Kindle books using social media marketing. Three of them even hit the Top 100 Bestsellers List in Erotica two weeks in a row out of the 15,138 erotica novels in the Kindle Store.

True. You’ve gotta write good books to be able to do this. But as we all know, good books don’t sell themselves. A good marketing plan does. And 100% of my marketing is social media.

In the days before the web you could sell books through direct mail to your in-house list and with magazine ads and rented lists. None of that works today. People buy books because their friends at social media sites recommend them. Period. When I realized this in 2006, I tested every social media site I could find. Eventually, I narrowed the selection down to the five or six that produced the most sales of my paranormal erotica novels. That list changes from year to year as I test new social media sites. But I still work no more than five or six every day.

To keep my marketing organized and consistent, I created what I call my “Buzz Box.” Don’t laugh. Actually, what you’re doing at these sites is creating a marketing “buzz” for your books. Thus, the name. Clever, huh? *lol*


My Buzz Box


My Buzz Box is a 3x5 index card box (bright pink, of course) that sits next to my computer. I work out of it all day long. There are several sections in it, and dividers separate each one. The first section is for my Ebook Marketing Plan. In this section I keep a separate index card for Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and several romance forums and Yahoo groups. On each card I list the site link, my password, username, etc.

The second section is for the Passwords I use most often (my ISP, all my email addys, Wordpress & Blogger for my blogs, the company I pay to manage my mailing list, etc.).

The third is for my Interview Schedule. As you can imagine my marketing creates lots of buzz for my novels. That means I’m usually booked up every month with interviews, giveaways, and guest blog posts. There’s no way I can keep all this stuff in my head, so there’s a card for each month of the year in this section where I list deadlines for interviews, guest blog posts, etc.

There are several other sections in my Buzz Box, including one for Yahoo Groups PROMO. I belong to quite a few romance and erotica groups at Yahoo. Each one allows authors to promote their books on a certain day of the week. I give each group its own index card and make a note of its promo day. Then I list which book or series I have promoted and the date. That way I won’t promote the same book or series two weeks in a row in the same group (a definite no-no). Making a section for it in my Buzz Box prevents that from happening.


Branding


Okay, before you can create a social media plan to market your books you’ll need to brand yourself as an author. Trust me. Your marketing won’t be worth a damn without the proper “branding.” So what does branding mean? To brand yourself you need to be able to define yourself and your books in one sentence or one very short paragraph. In other words, what is the image you wish to project to your readers so they’ll know EXACTLY what you write and who you are? Keep it simple. Straightforward. To the point. Unless you can do that there’s no way you can communicate this to a prospective reader.

For example, my branding is who I am in real life. I’m a slutty, kinky, Pagan erotica novelist who writes romantic, sexy novels. Yup, that’s me. Now you know why my Twitter name is SexWitch (http://twitter.com/sexwitch).

The important thing about branding is that it needs to be a role you can live with. Again, take me for an example. Not everyone can handle my branding. I’m known across the web for being the living version of the typical walking-hormone-heroine in an erotica novel. Oh, and I’ve got a trashy mouth, too. And I write about my sex life on my naughty blog every week. Unusual, I know, but this works for me because I’m also an exhibitionist, which just reinforces my kinky branding. Yeah, my readers love that about me. Additionally, my branding qualifies prospective readers. If they don’t like me, chances are they aren’t gonna like my novels. If they do like me, they’re gonna love my smokin’ hot books. No doubt about it.

Once you’ve branded yourself, everything you say, every post, every word you type at a social media site should support and strengthen your brand. Now you can see why I said your brand had better be something you can live with. For many authors their branding is not who they are in real life. It’s a role they play, depending upon what they write. But whatever it is, it had better be a persona you can fall into easily, enjoy, and project consistently day after day online.

Tomorrow, I’ll talk about Twitter and how crucial it is for book sales. Stay tuned…


Laura Stamps is an award-winning, paranormal erotica novelist, whose daily blog is wickedly naughty. Her work has been published in over a thousand magazines, literary journals, and anthologies worldwide. The recipient of a Pulitzer Prize nomination and seven Pushcart Award nominations, she is the author of more than forty-five books. A Wiccan Faery Witch, Empath, and Psychic, Laura enjoys writing novels about lusty Pagans living in the Deep South. Here’s how you can find her on the web:

Email: laurastamps@mindspring.com
For info about her novel series:
http://www.avampskiss.blogspot.com/
Her verrrrry naughty blog:
http://www.laurastamps.com/
Her “Laura Stamps” Fan Page at Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/sexwitch
To follow her on Twitter:
http://twitter.com/sexwitch