Abracadabra!

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The magic trick of self-marketing for writers.

There is one magic trick for marketing your books (or blog or brand or self)…

What’s that you protest? Everyone else tells you “there’s no magic trick to successful marketing?” Yep, I’ve heard that too. Don’t believe them, they’re wrong.

There is one magic trick to marketing and it is this…

Don’t spread yourself too thinly.

Right, off you trot and get on with it.

Actually, woah, hang on… before you go, allow me to elaborate…

You Don’t Eat An Elephant In One Sitting
You’ve taken all this time to write a book, you’ve sweated blood drafting and revising and honing and polishing and ensuring every single word is just as good as it could possibly be. So, quite naturally, you want to shout out to the whole world about your amazing achievement and have them all (hopefully) clamour to read it and (even more hopefully) shell out a few shiny coins for the privilege.

The problem is, you simply can’t reach everyone all at once. And if you try, you will dissolve into a rather messy-looking puddle of frustration, irritation, exasperation, desperation and a whole bundle of other -ations which I’ll let you dream up for yourselves.

No. The simple truth is, if you try and do everything at once, you’ll fail. Guaranteed.

Facebook, Twitter, blog, LinkedIn, Goodreads, Google+, Wattpad, the list goes on and on and on seemingly endlessly, much like Big Brother.

Take it from a grizzled, campaign-hardened (campaign, it’s a pun, geddit??) marketing veteran – you choose your battles and fight them one at a time. The order in which you tackle your battlefields is largely irrelevant and completely of your choosing.

If you attempt to develop an audience and grow your following across multiple platforms at once, you will go utterly out of your mind and give up probably within a month. And that’s if you’re dedicated. Most last a couple of weeks.

Know What You Like And Like What You Know
Find the platform you are most drawn to and start there. Some like Twitter for its brevity: fine. Others prefer the chatty loquaciousness afforded by Facebook: equally fine. If you find yourself drawn to the Communities of Google+: fine as well.

Just pick the one you like and focus on getting to understand that really really well. Know the types of users, experiment with different post types, use pictures, words, links, whatever you fancy. But don’t try and run before you can walk.

I’ve been blogging for a couple of years now and I’m a big fan of G+ and Twitter, but don’t do so well on LinkedIn. I’ll experiment with it again at some point, but right now I’m developing my audience on my blog and my favoured channels. And it’s working.

In time, you’ll find the audience you develop on your Number One Platform will keep ticking over when you wander off to test out another for a bit. It’s like spinning plates.

So, if the sheer effort and commitment involved in marketing your books seems daunting – overwhelming even – take a breath and a step back (watch out for that coffee table…) and set your sights on one particular target.

Then launch yourself headlong at it.

So tell me, which platforms work best for you and why?

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9 thoughts on “Abracadabra!

  1. Hi, Jon! Good to see you. I would say my blog, of course. But no surprise, I spend the most time on that. Next, I get the most response from Facebook friends. Twitter, I haven’t done enough with. That is all I have attempted. I’d like to try Wattpad next. I have an account and plan to put something there soon. I think it all takes time. I guess you have to be willing to be patient.

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    • Absolutely Amy, patience is the key. Which, rather annoyingly, is something we writers seem to be rather bad at!We’ll spend years writing a book, but when we’re ready we want the world to know about it overnight ;)

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  2. FANTASTIC POST!!! And perfect timing, since I’ve just recently been feeling very overwhelmed and stressed about “keeping up” with all this online presence and marketing mish-mash! :P Bleh! Apparently I prefer the blog and Twitter, and FB to an extent, though I’ve been debating with myself over what to do about FB. I don’t update the page all that much … I have a page and an author personal page … should I get rid of one and just keep up with the other? I feel like the personal one is more, well … personal! But the official Page layout gives you access to stats, etc. Errrrggghhhh WHYYYYYY. Damn you social media … damn you!

    …. on another note, I hope I didn’t piss off the moderator of that G+ community in coming to your defense about sharing this post there. I specifically joined that community just to put the guy in his place, which I really only felt inclined to do after reading the rather rude tone of his language in the post he linked in reply to your question.

    So. Hope you don’t mind. :) But he totally deserved it. Moderator or not, there’s no need to take that tone with members!

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    • Hahaaaaaa!! :D Thanks JRF, I greatly appreciated the backup. I’m taking the moral high ground and withdrawing my support from his community. What kind of a tone is that to use eh??!! There’s a word for people like him and it’s very short and very rude ;)

      For what it’s worth… I think you’re right to have a personal FB page and a professional/brand one. I always try and keep the two completely separate – well, usually :D It’s just that I don’t realy use the author one very much these days, due to all the changes FB have made with post reach. If I can migrate a healthy enough following from the blog and G+ over to FB, then I’d look at ramping up the activity a bit. It really does become a full-time job doesn’t it?? Only without pay!

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  3. Good post! I actually like a few, but for different reasons. So I’m not spreading myself, I’m splitting myself up. A bit like Voldemort’s horcruxes, you could say :p Having said that, I’m mostly on Twitter and Wattpad.

    I use G+ almost solely for communities – Writer’s Coffeehouse and Support-a-Writer.

    Facebook is there because a lot of my older friends are on it, and it’s a way to keep up to date. Having said that, it’s losing it’s power to commercialisation and I’m using it less and less these days. I got rid of my FB page for the changes you mentioned in the comment above. Too much work for very little return what with post reach changes.

    Twitter’s my favourite! So many interesting peeps (tweeps!) to talk to. Short and snappy. Entertaining. Informative.

    Wattpad is new for me. You don’t know if you don’t try, right? I only knew FB pages didn’t work for me after I tried it. So far, I’m loving that I can gain readership, encouragement, and critique from Wattpad. I intend to ask my readers for reviews when I put out the book version of my stories as well, so I believe Wattpad is a good place for where I’m at in my writing career.

    I’m on LinkedIn but don’t use it much. Might be time to go and update it – thanks for the reminder lol.

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    • A perfect summary Zee :) That’s exactly what I was trying to convey and it’s spot-on with how I do it too. So glad that the post actualy made sense! When writers are starting out with marketing, it’s always best to laser-beam focus in on one (or two) – but by the time you’ve got the presence and experience (as you have), it’s much easier to manage several.

      I find LinkedIn a drag for writing-related matters to be honest (there’s another post on the way about that particular monster) although it’s great for “day-job” networking.

      Twitter still challenges me. I know the theory and all the strategy around using it but still… I find it really hard to be witty, entertaining and informative in so few characters. Mundane and banal , on the other hand, is a doddle :)

      Thanks for the splendid comment.

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  4. You’re absolutely right, Jon. When I first started promoting my book, The Basement, about 4 months before it was released, I joined every social media site known to mankind. I soon learned that was impossible. So I chose a few sites and alternated the days I work on them. It’s all about prioritizing. ;)

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    • As soon as I perfect my cloning technique, I’m going to have a bunch of extra me’s running all my social media 24 hours a day. Then I’l sell the formula to other bloggers and become the richest man in the universe. Of course, at that point all the other me’s will probably revolt and stage an uprising, but I’l worry about that when it happens…

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