5 Things You Can Do Today to Market Yourself Better in 2011

Note: This post was first published on 563media.com in 2010.

It’s that time of year again—when we evaluate our business accomplishments and goals and decide what we can do better in the New Year. If you’re an author: what will you do differently in 2011 to market yourself and your books?

Here are 5 easy items you won’t want to overlook. In fact, you can implement all of them this week (though I recommend you refill your coffee mug first).

  1. Sign up for Amazon Author Central. In the last week, Amazon announced that it’s granting registered authors access to Nielsen Bookscan geographical data. Finally, you can see where in the world your customers are located, and when they’ve been buying. This is invaluable data for anyone running special promotions, appearing on regional TV or radio, or doing book signings or meetups. All you have to do to access this data is sign up for a free Author Central account. Click here for the FAQ.
  2. Add your blog to your Facebook Page. Do you have a Facebook Page for Business? Log into your account, then go to Networked Blogs. Add Networked Blogs to your profile, then set the app to broadcast your blog’s RSS feed. Your Fans will be updated automatically whenever you publish a new post. You can also add a tab to your Page that will display your recent posts. Your Fans won’t have to leave Facebook to vote up your blog content or share it with their friends.
  3. Participate in #FridayReads on Twitter. You’ll need a Twitter account for this one. #FridayReads is one of the hottest memes of 2010, probably because it’s so simple. Every Friday, Twitter users from around the world tweet what they’re reading, and tag their tweets with the hash tag #fridayreads. Participating in #FridayReads is an easy way to get your name in front of new people, show your Followers that you’re a real human (You read as well as write!), and support literacy and the book industry.
  4. Set up a Goodreads Author Profile. Goodreads is one of the most popular book-related social networks on the internet. Sign up for its Author Program and you’ll have the opportunity to participate in official Book Giveaways, site-supported Q&As with readers, and possibly even the weekly newsletter. I recently ran a Book Giveaway on the site for an author client—and received 663 entries in 4 weeks. Hands down, this is the most efficient and cost-effective way I’ve found to get the word out about a book.
  5. Schedule a day to stockpile your content. This is a challenge I’m issuing to myself, too. As critical as blogging, Facebooking, Tweeting and updating your LinkedIn accounts can be, when you’re under deadlines, self-promotional and marketing activities can fall to the bottom of the list. I recommend setting aside a single day to brainstorm a few months worth of content. “Impossible!” you say. Not so. Go to a quiet place, away from distractions, and draft 30 titles for future blog posts. If you’re stuck for ideas, write in the form of Top 10 lists related to your area of expertise (e.g., Top 10 Exercise Trends for the New Year). Next, write down 30 one-line pieces of advice you’d love to pass along to others in your industry. Finally, reflect on 30 insights or accomplishments from 2010. When you’re done with this exercise, you’ll have 90 pieces of content. Some are already complete, and can be used as Tweets and Status Updates. Others are starting points for future blog posts. Get up, stretch, yawn, then write down 10 more thoughts for a nice, round 100. Congratulations! You have a Content Strategy for 2011. But don’t forget the first step: putting this mini writing retreat on your calendar.

These are my Top 5 suggestions for 2011. If you’ve found them helpful, please Like this post using the buttons below. Thanks, and Happy Holidays!

Write What You Don’t Know (Yet)

Write to discover what you want to say. Photo by David Iskander on Unsplash

Photo by David Iskander on Unsplash

Note: This post was originally published on my blog in April 2008.

Right now I’m reading a book called The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse. The author, Louise Erdrich, is one of my favorite writers. I first learned of her when I was a freshman at Dartmouth. About fifteen of us who’d designated creative writing as a potential major were invited to meet with her and her husband, Michael Dorris, at the Montgomery House, where they were living as fellows and resident scholars.

I don’t remember much about the meeting, except that they served tea, cookies, and chocolate covered strawberries. The authors gave us some advice, then invited us to ask questions. I’d never raised my hand to ask or answer a single thing in thirteen years of public education, but now, newly collegiate, I was surprisingly bold.

My question: “Everyone always tells writers to write what they know. But we’re only eighteen years old and nothing’s happened to us yet. What are we supposed to write about?”

Read moreWrite What You Don’t Know (Yet)

Book Review in Brief: Tribes, by Seth Godin

If you’ve been delving into the online world at all, you’ve probably heard the term “tribes.” For several years, management consultants, social networks, business book authors and others have been using this term to describe groups of people who come together around a cause, a project, a way of thinking, a hobby or an interest. Tribes can exist within organizations or outside of them, but the one thing they have in common is that they want someone to lead them.

Tribes by Seth GodinOne of the more recent additions to this line of thought is Seth Godin’s book, Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us.

Tribes is a slim book you can read in a day, and it’s short on details. Don’t read it thinking it will teach you how to launch a company, use Twitter, win over a community of bloggers or create a street team to spread the word about your product or book. But do read it if you’re confused about social networking and why you should get involved with it.

Read moreBook Review in Brief: Tribes, by Seth Godin