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.
Last Saturday and Sunday, we offered our Marketing Seminar first to MacLit clients and then to the general writing public. There was a ton of great content, all focused on book- and brand-marketing. But one theme…one rule seemed to really rise to the top regardless of the topic or who was speaking.
When it comes to book marketing, you don’t need to do everything.
Whenever anyone talks about marketing (myself included), it turns into a kind of free-for-all. We cover Pinterest and YouTube and blogging and Facebook and LinkedIn and Google+ and soon it all seems very overwhelming, and authors come away thinking they need to sign up for this or that or they need to relaunch things that they’d previously abandoned.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
We cover all of these topics because there’s no one-size-fits-all marketing approach. What works for one romance novelist won’t work for another. So, we cover the bases in hopes that you will know what to filter out. That you’ll stay abreast of your options, but that you’ll only spend time on the areas that are a fit for YOU and YOUR audience.
But of course, this assumes that you know what those areas are.
Identify the areas in which you’re strongest.
Here’s how we helped the folks at our seminar uncover which areas were working the best for them…
The following is a list of potential author platform areas:
Go ahead and fill it in with your author platform information. I’ve gone ahead and plugged in mine.
- Facebook: 1,400 likes
- Twitter: 1,430 likes
- Goodreads: my author page has 3 fans; my profile 181 friends
- LinkedIn: 196 connections
- YouTube: Nil
- Instagram: 118 followers
- Google+: I’m in 302 circles…have 28 people in mine.
- Pinterest: 276 followers
- Newsletter: 45-ish names/email
- Blog: no data (sadly, I don’t have clear access to this blog’s data…defintely something that needs to to be remedied). But I do blog every Thursday, and the content is geared to my audience.
- Website: ^ditto
- Articles: I write roughly one article or guest post per month. I imagine those words get in front of 3000 people per year. And those posts and articles are all to industry people (i.e. my target audience). If I were a writer, however, they would NOT count as my target audience because industry people are not the same as readers/fans.
- Speaking events: 8-12 conferences per year. I estimate I’m in front of (speaking, teaching, etc) an average of 350 people per conference. So, 2,800-4,200 industry people (my target audience).
- Radio: 2-3 guest podcasts per year.
- TV: Nil
- Other: I think that about covers it for me.
Now, analyze what you have.
Here are my thoughts on my data: It’s clear that conferences are one of my top platform components. But they take so much time! Twitter and Facebook are solid spaces for me. Most every other social media outlet was painful to list because the numbers were so small. Shows how little I care about those sites. BUT it was interesting to see how many Google+ followers I have, considering the last time I posted anything to that outlet was when it was in the beta phase some years ago. And clearly I need to get a way to view web stats on ChipMacGregor.com.
Spend your book marketing time wisely.
What’s WORKING for me:
- Facebook and Twitter are neck-and-neck. Both need my attention, while nearly every other social media site could be forgotten and ignored as far as I’m concerned.
- I know my “Thursdays with Amanda” posts are a chunk of my platform, so even though I don’t have the data right now, I’m going to keep making them a priority.
- I need to do more with Google+… the fact that I have the number of followers I do WITHOUT posting anything there for some years is quite shocking. For the record, I HATE Google+. But I can’t argue these numbers.
- I need to keep saying yes to article or guest blog openings. The time spent on each article is 1-2 hours, and if it means getting my name/words in front of a few hundred potential fans, then it’s so worth it. Much more so than spending 5 days at a conference and coming away with the same audience numbers.
What’s NOT working for me:
- I could drop Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, my newsletter, and Goodreads and not feel any kind of repercussions. (Though it’s worth saying I don’t do much with these sites in general).
- It’s clear that radio and TV mean almost nothing to me. And I don’t see a need to try harder in those spaces, because I’m not sure my audience is there anyway.
- Conferences and speaking get me in front of the most people, BUT I need to do a lot of them to get the numbers I’m currently getting. And with the time and expense that goes into the conference circuit, I’m not sure it’s an even payoff. So I need to reevaluate how much time I spend doing conferences, and also what kinds of conferences I’m doing. I need to be pickier. I need to demand more stage-time. And I probably need to create another product or two to sell while there (selling The Extroverted Writer: An Author’s Guide to Marketing and Building a Platform has been great!). Would doing this make conferences more worth it? I don’t know. I guess I’ll take it slow…I have to do SOME conferences. But until I have a strategy, I’m not going to be jumping up and volunteering from here on out.
So I have some clear takeaways here, and also the freedom to say NO to quite a few things. In fact, I NEED to say no to that which isn’t worthwhile. Otherwise, I run the risk of ignoring the things that are working for me.
And the same goes for you. Marketing does NOT mean doing everything. It means being smart about knowing what works for you and how to leverage those spaces.
What about you?
After doing this exercise, what are your numbers telling you? Any revelations??