I have done a poor job keeping the website updated over the past two weeks. I realize that. (And with no warning to you, the readers! Sorry!) Sometimes life just gets in the way of living. Alas, we press on!
When first joining twitter back in 2010 (this is my second go around with the social media platform), I found myself in a place that many indie authors find themselves. We know that twitter and other social media platforms are important for the marketing and sales of our books, but we don’t exactly know why or how. So many authors simply resort to what I call the chicken-with-its-head-cut-off routine.
Here in Portland there are activists on nearly every street corner downtown. There are companies that maintain a workforce of young energetic youth. These companies are hired by political lobbyists, politicians, or large corporations to get signatures on the proposal of a new bill or legislation. Most new legislation needs to have a certain number of signatures in order for it to be presented for consideration. These young twenty-somethings will do everything to get you to stop and talk to them in an effort to get your signature.
This is the approach we need to have on social media. No, I don’t advocate hiring hordes of youth to market your book, but if you have the funds for that, go for it. I also am not advocating being obnoxious or in-your-face with your marketing tactics. What I am advocating, however, is to engage.
These energetic young ‘uns, through the sheer number of hours they have spent on the streets of Portland stumping for signatures, have learned the art of engaging their customer. They know how to navigate different personality types and different brush-offs as people pass them on the street.
They extend their hand to shake yours in hopes you will return the gesture forcing you to stop. Engaged.
They smile excitedly like an old friend happy to see you. Engaged.
They compliment your wonderful shoes; comment on the logo on your shirt; or ask you if you support starving children. Engaged. Engaged. Engaged.
I’ve worked in downtown Portland for a long time now and I grow weary of having to politely smile and pass by them, but I respect their energy and their efforts. They know not everyone will be receptive to their approach, but they just keep on keepin’ on. They have learned to let rejection roll right off their backs.
I find this to be quite similar to our experience as authors. We have to learn to deal with rejection, (it happens often). We also have to learn to connect with potential readers. In this regard, we can learn a thing or two from these young Portland activists.
We must engage our readers. You must engage others on social media. Don’t simply yell for them to buy your book. Don’t simply say the same thing over and over and over again, hoping it will finally reach the right audience. Engage your potential readers. Talk to them. Ask them about who they are and what they love.
We are all communicative beings and we yearn to communicate. If you’re looking to better engage potential readers, start learning to listen to your audience first. It’s the key to engaging. Listening will do far more for you in your marketing efforts than telling ever will. Then, once you’ve listened and learned who they are, let them realize that your book is perfect for them, not because you told them, but because they came up with the idea on their own.
Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.