Marketing Minute: Don’t neglect your Facebook Page

Poppy Dennison Marketing Minute

 

Welcome to Marketing Minute! In this series, I’ll give a quick tip along with a few resources you can use to make improvements to your Author Marketing Strategy!

 

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Today’s tip: Don’t neglect your Facebook page. 9-FB-Posts-to-Engage-Pin-408x1024

I’m often asked by authors why they should bother with a Facebook Page as part of their marketing strategy. Most of us get the most interaction on our profiles anyway, and the majority of posts on a Page don’t get shown to readers anyway. So why bother?

When a reader finds your page, and there hasn’t been any activity on it lately (or ever), what does that look like? It makes it seem like you aren’t an active author. If you’re lucky, they’ll hunt you down in another way, but that’s not always the case.

Page posts don’t have to be daily, but you should post something once a week or so. This is a great place to post links of reviews and other happenings for your new releases. Don’t know what to post in between book releases? Check out this post: 30 Facebook Business Page Post Ideas. I’m a big fan of the infographics in this post! I even printed the one shown here and keep it in my Marketing Binder for when I’m stuck on ideas.

Don’t be afraid to use your Google-fu to hunt down other post ideas. I’m a big fan of Pinterest searches too! (I have a “secret board” where I pin ideas that I stumble across so I’ll have them all in one easy place.)

Also make sure your Facebook Page is as up to date as you can make it. Add milestones of important events, like a book’s release or attendance at a conference. Is your website address easy to find from your Page? Is your profile image consistent with your branding?

I love that I can schedule posts on my Facebook Page. Make sure you take advantage of this when things get busy in Author land and schedule ahead a few posts. Don’t forget to check for comments though!

 

Do you have a Facebook Page? How do you use it? Leave me a comment and let me know!

 

 

 

Why Marketing is Like Spaghetti

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In the first post of my new Marketing for Authors series, I thought I’d go back to basics. What the heck is marketing and why do so many authors feel lost and overwhelmed when faced with marketing tasks? How better to answer those questions than an with an analogy using food! (What? I haven’t eaten yet! I’m hungry!)

1-Marketing is hard.

If you are fancy and get your pasta fresh, then this step may not apply to you. For the rest of us, who get their pasta from a box, this will make perfect sense. When you are getting ready to start making your spaghetti dinner, you get the pasta out of the box. And the noodles are hard, right?

When you’re getting started in marketing, it’s hard too. There are a lot of variables and a lot of decisions that need to be made. You have to have put thought into who your audience is, what your brand is, and how best to position yourself among the competition. Basically, your marketing strategy hasn’t been cooked yet, and who wants to eat a raw noodle? Click to Tweet

2-Marketing takes time.

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Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we could simply wiggle our noses and have our spaghetti dinner magically appear on the dinner table? If only it were that easy! Marketing takes time to “cook” and you get out of it what you put into it. Now, if you’re like me and not only does your pasta come from a box but your sauce comes from a jar, the cooking process will be faster. But wouldn’t you agree that a homemade pot of sauce that has simmered all day is so much better than anything you can get from a jar at the grocery store?

One of the biggest hurdles I face as an author is making sure I balance my time between writing and marketing. Bottom line is that if I don’t write a fantastic book, no matter how much I market it, I’m not going to succeed. But if I do write a fantastic book, and no one knows about it, I’m not going to find a level of success either. Sure, there are those occasional books that take off (we tend to call them “lightning strike” books), but those books are rare and no one can really say what happened to make them such an instant hit. (Oh, would my job be so much easier if someone could!) Think about it this way: it took time to write the book, to go through edits and formatting. Shouldn’t it take time to market the book as well?

3-Marketing needs a recipe.

Whether you’re following the directions from the box and jar, or pulling out grandma’s super secret passed down through the generations sauce recipe, you’ll have certain steps that you follow to make your spaghetti turn out the way you want it to. Marketing takes a recipe, too, and the way you make it work for you will not be the same as any other author out there. Yeah, some of the ingredients are the same– in order to make spaghetti, you have to have the noodles, right?– but how they come together is as unique as you are.

Take some time to create a recipe that works for you. Add the ingredients you need, and cut the ones you don’t. Remember that you don’t have to be everywhere (and that includes all those social media platforms you have accounts for and never update). Sometimes the simplest sauce is the one with the fewest ingredients, and sometimes the most successful marketing efforts are the ones that are simple and well thought out.

Back to my opening question, why is marketing such a challenge for authors? Because we haven’t taken the time to learn exactly what marketing is and how it can work for us and our books. We haven’t created our own secret recipe–even if that recipe involves reading the back of the jar for instructions. Determine what level of marketing “chef”  you are, and create your marketing plan accordingly. You don’t have to be an expert, but you need to know the basics before you dive in and create something inedible.

So authors, what do you think is the hardest part of marketing? Leave a comment below and let me know what topics you’d like to see me cover in this series. I’d be happy to help you create your own recipe for fantastic spaghetti, er, I mean, marketing.

An Update and a New Beginning

This post comes a little late, but there are reasons. I promise! I wanted to give an update on what’s been up with me and make a new commitment to my blog. I’m thinking a post like this is a great place to start.

First, let’s go back a bit to 2011, when I wrote Mind Magic and suddenly things began to change. I never thought for a million years that it would be published. No really. I never dreamed it. But I was encouraged by a fantastic group of friends to give it a go, and submitted the book to Dreamspinner Press in August of 2011. I got my first contract at the very first GRL retreat in New Orleans that October. I cried like a big old baby. Sobbed. No kidding. It was a life changing moment, and I knew it.

From then on, writing became even more of a passion. I’ve always loved to write, but now I found a focus for that passion. An energy that I didn’t know I possessed. I whipped out a few books using the fuel of the excitement over Mind Magic and the Triad series came to life.

And I kept writing. And learning. And loving every minute of it. Until early 2014, that is. Then I hit a road block. I found that I’d run out of steam, that the passion and excitement had started to disappear and it broke my heart. I tried to force myself to write, but just couldn’t.

The passion was still there, however, it just transformed into a different one. I became passionate about helping authors understand the ideas behind branding and marketing. I had a degree in it, after all, so it seemed natural to me to help fellow authors out behind the scenes. I’d been helping all along, actually, but the passion really began to shift for me.

I decided to take some time off from writing. I didn’t make a public announcement or anything, I just…stopped. I needed a breather, and in a series of very fortunate events, my breather happened to coincide with Dreamspinner deciding to add a new member to their marketing and social media teams. It was the opportunity I’d been waiting for, and I didn’t even realize it. Suddenly, everything started coming into focus again.

I’ve been working for Dreamspinner for a while now, and I can’t tell you how happy I am. Funnily enough, my self-imposed writing breather came to an end as well. I told myself I was going to take off until the beginning of 2015 to regroup. In January of 2015, I sat down and wrote the first book in a new series that began burning a hole in my brain during my sabbatical. Books two and three are also partially written.

The first book of the Holly Creek series, Dogwood Days, was just contracted for a September, 2015 release date.  In early March, I attended the Dreamspinner Author Workshop and made my first “public appearance” as Dreamspinner’s new Marketing Director. Both the new series and the new job have brought me back to where I wanted to be.

I realized something, however. I wasn’t practicing what I preached as far as author marketing was concerned. I listened and I advised, but I wasn’t doing what I needed to do either. How could I ask our authors to do things when I wasn’t doing them myself? I couldn’t, and I can’t.

So here I am, laying it all out in front of you and telling you that I am new and improved. It’s been a rough road in some ways, but mostly, it’s been a dream come true. If you’d told me in 2011 when I hit submit on that first book that I’d be here today making this post, having this job, and this many books under my belt, I’d have laughed at you. But I did it. And I’m so dang happy.

For readers, I’m promising to be around more. You’re going to get to see the silly side of me that you’ve seen in my books. You’ll see even more of me in Dogwood Days, as it’s based on a small Southern town very much like the one I grew up in.

For my author friends, you’ll be seeing me practice what I preach on marketing. I’m hoping to give you all some tips and tricks on this blog as well. Why not, right?

So thank you for reading this post! I know it was a long one, but it had been a while and I had a lot to report. I can’t wait for you guys to see what I’m cooking up for you!

~Poppy