FREEBIES

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Having been out of the teenage and young adult categories for years, now, I find I don’t buy music like I once did.

Oh, I still enjoy listening to good vocalists and great music, especially Jazz. It’s just that I don’t purchase it.

However, last week I received an email offer for a free CD. It was music I knew I’d like, so I claimed it.

I wasn’t as though I had been “shopping” for it, but it tempted me—because it was FREE.

Now, my point is this:  often times a reader isn’t looking for your book—maybe not even for something to read from your genre—but they can be lured by a free offer (and may even leave a stellar review).

If your books are on Amazon, you have an easy option of doing an out-and-out Giveaway or take advantage of running a Countdown Deal. Book Bub and Goodreads have similar promotions.

On your own website or Facebook page, you can offer free copies of your book or something else free. (I “won” a box of beautiful handmade greeting cards as a giveaway prize from another author a couple of years ago.)

The point is: people like getting something for free AND it may get you noticed which, as all new authors know, is HUGE.

Freebies—just another way to promote yourself, your brand and your message.

 

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Brand+ Platform = Successful Marketing

27227677773_5a084bf604Two things (besides great writing) make an author appealing to agents, editors, publishers, and readers: Brand and Platform.

Differentiating one author from another, they make them visible on all of their communication channels.

(My last blog dealt with branding. If you didn’t happen to read it, you can find it archived on www.brendapoulos.org).

The author platform is how an author is currently reaching an audience of readers, or their plan for doing so.

An author must be VISIBLE and INVOLVED on the social networks to stand out among the masses.

So, a platform (the plan for visibility as a speaker, business owner, blogger, website owner, podcaster—as well as a presence on Twitter, Facebook, etc.–is what an author uses to prove that their books will sell.

Both Indie authors, as well as traditionally published authors, must show a willingness to put in time and effort into marketing themselves online.

So, when should an author establish their platform?

“Yesterday” is a great answer.

That’s right.

Since building a platform takes time, experts tell us authors need begin even before they have a book ready to publish.

Most people are on Facebook, so that may be a logical place to start.

Experts tell us that having one’s own website is ESSENTIAL—and there are quite a few that are free, including WordPress and Weebly.

After that, the sky is the limit.

Put in the time.

Reap the rewards.

Remember:  Branding + Platform = Successful Marketing

 

Platform Building, Part 2

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Your writer’s platform is basically the group of activities you engage in that get your name and work noticed by the public. It’s marketing, not of a specific work, but of you as the author. It’s everything you do to build your brand.

Nowadays, publishers require that their authors are willing to get out there and market themselves. And, if you’re an indie author, as I am, all the more important for you to learn all you can about marketing.

  1. Aside from making publishers happy, there are a other side benefits to platform building:
  2. You may be able to generate some side-income from teaching and speaking.

You can also build your brand as an expert in your writing niche.

No matter what your goals, fans want to connect with a real person. That means we need to be ourselves, both as writers and individuals. We must show our true faces to the world.

The good news is that the technology of today (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) can play a major role in building our platforms, and are based on genuine, personal interactions.

*So, with an online presence on Facebook and Twitter being ESSENTIAL, I will also suggest that you start a website/blog and or weekly newsletter. Weebly and WordPress basic websites are FREE. I got mine (www.brendapoulos.org and www.spiritualsnippets.com and runawaysthelongjourneyhome.wordpress.com) started in practically no time at all. I am not techie, so if I can do it, you can, too! (There are others, such as communit.com, but these are the easiest to get started with and to keep going on a consistent basis.)

You’ll have to be diligent about blogging at least once weekly, adding your bio, announcing new book launches, sharing information on writing and about your life in as specific details as you are comfortable.

*Speaking at writer’s groups, libraries, book clubs, etc. can get you in front of the public. You’ll meet new people (potential followers) and meet other writers.

Although public speaking isn’t for everyone, it’s never a bad idea to get out there and let people see the face of the author behind the words. Take a guest book along with you, asking interested attendees to give you their email address so you can keep in touch with news, offers, etc.

*Teaching the craft of writing is another great avenue to help brand you as an expert. It will also give you something to blog about. Although this is often done as a freebie on an author’s part, you can make some decent side money by teaching either in person or online via podcasts or webinars.

So, decide what your specialty will be. Some websites I’ve seen involve cooking, crafting, scrapbooking, animals, travel—almost anything that is of interest to you will also be of interest to that certain group of others with similar likes, goals, and beliefs.

*Don’t overlook doing book give-a-ways on Goodreads and Amazon and Book Bub. You can also create products, such as pens, mugs, bookmarks, etc. Then, used these to market your brand by using them as give-a-ways at fairs, conventions, etc.

Get creative! I leave my business cards on bulletin boards and in restaurants when I pay my bill. A friend of mine leaves them in the pockets of the clothing she tries on when shopping!

*Support other authors. Join a professional writers groups/organizations. These are great ways to make contacts, lasting friendships, and get in on some great teaching. May I recommend American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the local chapter in your state.

It is important to remember that platform building will be different for every author because it will depend on your target readership, your unique expertise, and the message you want to present to the world.

Platform building is a creative process, just as is your own writing…

Use your imagination.

Begin small and build in increments.

Be persistent.

Don’t give up!

Neglecting your platform in today’s world can be a big mistake. You may have written a best-seller, but no one will know that if you don’t make your presence known!