Tag Archives: book marketing

Word on the Street with Ralph Morin

Through my years in publishing, I have worked with some really great authors.  All of these authors approach self publishing with their own agenda and expertise.   Since the whole point of my blog and book is to look at the reality of self-publishing, I thought it would be nice to do a series of author interviews.  Welcome to ‘Word on the Street’.

My author interviews will consist of 6 questions about them, their book and their experience.  You will get the good, the bad and the ugly.  Not all real self publishing stories are full of rainbows and butterflies – it can suck sometimes too.

Come on down, Ralph Morin:

Ralph Morin Photo

Real Answer Real Authors: Why did you decide to publish?

Ralph:  I felt that I had something interesting to say and thought that by writing a book that it would be read by people who would be interested in the subject matter.

RARA: What titles have you published to date?

Ralph:  “The Cold War: A Remembrance”, “The Autobiography of Eve”, “The Autobiography of Eve: Empire”.

Ralph Morin Cover

RARA: How are you currently marketing your book and what has given you the best results?

Ralph:  Since I am deeply involved in another and completely different  project, I am not currently paying much attention to marketing, although I occasionally get a sale or two from the exposure that I first developed.

RARA: Are there any books or websites that you have found the most useful?

Ralph:  A couple, but I have forgotten what they were and I suspect that they would be out of date by now.

RARA: What has been your greatest challenge in self publishing?

Ralph:  Hitting the promotion trail and sticking with it.

RARA: What is the best advice or tip you can give a new and aspiring author?

Ralph:  Be prepared to NOT hit it rich right away. it will take time and maybe even not pan out, but at least you will have something to leave as a good legacy.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A little music, if you please. I’ve always had music intertwined with my life, Born in the middle of the 1930‘s depression and spending my formative years during the cataclysmic World War Two era, I was surrounded by the glorious music of the forties; the show tunes, the classical music, the love songs, the martial music. It has had a lasting effect on the things that I do and the way that I live.

Early on, I found that writing was a great way for me to meet some of the responsibilities of school. I received praise from an English teacher in high school for an essay that I had spontaneously composed. It inspired me to continue, but the draft intervened.

After a four year period in the Air Force during the Korean “Police Action”, I attended UCLA film school, studying under such luminaries as Jean Renoir, Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kramer and many other award winning directors and producers. I made my way, albeit sometimes somewhat shakily, through the sixties. My output during those times consisted of educational, documentary, industrial and short entertainment films, which I usually wrote and produced. Some of my clients included CBS Educational, Encyclopedia Britannica, Rocket dyne, Lockheed, Volkswagen of America and Nissan.

The next phase of my life centered around developing and operating an Electrical Contracting business in Los Angeles, something which fit into my background of engineering which I had acquired at the University of Denver right after I left the Air force. I was a State of California licensed Electrical Contractor until 1999, all the while keeping my hand in the film business by writing and producing home-made backyard films.

In 2008, I began a script than dealt with the Cold War, a period which I know intimately. After developing the idea, I realized that it would have to be a rather longish film, so I decided that it would be best treated as a television series rather than one long film. The more I wrote, the longer it became; after all, the Cold War period ran from the mid 1940’s until 1990, about 45 years. After the script was finished, it dawned on me that if I ever hoped to get it sold, it might be a good thing to start as a book and continue from that point of view,  and so I wrote the book from the script.

In the book, “The Cold War, A Remembrance”, my character, Walter Vorley, always carries his music with him in his head. Sometimes it’s repetitive (i.e. Bolero), or sometimes it plays straight through a song or a short phrase. Walter is a photographer and he is there to record the events of the Cold War Years. His life, his family and the political events that surround him during the telling of the story, culminates with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union. It is my hope that this little known and less understood era can be brought to life and told to as wide an audience as possible.

Ralph Morin

2545 Foose Road,

Malibu, California 90265

310-589-2519

Ralphmorin@verizon.net

 

 

 

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A Misanthropes Interview

If you have been reading my author interviews, then you understand that authors come from all sorts of backgrounds and approach self-publishing in their own way.   This particular author credits himself on being a ‘Misanthrope’.  I like people to read every side and this one happens to be very honest, to the point and kind of mean.  I actually find the honesty refreshing.

Bruce “The Misanthrope” Gary

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Real Answer Real Authors: Why did you decide to publish?

Bruce:  I had no choice; I can’t not write and I think I have something to say.

RARA: What titles have you published to date?

Bruce:  Exoplanet Observing for Amateurs, First and Second editions, The Making of a Misanthrope, A Misanthrope’s Holiday, Quotes for Misanthropes,  Essays From Another Paradigm

RARA: How are you currently marketing your book and what has given you the best results?

Bruce:  Word of mouth. It worked for my astronomy book, but not the others.

RARA: Are there any books or websites that you have found the most useful?

Bruce:  None.

RARA: What has been your greatest challenge in self publishing?

Bruce:  Getting the money to pay for printing.

RARA: What is the best advice or tip you can give a new and aspiring author?

Bruce:  Don’t, unless you can’t not!

FROM THE AUTHOR

Sorry, but I can’t varnish the truth. Life is too short for pretending to be nice.  Your last Q reminds me of something Richard Feynman wrote: “Teaching is a funny proposition. You can’t teach the dumb ones, and the smart ones don’t need to be taught.” I have the same thoughts about advice for would-be writers: Don’t! There are already 1/3 million new books published every year, and the median level of their intelligence is sinking along with everything else in America. The writer with something to say will ignore that advice, and maybe someone with nothing to say will heed it.
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Word on the Street with Cory Harris

Through my years in publishing, I have worked with some really great authors. All of these authors approach self publishing with their own agenda and expertise. Since the whole point of my blog and book is to look at the reality of self-publishing, I thought it would be nice to do a series of author interviews. Welcome to ‘Word on the Street’.

My author interviews will consist of 6 questions about them, their book and their experience. You will get the good, the bad and the ugly. Not all real self publishing stories are full of rainbows and butterflies – it can suck sometimes too.

Tell us about it, Cory Harris:

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Real Answer Real Authors: Why did you decide to publish?

Cory: To help parents protect their children, its always been a goal of mine.

RARA: What titles have you published to date?

Cory: Zipper LE Series One: Outlook on Leadership and Liability in the Criminal Justice System and The Child/Adult Safety Bible.

RARA: How are you currently marketing your book and what has given you the best results?

Cory: The internet is how I market and has yielded the best results so far.

RARA: Are there any books or websites that you have found the most useful?

Cory: Amazon is usually pretty useful in searching for books I have found.

RARA: What has been your greatest challenge in self publishing?

Cory: Marketing is very difficult and expensive.

RARA: What is the best advice or tip you can give a new and aspiring author?

Cory: Take your time and give the reader your best output.

AUTHOR INFO
Cory B. Harris was born in Camden, Arkansas, and has over eighteen years of combined military and law-enforcement experience. He has served with the United States Air Force, Little Rock Police Department, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the United States Marshals Service. He has training and experience in field training, crime prevention, criminal and fugitive investigation and apprehension, operations, firearms instruction, threat investigations, and judicial and dignitary protection, just to name a few areas. He is also a recipient of the Medal of Merit (LRPD) and has a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice and a Doctorate Degree (DBA) in Business with an emphasis in Healthcare Management.

standing cover photoback cover photo

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Word on the Street with G.P.A.

Through my years in publishing, I have worked with some really great authors.  All of these authors approach self publishing with their own agenda and expertise.   Since the whole point of my blog and book is to look at the reality of self-publishing, I thought it would be nice to do a series of author interviews.  Welcome to ‘Word on the Street’.

My author interviews will consist of 6 questions about them, their book and their experience.  You will get the good, the bad and the ugly.  Not all real self publishing stories are full of rainbows and butterflies – it can suck sometimes too.

Tell us about it, Greatest Poet Alive (G.A.P.):

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Real Answer Real Authors: Why did you decide to publish?

G.P.A.:  I had written enough poems for other people that I felt it was time to put them all together.

RARA: What titles have you published to date?

G.P.A.:  The Confessional Heart of a Man, The Book of 24 Orgasms, The Mind of a Poetic Unsub, and Revenge of the Orgasm. Plus, I have appeared in many anthologies.

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RARA: How are you currently marketing your book and what has given you the best results?

G.P.A.:  I am a guerrilla marketer. Whatever methods will help spotlight my books, I use them.  Similarly, it is great to perform Poetry where it is. But the outstanding thing is to perform Poetry where it might not be.  And that is same with my books.

RARA: Are there any books or websites that you have found the most useful?

G.P.A.:  Facebook is a wonderful tool if used correctly. Otherwise, I just surf for opportunities.

RARA: What has been your greatest challenge in self publishing?

G.P.A.:  The greatest challenge in self publishing has been doing it as an author of Poetry. I say this because some regard Poetry as a “dead art”. Also, with the advent and movement of spoken word, the written art is looked over, unless you provide some sizzle to it. This may come with the personality of the individual Poet, title and/or cover of the book, or material that invites attention.

RARA: What is the best advice or tip you can give a new and aspiring author?

G.P.A.:  Write the way you want to and do what makes you feel good. If it touches many people and makes money, it is even better.

AUTHOR INFO

G.P.A hails from the south side of Chicago, IL. He has written four books of Poetry, participated in several anthologies, released one cd G.P.A. Experience, and has another on the way, GPApocalypse Forever.   G.P.A. has recently added acting to his repertoire of talents with stints in independent films “Persian Version” and “Animals” and tv shows “Chicago Fire” and “Crisis”.  Also, he won the Moth Storytelling Championship on two occasions, won all medals in the Poetry Pentathlon, and was a semifinalist in the Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Awards.

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Word on the Street with Larry Flinchpaugh

Through my years in publishing, I have worked with some really great authors.  All of these authors approach self publishing with their own agenda and expertise.   Since the whole point of my blog and book is to look at the reality of self-publishing, I thought it would be nice to do a series of author interviews.  Welcome to ‘Word on the Street’.

My author interviews will consist of 6 questions about them, their book and their experience.  You will get the good, the bad and the ugly.  Not all real self publishing stories are full of rainbows and butterflies – it can suck sometimes too.

Tell us about it, Larry Flinchpaugh:

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Real Answer Real Authors: Why did you decide to publish?

Larry:  Nearly my entire life, I had serious questions about my religious beliefs, political ideology, our country’s banking system and even our educational system but never had the time to serious search for answers until I retired in 2005.  I had a sense that there was something seriously wrong with our country and with some effort; I could discover the truth that would improve the lives of not only myself and family but also the lives of all American citizens.  As it turned out, I discovered the secret to improving the lives of nearly everyone on the planet.

RARA: What titles have you published to date?

Larry:  The books I have published to date are: “My Family History Book, “Growing  Up  In  A  Zoo, “Secrets of Our Hidden Controllers Revealed, “Letters Home From Civil War Soldier Charles Gamble, “Against All Odds-President Paul Ronan,” “Billions For The Bankers-Debts For The People” and “Should I Start My own Business.”

RARA: How are you currently marketing your book and what has given you the best results?

Larry:  My books are marketed through our local book store called “Hastings Books,” amazon.com books, local museums and the tourist bureau in St. Joseph, Missouri.  Also my books are available on my own personal web site and promotion through Facebook.  The local libraries also have my books available.  Actually our local book store, Hastings does slightly better than amazon.

RARA: Are there any books or websites that you have found the most useful?

Larry:  My own web site promotion is new and I haven’t seen any results here even though I am having 200-300 visits per day

RARA: What has been your greatest challenge in self publishing?

Larry:  My greatest challenge was learning to use Microsoft word in writing books.  It’s really not designed for book writing but other book writing programs are fairly expensive.   Huge files on word are hard to manage and I still haven’t mastered how to have separate page numbering for the index and the body of the book.  Trying to get an ISBN number and communicating with Bowker was nearly impossible.  Amazon did fix that problem.

RARA: What is the best advice or tip you can give a new and aspiring author?

Larry:  I always explain to people that few self publishes ever make any money; you will be lucky to at least cover your costs.  I personally did not write my books to make money but rather to inform the people how we can increase the living standard of everyone plus eliminate nearly all wars.  I have discovered the secret but few will listen.  I even had one representative state in private, “Larry, I agree with almost everything you have written, but if my constituents knew I believed that way, I would never get re-elected.  This is my biggest hurdle.  The masses of the people are asleep or suffer severe cases of apathy and our political leaders no longer represent the electorate; only the big money lobbyist, bankers and the military industrial complex companies.

I still encourage people to write because most will not be writing about so controversial subjects as I.

AUTHOR INFO

John Larry Flinchpaugh

J L Flinchpaugh Publishing Company

5500 Cape Court

St. Joseph, Missouri 64503

816-676-2565 cell 816-351-3107

Email: lflinch@stjoelive.com

Web Page: http://www.larryflinchpaugh.com

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Maximize Your Social Media – Easily

I know that I said the whole social media thing is a bit boring and a total time suck but I have been having some fun with it.  I think once you start to see results it gets you more excited.  You just have to get over the hump.

My first social media blog was about setting up basic accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.   I was getting distraught on the thought of having to post everyday and be consistent.  But then, along came Hoot suite.  I had heard of these social media ‘platforms’ and then started to really look into what they have to offer.   Let me just say – it is A-MA-ZING!

I researched a few of these systems and some are setup more for individuals.   Hoot suite seemed to be the best fit for me.  You can add all your social media streams (or accounts) and view simultaneously.  The program is free for up to 5 social media accounts – so you can do Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and one more for no monthly charge.  I am a member of quite a few author groups on Facebook so I upgraded to 9.99/month pro plan to have 50 social media ‘accounts’.  Each ‘group’ I belonged to on face book counts as 1 social media ‘account’.

When I posted a blog, I found myself going to each group on Facebook, then my Twitter, then my LinkedIn, etc.  This was very time consuming and I would end up getting distracted with screaming children in the process.  Well, the most awesome thing about Hoot suite is that you can compose a message (or blog, whatever) and include all (or some – your choice) of your social media accounts and post to them at one time.  And get this – you can SCHEDULE the posts too. This is what gets me so excited (I know I am kind of a loser if this makes me excited, but anyway…).  Anything that helps me manage my time better I absolutely love.  So now on the weekend I will get all my posts for the week and schedule accordingly.   You can be more consistent and almost tell a story with your posts.   The best time to post is between 10am-2pm so just schedule them for that time of day.

Hoot suite also features reports and analytics.  Once you really start to get some traction, these tools are super helpful.  They will help to show trends, what links are being clicked, what messages get the most views, etc.  It is nice to start seeing results and feel like the time you are spending engaging with your social media is really paying off.  This program helps to put everything right in front of me so I give it 2 thumbs up.

Check out my previous blogs on prelaunch marketing, cover/manuscript setup and working with a printer.  If you are not following, just click the follow button on the right hand side to be emailed when new blogs are posted.

As always, I appreciate any comments, suggestions or feedback. If you have a blog topic you want me to cover – send it over.

…and in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night.

 

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Working with a Printer can Suck

Yes, I work with a printing/publishing company and have for 7 or so years.  I think of all my blogs, this one I can really give my two cents on and feel more like the ‘expert’.  However, I can still empathize for my authors because printers can be tough and very hard to understand.  I get it ….and hopefully you will too once you read my blog.

The very first thing(s) you need to decide are the following:

  1. Budget – how much money do you have to spend and have you really thought about all the expenses (setup, editing, proofing, printing, shipping, marketing materials….)?
  2. Commitment – is this something that you want as a side gig to show a few friends or do you plan to hit it pretty hard with signings, speaking engagements, marketing, etc?
  3. Expertise – how much do you really know about marketing your book?
  4. Motivation – have you had your towels in the washer for 4 days now?

There are different types of printers as well and they all serve different purposes:

  1. POD – This stands for print on demand.  Digital printing equipment is used.  Digital printers are just fancy copiers with way more bells and whistles.   It is awesome that people can print just one book at a time these days – who would of thought.  POD printers are normally all online.  You do not usually get to speak to a live person.  They can often be higher in price and there can be limitations on what you can do.  You will get super frustrated with POD if you are unfamiliar with getting files ready to print and if you are not too computer savvy.  POD is great if you are the type of person who gets things done at 3am and you know what you are doing.
  2. Short Run Digital Printing – POD also uses digital printing equipment but there are companies that specialize in more of the ‘short run’ digital printing.  These are the mid-level market guys and are perfect for first time authors.   Short Run Digital Printers require a minimum order of books like 25 or 50 and will print up to 500 efficiently.  They can usually give you a better price per book since you are ordering more than 1 at a time.  You will have a more personal connection to the company.  They will review the files and come back to you when there are issues and some setup is required.
  3. Offset/Traditional Publishing – this type of printing is only efficient for runs of 1000+ typically.  This is the old timey method where plates are made and the plates ‘stamp’ the paper.  Offset printers use ink.  Digital printers use toner.  Most people don’t care about this but some do.  The presses take time to setup which is why it does not make sense to do a short run.   You will still get a personal connection with the company.  You will receive a much lower cost per book.   They will also review your files and come back with any issues, etc.  This is what authors will graduate too once they are successful in marketing their book.  Just be sure and have space for storage.  A good space that is BIG and not damp or humid – 1000 books can be like 30-40 boxes.  That’s a lot of boxes.

So once you have decided on the above you want to start connecting with that type of printer for estimates.  Printing companies can be intimidating because we have our own language.  We start to throw terms out to you like perfect binding, duplex, trim size, bleed and you start to feel dizzy and want to hang up.  Personally, I can tell instantly if an author is new to the process by the first things they ask or say.  That helps me to steer the conversation in the right direction.  It will be important to connect to the sales person or printer so you fully understand what you are buying and they fully understand your expectations.  This can be difficult.  I would suggest the following:

  1. Review or google print terms you do not understand.  I have put together a list here: Printionary.
  2. Send or give the printer a physical sample of what you want.  This could be on paper type, a design, layout or binding style.
  3. Talk to more than one printer.
  4. Talk to other authors on their experiences.

When I gather information from an author to get an accurate quote, these are the specs I would ask for:

  1. Title of Book:
  2. Quantity to print:
  3. Trim size (height and width of finished book):
  4. Number of pages:
  5. Is the interior b/w or color:
  6. Any paper preference or standard:
  7. Binding style (click here for sample images)
  8. Will you require an ISBN or barcode:
  9. Do you need layout or formatting:

From this information, I can get the most accurate proposal together.  When you go to several printers for estimates, be sure and have the same specs quoted so you can compare apples to apples.  Granted, I do not believe that the lowest price is the best option.   When you buy cheap – you usually get cheap. There are many other things to consider like customer service, turnaround time, additional services available, location etc.

90% of files are sent incorrectly!  Ask the printer how they need files setup to print and what their process is.  Every printer should give you some guidelines on this.  I have attached a sample here: MIRA Preparing Files.   Authors often get annoyed when printers come back with issues and need to have them fixed or charge a small fee.  Unfortunately someone has to do the work and if they are on payroll – we have to charge the customer.   It can get rather expensive to make a lot of changes and send new files throughout the proofing stages.  All files have to be setup a certain way so to avoid extra charges – make sure you are at a stopping point.  The good thing about digital is you can print a small amount, find mistakes and correct them, and then print another small amount.

I hope that you have learned a bit about the ‘Other Side’.  Printers are not so bad I guess.  Check out my previous blogs on prelaunch marketing, cover/manuscript setup and social media.  If you are not following, just click the follow button on the right hand side to be emailed when new blogs are posted.

As always, I appreciate any comments, suggestions or feedback. If you have a blog topic you want me to cover – send it over.

…and in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Social Media – Not So Scary

Who would have thought that we would be able to video chat with friends across the world, become an instant celebrity through a YouTube video or broadcast our every thought and action to hundreds of friends online?  I know that was pretty cheesy – but I am talking about social media here folks.

In a recent post, I talked about how the last thing I really want to do with any free time (which there is none with a job, kids and now this book) is be on the computer engaging in social media.  Well, here is a breakdown of what I have done so far.  I am in no means calling myself an expert in social media because there are many gurus out there that can help develop many levels of social media for you.  The purpose of this is to talk about how a newbie like me gets connected.  Many of my authors have asked how to take the first steps so here goes:

WORDPRESS – First things first, if you are going to do any kind of social media you have to send them somewhere.  You need a home base.  This is what Word Press can do for you.  Easily create a simple or not so simple website and blog.  I have only 4 pages now and may add more in the future.  The most important to me was a home page (to introduce the project/book), a blog page, a contact page and a ‘buy my book’ page.  Word Press is free but you can upgrade for $18/year to have your own url otherwise it will contain’ Word Press’ in it.  For instance, my website is at www.realanswersrealauthors.com instead of www.realanswersrealauthors.wordpress.com.  I thought this was worth the money.  Word Press has a pretty extensive dashboard and lots of customizing you can do.  It is helpful with many links to guide you through setup.  Just try not to get overwhelmed.  Take a couple of days and just click through and see what everything does.  You don’t have to figure it all out day 1.

FACEBOOK – I assume this is the most common and widely used platform.  Everyone you know probably has a Facebook page – which you can now use to your advantage.  I started a page for my book and put the cover image as my profile pic.  I started to look into various groups that related to my book.  I found many author and book promotion groups.  I asked to join these groups.  Once you are a member, you can look to the right on their page and see ‘related groups’.  I then went through all related groups in each group that I was a member.  This really helped to open up my FB world.  Once I joined these groups, I started to get friend requests from authors and sought out friends who were authors.  This is how social media can snowball for you.  I would suggest seeking out groups that have a common interest with your book.  When I posted a blog, I was sure to share it on my Facebook page and also post it on various group pages that related to the particular topic.

TWITTER – I had always refused to join twitter and when I say the word ‘tweet’ – I want to kick my own a** but I guess I had to do it.  I signed up for twitter.  Basically what I do here is share my blog links when I post something.  I have also been trying to tweet (there I go again) every day.  I just take excerpts from my book and post.  The important thing with this and most social media outlets is that you want to have quality content to get quality followers.  If you don’t care then you will end up with a bunch of crap.  If you work hard and spend the time, just do it right.   Because of this, I get a steady stream of people following me.  I don’t have very many but get a few a week and I am okay with that for now.

LINKEDIN – This is more of a professional networking tool, so you should keep it that way.  No embarrassing photos or posts on what you had for breakfast.  This will turn people off.  I was not very good at keeping up with my account so when I logged in, I had about 90 invitations waiting.  Once I accepted the invites then LI asked me about all of these other people I may know.  They also have a nice feature for updating your profile as well.  It will ask if you want to update your profile info and then you will answer a series of questions – quick and easy.  LinkedIn is also a place where I will post my blogs or update on any work type activities like if Mira Publishing added a new product or if we have a print sale happening that month.

REDDIT, STUMBLE UPON, DIGG, TUMBLR and PINTEREST – These are additional social media platforms that all do about the same thing.  They are resources for information basically.  I opened an account for each of these sites and just post my blog.  I do not know all the ends and outs of each one but will be researching a bit more.   I have seen hits on my blog from each site once I post so I think it is definitely worth looking into.

Word Press is great because if you setup their ‘Publicize’ feature it will automatically post your blog in the various outlets for you.   I also think it is important to be consistent so keep the same profile pic and same color scheme throughout all your social media accounts.  This will help others to relate to you and will be more familiar with your ‘brand’.

Also, something big with social media is seeking out information from others that relate to your book/topic and engage on their posts or follow them.  This will help others to come around to you.  It is not just about you sending info out to everyone and expecting them to read what you have to say –  but you have to do the same and read and comment on others as well.  This, I find the most time consuming but necessary.

That is about all I have on social media.  I know there is much more that can be done but this is a good stepping stone.  I started my social media about 8 weeks prior to my book launch and will continue building through the months and years.  It takes patience and time so be prepared.

Check out my previous blogs on prelaunch marketing and cover/manuscript setup.  If you are not following, just click the follow button on the right hand side to be emailed when new blogs are posted.   My next post will be about printing and getting quotes.

As always, I appreciate any comments, suggestions or feedback. If you have a blog topic you want me to cover – send it over.

…and in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night.

 

 

 

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