By Guest Blogger Mari Smith – Social Media Speaker and Trainer
With Facebook’s near 500 million strong active userbase, this giant online social network is a goldmine for authors. By building out a compelling Fan Page, driving targeted traffic to it and creating buzz, you can easily create valuable visibility for your book.
When a potential fan clicks on to your Facebook Fan Page, your goals are to (1) immediately grab their attention and make them feel they are in the right place, (2) inspire them to become a fan, (3) draw them in to engage with your page and (4) keep them coming back – often called “stickiness,” in other words, your fans keep coming back to engage with your page.
Facebook Fan Pages are (currently) the only feature fully indexed by Google. By inserting keyword-rich text throughout your Fan Page and updating regularly, you can create tremendous search engine optimization.
Using Facebook’s Social Ads, you can then drive very targeted traffic from the entire Facebook site directly to your Fan Page.
Plus, with Facebook’s new Social Plugins, you can add all manner of nifty widgets to your main website/blog to drive traffic back to your Fan Page.
Here is the direct link to create your Facebook Fan Page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php (you’ll want to select Official Page).
Following are ten elements of dynamic Facebook Fan Pages that will help you stand way out and keep your fans coming back for more!
1. Title Your Page
When first creating your Fan Page, you need to choose a title that could be your brand name, personal name, or business name and possibly a few descriptive words. You can set up an unlimited number of Facebook Fan Pages – many SEO experts recommend this. You may wish to have a Fan Page dedicated to the title of your book. Typically, though, the shorter the title the better because each time you add content to your Fan Page, your long title will append to each post. There could be some SEO benefits to that too, though.
2. Choose A Picture That Pops!
Facebook’s recommended size for your Fan Page image is 180px by 540px – it looks rather like a bookmark shape. (The optimal size used to be 200 x 600 but Facebook is introducing new dimensions shortly). Whenever you post on your own Fan Page, the thumbnail is a section of the main picture; you may need to experiment with your graphic artist to get the image just the way you want it.
3. Secure Your Username
As soon as you get your first 25 fans, you’ll be able to register your unique username (often called a Vanity URL) at http://facebook.com/username. For example, instead of being a big long unmemorable link, you can shorten and choose your brand name, company name or book title to facebook.com/yournamehere.
4. Set A Landing Tab
You can create a fully customized “landing page” for your non-fans, with images, keyword-rich text, links, even video. How? Just add the Static FBML app, paste in your FBML code (similar to HTML), then edit your Fan Page settings to select the specific tab you wish non-fans to land on. For a detailed tutorial, see this post: http://www.marismith.com/how-to-add-a-custom-landing-tab-to-your-facebook-fan-page/.
5. Write an Appealing About Us/Bio
There’s a small text box area just under your Fan Page picture; use this area strategically to summarize what you do, what your book is about, and who should read it. Even better, include a call to action with a hyperlink (be sure to include the http:// so it’s clickable).
6. Import Your Blog Posts
Using the Networked Blogs app, import your blog feed so that each time you publish a post on your blog, your Fan Page automatically updates and your fans can read and comment on the post. This also helps to add consistent content to your Fan Page and keep it engaging.
7. Show Posts by Page & Fans
There may be strategic reasons for only showing posts by yourself as the Fan Page or only by your Fans, but I highly recommend setting to show both. That way, anyone who comes to your page can see the interaction from both sides.
8. Encourage Your Fans To Add Content
Your fans can add their own photos, videos and comments on your wall using the publisher. Ask fans to add their specific reviews of your book on your wall, including page number(s). Allowing and encouraging your fans to add their own content will make them feel more a part of your online Facebook community and that content goes out into their feeds creating more visibility for you too.
9. Respond to Your Fans
Providing quality content is just one aspect of building a good Facebook Fan Page, or any social networking presence for that matter. Another critical aspect is engagement. By proactively responding to your fans comments, questions, suggestions, ideas, etc. you show that you’re a person/company that cares, that listens, that takes action and engages your community. For my two-part post on fan page engagement, see http://bit.ly/fan-page-engage1 and http://bit.ly/fan-page-engage2.
10. Broadcast to Twitter
Using the Facebook Fan Page to Twitter app http://facebook.com/twitter you can write status updates up to 420 characters that will go out as a tweet on your Twitter account and truncate at about 120 characters with a bit.ly link back to your Fan Page. Great for cross-promoting and extra visibility!
11. Add Social Plugins To Your Website/Blog
I added in a bonus tip with the recent announcement at the f8 developer conference! Using the variety of Social Plugins now offered by Facebook at http://developers.facebook.com/plugins – you can instantly create more visibility for your book/brand by having your site visitors interact with the Like button, for example, and when they do that automatically pushes out into their Facebook stream (their wall and their friends’ News Feed), thus creating valuable (free!) visibility for you!
Mari Smith is an in-demand Social Media Speaker and Trainer, and has been a passionate leader in the social media industry since 2007. FastCompany.com describes Mari as “a veritable engine of personal branding and a relationship marketing whiz.” Mari writes a blog about social media – Facebook marketing in particular – at http://marismith.com. And, find her book Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day (Sybex/Wiley) at all major bookstores and online at Amazon.com and BN.com.
By Jennifer S. Wilkov
As authors and writers, we’re always learning about resources and industry tools that we can use to improve our book project performance and the enjoyment of our writing and marketing experiences. Today let’s talk about putting the power of social media to work for you.
Social media is a social experience. Just like standing on the corner of your street and shouting to whomever will listen to you about your book, social media is the online version of this same endeavor.
However, when you work with the social media channels to build relationships and make friends, you just may find that you’ll be speaking to those who will help you get your message out faster than you just standing on your local street corner telling others about your book.
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube as well as many others help you to leverage your marketing efforts for little or no money. All these sites are free to use as you wish. The costs may come if you choose to hire a consultant or virtual assistant to use these properly to promote your books.
You can even use tools and resources that can help you broadcast to multiple sites with one message – and many of these are even free.
So the author who says I have no money to market should really be saying I’m not taking the time to market since for each of these sites – no money is required.
Social media may be a mystery; however, the best way to begin is to pick one and get you and your book set up on that one network. The more you do this, the more you’ll learn the nuances of using a social network to tell others about your book.
Then it will be much easier for you to use your book as your hook online as well as in person.
By Guest Blogger, Natalie Tinti, Award-Winning Author & Illustrator, Sewing A Friendship
How does the award-winning 10-year-old author of Sewing a Friendship, Natalie Tinti, use her book as her hook? She says it’s easier than most children think to be happy in your life and to make new friends.
Do you struggle from unhappiness in your life? Do you fail to create new friendships? Actually, it’s easier than you might think to make new friends and discover your happiness.
First of all, you have to stop waiting for others to discover who you are.
Even though you may enjoy being alone and don’t want to have any friends, begin creating new friendships by being a best friend to yourself.
And now, I would like to share with you some of my tips on how to create wonderful, long-lasting friendships for your new happier life.
Always look for the positive, especially when you are interacting with new people. Put all your attention into every moment with everyone around you to look for the beneficial, useful, helpful, gainful and optimistic angel view or side because you’ll always find what you are looking for in your life, even if you don’t know your true desire.
Stop judging other people and yourself. When you judge, you give your negative opinions about the situation, or people, or even yourself about what already happened. When you stop judging, you start accepting and understanding the cause and the result, and become open for friendships.
Have courage to include others. Are you waiting to be recognized as someone who is looking for new friends? That may take forever. Be brave and open yourself to include someone you want to be friends with, like in my book where all the girls have a choice to make… The four best friends could remain fearful of Kiki, especially when reacting to her snide comments. Instead, they gather the courage to ask their rival, Kiki, to be a part of their fashion show team. By accepting the girls’ offer, Kiki summons the courage to open herself up to the other girls. This is the moment that creates the breakthrough for what becomes the beginning of great friendships.
By Guest Bloggers, Mike & Cathleen McRitchie
Cathleen and Dad Books
Click Here to listen to Cathleen and Mike’s interview any time after 9:00 am EST Tuesday April 20th, 2010 on the WomensRadio Network.
It has certainly been an interesting journey. It’s very exciting that a project like Best Friends that began as just something fun for a Father and Daughter to work on together actually resulted in a published book for parents and their children to enjoy.
The idea came from an observation at the airport. While waiting to pick up my sister and her husband, a young girl, probably 3 or 4 years-old, walked through the terminal with her parents. She was carrying her teddy. It was actually a rabbit but I call all stuffed animals “teddies” in a general sense. I have it on good advice that they do not like to be called stuffed animals, but prefer teddy or critter. She was carrying the rabbit by his ears and his feet were dragging on the ground. The rabbit was pretty roughed up with very matted fur, but it was obvious that the young girl loved him very much. I’ve seen this many times before, of course, as I’m sure many of you have, but for some reason this time I started to think about just what it is about teddies that children love. Is it really just that they are soft and furry and nice to hold, or are they actually a companion?
The book I wrote, Best Friends, is a fun examination of why teddies are important to children.
I shared the initial story with Cathleen, who loves to draw, and I asked her if she would like to do some drawings for it. She was excited and stuck with it even as more drawings were required when the story evolved. Cathleen’s drawings turned out really well and complemented the story terrifically. We even used one of her drawings for the Cathleen and Dad logo.
After sharing the draft story with some friends and receiving positive feedback, I did research on the Internet. I decided on a Print on Demand option to publish the book.
Cathleen (11 years-old)
I mostly used colored pencils for the pictures because they don’t smear and there are a lot of colors to choose from. But even before I started to draw, I needed to read the page and make the picture in my head. Sometimes I needed to do it more than once, but even so I got it done.
I have enjoyed some extra attention at my school as a result of the project. Best Friends is in the school library and has been withdrawn many times. My Principal featured me in the morning announcements to the entire school and conducted a short interview with me. Teachers, parents and students have come up to me and told me how much they enjoyed the book.
Cathleen and Dad
One particular parent bought a signed copy of “Best Friends” for her young daughter. Later, she told us that her daughter liked the book so much that she wouldn’t let go of it for the whole day. In fact, her daughter slept with “Best Friends” that night. When we hear these types of stories, it really makes us smile.
By Jennifer S. Wilkov, Your Book Is Your Hook
As authors and writers, we’re always learning about resources and industry tools that we can use to improve our book project performance and the enjoyment of our writing and marketing experiences.
Today let’s talk about children’s books and how precious they really are.
When an author of any age sets out to write a book for children, something strikes them as an important lesson, experience or story that they’d like to share with someone younger.
Perhaps you’ve had an experience with your own child and want to share it with other children and their parents.
Maybe you’ve decided to educate children about a particular topic like proper hygiene and cleanliness or about a particular experience like riding a bike, playing baseball or making friends. Your book may address simple communication skills, hand-eye coordination, interactions with another reader or other skills for children to enjoy learning by having fun reading.
Your book could be about talking animals, stuffed animals, kids of any age or even mommies and daddies and brothers and sisters. It can be about school, sports, dancing, playing, the land of make-believe, magic tricks – anything!
The beauty of children is that their worlds are so big that we as children’s authors become enamored with the child’s imagination and, for just a moment, we get to tap into the freedom they enjoy. We get to make a meaningful contribution to their lives – sometimes ones that will last a lifetime.
Imagine the amazing, meaningful and life-long lesson of Natalie’s book – friendships. Think about the childhood experience of loving a favorite stuffed animal until its fur has been loved off – like in Cathleen and Dad’s book, Best Friends.
Every child deserves the opportunity to enjoy a rich experience with your book.
Write it well, open your heart and you’ll find that they’ll open theirs.
At Your Book Is Your Hook, we believe that children everywhere in any situation, circumstance or condition deserve to have access to books. That’s why we support Project Night Night.
Project Night Night helps underserved children from birth to pre-teen who need our childhood and educational essentials to feel secure, cozy, ready to learn, and significant. Their work is carried out through Night Night Packages, each of which contains a new security blanket, an age-appropriate children’s book, and a stuffed animal — all nestled inside a canvas tote bag. Project Night Night has distributed over 100,000 Night Night Packages since 2005.
I encourage you as a children’s author or a children’s book reader to donate a book to Project Night Night and contribute a book to the life experience of these children.
What can you as an author contribute to a child? Your inspiration, love and your book could be the ultimate contributions you can give. These are the kinds of gifts that will last kids a lifetime – perhaps even beyond your very own life.
By Guest Blogger, Michael Madden, Broadcasters Mentoring Group www.BroadcastingSchool.com
Radio talk show hosts are intuitively perceived by the general public as experts, in spite of whether we agree with their positions or not. In the case of terrestrial (commercial) radio, the thinking of the average listener goes something like this: “Someone hired this radio talk show host, which means they must have a solid working knowledge of their subject material.”
In the case of Internet radio or podcasting, a different dynamic occurs than what we see in terrestrial radio, which is often times more powerful and compelling.
Prospective listeners realize there’s little or no money involved for the Internet talk show host, which subconsciously means one of two things:
1) The talk show host believes they’re an expert on the subject material, or
2) The talk show host is so passionate about the subject material, they’re willing to take risks and put themselves out there, in order to evangelize their message.
Becoming a radio talk show host, whether it be on the Internet, through a podcast, or on terrestrial radio, provides the host a built-in platform that’s waiting to be occupied by established or aspiring authors. The platform has been built by those who went before us, and is something that simply comes with the territory.
Hosting your own radio program obviously positions you as the voice of expertise, builds your brand and broadens your network.
For those who don’t yet consider themselves a voice of expertise or have a brand to build, you’ll soon see how hosting a radio program can broaden your network, which will help build your brand and develop you into a voice of expertise.
As the founder of the Broadcasters Mentoring Group, a mentor-apprentice radio broadcasting school, all of our students host their own Internet radio programs during training. One of the first questions I receive from new students is “what do I talk about during my program?”
The answer every student receives is always the same: “What do you most want to learn more about?”
Many radio talk show hosts use their built-in platform to share their expertise, which is fine if you have an expertise to share. However, the very best radio talk show hosts have an inquisitive nature about them and use their program to learn more about their current topic of discussion.
Admittedly, the closest thing to a book I ever wrote was a 10-page letter to my eighth grade girlfriend, explaining to her why she was making the mistake of her life by breaking up with me. However, if I was an aspiring author today, I would use my radio program – as cover – to gather Intel pertaining to every aspect imaginable about writing, publishing, and selling my book.
For instance, if I was interested in self-publishing my book, I would read up on as much about self-publishing as possible, in order to acquire a sound working knowledge of the subject. This would also provide me with a better gauge of what I most needed to know that wasn’t readily available.
I would then contact Dan Poynter, the most prolific self-publishing expert I’m aware of, and ask him to be on my program to discuss three specific areas of self-publishing that my listeners would benefit from learning more about.
In truth, these three areas would benefit me from learning more about them, but in turn, even future listeners would benefit by my having a sound working knowledge of self-publishing.
Dan would benefit from such an interview by expanding his brand and exposing his work to those who may not be familiar with him. My listeners would benefit because, through my preparation, they were gifted with nuggets of information that may not be readily available to the general public.
I, as an aspiring author and former bumbling boyfriend, would be one step closer to building my brand and becoming a voice of expertise, all the while adding Dan Poynter to my ever-growing network.
Did the interview I just depicted require me to be an expert, in order to create a win-win-win scenario for all involved? Of course not, but it required me to get off the sidelines and into the game of book authoring as an active player.
If I can survive the permanent trauma of an eighth-grade breakup, you can be assured that you’ll survive anything you’ll encounter when you take action to become a radio talk show host. You may even wind up knowing more experts – and being known by more experts – than you ever imagined possible.
By Guest Blogger, Summer Whitford, Author
One of the most important lessons my agent has taught me is that in the book business; nothing is what it seems. And being on the inside of the industry doesn’t guarantee you’ll be able to figure out how and why publishers do things either. The truth gets even murkier thanks to the way movies and television portray the process.
As a result, the public has gotten the wrong impression about everything from what agents do, to the writing process, the role of the publisher, book tours, and the financial rewards. I know nothing about self-publishing but Jennifer Wilkov does and I highly recommend you read what she has to say about that kind of publishing. She has been a very successful, self-published author and she has her own tips and advice to offer. But, for my explanation of a few of the common myths about traditional book publishing, read on.
Myth #1: All you need to get published is a manuscript.
If only it were that easy. Since my agent sold Join Us At The Embassy in 2007, I have developed a mantra that all first-time authors should make their own:
“Getting a book published is like winning the lottery.”
Why? Just like the lottery, the odds of getting published are stacked against you. For starters, all authors need to put together a book proposal, whether the book is fiction or non-fiction.
That’s because a proposal is essential when the agent is shopping the book to publishers. Surprisingly, many people can’t even complete this process in a reasonable amount of time, if at all, or the proposal just isn’t well organized or well written. I know, because I have worked on many proposals as a ghost writer or book doctor. Proposals, either for fiction or non-fiction do two things, they show an agent and publishers that you can do research, organize materials, put together a well thought out organized overview of your book concept, meet deadlines, and develop a marketing strategy that will result in book sales. But more importantly—they show whether or not you can write!
Because non-fiction books aren’t sold as manuscripts, without a proposal an agent has nothing to show a publisher. Because agents, editors, and publishers are very busy in this fast-paced, information age we live in, most fiction submission to publishers often must include a proposal and a finished or nearly finished manuscript. A proposal for fiction books gives the agent and the publisher a synopsis of the book to determine the quality of the writing and the story without having to read the entire manuscript.
One way to think about it is: if you can’t write a good proposal, no agent or publisher will ever trust you to do a good job on the book.
Think of the proposal as your book’s business plan and the publisher as your potential investor. What do you think your chances of getting funding would be if you went to a bank or investor with only an idea and your promise to do a good job? it’s the same thing in the publishing world.
Without a well done proposal, no agent worth anything is going to stick their neck out or risk their reputation and the loss of publishing contacts by submitting a poorly done proposal. It doesn’t matter if you have written a novel or want to do a cookbook, the proposal is key to showing a publisher that you can follow the project through to its completion on time and in a good amount of time. If your marketing plan isn’t top notch either then chances are sales will be too and the publisher will run in the opposite direction.
Myth #2: You don’t need an agent to get published.
Wrong again. Hollywood is culpable here for its inaccurate portrayal of the book submission process. They love the drama of scenes that show an author mailing out their manuscript to a slew of publishers while nervously waiting to see if they get THE letter that will change their life forever. Nowadays, there are few if any publishers who take unsolicited manuscripts or book proposals. That’s why an agent is an indispensable professional whose experience and contacts in the publishing industry can mean the difference between getting published or not.
We have movies and TV to thank for the reputation agents have earned as “bottom feeders”. You should never believe everything you hear and avoid blanket generalizations about an entire profession. If you are lucky like me, your agent is also an attorney who specializes in publishing contracts; a relationship that can save you money and protect your interests in ways you never would have imagined.
Myth #3: If you are a content expert or have been published before you will have an edge over other first-time authors.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. In our celebrity driven society, being an expert at something or previously being published doesn’t carry as much weight as it used to. Publishers want to know what your “platform” is before they will even consider looking at a proposal or manuscript. In reality, “platform” is a euphemism for celebrity and your visibility on TV or in movies. You may not have any writing talent but if you can sell books, that is sometimes all that matters. Besides, as far as the publisher is concerned, you can always get a ghost writer to do the actual work for you. Media coverage, and lots of it, are magic for book sales in today’s media and celebrity obsessed society. All the more reason to make sure your book is as well written and well presented as possible so that you stand out from the crowd.
Myth #4: Your publisher will send you on a whirlwind book tour to promote the book around the country.
If they ever existed, those days are long gone and publishers don’t like to spend their money on getting authors out into the marketplace. They rely more on the author already having a public persona or in developing one—at the author’s expense. It doesn’t make sense to me since they have paid staff who are in charge of publicity, but that’s another article. Nowadays, even celebrities don’t get their travel or expenses paid for and they have to do their own publicity, media booking, etc. This is usually handled by a PR firm or publicist hired by the author at a hefty price. In fact, just getting a publisher to send out press releases can be difficult.
If you have the money and know of a firm whose efforts resulted in good book sales, go for it. The reality is that most of us don’t have that kind of money and instead have to be resourceful, work harder and longer, and be persistent, which is why you have to be creative when planning your marketing strategy.
Myth #5: Once your book is published it shouldn’t be too hard to sell as long as it’s on Amazon.com and you do plenty of book signings in bookstores, etc.
Don’t we wish things were this simple. Ask any author about the book tour and selling process and if they’re honest they’ll tell you their woes. I always say that, “If you think getting the book published and written are hard, wait until you have to actually sell it.” For a partial explanation of this, see Myth #3. It doesn’t matter whether you market the book online with book sellers like Amazon.com or try to get real bricks and mortar stores to do book signings, you really have to have a strong network of contacts and media outlets to get the kinds of numbers that make publishers happy.
With so many independent book store closings and chain stores down-sizing, even getting book stores to carry a book is hard if you aren’t a celebrity. That’s why you need to think of every kind of gimmick, hook, trick, or “in” that you have in your professional and private life to help boost sales. Just like any other product in the market place a book is a consumer product, so market it that way. Do whatever you can to get people to buy it, write about, tell others to buy it, review it, etc. You need to create a demand for your book. It helps if you make lists of every organization that you, your friends and family, etc. belong to that might have people who would be interested in your book. Get anyone and everyone to host a book signing, sell the book, and promote it.
Myth #6: You will get rich from being published.
Not true. If you believe this, you are in for a big surprise. That’s not to say that books can’t pay well, you just shouldn’t quit your day job. Most authors, unless they are John Grisham or J.K. Rowling, don’t make a living as full time authors, and if they do it’s after they have published many books that have sold well. The upside of books though is that they can lead to other books, writing gigs, and opportunities to do other things in your profession. What’s important is that you don’t stop writing, work at your craft, and try to get other kinds of writing jobs. Writing really is like a muscle that you need to constantly use or it loses dexterity and flexibility. Like Jennifer Wilkov says, “Your book is your hook” and it can be a powerful professional credential as well as a useful tool to market your business.
Now that you have an idea of how things work, I want to share with you some of the marketing techniques that I am using to sell Join Us At The Embassy. Being a published author with a book about food, drinks, culture, and travel has really given my credentials as professional chef and lifestyle expert a big boost.
Few things say more about your expertise, level of success, or acumen than having a book published. Once people read Join Us At The Embassy, they have a new level of respect for the amount of research and knowledge it takes to do a book about food, travel, culture, and traditions for ten countries, all with their own languages, etc.
My profile and credibility have risen since Join Us At The Embassy was released. After all, the number of people who have ever been published is still a small portion of the population which does set you apart from your colleagues and competitors in the marketplace. Use this to your advantage. Think of as many connections as you can that your book has in common with potential readers, book signing venues, book event hosts, etc. For example, my book is about food, drinks, culture, travel, and the people and traditions of 10 countries and their embassies here in Washington, DC.
Before I began my marketing plan, I made a list of every topic, group, subject, demographic, etc. that has some connection to the subjects covered in my book. Once I made these lists and looked at what they had in common, I found that there were more potentials ways to sell my books than I had realized. The same people and organizations interested in food, drinks, culture, travel, international politics, history, geography, religion, and anthropology were my readers.
With ten culturally and geographically diverse countries as the subject, a whole spectrum of potential readers, retail outlets, and book event hosts opened up. Embassies and related embassy events, especially those featured in my book were one resource. Others include:
• Expat groups
• Cooking and wine clubs
• Cultural organizations
• Historical organizations
• Ethnic organizations
• Food and wine retailers
• Import gift shops
• Cooking schools
Two of the countries in my book (Afghanistan and Kenya) are also hot political topics that are in the news often, so peace organizations, international affairs, diplomatic organizations, political science groups and classes, think tanks, etc. have a connection to my book.
You have to think of every angle or connection to the subject of your book or demographic and really tap into your network of contacts to see if there isn’t a link. Making cold calls is never easy, so start with your friends, family, co-workers, people you worship with, etc. Don’t get discouraged or take the rejection personally, not everyone is going to want to buy your book or host an event. But, you never know who might refer you to a friend or organization that would be interested.
I have gotten quite a few referrals that have resulted in an event being held. Remember, you sell books one at a time and no one is better suited to sell your book to the public than you are. Nothing beats face-to-face contact in sales, which is essentially what book signings are all about so get caught up in the public speaking part of the process. Many inexperienced authors make the mistake of treating a book event as a public speaking event and drone on about the subject of their book. Don’t give away the whole story—you want people to buy the book so they can read what’s in it. If you tell them everything in a speech then they might not buy the book.
Do as much as you can to be out in the public eye and engage everyone you meet wherever you go and sell, sell, sell.