Social media has crept into our lives and taken over with a vengeance. Be it Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, Vine, LinkedIn, and whatever the “next big thing” may be, these platforms have surged into our daily lives and don’t seem to be going anywhere in the near future. So, how do we present ourselves in the best light for the world to see?
First, is important to remember that social media is a form of communication, not simply a sounding board; apply the same common sense and appropriate behavior you would use when speaking with a colleague or client. These platforms are a resource that allow us to connect with more people and form bonds around the world. Here are some quick tips to help you communicate more effectively online:
DO treat others as you would like to be treated.
Respond to questions or comments in a polite and genuine manner, and ultimately: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
Will your post/tweet/comment be relevant, positive or informative? Avoid rants, complaints and general negativity. We all have problems, the rest of the world should not have to hear about them.
DO credit others’ work.
With sites like Pinterest and Tumblr it is easy to post an image unsourced. It’s important to give credit to the idea creator. Add links to your tweets and post from the original source, not just from the person who shared it before you. When in doubt, try to track down the originator and ask for permission.
DO check—and double-check—your grammar.
It is important to put your best foot forward, and by overlooking grammatical errors you are presenting yourself and your company in a poor light.
Too many hashtags can make you look desperate. It is probably best to use no more than two, and make sure to check out the meaning of what is trending before posting to make sure you are being appropriate.
DON’T try to pitch a sale through social media.
If you would like to make a formal request or submission to an individual or organization it is best to reach out to them through the “contact me” section on their website. In general, it is best to use social media outlets for brief, basic-level comments and email for more in-depth questions or conversations.
DON’T post everything all at once.
Twitter and Facebook allow you to schedule out your post days, weeks, even months in advance. Use this resource to your advantage, but be mindful of current events. Make sure to cancel a post before it runs if something tragic has just happened.
DON’T voice your political opinion through your business account.
These are better suited to your personal account, yet even that is questionable. As a rule, your clients and customers do not need to know your political position.
Do you have any social media strategy and etiquette tips?
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In the wide and endlessly evolving social media and digital landscape, where does your author brand fall on the spectrum? Exactly how much of a social media butterfly are you? Are you a heavy user, attached to your smartphone and tweeting? Or, are you like a vast majority of those who aren’t part of this generation of “digital natives” and have suddenly found themselves thrust into the digital world for a variety of reasons? Even a great brand today is in trouble if they are not employing a strategic and active social media engagement effort. This is because those in the marketplace who would be brand followers and advocates will have limited visibility to the brand without the enhanced presence that the digital world offers. Social media at its core builds relationships and encourages two-way dialogue and the open exchange of ideas. It fosters authentic and personal connections thus the brand becomes humanized and relatable when this type of relationship to the customer exists. In this way digital engagement (far more than traditional mass media with its one-size-fits-all approach) drives greater emotional resonance and ultimately, influence, with your audience. Social media networking has become such powerful force in our society that it has the ability to impact everything from where we eat lunch to who becomes our next president.
With the discovery that used to take place in brick and mortar bookstores now shifting to online word of mouth, social media is, more than ever, a lifeline for authors to establish platform and audience relationships. We recommend that the following points be taken into consideration for authors first entering the digital space.
1. Determine the most appropriate social media sites for your brand. Define your ideal target audience along with a thoughtful engagement strategy for connecting with them. For example, the pre-teen and young adult crowd has recently begun to favor Instagram over Facebook. However, for business leaders and corporate change agents active on the speaking circuit, LinkedIn would be a strong choice. LinkedIn is all business, all the time. It is ideal for networking (and increasingly for job hunting). Pinterest, a relative newcomer, is shaping up to be an interesting design-oriented site and could be a good consideration if an author is publishing a coffee table book or has a more artistic or female bent to their readership.
2. Twitter. Twitter is currently one of the strongest and most influential sites for online relationship building and is a solid choice for nearly all authors across the board. Twitter enables an author to establish presence and visibility rather quickly by following organizations and individuals that align with their message and story and are representative of their readership target. Twitter is updated in real time quick feeds, is informative and relevant, and is presented in easily digestible bites of content. The site is well geared for idea and information exchange and has a mutually reciprocal brand building culture where members, upon receiving a new follower, often respond in kind and return the “follow.”
3. Outline a concrete plan around timing and content. Once an author has settled on an engagement strategy and identified an ideal mix of social media outlets, it is best to craft a tactical plan and manage social media activity in a highly intentional way. Think of what you want to say (and why) on the various sites that will spark interest within those communities. Being too active with random posts on Twitter can turn your brand into spam, while too little activity decreases visibility and atrophies your brand over time.
Social media engagement, for the newcomer and those less fluent in the medium, can be a daunting pool to dive into. It can often feel like moving: overwhelming, immobilizing and every time you turn around it seems you find a new box. The best way to start is to take small steps at first. Once you’ve identified the best sites for your audience, plan to dedicate at least 10-15 minutes or so a day to being active on those sites: respond to a question, post an interesting link, or reach out to a new connection. Make it a part of your daily routine like you would anything else requiring regular maintenance and upkeep. Think of it as brand flossing.
Learn more about making targeted choices regarding social media here:
Which social media tools do you use and why?
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Are your Facebook ads working?
Yes? That’s awesome! Good job, you. You can stop reading now.
If not, here are some suggestions.
First, look at the content of your ad. Does it include a call to action (which is a response you want users to complete)? If it doesn’t already, you’ll want to add one. It can be as simple as “Click Here to Subscribe” or as involved as filling out a registration form. But you want it to be prevalent and include active words like Click, Call, Buy, Register, etc.
You also want to give people a reason to click on your ad. If your ad just says, “I have published a book,” there’s no motivation for someone scrolling by to want to learn more. Offering them free content, entry into a giveaway, or access to info about upcoming promotions and discounts will garner more clicks.
You’ll also want to make sure your image is eye catching, even as a thumbnail. A book cover that is mostly text may not be legible when shrunk to fit in a half-inch square, and subtle design features in covers and author photos can be lost when shrunk down. Some covers just don’t work in thumbnail and cropping them may make them even harder to understand. If you’ve already had smaller ads designed for use online, try cropping one of those. If not, have some made by a designer (whether through your publisher, a freelancer or a have a friend with a background in design – ask around, you probably have one). If your topic is general you can also buy a stock image. Just make sure to pick something colorful and informative.
Those are the simplest and often the most effective changes you can make to your ad. But if you already had a call to action, strong content, and an attractive and clear thumbnail, try changing your audience. Either broadening or narrowing it may help, depending on your original parameters. Make sure readers in your geographic region (or the geographic region of your subject) are included in your target audience and that your ad is being shown to people with an interest in your subject. At the same time, you don’t want to get too narrow: if you specialize in personal finance, targeting your book to people who have “liked” Business would be more effective than those who have “liked” Personal Finance.
Finally, you may want to raise your budget to make your Facebook ad effective. If your ad is getting taken down every day after only a few clicks, invest a little more money so it has the opportunity to draw more traffic.
As you consider implementing these tips, don’t forget that Facebook will let you run a group of ads simultaneously with the same link, so you can make changes and compare audience responses to see what made the most difference.
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I know. I know. Another social media site you don’t have time for. But hear us out.
Instagram is a photo-sharing and social networking service available for Apple and Android devices that allows users to take photos, apply filters reminiscent of the Kodak Instamatic, and share them with the Instagram community (7.3 million daily users) and on Facebook and Twitter. You should be mixing up your social updates with links, video, and photos anyway, so leveraging the hottest photo-sharing app to help you do so just makes sense (and can be a lot of fun).
Like your activities on a slew of other social media sites, your Instagram activity plays into your Klout score—the measure of your online influence—so the more active you are, the more influential you’ll be. And Instagram profiles aren’t confined to the app anymore: anyone can view and engage with your Instagram photos by visiting instagram.com/yourusername.
Not sure what to share on Instagram? Here are some ideas . . .
Promote what’s new. Your book is probably one of many ventures you’re involved in. Use photos to promote new products and share special offers in a way that’s creative and easily re-shareable.
Feature others. Is your book inspiring others? Did someone reach his or her goals based on your method? Feature that person’s work and let everyone know that you’re paying attention.
Enhance your brand image. Like your high school English teacher taught you, show—don’t tell—how you’re giving back. Highlighting charitable work and community involvement can enhance your brand image and help the causes you support.
Generate engagement. Just like on Twitter, you can hashtag Instagram photos, providing users with a way to find your photos though a simple keyword search. Create your own unique hashtag and encourage others to use it to create a catalog of images related to your book/brand.
Give a peek behind the scenes. Working on your next book? Share how you cultivate your ideas, be it a laptop and cup of coffee or a whiteboard full of notes and scribbles.
Need more convincing? Check out what New York Times Magazine contributing writer Clive Thompson had to say about his Instagram usage:
Do you use Instagram? Share your profile in the comments!
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If you’re having trouble finding enough time to maintain multiple social media presences at once (Facebook and Pinterest and blogs . . . oh my!), then Twitter is a perfect choice for engaging in meaningful social interaction with a less demanding time commitment.
With its simple format and strict space limitation, Twitter gives you a pared down way to express your thoughts. Of course, like any social media outlets, Twitter has its own nuances, tricks and best practices. First let’s go over some basic Twitter terms.
- Tweet—An update with a maximum of 140 characters.
- RT—Stands for retweet. If you share another user’s tweet verbatim with a credit to the original tweeter, you’re retweeting.
- DM—A direct message sent privately to another Twitter user (the feature Anthony Weiner intended to use).
- @reply—Mentioning a Twitter user by name on your tweet by using an @ symbol before the user’s Twitter handle.
- Hashtag—Using a # symbol before a keyword. A hashtag is used to tie a tweet to a specific topic and make that topic easily searchable.
Now let’s cover some tips to help you make the most of your Twitter presence.
- Dive In—Twitter is a public forum, so don’t hesitate to weigh in on what others are tweeting about.
- Go Mobile—Get the appropriate Twitter app on your phone so you can tweet when you’re out. Some of the most interesting tweets consist of commentary on events and places outside the home and office.
- Be a Resource—If someone asks you a question via Twitter be sure to respond in a timely manner. You can even offer to connect via DM or email if the question requires a more in-depth response.
- Tag Your Tweets—Use hashtags to align your tweets with popular topics (e.g. #FridayReads) or to strengthen you own brand (e.g. #GreenleafTips).
- Wash, Rinse, and Retweet—If you see a valuable tweet from one of your peers, influences or influencers, feel free to share it with your followers. Retweeting is the sincerest form of flattery.
- Short and Sweet—Shorten your tweets using bit.ly. You’ll save space on your character count and the site is trusted by the Twitter community.
- To Thine Own Self Be True—Twitter is arguably the most conversational and informal of all the social media outlets, so don’t be afraid to let your personality shine.
When put to good use, Twitter can enhance your status as an expert, foster connections for new business ventures, and constantly expose you to fresh ideas from people around the world. The sky is truly the limit with Twitter. Log on and see how far your tweets take you!
While you're at it, follow us!
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We’ve posted in the past about optimizing your personal LinkedIn profile to build your platform and business connections. And with more than 90 million users in over two hundred countries, LinkedIn is certainly still a powerful social media tool that you should be using for personal gain. But have you taken the time to focus on your corporate presence on LinkedIn? Companies can now take advantage of LinkedIn more strategically than ever before, making it essential that you learn how to get the most out of your organization’s page. We’ve listed the essential steps to optimizing your LinkedIn company page below.
1. Edit and develop
Unlike Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn allows all employees with an @company.com email address to edit a company’s profile. Start by designating someone at your company to keep track of the company’s LinkedIn presence—likely the person who is currently handling your other social media accounts.
Next, develop and edit the page. LinkedIn aggregates information about your company from three sources—Capital IQ, Yahoo!, and LinkedIn user profiles. Read over what is already written about your company on LinkedIn and edit as needed. Write strong, clear copy for the overview section and list your company’s specialties. Upload your company logo, designate a website URL, and list vital company stats. Keep in line with your company’s positioning, but be short and concise, as is appropriate for social media profiles. If you’re having any difficulty editing your company page, check out LinkedIn’s Learning Center to learn more about the specifics of editing.
2. Have a keyword strategy
The prevalence and relevance of keywords are what will enable people to find your LinkedIn profile through online searches. Want to show up when someone searches LinkedIn for “design”? Use the word design as much as possible in your summary, specialties, and profile description. This also makes it more likely that your LinkedIn profile will show up in Google search results for the same term.
3. Utilize the LinkedIn profiles of employees and connections
Ninety percent of the information on a company’s page comes from its employees’ profiles, according to a Mashable article on optimizing your LinkedIn presence for recruiting purposes. The more optimized your employees’ LinkedIn accounts are, the more cohesive and complete your brand will appear. Consider hosting a LinkedIn optimization workshop for your employees. After all, the landing page for your company’s LinkedIn profile proudly lists the employees of the company with links to their personal profiles, and you want them to be the best possible brand ambassadors.
What employees have on their LinkedIn profiles is also important because viewers of your company page are able to see statistics about them. LinkedIn lists the average highest degree obtained by your employees, annual company growth (as reflected by employees’ LinkedIn profiles), average years of experience, and other facts. All this information is displayed in a chart with a comparison to other companies in your field, making it important that your employees list things like their degrees and their correct titles and start dates.
If you’re connected with any clients on LinkedIn, solicit recommendations from them. A client’s personal championing of your product or service is a powerful sales tool, and it’s easy to get these recommendations on LinkedIn. Endorsements are handled the same way as they are on individual profiles. You can request them with the click of a button, but be sure to personalize the default message.
4. Show off
You want your company’s LinkedIn profile to showcase your expertise in your field and prove to users that your company is the best in the business. Luckily, LinkedIn gives companies plenty of space to display what they bring to the table.
Company profiles now feature a “Products & Services” tab where you can list what you have to offer, including descriptions and 100 x 80 pixel icons of each product or service. Here, you can also create banners that rotate with each user click. These banners include much larger photos with accompanying links to your website; think of this as a landing page to educate potential clients and generate leads. Done correctly, your Products & Services page can be a great marketing tool.
You can also upload your YouTube videos onto your LinkedIn profile, on both the Overview and Products & Services pages. Do so if you have great videos—visually interesting videos can be informative and make your page stand out.
Be sure to embed your Twitter and RSS blog feeds onto your page. This is a great way to display your knowledge in the field and also keeps your page looking fresh.
5. Tailor your page to specific audiences
This step is especially important for companies with a very diverse product offering. LinkedIn’s “Audiences” function is powerful in that it lets companies change what page viewers see depending on specific audience attributes—similar to the Circles feature in Google+. It isn’t hard to do, either. You can create an audience by selecting a few different attributes (industry, job title, company size, seniority, etc.), and then LinkedIn prompts you to edit a clone of your basic company page. Just a few clicks and voila!—you have targeted marketing.
6. Cover all your contact bases
Now that you have people on your LinkedIn profile, you want them to take it to the next level and actually contact you. Facilitate this by including several different ways prospective clients and employees can reach out to you. Designate a contact person’s LinkedIn profile on your company site and also be sure to list his or her email address and your company’s phone number and website.
7. Monitor your analytics
LinkedIn provides an analytics tab on company pages that displays a number of different charts measuring statistics such as page views, unique visitors, clicks, visitors broken down by industry, and more. Importantly, it compares your company’s performance in these categories to that of similar companies, allowing you to measure your LinkedIn success against your competitors’. Like any measurable social media campaign, you should keep an eye on your analytics; be wary of any dramatic dips or rises in unique visitors and any accompanying strategies executed that month. Tailor as needed.
While you’re out optimizing your own LinkedIn profile, be sure to follow Greenleaf! Find us at http://www.linkedin.com/company/greenleaf-book-group.
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It’s no secret that the publishing industry has gone through a lot of changes in the past few years. Any shift can create a decentralization of the norm, and in the publishing world, we have seen technological development contribute to the slow demise of our beloved brick-and-mortar bookshops, as digital files, apps, and ereaders gain a foothold in the market. As an author, finding your way through this saturated marketplace is confusing, and knowing where to invest your money can be downright overwhelming. It is essential to be educated about the digital options for your book.
The difference between an ebook and an app may not be immediately clear, especially to those of us who didn’t grow up with an iPhone at our fingertips 24/7. Ebooks are electronic publications that can include both text and images, and are designed to be read on computers or on ebook reader devices like the Kindle or Nook. Ebooks are usually created through a conversion process that can be handled by the author, publisher, or an external conversion house. (For more information about ebook formats and conversion, check out our Big Bad Book Blog post on the topic.)
Alternatively, apps are made primarily for phones and tablets like the iPad. They not only provide the text of the book, like an ereader, they also add a level of interactivity. They help elevate the book reading process to an “experience” by including additional features like games, audio, or animation. Apps are usually created by a professional developer or by an app company.
As books go digital, readers experience storylines in new and engaging ways. Books as apps enable the reader to immerse themselves within the world of the narrative through interactivity and customization. Apps can arguably be termed a reinterpretation of the original text due to the additional features and functions. Here are a few popular software features as seen in recent book apps:
- shopping interface
- navigation tools
- annotation tools
- style changes
- puzzles or trivia
For instance, Jack and the Beanstalk Children’s Interactive Storybook, a wildly popular kid’s app, includes a memory matching game and interactive pictures that respond to changes in orientation. Similarly, The Cat in the Hat app allows children to touch images that prompt animations (ie: touching an image of a cloud produces raindrops along with the word ‘Wet!’).
Some genres are better suited for apps than others. Any genres that have an inherent level of interactivity—such as children’s books, cookbooks, or how-tos—will translate well to an app.
Apps can work well for less obvious genres, too. According to Media Bistro, religion, science, and law are hot genres in app sales right now. The top-ten bestselling book apps on the Android last week included four religious texts, two apps about the moon, and a training guide for police officers. Successful apps have included everything from True Ghost Stories, to The Bible, to Paco Bongo—a gecko that only eats pickles.
If you think your book might make a good app, keep the following benefits and disadvantages in mind:
- Flexibility and customization
- Multimedia additions (see software features list above)
- Interactivity: A great example of interactivity is the app for SAS Survivor Guide; features include using a phone’s flashlight function to mimic a Morse Code signal.
- New markets for content: Since book apps sit alongside non-book apps on iTunes and other app retail sites, there is an opportunity to grow your target audience through exposure as consumers browse titles.
- Convenience: If you have a question about an unknown word, or want to highlight a special passage to tweet to all of your friends, voila! The app can do everything for you without having to set down your read.
- Availability on multiple platforms: if you want your book app available on many platforms, you must produce different versions of the app for software compatibility. A few different platforms include iOS app (iPhone and iPad), android, and apps for desktops (ex: custom API’s).
- Cost: potentially thousands upon thousands per platform.
- Visibility in the market: customers may be looking in bookstores instead of app stores.
- Early retirement: technology moves fast. Apps become obsolete quickly as platforms upgrade versions and device models. Each upgrade may mean more costs if you want to create compatible versions of your book app to match the new versions.
- Compliance problems: some of these issues include questions of integrating book apps into metadata systems, such as if book apps will have ISBN’s; whether or not apps should be registered with the Library of Congress; and who owns intellectual property of the book app.
As exciting as all this sounds, book apps are essentially still in an emerging stage. Publishing houses experimenting with book app development have tweaked and formed content, but still need to see whether or not there will be a return on investment after production costs.
Take into consideration the cost-to-benefit ratio before making a decision on whether or not to make your book into an app. Again, your goal is to make your book as successful as possible, to deliver it to as many people as possible, and to generate as much profit as possible. What kind of book are you producing? Will interactivity, hyper linking, and multimedia increase your sales? Consider your budget. Will you be able to invest in marketing for both your physical book and your book app? Is an app going to increase your sales enough to cover development costs?
Make it worth the cash. Don’t spend money and time developing an app with one or two functions. Build it up with software features and an interesting design. Otherwise, you might be better off sticking to an ebook.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to make your book into an app, Media Bistro is hosting a Publishing App Expo December 7-8 in New York City.
Have you seen a great book app recently? Tell us what you like about it in the comments below.
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Disclaimer: This post has nothing to do with Lady Gaga, so don’t get your hopes up.
Just when you finally figured out how to correctly use a hashtag, Google+ made its debut on the social networking stage. Perhaps you cheered the opening, quickly adding anyone and everyone on your Google+ radar. Or maybe you’re disillusioned with social networking and simply can’t take another alert on your smartphone, consequently letting out a resounding “Boo.”
Regardless of your relationship with social media—and before you either delete your invite or start posting dozens of photos of your grandma’s birthday party—consider using Google+ primarily as a networking tool.
Whether you’re a writer, reader, or presenter, Google+ likely has something to offer you. Read on for suggestions on how you can utilize G+ to your advantage.
G+ for Writers
G+ Hangouts is a great way to keep in touch with fellow writers, especially if you’ve attended a writers’ conference and want to continue getting feedback from participants you particularly clicked with. Hangouts is essentially a videoconferencing tool. You can connect with up to ten people, and G+ recognizes when someone is talking, focusing the video stream on that person until someone else speaks up.
The feature also offers excellent networking opportunities if you participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, which takes place in November), or any other sort of marathon writing event.
Hundreds of writers are already organizing cowriting events on G+, rejecting the solitary nature of writing in exchange for interaction and peer motivation. Creeped out by the idea of watching others write but still want the feedback? You can minimize your screen and mute your microphone while writing, and then rejoin your group during chat breaks.
Mary Robinette Kowal suggests the following steps to create a writing meetup on Google+ Hangouts:
1. Put up a post saying that you are going to have a writing date at [x] time OR just spontaneously open a hangout.
2. As soon as the hangout is open, place a comment on it that states that it is a writing date and what the parameters are.
3. Suggested parameters: "We’ll chat for fifteen minutes. Then at quarter past we’ll start writing for forty-five minutes. On the hour, there’s another fifteen-minute break for chat . . . Rinse and repeat. If you want to join in mid-way, that’s fine, but we’ll just wave at you until the next break."
4. Continue until you need to log off. If the other participants are still going, they will be able to keep writing after you leave.
If you’re at all nostalgic about your college workshop days of wacky writing prompts and open sharing, you should definitely find a G+ writer’s group to join.
GalleyCat is collecting a list of writers interested in connecting on Google+. If you want an easy way to find dozens of new friends, check it out.
G+ for Authors
Authors, consider using Google+ to organize initial readers of your manuscripts. Use your blog or newsletter to choose a group of three to ten beta readers and send them your piece. Ask them to read it over the course of the week and decide on a time to chat about their reactions and suggestions.
Google+’s main claim to fame is its personalized sharing features; authors should use this to their advantage. Unlike Facebook, Google+ allows you to easily group people and decide what you share with particular groups. This feature, called Circles, enables you to share a link with a specific group—say “readers”—but not with another—say “family.” Target your fan base by posting news to them without spamming your family and friends.
You could also organize virtual book events to interact more directly with your readers. If you have a good blog or fan following, announce a G+ “book tour” date. Encourage fans to post questions and connect with them via Hangouts or Circle posts.
G+ for Readers
Virtual book clubbing is another great way to use G+. If you have a club on GoodReads or a virtual club over email, migrate the group to Google+. Instead of simply messaging or emailing about the book, get onto Hangouts to have a face-to-face conversation.
If you are involved in any genre reading groups, fan clubs, academic conferences, literary holidays (like Bloomsday), or reading events (like the thirty-hour reading of Moby Dick that happened earlier this year in Portland) you could also organize Circles to facilitate sharing of interesting research and articles related to your topic of choice.
G+ for Speakers
Professional speakers can also use Google+ to expand their reach. Use blogs and forums to identify influential people in the expertise circle you should be connecting with. Add them on G+ (unlike Facebook, it’s not taboo to add people on G+ you’ve never actually met) and position yourself as a pro by hosting workshops, webinars, or live tutorials to select circles through Google+ Hangouts. Offer cooking classes, marketing webinars, or personal finance workshops—whatever will build your online platform in the arena of your personal expertise.
Google+ may not be as insanely popular as Facebook yet, but it’s never a bad idea to get in on the ground floor of a social media movement. If you’re a little timid about getting started on Google+, check out this collection of fifty helpful get-started links.
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Are you using Amazon Author Central? If not, why? It’s an excellent author-friendly tool that can be used to promote your book and your platform that only takes minutes to setup. If you have more than one book, it’s a central location where an Amazon shopper can find your entire bibliography in one place. How’s that for an easy way to cross-promote your work?
Amazon Author Central allows authors to create a custom profile that customers then use to learn about the author and make purchases. The content you can place on your Author Central page includes:
- A bio—Tell readers a little bit about yourself so they'll connect with you as a person.
- Photos—Include your author photo and any other images your readers may like to see, perhaps your workspace or things that inspired your writing.
- Video—Want to get that trailer up on Amazon? Uploading it here only takes a few minutes!
- Events—Want to drive traffic to your speaking engagements and readings? Advert them here.
- Blog feed—Linking your blog to your Author Central page is just another way to grow your list of blog followers and give readers more of what they want: a connection to you as an author!
- Twitter feed—Extend your social media outreach even further by displaying your tweets on your author page.
Recently, Author Central began providing weekly sales data from Nielsen BookScan (a service that tracks sales of print books in stores across the country) for free to authors who sell their books on Amazon. You can view your sales data in a variety of ways. Amazon gives you a basic total from BookScan and shows how many units more or less you sold compared with the previous week. They also visually display your most recent four to eight weeks of sales data on a map of the United States. Alongside that display you will find a list of geographic areas from New York to Los Angeles and the number of books you sold in each.
Access to BookScan data can help you determine whether your publicity efforts are paying off, and tells you what markets you have the most demand in so you can amp up your promotion accordingly.
Finally, for those who like to keep tabs on their Amazon sales rank, the sales data tab displays a line graph of your book’s sales rank history on Amazon and tells you what your current rank is. As with all sales rankings on Amazon, the data is updated hourly.
You can also use Author Central to modify the description of your book listing on Amazon or write a message directly to your readers.
We encourage all of our authors to create an Amazon Author Central page. Even William Shakespeare has an Author Central page. It has to be cool.
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When it comes to building a brand as an author, there is one asset that can’t be measured in dollars: brand equity. The power that comes from building a personal brand that dovetails seamlessly with the book releases can turn perception into profits. While there is no single secret to success when it comes to building a brand as an author, here are ten New Year’s resolutions that you can make in 2011 to strengthen your own personal brand:
1. BE COURAGEOUS, OFTEN
Take bold steps to stand out from the crowd. Reflect on 2010 and look at what you did well, and what you could have been different. Take courageous steps to help your brand stand out in 2011.
2. REVISIT AND REFINE YOUR PURPOSE
Take the time to look back at your mission and vision and ask if you were living it in 2010. Look for places to bring it to life with your team and explore whether you need to refine it. Remember: the words aren't set in stone. If they're not resonating, rewrite and revise!
3. SHUT UP AND LISTEN
There's a lot to learn if you just take the time to listen. Make sure you ask your team for feedback, ideas and suggestions. Listen to your consumers and pay attention to research. Listen to what they have to say and act on what you've heard. Honest, unfiltered feedback is fuel for change.
4. FIND AN ENEMY
An enemy gives you and your team something to push against–something to challenge. An enemy inspires passion! This year, define a clear enemy and rally your team. It could be a competitor, a trend or an element of your internal culture. No matter what it is, create a plan to beat it, share the mission with your team and go forth!
5. STRETCH AND SET SOME BIG GOALS
Set at least one wild and audacious goal for 2011–something you've never tried before. Outline the goal, share it with your team and challenge them to play their part in achieving it. Just don't forget to celebrate the small victories and successes on the journey.
6. BUILD A PASSIONATE AND ENGAGED TEAM
Your most valuable resource is your people. This year, weed out those who don't contribute and aren't engaged. Replace them with active, passionate and energized people who will make a true difference to the rest of your team and your brand.
7. INJECT FUN INTO THE EVERYDAY
One of the best motivators for your team is a great work environment. This year, start doing small things that make your employees happy. A monthly massage for a those who have put in extra hours or a weekly pot-luck for the team. Small gestures or events can make a big difference. And the benefits won't just stop with your team - they will show through everything that your brand does. Happy people equals happy brand.
8. PLAN FOR LEARNING
This year, make a commitment and ensure your company is continually learning and is inspired by the word at large. Create a program that allows your team to take classes. Host a "learning lunch" monthly with guest speakers. Injecting new thinking into your organization will energize your team and, ultimately, benefit your brand.
9. MAKE FRIENDS WITH OTHER BRANDS
Partner brands can be your best ally–whether they're in your space or not. This year, chart a "circle of love," identifying brands with similar values that you'd like to partner with in 2011. Set one member of your team with a potential relationship and have them explore how to collaborate. You'll be surprised by the results, even just the initial conversations you'll have about your own brand.
10. SAY THANK YOU AND SHOW THAT YOU REALLY MEAN IT
And, lastly, do what your mother told you! Thanking people goes a long way to creating valued and appreciated fans–internally and externally. This year, find new ways to show you appreciate your team, your customers and your partners, in ways that truly make a difference in their lives. You'll be surprised and delighted by the results.
Shawn Parr is the CEO of Bulldog Drummond, a design and innovation consultancy headquartered in San Diego whose clients include Starbucks, Pepsi, Jack in the Box, Adidas, MTV, Nestle, Pinkberry, Virgin, Disney, Nike and American Eagle Outfitters.