It’s not about the slick copy, the gimmicky promotions, the sales or deals, or even viral videos. Good marketing is about building relationships with the people who are going to buy your product. I think the reason most writers and authors forget about it is there are so many tactics, tips, and how-tos out there that we get overwhelmed. The other reason may be that relationships take time, and who has time these days?
> Check out my blog series on the “M” Word: Marketing for Writers.
The truth is every relationship is worth the effort because it carries the potential of compound interest. Remember that Faberge Organic Shampoo commercial from the 80s? (Okay, I’m dating myself here). “I told my friends about it and they told two friends. And so on, and so on, and so on…” That concept is exactly why relationship building is so important.
Relationship Building on Social Media
One of my favorite social media mavens (and she’s a fabulous poet too), Rachel Thompson, says it like this:
Another way I like to look at it is, try to help people. You know more than you think you know and you’ve probably learned what doesn’t work too…so, share that. I also try to put out into the world more of what I want to see like positive quotes, thought-provoking ideas, good things people do and of course, funny cat videos!
You can sprinkle in a few news bits about what you’re doing as well. If you wrote and published a book, people want to know about that. Or if your book got a great review, won an award, or ranked on Amazon tell people! Just keep in mind a general rule of thumb: the ratio between good content and self-promotion should be 80-20. (80=good content, 20=self promotion).
Relationship Building and Reviews
Reviews are gold to authors (especially positive reviews) and the way to get them is to reach out to book bloggers. Once again, it’s all about building relationships.
First, you want to find bloggers in the genre that matches your book. You don’t want to send a request to review a horror book someone who blogs about romance novels. Once you get a list of bloggers that match your genre, you want to remember that they are busy people. Many times they are overwhelmed with the amount of books they are reading and reviewing so remember that.
A very talented writer friend of mine, Pavarti Tyler, wrote this blog post: How I Choose the Books I Want to Review. She gives a detailed list of Dos and Don’ts from a blogger/reviewer perspective so you can see how best to approach a book blogger.
You also want to remember to follow the bloggers that you establish a connection with on social media so you can start developing a long-term connection with them, especially if you’re writing more books that they’ll want to review.
Relationship Building and Blogging
In this day and age, every author needs a website and a blog on that site. Why? Because your readers are going to want to know more about you, your process, and what you’re working on. It’s your best vehicle for establishing a fan base.
But what the heck do you blog about? What you’re working on, your struggles, your successes, inspiration, anything that makes you laugh, and a little bit about your life outside of writing. Ideally, it’s best to set a consistent cadence for posting to your blog. I try to do it once a week but, man, it’s tough! I don’t go longer than every other week though.
The other thing you can do with your blog is use it like a newsletter. That’s what I do with mine. People can sign up on your site to stay in touch and get exclusive access. We ALL like to be the first “in the know.”
Again, it’s all about building relationships with your readers. Once they connect with you and like what you’re doing, they’ll tell two friends, and so on, and so on, and so on…