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Twitter and Blogging Part 3

March 21, 2011

In the past two blogging segments, we’ve discussed why as authors you need a blog in the first place as well as how to write a successful blog. In this segment, I’ll review how to connect what we’ve taught you on Twitter (targeting, branding, lists) and how to use that to build your blog following into a reader base that will buy your books!

Most writers, whether indie OR traditional, have probably heard by now that marketing is just as critical to a successful book launch as the writing of the book itself. And…many writers fight that tooth and nail. Well, get over it. This is the reality of our world and our economy today. The IBC recommends you spend at least fifty percent of your time writing and the other fifty percent of your time marketing your book (or future books).

So that begs the question: how do you market a future book?

Well, let’s greet two very good marketing friends of mine: Hello, Mr. Twitter. Good day, Ms. Blog.

Let’s see how these two amazing platforms connect to help you, the author, market your book!

TWITTER

Okay, it’s no secret that we love Twitter here at the IBC. Why? Multiple reasons but to pick one: it’s a wonderful, completely free marketing tool. Did you write your book so nobody would read it? Of course not. Twitter is a perfect place for you to connect with readers, reviewers, book bloggers and clubbers, fellow writers, and other publishing professionals (in a targeted, branded way) where you can mix it up – get your name, book, and persona out there. Why on earth would you not want to take advantage of this amazing opportunity?

We don’t talk about what we had for lunch (um, unless it was divine…then okay, go ahead and share).

Still writing your book? Fine. Find your reader base NOW and start connecting with people so that when your book is released, you’ll have buyers already in place. Give them samples of your book—snippets here and there. How? …

BRANDING

I was on Twitter for a good nine months before I released my book A Walk In The Snark: The Best of RachelintheOC in January. For me, the cohesion between Twitter and posting blog snippets of my non-fiction essays everyday (yep, everyday—more on that in a sec) was quite seamless because it gave people a real taste for who I am as a person. What they don’t realize is that I’m feeding them my brand in very careful spoonfuls.

If you think that sounds manipulative, it is (to a certain extent). But remember, you want to control and manipulate your image—it’s no different than how you select makeup or choose what clothes to wear. Your brand is simply how you present your image on Twitter and blog to the world. Better you than some stranger, right?

BLOGGING

Okay, let’s get to it. When you post links to your blog, you need to be creative, interesting, and not spammy. I see many, many tweeps (especially newbies) make this mistake: link, link, link, read me, read me, read me. This is NOT what your Twitter feed should be or nobody will follow you. In fact, not only will they unfollow you and report you as a spammer, but you are actually breaking Twitter’s TOS (Terms of Service) guidelines, so listen up.

If you’re under 2,000 followers, the ratio of content (non-link) tweets to promo (linked) tweets should be 3-5:1 — so what that means is you want to provide interesting content in three to five tweets for every one promotional linked tweet (where you say “Me! Me! Read me! Look at me!” though not that Bart Simpson level of annoying).

Once you’ve built up a sturdier, more dedicated following like myself or cofounder Carolyn (@craftycmc), then you have the leeway to be a bit more promotional, say 3:1 or even 2:1.

A few key things to keep in mind when posting your blog links to Twitter:

Ø  Always shorten your links. If you have any hope at all of a RT (retweet) you will use a link shortener. The publishing industry standard (hint, hint) is bit.ly so we strongly suggest (hint, hint) you use that. The easiest way to do this is to set up the TweetMe button on your blog so when you or others RT a post, it’s automatically shortened. Your Twitter app should also have this function (Tweetdeck or Twitter both have it). You can also set up your own free bit.ly account and track your clicks. All very cool and important for future (I’ll discuss why in my next article).

Ø  Be creative. Blurb your posts. Use #hashtags. You’re a writer for goodness sakes. I see too many tweets that just say this: “Read my new post,” and guess what? I move on (I’m sure I’m not the only one). Sex it up! How can you make it more interesting? Jazz hands it, baby.

People know me as that snarky redheaded Mancode chick in a sea of blondes (branding, hello.) so you bet I’m going to hashtag the heck out of any blog post tweet with MY particular brand (Mancode, Chickspeak, coffee, vodka, etc.). So for me that blurb would say “Men are from Seinfeld, Women are from Friends: A #Mancode Post,” with a shortened link. See? Fancy.

Ø  Participate in #MentionMonday. What the heck is Mention Monday? Only the best thing to happen to Twitter since…Twitter! You may be familiar with #FF (Follow Friday) and #WW (Writer Wednesday). Well, #MM (#MentionMonday) is nothing like that because it’s not a bunch of name drops. #MentionMonday is the brainchild of our very own Carolyn McCray because she wanted a way for writers to share their primo writing samples on Twitter to gain reach and influence.

#MentionMonday is really two-fold: We writers post our best blog posts (usually a “something new” that you tweet throughout that day; however, you’re welcome to tweet out past posts that you feel represent your best work as well); in addition, you RT (retweet) the posts of other writers who are also participating in #MentionMonday (simply enter the term in SEARCH). If you give, you will receive.

I call it the Church of #IBC (and I’m Jewish). #MM is a superb way to up your exposure as a writer of note on Twitter, gain followers in the writer crowd, meet readers and fellow writers (many of whom are voracious readers and who know people who know people who know people), reviewers, and hey, maybe even some editors and publishers. You just never know. Don’t ignore this fabulous opportunity. Key word: writing sample.

Ø  It’s okay to recycle. To this day my most popular post is the #Mancode essay I mentioned above and I wrote it almost a full year ago. Not only do I post it a few times per week (and still get tons of retweets and comments) but it was the motivation for my current release A Walk In The Snark as well as my next book!

Twitter is great because it’s so fluid; but realize this–so is your blog. Go back in and change up your posts—make them funnier, more interesting, update them, make them pop! Then repost them frequently throughout the day (keeping in mind the ratio) and throughout the week. Remember, we suggest you follow 25-50 new tweeps every day. All those people have never seen your posts and chances are, many of your current following hasn’t either. Hard to believe our readers don’t hang on our every word but…

Ø  Save time. How do we possibly do all this stuff and still find time to write our books? Bank your tweets and blogs. Resist the urge to live tweet to once or twice per day, or when your schedule is clear. How do we accomplish this? Third-party applications like TweetDeck, Hootsuite, or SocialOomph. Write out your tweets (with links) days, if not weeks, in advance and lay them in. Carolyn in a pro at this; me, not so much. As a busy wife, mom, and published author who teaches social media, I’m lucky to get in a day or two worth of laying in but when I do, whew – freedom.

The other advantage of this tool, particularly as a humorist, is when I get on a roll; get me going on anything #Mancode or #Chickspeak related and there’s no turning back. Try it yourself. Pick three topics, no interruptions (NO TWITTER) and you’ll find you can write pages of tweets (no more than 120 characters to leave room for retweets). You’ll be AMAZED at the results. Then voila! Lay them in for your week. Now you have time to write your book.

No, people won’t realize you’re not live tweeting. Yes, you can still go check your responses (I hear these comments a lot in our free workshops). Banking is simply a time-management tool. This is an extremely time-efficient process for those of you who are finding it hard to balance writing and marketing. It’s a very common practice and I’ll tell you this: it works.

Granted, live interaction is very important. I personally love it. But, so is writing your book.

I hope this blogging series has helped you with any questions you have about Twitter, blogging, and building your platform for selling your book. We cover many more tips and tricks on our weekly radio show, blog, and daily on our Twitter stream.

No, go forth, platform, and sell some books!

You should follow @RachelintheOC on Twitter, her blog, or purchase her hysterical yet touching eBook “A Walk In The Snark” on Amazon. You can usually find her most days somewhere between her stream, the @IndieBookIBC stream, writing her next Mancode book, picking up her kids, struggling with her moody WiFi she named Pris, talking her husband into a Mac, or dodging “real” blonde housewives driving SUVs in Orange County, CA (the OC).

Check out our next big IBC promotions: Bestseller For A Day on Wednesday, April 6th for @RachelintheOC’s A Walk In The Snark and then Blog Tour de Force “Cage Match” April 18-23!

***

Bestseller For A Day–Irish Moon Results: On March 16th, we made a bit of history.

Irish Moon, priced at 99 cents as part of the Bestseller For A Day promotion went from ranking around #7943 on the Amazon Kindle charts, up to ranking #595 on Kindle. #WHOAANDWOW

It hit #2 on the Kindle Fantasy Historical list, #2 on the Sci-Fi and Fantasy-Fantasy-Historical list, and #17 on the Futuristic, Fantasy and Ghost list.

Irish Moon had minimal Adwords support. In part, because the funds just didn’t kick in. In part, because the Adwords weren’t very effective, meaning the right ad, combined with the right copy, married with the best day and time that would create a strong click to buy ratio.

Irish Moon‘s 200 sales that pushed it up the charts so well can be credited to reader support, reviews and word of mouth.

Stay tuned for the hilarious and touching A Walk In The Snark by Rachel Thompson for Bestseller For a Day April 6th! We’re talking belly laughs, a hot price and phenomenal prizes to once again take a title to the TOP!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 21, 2011 11:08 am

    Some great tips here! I have a question though. As a fiction author, many of my posts tend to be about the process of writing. But I imagine my readers who are not fellow authors may not find that particularly interesting. So, what do I blog about?

  2. March 21, 2011 12:52 pm

    Great question! As a fiction writer, your blog is a perfect place to share what you are writing. In past articles, I’ve advised you to keep the posts short– no more than 500 words. Why? Don’t give away the store. Provide just enough to intrigue people to want to purchase your book.

    In my eBook, I include several essays that aren’t humor — that deal with the loss of an ex-love by suicide. I dealt with it through writing about it on my blog and so many people have told me they’ve purchased my book because of those essays — and I’m a humorist. So sometimes providing snippets of your true self, and your work, is what people need to connect to you.

    I link to the previous articles in this post. We also talk a lot about how to brand yourself — fiction or non-fiction– in our free webinar workshops that are the 2nd tuesday of each month. I encourage you to sign up. Just DM me on the stream of email us at indiebookibc@gmail.com.

  3. March 22, 2011 11:55 am

    Awesome advice. I totally love Twitter but when I first started (last Sept) I was a fool! No idea how to interact in this new Twitterverse I’d found. So I got help, and I LEARNED! I can’t tell you how much I love me some TweetDeck. It keeps my Twitter working for me EVEN WHILST I SLEEP! :) (Yes, I used whilst, I’m feeling nostalgic today.)

    I’ve still got a lot of learning to do, and more ways to be organized about this in order to really be effective. So THANKS! You all rock my cyber world!

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