Amanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent. Her author marketing book, The Extroverted Writer, is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Awhile back, I asked for some topic suggestions. I received a range of questions and ideas, and so I’m going to address some of the smaller (but still important!) questions here…and keep in mind that Thursdays with Amanda is all about marketing and platform. So the questions that fell outside of that range probably won’t get answered here.
1. Lisa wrote “Sometimes, I just feel so burnt out of the social media, platform building. I always love hearing tips about having a healthy balance.”
ANSWER: It’s important to note that there is not one-size-fits-all approach here. Some get lost in the social media abyss while others are very good about being intentional with their time. So please understand that what works for you may not work for others and vice versa. With that being said, here’s a BIG soapbox of mine…
I’ve had a few authors this year complain that there isn’t time for marketing. These are authors who 1) do not maintain any sort of real world job, and 2) do not have kids in the house that need supervision. So you can imagine I have little pity for them, considering I work with an author who is a single parent of FIVE as well as a full-time minister.
So a general rule that I throw out there is to treat writing and marketing as equals. One hour of writing for every hour of marketing. If you are afraid that this rule will leave you with barely any writing time, then it may be time to cut some of your more…frivolous activities. How much TV do you watch? How much time do you spend playing Candy Crush? Are you on FB chat or your personal FB page too long during the day (FB Chat does NOT count as marketing)? Maybe you’re spending too much time reading? Just some thoughts to get you started…
2. Dianne wrote “I wonder if ANYBODY is using Shelfari. Any thoughts? If so, how can we use Shelfari, and also Goodreads, to our best advantage?”
ANSWER: Yes, people are using Shelfari, otherwise it wouldn’t be in existence. I think it’s a great thing to make sure that your books are there and that you have some sort of author presence. Now, whether you spend time cultivating that space is up to you. I am a firm believer that authors should do one or two social media things WELL as opposed to doing many things poorly.
For more insight on Goodreads, check out my marketing book. There is a small section that talks about Goodreads. Those spaces can also be used for parties and fan clubs. And lists. Getting on lists is huge, even if you have to create the list yourself.
3. Donna wrote “3. Are there any free or low cost marketing ideas a debut author can utilize to help promote their book when they are working with a small budget?”
ANSWER: Social media is free! Really, though. An author’s best marketing strategy should involve utilizing the Internet to tap into reader groups, create relationships, and then make them aware that your book exists. This costs nothing but time and a bit of research 🙂
4. Donna also asked “2. In terms of “swag” items, what are the pros and cons of certain items and which things seem to produce the most marketing return versus upfront cost?”
ANSWER: Swag items are just a bad idea in general, and they go over about as well as an ad. If you have dollars to spend on marketing, it would be more worthwhile to hire someone to come up with 100 blogs whose readership fits the ideal readership of your book. Or, another good use of money, is to throw a party similar to what we did at ACFW. Essentially, you’re looking for 1) relationships with readers and 2) MEMORABLE experiences. Ads, swag…things that you create but then are left with having to promote or market THEM on top of your book…these things don’t work as well as we’d like to think.
NEXT WEEK: Why you should never create content (book trailer, ebook novella, etc) and expect it to promote your book for you.
*Love my marketing advice? Check out my $5 ebook, The Extroverted Writer.
Here’s what readers are saying: “…it doesn’t just tell you the things you should be doing. It shows you how to do those things.” – Chris Kolmorgen, Amazon Review