Amanda Luedeke

August 28, 2014

Thursdays with Amanda: How to Focus Your Book Marketing Efforts


Amanda Luedeke Literary AgentAmanda 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:

  • Facebook:
  • Twitter:
  • Goodreads:
  • LinkedIn:
  • YouTube:
  • Instagram:
  • Google+:
  • Pinterest:
  • Newsletter:
  • Blog:
  • Website:
  • Articles:
  • Events:
  • Radio:
  • TV:
  • Other:

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

Spend your book marketing time wisely.

What’s WORKING for me:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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:

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. 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 book marketingconference 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??


Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Extroverted Writer by Amanda Luedeke

The Extroverted Writer

by Amanda Luedeke

Giveaway ends August 31, 2014.

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at Goodreads.

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  • Robin Patchen says:

    Amanda, I hate that I missed the conference last weekend. I heard it was fabulous. I’m curious about your FB followers. I’m hearing a lot of authors quitting their FB fan pages because of FB’s new way of filtering the posts, so just a small fraction of followers see the posts. Do you still think FB fan pages are a good way to spend your time? I generally use my profile page, but of course that’s filled with folks who are friends and not necessarily my audience.

    • Amanda Luedeke says:

      I think fan pages are great. Much better than profiles. You just have to keep your page updated with content that is interactive. And while no, every single one of your followers won’t see every single post, the same is true for your profile. Not every one of your friends sees each of your updates. So in my opinion, they’re similar in that regard…except the page gives you lots of behind-the-scenes insight and a way to interact with your fans without it getting too personal (and without annoying your friends and family). So yeah, I love the page feature. 🙂

  • David Todd says:

    Amanda: You’ve given us an idea about your platform-building activities. I’d like to know if any of these can be traced to sales. Have you done that analysis? If so, what can you tell us about it?

    • Amanda Luedeke says:

      I haven’t monitored it closely. I do know that when I am intentional about staying on top of my social media and online platform, my sales tend to pick up. But no…there isn’t really a way to track sales related to specific social media sites. And even if there were, there is no guarantee that it could be replicated. :/

  • Amanda, I doubt I’m the only author to feel great relief at the thought that I don’t have to do it all.

    Thank you for this great exercise. I really appreciate the thought that went into it. I launched right in and did my analysis. Here it is:

    • Facebook: 0

    • Twitter: 163 followers

    • Goodreads: 29 followers, 10 fans, 88 reviews, 290 ratings, 2,836 entries in giveaways, 1,992 added to-read list

    • LinkedIn: 159 Connections, 56 endorsements

    • YouTube: 0

    • Instagram: 0

    • Google+: 0

    • Pinterest: 0

    • Newsletter: I have 1,794 contacts in my email address book. Occasionally I will send an email announcement to all of them.

    • Blog: 85,000 visitors per month. I’m also active with hosting guest bloggers, and writing guest posts for other blogs

    • Website: 85,000 visitors per month (Combined with blog)

    • Articles: 62

    • Events: 155 (Collective audience of 9,750 people)

    • Radio: 14 (Including Freakonomics Radio)

    • TV: 7 (Including 2 appearances in PBS documentaries “The Amish” and “The Amish: Shunned” that premiered on American Experience. The two together had a collective audience of 20 million viewers in their first showings. Both were nominated for Emmys.

    Other: 97 Amazon reviews

    Yes, I found several things surprising. I hadn’t thought about the collective audience that the media coverage I’ve gotten has added to my “reach.” This really adds to the overall “picture.”

    I have a question to you and your readers. What program do you like for sending out newsletters? I’ve been thinking about going from sending out emails to actually creating a newsletter and sending it from a program like “MailChimp.” Has anyone done this, and what is the process like?

    I’m very interested in what it will be like for you to work more with Google+ since you don’t actually like that program. I have found for myself that it is counter-productive to keep doing something I hate doing. That’s why I’m not on Facebook. Perhaps I could reach more people by re-joining FB, but those people may or may not be buyers of my books. I may reach fewer people at my next book talk, but at least the people in my audience are more likely to buy my books. I think the latter is more effective – partly because I enjoy it more, and partly because the connection I make in person is more meaningful.

    One of the things I find confounding about online marketing is that there is no real way of knowing whether the connections we grow translate into sales. When I go to a book talk, I can count the number of people in my audience and I can count my book sales, and see that one out of three or one out of five people bought a book. Therefore the effectiveness of book talks can be quantified. This kind of analysis of online marketing eludes me.

    • Rachel Leigh Smith says:

      Mailchimp all the way, Saloma! It’s easy, has tons of awesome features in the free option, and you can have up to 12,000 subscribers at one email per month before you’re required to get a paid account.

      It’s super simple. If you can do a Blogger or WordPress blog and play with your template, you can do Mailchimp.

    • Thank you, Rachel, for your response. I will be checking out Mailchimp in the coming week, and working with it. One of my main concerns is whether I can move my contacts from Apple Mail to Mailchimp in one fell swoop. I shall soon find out.

    • Rachel Leigh Smith says:

      DO NOT import all your email contacts into your newsletter list. Adding someone to a mass mailing without their permission is illegal. People who send me newsletter stuff when I haven’t signed up for it get reported as spam. Because legally that’s what it is.

      Instead, email the people in your contacts, tell them you’re starting a newsletter list, and invite them to subscribe. If they don’t subscribe, let them be. It means they’re not interested.

      Also, sending a mass mailing like you said you’ve done, without an option at the bottom to unsubscribe from said mailings, is also illegal.

    • Wow, all the things I don’t know. Thank you for letting me know this. Most of the people in the list signed up at my book talks, but I suppose that I should ask them first anyway.

    • Amanda Luedeke says:

      If I do more with Google+ it will only be to disseminate information. So, I’ll post links there whenever I blog or guest blog, etc. This way, I don’t have to actually spend much time there, but my posts will hit those 300+ people who are wanting to read what I have to say.

  • jacqueline gillam fairchild says:

    Dear Amanda: I believe you are best off to do the social media that you enjoy the most. Of course it is different for everyone. But if you like it, you will stick with it and make your entries interesting. Great article. Keep up all the good thoughts, we all appreciate them.
    Warm regards,
    Jacqueline Gillam Fairchild
    Her Majesty’s English Tea Room
    Author:The Tuck You Inn Series

  • Cindy Thomson says:

    I find the numbers thing so hard to define. The followers and likes you have don’t always see or interact with what you post. Some social media sites are better than others in allowing you to see how much you’re actually interacting with people. I’m very much in favor of authors having an online presence and being available to readers there and in person, but affecting sales in the thousands rather than the dozens (as Chip pointed out last weekend is what most authors reach) seems unlikely for a lot of us. Thanks for the advice that we can’t (and shouldn’t try) to do it all. That takes a lot of pressure off authors. I think building a platform takes time. It’s yet another exercise in patience.

  • Jenny Gentry says:

    Thanks Amanda. This article offered me some much needed clarity and the exercise has helped me to take a closer look at what is already working for me, what is not working for me, and what I can do better on (like my blog) And a very BIG thanks for giving me permission to NOT do everything. God Bless~Jen

  • Rachel Leigh Smith says:

    I’m still very much in the building my audience phase. I have 98 likes on my FB page, 154 followers on Twitter, and I’m trying to build my newsletter list. My first book is out in two and a half weeks. I do have a blog tour booked, my first Goodreads review is posted, it’s live for preorder on Amazon, and this morning I booked a spot in a Coffee Time Romance SFR specific release party! I’m very excited about the Coffee Time Romance thing, because SFR is not a genre most of the reviewers pick. I spoke with one of the staff members trying to clarify if they take indie review submissions and that’s what she told me.

    I also have an author interview scheduled for a popular blog in the SFR/paranormal circles, in October.

    I have two Google+ profiles, and the one with the most people adding me is the one I don’t use. It’s people finding me through ACFW connections I no longer have, and 100% of those I end up blocking because they’re not my target audience and/or their profiles scare me. I don’t friend/circle random men from Africa and the Middle East.

    Blogging is not one of my favorite things, but I’ve come up with some regular features I can do that I hope will reach my target audience and they’ll help me build the brand recognition I’m after. And they don’t require a lot of thought on my part.

    I’m anxious to see how all of this plays out and which avenues will provide the sales and numbers worth pursuing. I’m focusing on a few things, and dabbling with some banner and cover ads at a couple review sites because I either got a great price for the ad where I only need to sell like five books to break even on them, or other authors I know have always seen a bump in sales after running an ad at a particular site.

  • Joe says:

    Hi Amanda, 90% of your posts are of great interest to me but this was one of the best. I liked how you did the checklist 1st, then thought aloud on how you applied it. That was excellent and very helpful. I’m going to try the same thing this evening using your post as a model. Thank you, Joe

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