Monthly Archives: October 2012

Facebook for Authors – Part 1

Finding Facebook Friends

Facebook is a great tool for authors

Some of the most famous authors have found that the social networking site is more than just a way to connect with old friends and to meet new friends, it can also be used as a valuable marketing tool.

Authors around the world have found that Facebook allows them to interact with people on a more personal level, which in turn builds even greater trust and stronger relationships with readers and potential readers.  It has even been said that social networking, especially through a site such as Facebook, is more effective than marketing to one’s opt-in list in many ways.

In my opinion, all authors should have a personal Facebook account in their author name (not a business account but a personal account).

Once this is setup, here is what you should do to find friends (and potential customers):

1.  Start with the people that you already know. You want to get that friends list populated fast. You can use the Facebook feature that will search your email accounts at Gmail (http://www.gmail.com), Hotmail (http://www.msn.com), and AOL (http://www.aol.com). 

Find Friends on FacebookIf it discovers some of your contacts are Facebook users, it will give you the option to send those people a friend request.

2.  From there, consider other social networking sites that you belong to and the friends that you have there – even if they are not in your email address book. Check to see if they have an account on Facebook. Write a message in NotePad so that you can copy and paste. It should be very short and to the point.

You may need a couple of different messages. One might say “I know you from such and such forum or social networking site and I would like to add you to my friends list here at Facebook.” Another might say “I realize that you do not know me personally, but I see that we have xxx in common, so I would like to add you to my circle of friends.”

Look for people that you know from other social networking sites, social bookmarking sites, microblogging (Twitter, at http://www.twitter.com), forums, and even blogs that you commonly read, as well as people who read your blog. Also consider adding other authors, including authors who are in the same niche that you are in.

From there, you can use the search features to find people in your general area as well as people who have interests that are in common to yours. Just add them even if you’ve never had any contact with those people in any other online or offline venue. Look at the friends of your friends. This is an excellent way to grow your network as well – the thing that you have in common is the original friend.

Just remember that every person you add to your author network is a potential customer, a customer, or a business associate, and you definitely want your network to grow as large as possible, as quickly as possible to get the most benefit from Facebook.

Next Week – Facebook for Authors – Part 2

Getting to 500 Friends

Famous Authors Who Have Self Published

If you are thinking about self-publishing your book, you’re in good company.

This is but a very small list, as thousands of famous writers have successfully self-published including:

  • Edgar Rice Burroughs
  • Zane Grey
  • Rudyard Kipling
  • DH Lawrence
  • Gertrude Stein
  • Virginia Woolf

The Shack Cover ImageThe Shack by William Young has sold 12 to 15 million copies since the book was originally self-published in May 2007.

Natural Cures “They” Don’t Want You To Know About is a self-published book by Kevin Trudeau and has sold over six million copies.

The One-Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard was originally self-published.

A Time to Kill by John Grisham was originally self-published. He sold his first work out of the trunk of his car.

Legally Blonde CoverAmanda Brown self-published her first novel, Legally Blonde, as a print-on-demand book.  Her self-published book was made into a movie starring Reese Witherspoon.

Business consultant Tom Peters self-published In Search of Excellence and sold more than 25,000 copies directly to consumers in the first year. He then sold the rights to Warner, whose edition has gone on to sell more than 10 million copies.

Scott Adams, creator of the Dilbert comic strip and book series, self-published an original eBook, God’s Debris, early in 2001 as a way of testing the market for a new book.

What Color is Your Parachute? by Richard Nelson Bolles, was originally self-published.  Nine million copies are in print, and it has been translated into fourteen different languages worldwide. To date, over ten million copies have been sold worldwide.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter was originally self-published in 1901.

T.S. Eliot, author of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock and The Waste Land, paid for the publication of his first book.

L. Frank Baum self-published some of the books in the Wizard of Oz series.

Mark Twain paid for the publication of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn when he became tired of the foolishness of his previous publishers. He then invested the money earned from the sale of that book to help develop one of the first working typewriters.

American poet and short story writer Edgar Allen Poe, author of the poem The Raven and short stories such as The Tell-Tale Heart and The Fall of the House of Usher, self-published some of his writings.

Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Self Publish

Self Publishing Your BookWhen considering whether or not to self-publish your book, keep in mind that traditional publishers publish much less than 1% of all unsolicited manuscripts they receive each year. Many industry insiders estimate the amount to be 0.1%. If you fall into the 99.9% that they reject, you will probably be very frustrated with that process, but you won’t be alone.

With self-publishing, you take control of your own destiny. Make your book a success yourself!

Here are a few questions you may want to ask yourself before you self-publish:

1. What is your motivation and purpose for publishing your book?

Writing a book is a lot of work. Publishing one is even more work. Is your purpose clear and sufficiently well conceived to sustain you through the experience? If profit is a motive, then the venture must be treated as a business. Typically, from start to finish, a writer will spend 10% of his or her time writing the book, 15% publishing it, and 75% marketing and promoting the finished book. Keep your purpose clear!

2. Is your book written for a specific market niche or group of people?

It is more expensive to promote a book to a wide general audience. Marketing costs are less when the target audience is specific, definable, and accessible.

3. Do you have a way to sell books direct?

Selling books direct (at retail price to your target audience) is the most profitable way to recover your initial self-publishing investment. The standard heavy discounts to wholesalers and bookstores can be costly for slow-moving books. In fact, without a solid marketing plan, selling books to bookstores can be the least profitable way to distribute your book. Think of alternative ways to distribute your book: Organizations, associations, corporations, conventions, fundraisers, and back-of-the-room sales after lectures or workshops, to name but a few. These are known as special sales markets.

4. Are you willing to go out and promote your book?

A general rule for authors: A book stops selling when the author does. No matter who publishes your book, you are responsible for creating the demand for it. A book will not sell well sitting on a bookstore’s shelf, unless interest is generated for your book. Don’t forget: Writing a book is about 10% of the effort, publishing it is about 15%, and marketing it is 75%!

5. How many copies do you think you will sell?

Beyond your friends and family, who will be interested in your book? Knowing your market and how to reach those people are important questions to answer before you invest in self-publishing. The fact is that 95% of all books published sell fewer than 7,500 copies. With print-on-demand publishing, though, you will not incur the added expense of printing thousands of copies of your book, only to stockpile them in your garage.

6.  What is Print-on-Demand (POD)?

At its simplest, print-on-demand (POD) publishing means that whenever a book is demanded (ordered, bought, requested), a copy of the book is printed to fill that specific demand.  The relatively recent advent of print-on-demand technology is what makes self-publishing such a great option for many authors.   You can now publish your book without a big upfront investment.