Thursday, March 31, 2011

How to find the audience for a book publisher

Q. Tony Levelle

How do I find the audience for a book publisher? Is it the thousands of readers? Is it bookstore owners? Is it the distributor who prints and wholesales the books? Book reviewers? Who?

A. Braden Wright have multiple separate conversation topics happening. How you address a bookstore to convince them that your product is worth carrying on the shelf, assuring them that you have supportive publicity efforts established to move the product, will be different from the message you send to an individual consumer. It's possibly different for a consumer who wants to purchase the book in physical form than it would be from a consumer who now only wants digital versions.

Identifying your business marketing goals and following backwards through the supply chain should help identify the segments you need to reach with separate messages. Of course there's overlap that will happen. Your messages to book distributors are so specific that they'll go into trade publications (if speaking about traditional publicity) but an article that creates awareness in general film-industry consumers may be seen widely by the targeted audience (consumer) and by bookstore owners and distributors.

Braden Wright, "The Messaging Coach" in the Social Media Marketing Boot Camp

A. Seth Godin

'Our customer is the reader, not the bookstores.'

(Where is source on this? I remember Godin answering this in a Q and A about his Domino publishing venture.)

How to get thousands of friends and followers

Q. Emily Bond:
How do you win friends (on Facebook) and influence people (on Twitter)? In the early stages of a social media campaign, how do you creep into the thousands? What's a reasonable time frame?

A. Patrice Yursik: creep into the thousands you have to build buzz. How do you build buzz? By joining popular conversations on Twitter. By writing about hot button, timely topics. By using your contacts. By building relationships with popular bloggers, commenting on other bloggers blogs and offering to share information and posts with them.

My first thousand readers came from being a regular commenter on popular blogs, and when it was my turn, the creators of those blogs were only too happy to talk about me to their readers. So start reaching out!

From MediaBistro Social Media Marketing Boot Camp

The dog is better

Our little white dog is doing better today. He's still kind of listless, but he is improving.

Learning the skills and language of social media

People often become frustrated and overwhelmed when they try to learn social media. I think it helps to put the skill in perspective, chill out, and take it easy.

Learning to use social media is a lot like learning a new language. Say, for example, Spanish.

1. You only learn it by speaking.
2. You are going to make mistakes.
3. It takes about two years of consistent practice to get fluent.

Trying to speak Spanish overnight will only lead to failure and frustration. Trying to learn it by just reading a book will only lead to failure and frustration.
The only way to become fluent is to study, practice, and immerse yourself in the culture for a couple years.

Yes, some people can learn a language in five weeks. I had a friend like that once. He spoke 22 languages fluently, and was learning Swahili for fun. It takes the rest of us a little longer.

Patrice Yursik answers my Big Questions

Patrice Yursik (aka the MediaBistro Twitter Queen) answers my "big question" for the MediaBistro Social Media Marketing Boot Camp.
We all got to ask one Big Question of the advisors, and mine was:

How do you identify the people in your audience? do you 1) identify those people. 2) find out where they hang out online 3) strike up conversations with them. 4) make it easy for them to find you.

Patrice replied:
1 and 2 - The only thing that's truly worked for me is research. So for example, your hoped-for audience would be very interested in film from a critical and intellectual perspective. Start out by identifying the biggest names in your area of interest. For you, those people would likely be film critics so you might want to begin with following Roger Ebert, Peter Travers, Richard Roeper, the guys from Ain't It Cool News...whoever is a known quantity in your space, follow them. If you aren't sure who from a particular website or publication is online, just Google their name, and Twitter to see if they have an account, or a Facebook fan page you can join. RE: Google and Twitter, I find this is more effective than using the actual Twitter search bar. Once you've found your key players, see who they're talking to, and maybe follow them or "like" their fan page. They're most likely having those helpful conversations right now and you might be able to introduce yourself and join in.

3 - In terms of striking up conversation, think of it like you're at a really crowded party and the person you want to communicate with is most likely surrounded by an active group of people already trying to talk to them. (Roger Ebert's Twitter comes most immediately to mind). How do you stand out from the crowd? By either a. saying something interesting, or b. asking that person a question worth answering. Don't be turned off or unfollow them if they don't reply the first time or even the first few times...if you're consistently engaging and interesting, you'll most likely get a response at some point.

4 - to establish yourself as someone who's discussing relevant topics or is a go-to source for **insert topic here** you should make wise use of the Twitter search bar and see what hashtags people are using to discuss what you're interested in discussing. In my particular area of interest, #naturalhair is a popular hashtag - you can also search the hashtag to find people who are worth following and communicating with. It is also worth it to sign up for WeFollow, or any of these:

LINKS from Social Media Class = Weeks 1-3

A collection of useful links from the social media class for weeks 1-3. If I don't put them here, I'm going to forget them. Week 4 in another post... this is way too cluttered...

The audience for a book publisher? Braden Wright
How to get thousands of friends and followers. Emily Bond and Patrice Yursik
GalleyCat. Twitter contacts for Everyone In The Book Business.
Mashable. Find 'Em On Twitter.
Ant's Eye View. Social media firm, used by Cisco.
Stephanie Marx presentation on SlideShare.
7 ways to engage with your customers.
Single best way for Writers to become a brand. Kristen Lamb
Got Social Media Policy? (for nonprofits) Beth's Blog
Social Media Policy. (creating one) The Altimiter
Finding your Audience. Patrice Yursik
Where will you engage your audience? Saul Colt, aka 'the smartest man in the world.'
10 Things Seth Godin Taught Me About Social Media, Neal Schaffer
Definition of Twitter Tags The easy Twitter Directory
Measuring Social Media and It's Impact on Your Brand Cisco
Cross Linking SEO FAQ SEO Marketing World
What are twitter lists and how do you use them?
Five steps to a social media strategy. Amy Sample Ward
When Social Media Backfires. New York Times
Cisco Fatty, or Nothing Is Private
NPR's Social Media Strategy
How to create a social media strategy. David Griner One Forty is a respected reviewer of listening tools. This link is a list of 30 different Twitter toolkits used by community managers, and appropriate for SMB's. Start with Janet Aronica's Toolkit. She is smart, motivated, and helpful on Twitter. The trick is to a) define the problem and b) then choose the best tools to solve that problem. Just compiling a bunch of metrics will not provide an in depth analysis.
Janet Aronica's Community Manager Toolkit at One Forty
What fans want from social media. (h/t Alison Ashton)
7 ways to destroy your reputation on twitter (h/t Patrice Yurik)
Mari Smith's Top Ten Social Media Tools Facebook expert Mari Smith's top 10 tools
How to use social media to break into the music business
How to use social media to brand yourself as a writer Roy Peter Clark
Building a FaceBook Fan Page #1 free 10 part video series (start at 5). Requires email and account.
Building a Facebook Fan Page #2 another app for building facebook fan page. Requires email and account
Dirty Little Secrets of Search The JC Penny SEO debacle.
KD Paines checklist for social media monitoring
Marshall Sponder Web Metrics guru
Gary Vaynerchuk web page A social media success story. Good example of a page that sells books.
Gary Vaynerchuk facebook page. Key takeaway here is HAVE A CLEAR OBJECTIVE and then A SIMPLE PAGE DESIGN.
Gary Vaynerchuck twitter.
MediaBistro's All Facebook dot com. Landing tab design (Q: still ok since fb went to iFrame?)
Top 75 apps for Facebook Mari Smith
Networked blogs app
21 ways to increase your Facebook visibility Mari Smith

Compared to perfect

Seth Godin on why large numbers may not matter. Impact may matter more.

Which do you want? Five thousand anonymous facebook friends or five meaningful friendships?

Five people who would put you up for the night if they knew three days in advance you were going to be in town?
Or five thousand people who would click "like" as you checked into the Marriott, and had dinner alone?

Five influential bloggers who would read your book and spread your ideas?
Or five thousand people who would click "like" but never read the book?

If your goal is to have meaningful relationships with five people, you do certain things.
If your goal is to have meaningless relationships with five thousand people, you do other things.

You can't have both.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sick dog

Sometimes marketing stuff has to take a back seat. Our dog got suddenly sick today, and we had a hectic hour caring for him until the emergency was over. There are things more important than facebook, twitter, metrics, platforms and audience demographics.

Cisco Fatty, or Nothing Is Private

Image: Connor Riley
Connor Riley, a.k.a. "Cisco Fatty" is a lady, and in fact, not even remotely fat. (h/t Helen Popkin)

On the way home from a job interview Riley tweeted,

"Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work."

...and got a tweet in return,

"Who is the hiring manager. I’m sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the web."

The tweets went viral.
Things got 'internet-ugly' quickly.
Cisco responded with a calm and measured explanation of their social media policy.
Riley didn't take the job.
She was interviewed about the whole dustup later, here.

Where will you engage your audience

Saul Colt said:
"I always tell people to engage with your customers where ever they may be. Twitter, FaceBook, Linkedin are all great places to start conversations and share information but if your audience isnt already there then it will be a lot of work with not lot of return.

"Best way to tackle this is to devote some time (3-4 weeks) to spend everywhere and scale back on the platforms that are not working. You may find that Twitter is a gold mine or you may find that the best platform for you is a small niche industry message board.

"Ideally you want to bring your audience to you in the form of a community site (forums etc) so you can own the experience. Facebook changes rule and such often and one day may make it difficult to own your community so try to plan ahead a think "If I am going to put all my eggs into one basket, I should probably own the basket."

Saul Colt in the MediaBistro Social Media Marketing Boot Camp.

Tools for Social Media Marketing

A list of tools for social media marketing. If I don't put them here, I'm going to forget them.

Analytics – Real-time social media analytics

Search tools – Real time search engine for Facebook and Twitter

Alert tools:

Twitter tools:
Twitter search
FriendFeed – Free social media management tool (create
keyword streams and schedule tweets/posts)

Mashable directories for finding people on twitter

Social Media Policy tool

SMM listening posts
Cymphony Maestro
Google Alerts
Bing Alerts
Yahoo Alerts
Fairshare – Social media monitoring tool – Web-based social media monitoring and engagement platform – Real-time social media search and analysis

Feeding a blog to social media outlet – Automatically feed a blog to social media outlets

Link shrinker and trackers

Contact Manager

What are these?
Visible Technologies

Social media marketing class continues

Week two of the social media marketing class...

I now know enough about this stuff to really get in trouble. Learning social media marketing is like having someone hand you the keys to a new car, before you know how to drive.

You can start the car, weave onto the road, swerve into the oncoming traffic and have a horrible accident. (See The Aflac Incident.) Or you can floor it and get to Cleveland really fast. Or get a traffic ticket. You get the idea.

Why blog? make friends.

"...blogging when boiled down to its essence is…to make friends. Blog about your passions and people will gather at your blog to have community and to feel as if they contribute. Blogging, in a sense, is a club.

"What kind of club do you desire to create?"

Kristen Lamb

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Kitchenista's "aha" moments

The Kitchenista's goal for was to share a love for cooking. The Kitchenista lives for the "aha" moment when people 'get' a cooking technique or skill.

A social media strategy for the Kitchenista might be "more 'aha' moments." Social media is just a tool to empower the Kitchenista to reach more people, nothing more.

This might be an appropriate strategy for other artists too; people like filmmakers, writers, yoga teachers, stained glass artists, winemakers and cookbook authors.

The cost of maintaining a social media strategy

Every social media strategy takes time, energy and money.

A social media strategy that works for a corporation or a large nonprofit might not work for an independent filmmaker, author, or artist.

Who will tweet three times a day, monitor the tweet stream for mentions of your company, reply to direct tweets, monitor and reply to facebook, write blog posts, monitor comments on blog posts, etc. This can quickly become a full time job.

A strategy that works for a movie star with millions of fans, will not work for an author with 1,000 fans.

When social media backfires

When the Marketing Reach of Social Media Backfires
Stuart Elliot, New York Times, March 15, 2011

Justin Lane/European Pressphoto Agency

"Gilbert Gottfried was fired by Aflac after certain comments about the crisis in Japan on his own Twitter account." Photo and quoted text, copyright New York Times.

NPR's social media strategy

Taking a Look at NPR's Shining Social Media Strategy
Lauren Dugan, Social Times: Your Social Media Source

...National Public Radio – NPR – has been doing news, talk, and entertainment radio for forty years, and they may just be the mainstream media outlet to best use social media as part of their online strategy..." Social Times.

How to create a Social Media Strategy

How To Create A Social Media Strategy
David Griner, The Social Path

tools for twitter

Various tools that are useful for monitoring, posting, and generally managing twitter.


One way to use these tools is to make Twitter lists. Make a column of people who are important to you and pay attention to them! You might also track your mentions, and respond to anyone who tweets at you. You can use Twitter lists for all sorts of other stuff... news sources, industry thought leaders, gossip... See this post for more info: (h/t to Erica Reitman from whom I stole shamelessly for this post.)

5 steps to social media strategy

5 steps to social media strategy by Amy Semple Ward. Excellent

Relationships matter to publishers

Thinking out loud...

It seems that publishers and authors have a unique opportunity to create ongoing relationships with their readers.

A book is a way to transmit complex ideas and stories. Readers feel an intimate connection with a writer's art and the writer. I feel like I "know" Arthur Conan Doyle, and dozens of other authors.

Publishers and writers have worked to deepen this relationship for hundreds of years. Every successful writer says something like "i spend half my time marketing."

I think the future of publishing lies in nurturing real relationships... not facebook friend relationships, but real relationships. Is it possible that the SMM metric that publishers and authors need to look at is 'meaningful conversations?'

Writing about Social Media Marketing

I am taking a Social Media Marketing (SMM) course. For the next few weeks I will be using this blog as a place to collect information and ideas about SMM.

Use a Big Screen for Important Messages

The more important the message, the bigger the screen you should use to create and send it.

h/t to Seth Godin's post 'small screens and big decisions'.

How useful are Social Media metrics?

In Social Media Marketing, the metrics you choose determine where you go. If you choose 'facebook friends' as a measure of success, you choose one strategy. If you choose 'positive conversations' you choose another strategy.

There are so many metrics that it is difficult to choose which one makes any difference at all. It sounds a lot like marketing-buzz to me. My default starting position is this:

All metrics are useless. Until a metric is proven useful, I assume that it is useless. If I have 5000 facebook friends, does it translate into measurable results? Does it mean that I have a tribe of 1000 friends, fans and followers who will go out of their way to support each other's art?

Arguments about the usefulness of metrics aside, here's a great SlideShare presentation from Cisco on Social Media Measurement. It shows how to organize and present social media metrics.

10 things Seth Godin taught me about social media marketing

Neal Schaffer has a great post here on Seth Godin's insights on social media marketing. You should go to the original post and read the whole thing, but if you don't have time, here's quick summary:

1. Social Media and Experimentation

Sure, go ahead and test what’s testable. But the real victories come when you have the guts to launch the untestable. – A Culture of Testing

2. Building Your Tribe (Through Social Media)

Building a tribe is reliable, it’s hard work and it’s worth doing. – No Knight, No Shining Armor

3. Content is the New Search Engine Optimization

I resist the temptation to optimize this blog for traffic and yield. I’d rather force myself to improve it by having the guts to write better posts instead. – The Non-Optimized Life

4. Embrace Social Media and Become a Leader, Not a Follower

Are you chasing or being chased? Are you leading or following? Are you fleeing or climbing? – Running Away vs. Running Toward

5. Engage with Your Customers, and You Shall Increase Your Engagement

The customers you fire and those you pay attention to all send signals to the rest of the group. – Train Your Customers

6. Don’t Forget about the “Social” in Social Media

The experience I have with you as a customer or a friend is far more important than a few random bits flying by on the screen. The incredible surplus of digital data means that human actions, generosity and sacrifice are more important than they ever were before. – The Blizzard of Noise (and the Good News)

7. Let Others Broadcast Your Message for You

Anil Dash has discovered that having ten times as many Twitter followers generates approximately zero times as much value.

The goal shouldn’t be to have a lot of people to yell at, the goal probably should be to have a lot of people who choose to listen. Don’t need a bullhorn for that. – Bullhorns are Overrated

8. You Have to Be Bigger Than Your Brand in Social Media

Great brands represent something bigger than themselves. You can create this accidentally if you’re lucky, but you can create it on purpose if you try. – Represent

If you only talk about yourself in social media no one is listening. Social media was made for people, not brands.

9. Use the Social Media Tools at Your Disposal and Stop Looking for New Ones

The hard work that we have to do is to not use Twitter and Facebook to entertain ourselves and hide from the art. And the hard work that we have to do is not go to yet another meeting with yet another boring boss who’s going to have yet another boring project for us to do.

But the hard work – and we’re seeing it over and over again in every field I can imagine, not including bringing vaccines to the developing world – the hard work is to look at the status quo and say, “Well, they built all these tools for me. They built all this leverage for me, and it’s not here to entertain me, it’s here to permit me to put myself at risk, to maybe have someone look me in the eye and say, ‘You’re not good enough to do that.’” That’s really hard.

And then what we have to do as trainers or as managers or as people who can spread ideas is somehow put in front of people that what we need them to do is to solve interesting problems. And what we need them to do is lead. And then if all they’re prepared to do is make widgets, we have a long slog ahead of us. But if we’re wiling to race to the top and do work that matters, my bet is that a few of us will do it often enough to actually make change. – Transcript of the First Linchpin Session

10. Use Social Media to Build Your Own Unique Tribe, 10 People at a Time

Instead of speed dating your way to interruption, instead of yelling at strangers all day trying to make a living, coordinating a tribe of 1,000 requires patience, consistency and a focus on long-term relationships and life time value. You don’t find customers for your products. You find products for your customers. – First Organize 1,000

Real relationships vs Facebook Friends

How important is it to have "good numbers" on social media? 5000 facebook friends? 5,000 twitter followers? If you have these kind of numbers many social media experts would say you are a success.

Seth Godin says not. He says what really matters is how many people you have real relationships with. By real relationships, he means how many people would go out of their way to help you. Could you email three days in advance and say, "I'll be in town" and they'd offer you a place to sleep. I think Godin has it right, again. Maybe the best number is "how many real conversations did you have?" or "how many real relationships do you have?"

Friday, March 25, 2011

Don't send important emails hastily

Lesson 1 of social media. Don't send important emails from the coffee shop as it's closing, and you are trying to get finished before the doors close.

Just re-read an email I sent, introducing myself to a literary agent. There's a TYPO in the first paragraph! GAG!

Lesson: take your time, save as a draft, reread the next day before you press SEND on an important email. (Duh.)

Caitlin Kelly and Malled

I accidentally met Caitlin Kelly by email the other day, through a writer's group I belong to. I was grousing about writers and their love-hate relationship to marketing, and Kelly referred me to the wonderful social media writer, Kristen Lamb.

After a couple email exchanges I Googled Kelly, and was shocked to realize I was talking to a New York Times writer and the author of the new book Malled: My unintentional career in retail.

Small world.

Kelly writes about what it's like to work retail for $7 to $10 an hour, after a career as a highly paid and successful print journalist. She explores the whole retail chain from the Chinese factories to the people who sell us things in the local mall. Malled is coming out on April 14. You can order your copy here.

Writers Need Kristen Lamb!

Kristen Lamb is the best writer on social media for writers that I've found in two years of researching the subject.

In her best-selling book We Are Not Alone she tells writers how to use social media to build a circle of relationships. These relationships are the basis of the "platform" that publishers and agents now want writers to have.

I can't say enough good about her book. She demystifies social media, tells writers how to succeed, and she does it with laugh-out-loud humor. Buy. Read. Use.

Kristen Lamb's blog: Good idea to subscribe to her blog posts.
We Are Not Alone: If you are a writer, independent film maker, or artist, you should stop what you are doing, buy this book and spend the next two days to reading it. It is that important.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Research tools for writers and filmmakers

A few useful research tools and resources for writers and documentary filmmakers.




Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Truth About Traditional Publishing?

Amanda Hocking is selling thousands of ebooks without a traditional publisher. (h/t to Carl King of Carl King Creative for telling me this story.)

Read this article from business insider first.

Then read her response to the press on her blog.

And finally, read "how I did it."

At one point in "how i did it" she says she thinks her books sell well because:

"-the books are in a popular genre
-the covers are enjoyable
-the price is good
-the writing isn't terrible (although, believe me, some people would argue that point)
-book bloggers recommended it
-accessibility - I'm on Twitter, facebook, goodreads, Amazon, KB. I'm anywhere I can be. I always try to respond to readers..."

And I'd add to what she said...
- writing 7 hours a day for about 10 years before she ever published a word.
- choosing really great titles. Titles that "stick" in your mind, things like "my blood approves"
- working obsessively on marketing
- writing the same kind of book that she reads, writing in a genre she likes.
- starting small, dashing off novel after novel quickly (call them beta versions)
- finding and working with an editor (she's still looking for a better one)
- being willing to fail repeatedly and keep going. Sounds like her mantra was something like:
"OK, learned something. Good! Keep going, try something else."
- shipping stuff. She finishes the novels she starts and then submits the finished work for publication.
- damn luck. All the planets were in alignment, at the right time, in the right place, and significant book bloggers liked her stuff.

More power to Amanda Hocking! I truly hope she becomes a zillionaire. I applaud her success. She sounds like someone I'd like to have coffee with and talk to about writing.