As we head full-speed into 2012, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the course ahead. Ebooks are now a fact of life and the trend is growing. The consolidation in the publishing industry that we saw in the 2000s has resulted in a more narrow field of players in the traditional world, and signs are popping up that the competition in the epub world will get stiffer as well. What does this mean for us, the authors?
One thing that’s clear is that we need to understand social marketing and the social media outlets. As Generation Y gains in purchasing power as they move into the workforce – and therefore, become a large part of the buying public – this trend will get stronger. Some companies have decided to delete their Facebook marketing programs, because they only moved their website processes onto Facebook and therefore flopped. Other companies are wildly successful at it, and authors too – after all, we’re “companies” in this sense. Why do some succeed where others fail?
It’s no longer enough to simply use email and dabble in Facebook or Twitter. If we want to build our brands, I think it’s necessary – dare I say, “critical” – for us to get better at understanding how to develop our online presences. Here are 5 simple things we all can do:
One: Poke around on the net and learn about how Facebook and Twitter work for writers. There are many good articles written by other authors about how to use them; it pays to read what they have to say and not reinvent the wheel.
Two: Start small. Don’t try to build a multi-faceted Marketing Plan worthy of Harvard in a weekend. Just pick one social media outlet you haven’t used before, or want to revitalize, and concentrate on that.
Three: Develop a marketing plan. It’s been said “those who fail to plan, plan to fail.” A marketing plan doesn’t have to be grandiose, just a list of the things you want to accomplish, marketing-wise, this year. Do you want to join or found a group blog? Develop a really smashing Facebook presence? Make friends and influence readers on your Twitter feed?
Four: Break the year into pieces. Businesses do this all the time; it’s a good way to make a huge swath of time into manageable chunks. You could act like “the big boys” and make it into quarters, or come up with something more unique and tailored to yourself – whatever you do, select a finite period of time that you can put each step of your plan in motion.
Five: Reflect regularly. Pick a time, maybe weekly on Sundays or each month on the 1st and the 15th, where you look back at what you planned to do, what you got done, what you learned, and what you want to do differently moving forward. A plan is only as good as the knowledge put into it, and if you never tweak your plan as you learn more, then your plan will become obsolete – fast.
Remember, above all, to relax. There’s a lot of opportunity out there to interact with other authors, readers, publishers, editors, and agents. You’ve got time. Just take it one foot in front of the other and soon you’ll be swimming along in the fast lane, overtaking the rest of us.
Bio: A. Catherine Noon is an author and textile artist based in Chicago, Illinois. Rachel Wilder is an author and image consultant in Las Vegas, Nevada. Together, they love to write stories and create worlds for readers to explore and enjoy. To learn more about them, please visit their website.