C h a z z W r i t e s . c o m

Write and publish with love and fury.

#Book Marketing: The old divisions don’t apply

Social Media Landscape

Over the weekend, inspired by the social media conference I attended, I got signed up for Linked In. I had signed up a long time ago, but frankly, I really hadn’t done anything much with it. Stuff you don’t engage with doesn’t count, so Linked In didn’t count. However, the more I explored the site and played with it, the more I understood that there were some great conversations I was missing out on. So I got engaged again.

One of the great things about Linked In is that it suggests groups and associations and companies that dovetail with your interests. One of the groups—I guess I won’t name them because I don’t know if I’ve been accepted yet—sent me a list of rules as a preliminary how-to and how-do. The group moderator’s membership criteria was that I wasn’t going to join in on their forums just to get all spammy. In some detail, the moderator warned me that I shouldn’t post on their site just to introduce myself and say hello. (I’ve been a member on other forums wherein that’s their first request of noobs.) None of this was personal. The forum had a large membership and I undertand they want to keep it clean if not pure.

Basically, I was to contribute on-topic value at all times, never straying into self-promotion and blog blaring.

Well, okay. But…

Look, I don’t want to be spammy. At the conference, one social media guru referred to that as “Shout Marketing.” That’s basically being obnoxious with outdated marketing approaches where the information goes in one direction and the message is “Buy! Buy! Buy! Hire the magic that is ME, for the love of god!” and so forth.

What makes social media “social” is that it’s a conversation. Information goes back and forth. You interact with customers who (gasp) give you feedback, leave comments, contribute their own thoughts and opinions and (worse!) let you know how you’re doing.

So the forum admin had a point about avoiding the old style of marketing. However, the implication that we can all totally divorce our marketing roles from the life of the mind is also outdated. If you’re an artist of any sort, you need to market yourself. Writers comment on blogs and engage in conversations because it’s fun and interesting. They are also trying to sell their books. There’s no shame in that as long as you use the new style of marketing (engaging in conversation) and not getting all spammy over their screens.

I’ve noticed some people on Twitter get a tad irked when too many tweets from one person are too advertorial. I’ve felt this way, too. For instance, I love Chuck Pahlaniuk’s fiction, but his Twitter account seemed to be managed for him by one of Skynet‘s spambots. As vast as his cult is, Chuck doesn’t appear to be engaging with his audience as a person. As a result, I reluctantly unfollowed the author. No hard feelings. Still love most of the books and Fight Club is an all-time favorite.

So what I’m saying is, you can sell effectively without being obnoxious. By all means, let us know about your next book signing so we can show up and engage you there, too. But:

1. Be authentic.

2. Be yourself instead of your intern.

3. Have conversations. Have opinions.

4. If it’s all spam, you will be unfollowed and your blog shall go unvisited and unlamented.

Me? I retweet links that interest me. I sometimes go off on tangents that aren’t about writing and publishing. I hope you’ll like me and visit the blog often. (Updated here, Monday to Friday! Same Bat-time, same bat-channel!) When I have a service to sell (like my editing services) or when I have an e-book or tree book to sell, I hope you’ll like me enough to consider laying out some moolah for my work.

I say unto thee, I am open, honest and unashamed. I am marketing myself because that’s what creators must do now. As long as you don’t feel that’s all I do, you’ll probably stick around. I don’t need millions of followers who don’t give a shit about me. A core constituency that does care (and forgive my occasional missteps) will do fine.

The take-away truisms are:

1. First you sell yourself.

2. Then you sell your product.

3. You do so by doing what we’re all here to do. We serve each other.

Filed under: blogs & blogging, Books, ebooks, Editing, Editors, getting it done, Publicity & Promotion, publishing, self-publishing, Social Media, Useful writing links, web reviews, Writers, , , , , , , ,

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