Thursday, May 24, 2018

Book Marketing: Use Lists to Organize Your Social Media and Other Contacts

Today using the Internet to market your books requires the organization of the large amount of detail. Authors must take the time to develop lists of readers, friends and associates to market effectively. By no means is it a simple process.

Social media is a fast moving environment and not a strong marketing tool. You need the recipient of your message to take more action. You know like following a link or hashtag, retweeting to their followers or making a comment.

The recipient almost has to be in the right place at the right time to see your message. You post a message and seconds later the message is gone and social media is on to the next message.

Email is a better method to communicate your message direct to your audience. To manage this you must build a reader/email list. It is very important to capture user’s information in lists to make it easier to revisit them again.

Here are some ideas presented by several HBS Spotlight Authors in interviews.

Their Solution: Use Twitter, Facebook or a newsletter to build an email list of friends and prospects. Then send a direct message to them using email.

Goal: Get the people to go to your website or blog where a strong sales message awaits them. Or better yet, your sales sites where the real action takes place.

Donna Galanti @DonnaGalanti   16500 twitter followers   Author's Spotlight Interview

Donna is an International Thriller Writer. She is the author of The Element Trilogy.

It’s taken almost four years to gain the following I have on Twitter. I believe building any social media takes time and networking. As I’m connected to so many now I work best in Lists that I create where I catalogue folks. This makes it handy to foster relationships in little pockets such as children authors, thriller authors, book bloggers, etc.

I’ve built a following by doing Tweet Teams on World Literary Café, contests via places like Kindle Book Review, and Facebook parties. Most importantly it’s fun – and yes I do see immediate sales from such efforts. The key is to get others to re-tweet your posts. 

James Moushon @jimhbs 2800 twitter followers   Author's Spotlight Interview

I am the self-published Author of the Jonathon Stone Mysteries. I am an Author Advocate and book industry blogger.

I spend a lot of time organizing lists, comments and contacts from my readers, my followers and other authors. I have developed a large email list from my blogs where I have done over 450 author interviews and have published over 100 articles that are book publishing related.
(Recently passed ONE MILLION views)

My secret: I give them something of value like an interview or showcase one of their books and I include author interview comments in publishing article to give them more exposure.

I use a database for my lists. (Some use a spreadsheet or just paper lists.) Here is a list of some of my database content.
  1. List of my twitter followers and unfollowers and their activity levels.
  2. List of authors and contacts.
  3. List of all my interviews, book showcases and books highlighted (5600+)
  4. Detail list of the Q/A author sessions. (over 5000 questions and their answers)
  5. I’m looking for dedicated twitter followers who are active on social media so I keep track of their followers/friends and their posting activity.
I use MS-Word to capture all my direct contacts with other authors and I store important email records in various sorted categories. And like most authors, I have piles of paper sitting around.

When I’m ready to do business, I email direct to my list of contacts.

Develop Lists to Manage your Marketing

The idea is to connect with people. Some ask their followers to sign up for their mailing list.
Some monitor their social media activity. Others have a long list of authors they follow.

Social media is the fastest way to connect but you need to do more to market your books. Some say a list is the best book launch tool. They use the list to send announcements about new releases, promos and appearances. All agree you must communicate regularly. Here is what several authors have to say about developing lists.

Toni Anderson @toniannanderson   4514 twitter followers   Author's Spotlight Interview

Toni is a New York Times and USA Today international bestselling author who writes dark, gritty Romantic Suspense.

Basically I’ve built my readership one person at a time. I’m a relatively slow writer so the main thing for me has been sticking to one genre—Romantic Suspense. Before Facebook I used to frequent a lot of yahoo groups/loops and meet readers during online chats. Facebook and Twitter make it much easier to connect with people and I love that. Nowadays social media plays a significant role in my book launches but it’s such a fluid thing—what works for one release sometimes falls flat for another. The one thing I like to do is get people to sign up for my mailing list so they never miss a sale or a new release.

Charles Dougherty @clrdougherty   49700 twitter followers   Author's Spotlight Interview

Charles writes Mystery & Thrillers novels and short stories. He is the author of the Bluewater Thrillers and the Connie Barrera Thrillers.

Relationships that grew from social media connections were critical to my visibility when I self-published my first book back in 2010. Twitter and Facebook were the places I found my first readers.

While I'm still moderately active in social media, I'm seeing better results from paid advertising. My own email list is my best book launch tool, and the most effective way I've found to boost sales of my older books is to write a new one.

Jami Gray @JamiGrayAuthor   3604 twitter followers  Author's Spotlight Interview

Jami writes Science Fiction & Fantasy, Romance, Suspense novels. She is the author of The Kyn Kronicles series.

I’m an avid reader, so I have a long list of authors I follow. When I first set up my Twitter account, I went and peeked at who followed them and who they followed, and then I began to build my own lists. When I reach out to readers, I try to see it from their perspective: what would they find interesting/entertaining? Those are the things I try to share. As for book launches, I’ve found the writing community to be a wonderful source of support. Initially, for the first two titles, I used promotional companies to help me find blogs with readerships that fit my genre, but over the years I’ve managed to create a great network of readers/writers/reviewers that I can hit up. For example, this summer, Shadow’s Edge is up for free, and since I had the time, I decided to create and plan my summer tour on my own. When I reached out through my various writing communities, I was humbled by the massive, positive response that has allowed me to be all over the web for three months spreading the word. 

Michael R. Hicks @KreelanWarrior   87300 twitter followers   Author's Spotlight Interview

Michael is the bestselling author of the IN HER NAME Sci-Fi and HARVEST Thriller series.

I have to confess that book launches for me are sort of a haphazard affair. I know that a lot of folks have a carefully orchestrated process, but, well, I don't. I give periodic updates on a book's status as it goes through the writing and prepublication review process, then within a week or two of when I know it should be ready I fix a date. After that, I periodically tweet about it, giving a countdown or some such. Then I kick it out the door! Once it's out and available, I gather up the links for the various retailers and send an announcement to my mailing list (which is about 2,500 people now), update the web site, and roll out periodic tweets about it. Once I'm past that point, I'm usually deep into writing the next book!

Madison Johns @madisonjohns11   4279 twitter followers   Author's Spotlight Interview

Madison is the Author of the Amazon bestselling Agnes Barton senior sleuth mystery series.

My main Facebook page, I interact daily with my friends and fans alike. It’s very engaging and they have supported me through out some [of my] tough times. I feel social networking in very important. I just built it from the ground up and I always tried to be positive and that’s caught on in a big way. I knew I was looking for people who loved mystery and I found them in a big way without really trying too, but many of the groups I’m in are mystery related. I didn’t start my newsletter list until later and I wish I had built it sooner.

Betty Webb @bettywebb   1096 twitter followers   Author's Spotlight Interview

Betty is a bestselling author of the Desert Wind, Desert Wives, etc. & the Gunn Zoo mysteries.

It's hard to understand why not everyone is taking advantage of social media, including the various "lists" other authors and readers are on. Not only does it help a writer connect daily with her many fans, but it's fun! My favorite is Facebook, where I post several times a day, not only about my books. Sometimes I post about my cat & do, sometimes I praise other writers and artists, but sometimes I just grumble and gripe. And I frequently comment on other people's posts. But almost always, I try to be witty and entertaining. That way, people see me as a frequent correspondent and friend, not just a name. When I have a new book out, the first thing I do is announce it on Facebook (and Twitter, and all the other social networks I belong to). This bumps my sales tremendously.

Build Friendships and Relationships

Many authors agree the best marketing tool is to develop relationships with people by maintaining a list of reader’s and contact names and keeping in contact. Their theory about building a readership: a potential reader becomes an actual reader.

Michael R. Hicks @KreelanWarrior   87300 twitter followers   Author's Spotlight Interview

Michael is the bestselling author of the IN HER NAME Sci-Fi and HARVEST Thriller series.

Social media - and Twitter, in particular - has been absolutely critical to my success, so much so, in fact, that I wouldn't be where I am today without it. I don't think there are any specific relationships I've had through social media that have been especially advantageous. For me, it's really more a numbers game, with the great bonus of meeting a lot of interesting people, a number of whom have become good friends over time. But every person I meet on Twitter is a potential reader, and quite a few have snagged one or more of the books I offer free to check them out. 

Bob Moats @MurderNovels   5700 twitter followers   Author's Spotlight Interview

Bob is a murder novel writer, featuring a P.I. named Jim Richards and Doyle, P.I.

In 2009, I started on Twitter and then got on Facebook. Both social media helped to find a lot of nice people who became readers of my books. I got to meet a good number of other writers and we shared ideas for promoting the books, but they didn’t become readers of my books. I just kept at promoting but I also became friends with a good number of people. They were kind enough to tell others about my books and it helped build a following. I put a list of reader’s names on my website of the people who are faithful readers and volunteered to be added. I also put the list in my books now.

Faith Mortimer @FaithMortimer   41900 twitter followers   Author's Spotlight Interview

Faith is the Bestselling author of the Affair Series, The Crossing Series, A Dark Minds Psychological Thrillers and The Diana Rivers Mysteries.

Social media is important for me. As an independent author, I use sites such as Twitter, Google and Facebook. I have formed many lovely friendships this way over the years, and as a consequence my personal mail list has grown tremendously. My following built gradually and I let readers and fans know whenever I have something to shout about.

K. T. Roberts @ScribBLINGDIVA   1973 twitter followers   Author's Spotlight Interview

Carolyn is a published author of humorous contemporary romance and mystery novels.

I've met so many wonderful people on these venues, connected with long lost friends, and developed new ones. I've found it effective for building a readership. That's not to say it has pushed my sales to best seller status--at least, not yet, but I do find if I advertise, they will come.

Just being myself on them and commenting on other posts. I've managed to build a nice group of friends, writers and fans.

I do send out a newsletter, but I'm not sure how effective it is. It continues to give my list of contacts information about what I'm up to next.

A Retweet is the Key to Getting the Word Out

You send a regular tweet to your followers and they read it. Great. The trick is to get them to retweet the message to their followers. Your audience just expanded. If the post gets retweeted enough, the message may end up being viewed by thousands.

Some authors even keep a list of who retweets their book tweets. I retweet all of my spotlight authors when I catch one of their tweets or messages.

Steven Konkoly @stevenkonkoly   3417 twitter followers   Author's Spotlight Interview

Steven is the Author of the apocalyptic thriller, The Jakarta Pandemic, and gritty covert-ops series, Black Flagged.

My Twitter following can be a little deceptive. While I do engage with readers on Twitter, most of the impact there comes from retweets by other authors or followers interested in my genres of writing (Post-apocalyptic and political/espionage thrillers).

It’s an easy way for readers to reach out to me, without a ton of expectation. 140 [280 currently] characters makes for a short conversation. Twitter also draws people to my blog. I keep a Twitter feed rolling with book reviews (for other authors’ books) and articles that I have posted to my blog. I see these retweeted quite often. The bulk of my regular social media presence comes from Facebook, both my personal page and thriller-writing page. It’s probably the best place to catch what I’m doing, besides my blog.

All of my news filters through Facebook. Blog posts, new release updates, exclusive content releases, contests, genre related news pieces. Beyond that, I do keep a mailing list, which I regularly (2x per month) update with new release information, exclusive content (sneak peek chapters), and upcoming book deals. I converse regularly via email with many readers on this list. 

Liza O'Connor @Liza0Connor   8222 twitter followers   Author's Spotlight Interview

Liza is the author of several book series in various genres including Humor, Romance, Suspense, Late Victorian Mystery Sleuths, and Sci-Fi.

I love my tweeters. I actually keep a list of who retweets my book tweets so I can send them pics of puppies and kittens in appreciation. I ignore the peeps wanting to sell me tweeters or companies who want to save me time by allowing them to take over my tweet account. Yes, it takes hours of my time to schedule tweets and retweet those who have taken the time to help me. But it’s worth it. As you probably noticed from my list of planned releases, I write in many genres, not just one, so I need readers for all my many genres. Does my effort result in sales? A marketing expert once told me the average person doesn’t buy something until their eighth exposure to it. In which case, my tweets probably do help.

Cary Allen Stone @CaryAllenStone   6799 twitter followers   Author's Spotlight Interview

Cary is the author of the Jake Roberts Novel mystery series. He writes Crime and Mystery Thrillers.

It takes a while to build your Twitter and Facebook following. More importantly, I find a strong email list mostly beneficial. On Twitter, don’t look to be followed, but follow instead. Retweet all of your favorite authors and you will see your twitter following grow. And it isn’t how large your Twitter following is. It’s the dedicated twitter followers of your work that matter.

Take the Time to Work your Lists Regularly

All the authors agreed you must post regularly. It just takes time and a lot of work. Just keep lists and check them regularly.

Lindsay Buroker @GoblinWriter   9378 twitter followers   Author's Spotlight Interview

Lindsay is the author of The Emperor's Edge, Swords & Salt, Rust & Relics and Dragon Blood series.

I think the best use of social media is to be out there, posting regularly, and being available to readers who also use those services. I’ll occasionally tweet book links or post snippets on Facebook, but I don’t rely on those venues to sell books. I do maintain a newsletter, yes, and encourage readers who enjoy the books to signup (I put links to my mailing list, blog, and social media profiles at the end of most of my books, to make sure people can find me).

Madison Johns @madisonjohns11   4279 twitter followers   Author's Spotlight Interview

Madison is the Author of the Amazon bestselling Agnes Barton senior sleuth mystery series.

Twitter is still a mystery to me. It’s not hard to find followers in my opinion; it just takes time out of you day to really interact on there. I much prefer to interact on Facebook. It’s there that I feel I have the biggest impact. I’m active on the groups and I promo on them. I have even been invited into a secret writers group that has only five people in it. Truly an honor to be invited. 

Caroline Mitchell @Caroline_writes   12400 twitter followers   Author's Spotlight Interview

Caroline is the author of the Detective Jennifer Knight Crime Thriller Series and the Detective Ruby Preston Crime Thriller Series.

I’m very pleased with my Twitter following, although it has taken several years and a lot of work to build. I believe a strong social media platform is very important for all authors, as long as it’s organically grown. I advise against buying followers because they are of no value at all. Most are bots and they certainly don’t have any interest in what you have to say. I follow readers, authors and book bloggers. I keep lists and check them regularly so I don’t miss important tweets. Certainly, my strong social media platform was one of the things that my agent and editor picked up on when they expressed interest in my work.


Develop lists of your readers and friends using social media and your newsletters. Connect with them and get them to communicate to their followers by retweeting. Spend the time to work your list regularly. Get the email address and start your marketing.

Natalie Wright @NatalieWright_   17800 twitter followers   Author's Spotlight Interview

Natalie is the author of The Akasha Chronicles series and the H.A.L.F. series.

I think I’m still trying to find a way to build a following in my “niche”! Truly, it’s difficult. But, I’ve learned a few things over the years since I began building my social media platform in early 2011.

First, you need to be yourself. I know that sounds cliche, but it’s true.

Second, in order to be yourself, you need to figure out who you are. Obvious, but most times I don’t think people think about what they want to say before they start saying it. I know I didn’t. If you’re new to building a social media platform (or if you want to revamp yours), spend the time to think about what you stand for. What is important to you? What is your “brand?” Think about what you want to say and think about who you want to say it to. That will help you to narrow your field so you’re not splattering yourself all over the place.

And IMO, people think that they’re going to build this great social media platform will a gazillion followers and that they’ll then automatically sell a gazillion books (or widgets or whatever). It doesn’t work that way. Social media is not a great way to SELL things. An email list is a much better sales tool (and the one place authors should concentrate their efforts). Social media is great for staying in touch with fans you’ve already made, but it is not the best way to sell things.

Bottom line on author platform for me (and different perhaps than what you may hear from others): Blog consistently and smartly and build and interact (again consistently and smartly) with your email list. If you do these two things, it will go much farther to help you build your author platform than anything else. 

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