By Susan Reichert, Editor-in-Chief, Southern Writers Magazine
Whether we as writers like it or not, we must do marketing. One of the easiest ways for us to market is using the internet. Online marketing has influence on consumers. It influences them in what types of purchasing decisions to make. Which tells us why we need the internet presence.
The consumer needs to see our name, they need to see our products (books) so that when they decide to read a book our name comes readily to mind.
The more they see our name, the more it becomes ingrained.
If you sold dogs, you would market them using their pictures, stories about them and you would tell everyone how great they are. Well as authors, we may not feel comfortable telling the consumer how great our books are, but we can “show” them. Isn’t that what we are taught to do when we write? “Show don’t Tell?”
You can ask many authors and they will tell you an online presence is one of the most important decisions you can make for your career as an author. Agents look for it, publishers look for it and our readers look for it.
Building an online presence there are certain key things that must be done. Here are a couple I think that are important.
Decide what your goal is. An author’s goal is to build relationships with people. There is a saying in business that people do business with people they like. I heard that repeatedly in the corporate world when I was a young woman working in marketing. This is very true with authors and readers. If I like an author as a person, I am going to buy his/her books.
Be Real. Yes, that sounds funny, but it is true. If we open ourselves up to people and show caring and concern for others, they are going to reciprocate, and before long you will find you are friends. No one likes to try to communicate with someone who doesn’t care about them. Remember, it is okay to be vulnerable. You can admit, that you are trying to solve a problem…especially if you are writing a book. They would love to know that in your writing you are working on a scene, name, setting or anything where they can give you their thoughts. Who knows, you just find a nugget that can open new worlds for you.
The marketing that authors engage in is called “soft-sales”. We aren’t selling cars! You want to keep your name out and it’s okay to talk about your book. But it is much more interesting when you are talking about your book to talk about why you wrote it; interesting things you ran into in your research; problems you had gaining information…this type of marketing draws people into conversation, intrigues them and peeks their interest. They come to know you as a real person, and they are going to buy your books.
The internet is our tool that introduces us to prospective buyers who are readers. It also introduces us to agents and publishers.
We as writers need the humanness from others because it brings life to what we write.