Friday, January 22, 2010

Taming the Online Marketing Animal by Robert W. Walker

Online marketing is an entirely different animal than “real world” marketing. Doing blogs, blog tours, some his and her blog tours with my writer wife, Miranda, and am ever online at all the “usual” places building relationships. And even online, you are seldom successful in selling your book so much as selling a laugh or a philosophical point you wish to make, and engaging in give and take, so in effect you’re selling your self—or rather getting folks to care about you or your point of view or that of your dog, Pongo, in the photo with me, or that photo of me with Will Smith or Captain Jack Sparrow—even if they are cardboard cutouts…. Sad truth is that Pongo sells far more books than I ever could. However, if people like you and what you have to say, they eventually will go find a copy of your book.

Recently, a dear friend I met online named Ann Charles said this to me: “There are some questions I’d love to hear the answer to if we were kicking back at the bar at a writers’ conference and these are: What do you mean that you don’t sell your book so much as sell yourself? I thought that after you have an actual book to promote—something besides just air and a name (which is what I have to try to promote)—that you could focus on selling that book and not worry so much about selling yourself.”

The book jobbers who sell to the bookstores say it best; if they like me, they will buy my stock. If students like and respect their teacher, they will buy what the teacher is selling. Online be as likeable as you can be; use humor, exaggeration, have fun with it and know it takes time to create online relationships.

“But what precisely are you doing to sell yourself online? Are you just trying to be entertaining with fun stories to get the blog readers to like you? Are you throwing cover quotes and details about your books at them? Are you telling how you came up with the idea and talking about what you are currently working on? And what is the impression about Rob W. Walker that you are hoping/trying to leave in your wake online?”

Excellent questions. Short answer is YES to all of the above. Spread it around, have cover art and photos do double and triple duty. Blog on humorous events in your life, childhood moments, any behind the book stories you can safely share. Mix it up and do not always post about your books. Let signature lines do that for you. Give advice, give help, give of yourself and be gracious with your knowledge and humor. Lots of humor. Leave ‘em laughing. Spend time answering the tweets and facebook comments of others. It requires time and commitment but what relationship doesn’t?

Below is a list of exciting links that all writers should be aware of and visit often, so I will slip it across the bar to you.

A Newbie’s Guide To Publishing/ JA Konrath: A free download 250,000 words worth of tips, hints, tricks, and advice. Over 750 pages long. And it's free

Book Promotion

Happy Writing and Marketing!
Rob Walker


Morgan Mandel said...

I'll add another site, which I'm especially fond of, to Rob's list -

If anyone else knows of good marketing sites, feel free to share.

Morgan Mandel

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Don't forget Book Tour! They link to everything.

Online, it's all about selling yourself as the expert.

Debra St. John said...

Hey Rob,

Thanks for the links. I'm always looking for ways to get my name out there.

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Margaret Tanner said...

Thanks Rob,
Great sites, I'll have to check them out.

Author Scott Nicholson said...

yeah, people want entertainment, not advertising. I've noticed I tune out people who only talk about themselves, no matter which field it is.

Scott Nicholson
author of The Red Church

rob said...

You are all great to take time out of your busy day to stop by and for that I THANK you all except the anonymous AD - Spam here. Not sure how that got in....
Am having a lot of trouble trying to keep up with all the online commitments.