Sunday, April 10, 2011

Leanna's Marketing Smackdown #4 - Tips for Writers

About the Marketing Smackdown:
Last year I wrote a quarterly column for my local RWA Chapter, RWA NYC, in their Keynotes Newsletter. Since then, several of the articles have been reprinted by other RWA chapters and since I'm continuing the column this year, I thought I'd offer the 2010 posts here too. While I'm not remotely a Marketing expert, I do spend a lot of time on various marketing strategies and happen to have a lot to say about it. I hope writers might find this useful, and that readers and fans might find it interesting (or perhaps daunting) to know some of the many things we authors are doing while trying to juggle everything else in our life.

Leanna’s Marketing Smackdown #4 - Social Media Don’ts.

Copyright 2010 Leanna Renee Hieber

I’ve watched enough meltdowns to know,

Do Not:

10. Rant / rave / criticize your publisher. Anywhere. Ever. Stuff lives online forever, even if you take it down, somehow it still may live, especially if the gossip-mavens get to it and you don’t want to be forever haunted by your bad mood. Every publisher has things that will irritate the hell out of you. Deal with it privately.

9. Criticize another author, not in public at conferences, not online. Bad karma. Unless they come out as like some Neo-Nazi or something. In that case, fire away.

8. Pick for your branding / voice / look / style something that you’re not comfortable with. That discomfort will show. Be yourself. In person and online.

7. Fail to give credit. If you’ve learned something from another site, take a second before reposting to say where it came from, link to it on your website. Online stuff is about sharing, not taking, and who knows, a beautiful exchange may occur. Example: My Haunted London Blog tour was greatly indebted to Richard Jones, who has written my favourite, go-to books about London ghosts, he’s the scholar of the subject. I didn’t know him, but thanked him as an inspiration in my blog post, and somehow (likely Google Alerts) he saw the posts, contacted me, is the kindest person in the world, and said if I was ever in London to come be a guest on his tours. Which I did. He kindly came to my London signing and I maintain he's the neatest guy ever.

6. Assume all social media sites are created equal. Like any club or society, each different venue has a different culture and vibe. I treat my Facebook Fanpage differently than my Twitter. A fanpage is just that, it’s a fanpage, it’s all about me and the Strangely Beautiful series, so everything I post there is really me-centric. Twitter, however, is more personal and interactive, so I can’t just make it about me me me all the time – I mean, 80 to 90 percent of the time, sure- but stop to Re-tweet someone’s good news or call someone out on something good occasionally, tweet about whatever book you’re reading and loving, etc.

5. Take people for granted. This is a harrowing business and no one expects us to be selfless angels all the time, but just try and keep that in mind, it’s a constant balance I try and strike myself.

4. Do not leave a website / blog / untended or with outdated information. You don’t have to blog often but at least tend it once a month. If this isn’t possible, then ditch the blog and stick to a more static website where the info on you and your latest releases is up to date.

3. Do not be mean.

2. Do not give yourself a good review under your own or under a different name that might still route back to you. That’s what friends and chapter-mates are for.

1. Do not ever ever ever ever post a reply to a bad review, it just makes you look bad, no matter how snarky / misspelled / terrible / mean / wrong the review is – it’s gotten many a good author into trouble. Let it go, there will be plenty of good reviews.

Happy Writing, happy selling!

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Kathryn Packer Roberts said...

Good advice. Things we can always be reminded of.

Leanna Renee Hieber said...

Thank you Kathryn! Appreciate your stopping by.