Not all writers are comfortable being under the glare of TV lights and traveling about on a book promotional series but there are many more ways of growing your profile and promoting your work.
Fortunately with the age of technology the options for the more introverted writers are many and varied, as well as offering a really interesting audience. So to help writers of any type and genre we've got 10 great tips for growing their profiles and promoting their work.
10 Tips to Grow Your Profile
Writers Tip 1: Work with your publisher
They have great experience with how to grow an author's profile so work with them. Even many of the self publishing services will offer a great wealth of experience on promotion that can be found just by asking.
This can let you make use of the publisher's network, get your book promoted through both paid advertising and promotional marketing networks. And if there are costs involved, you can choose what your budget is. For many authors an advertising budget is nonexistent and the focus needs to be more on smart and cheap (free) marketing. Luckily, with the prevalence of social media and blogs there are many very effective free marketing options.
Writers Tip 2: Build relationships online
This is a great way to make your marketing efforts work for you. We all prefer working and connecting with people we feel we know and like. Social media and blogs are an ideal way to get to know your readers and potential audience and for them to learn about you too.
Social media includes platforms like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and each one offers something different for all involved. For some authors, all three of these social media platforms would be great for promoting their books, while for others it might be only one or two of them.
For example, a self help, career building book or series of books would fit all three platforms. Where as a romance writer might find that Facebook and Twitter work best.
You build relationships online by having conversations with your readers and potential new readers by posting content and replying to comments. It is the interaction that makes the difference and is so rewarding. Social media marketing is a mixture of sharing, promoting and conversations. If you're all about promotion then no one will want to listen to you. If you're about building relationships and mixing in a bit of promotion then you'll flourish.
As for the amount of time you need to spend on it to make it work it depends on you. Consistency is far more important than time. So if you're regularly posting once a week that's consistent for your readers and is much better than just being here and there. Realistically you can get great results from spending 15 - 30 minutes a day touching base online and that's simply achieved by creating an easy routine for yourself.
Writers Tip 3: Facebook
Facebook has the biggest audience and is more of a social interaction where people go for entertainment and to catch up with friends and family. There are two main types of pages - personal and business.
With personal pages there is a limit on the number of friends you can have. While with business pages you can have an unlimited number of likes (or followers). Facebook has quite strict terms of service and doesn't let you use personal pages for business purposes - or promoting ways you earn your income.
I would recommend looking to treat your publishing experience as a business and have a business page for your public life and a personal page for your private life. You can set strong privacy settings on your personal page and keep it private while keeping your business page open to the public.
Click here for more Facebook tips and ideas.
Writers Tip 4: Twitter
Twitter is great for sharing links, cross promoting books and authors, leading people directly to websites and blogs you want them to visit and while it's social it is very easily used for business purposes.
Twitter is a powerful tool for growing your profile and promoting your work. While writing a message in 140 characters can be challenging it can also be a very useful exercise for a writer to be concise and on point.
Use Twitter to share links to stories, blog posts, interviews, podcasts, events calendars, competitions promoting your book and more. Be sure to create tweets that are interesting for your followers to retweet - for them to share with their followers.
Click here for more Twitter tips so you can make it work for you.
Writers Tip 5: LinkedIn
LinkedIn has a much more professional audience and is a perfect business networking forum.
With 60% of Australian professionals already on LinkedIn it is a very strong networking platform. Like all the major social media platforms, LinkedIn's numbers are growing and if nothing else, it's important to have your professional author's profile here and to be available for connections to come through this way.
Authors in the areas of business, computers, how to, self-help and professional topics would find building their networks on LinkedIn valuable.
Writers Tip 6: Blogs
Part of the challenge of social media is having the content to keep it active and to retain control over your content. This is where a blog comes into its own.
A blog is like the central hub of content where you can publish in posts stories, interviews, podcasts, events calendars, links competitions promoting your book, news about your latest books, sources of inspiration like photos etc and capture the contact details of your fans so you can send them a newsletter promoting your work and sharing news. It's all about relationship building.
Blogs are also your way of communicating directly with your audience. So where journalists and editors are gatekeepers of your story in your interviews with them and can get their own message out there about you, a blog changes the power of that relationship. A blog lets you get your message out unfiltered so you have control of what is being said about you.
While interviews with journalists will always be important for promoting you and your work a blog lets you have your own point of view clearly communicated.
Get Catriona Pollard's tips about blogs and PR with her interview story here.
Click here for 7 Blogging Tips.
Writers Tip 7: Traditional broadcast interviews
While social media and blogging lets you get your own message out to an online audience the traditional broadcast media is still very powerful with it's TV and radio interviews.
Work with your publisher or publicist to develop relationships with journalists and producers so you can get some of this treasured air time.
Be sure to get a copy of the podcast or YouTube video of your interviews so you can put them on your blog and share via your social media channels.
Learn from Jill Chivers on Media Mastery and Social Media with her 30th August seminar - see her presenter profile here.
Writers Tip 8: Bring it all together - be strategic
While all of this might sound overwhelming to make happen it can be very achievable when it's brought together and done strategically.
Looking at the big picture and figuring out what you want is how you start to work strategically. It's as simple as that and it can be done at any stage.
It does involve learning, attending seminars, asking questions, checking out some of the great information resources online and listening to what others have to say about how they're making it work for them. What works for a big corporate will be different in many ways to what works for a small business to what works for an individual building an individual profile. But each can learn from the other. Personally I think many successful authors do view their publishing career as a type of small business (with hopefully a high turnover!) and take control of it rather than seeing themselves as amateurs plodding away and hoping for the best.
So deciding to be involved in promoting their own work and thinking through how to do it cohesively is all part of how full time authors get to have the freedom to work in their industry full time.
Working strategically can also mean that once you have decided on what you want to achieve - your big picture or goal - then you work on how to get there and that's done in a series of stages. So stage one might be learning about what makes a successful blog and checking out some blogs and following a few - these can be a mixture of authors as well as others. It might also include learning about other aspects of your plan - like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.
Stage two might be reviewing your strategy and plan on how to achieve it based on what you've been learning. While Stage three is about starting to implement and building your blog and social media profiles.
Stage four could be about making sure they are all interconnecting and working smoothly together.
Learn from Laurel Papworth with her 28th June seminar on Strategy, Campaign and Tactic - see her presenter profile here.
Writers Tip 9: Enjoy learning and exploring
Just as you've been on a learning curve for your writing and publishing so there is also a learning curve for promoting your work. It's all part of the process. For me, it's easier when I accept I've got a learning curve and choose to enjoy the journey. When I'm stubborn about something, particularly learning and developing skills I need, I have a rough time of it and don't soak in the information I need to.
So deciding to have a positive attitude about making new technology (well it's not really new anymore is it?) work for you can make all the difference for whether it is successful for you or not.
I know as a business owner that there's always something new to learn. Sometimes it is overwhelming but when I break it down into achievable blocks it's so much easier. For me, I know I need to learn about the different options so I can then make an informed decision about what I'm going to work with, how I'm going to include it in my strategy and how I'm going to make it worthwhile (work).
Read how Helen learnt what she needed to get her own light bulb ignition moment to create her own Facebook strategy.
Writers Tip 10: Be part of your community
A really rewarding part of getting online and building relationships is being part of a community of vibrant, passionate people just like yourself.
All of us who are involved with social media, blogs, websites, networking and learning are making new relationships with a few that blossom into really rich and rewarding friendships. I know this is certainly true for me and while I was told about it before I started I really didn't believe it. Initially I was more concerned about the nasty, negative people out there and how hurtful they can be. But I came to realise there are far more good and like minded people than crap ones.
Being active and part of your community does take time and effort but when it's with others that share the same interests as yourself it's energising and empowering. Plus, what sort of writer doesn't love learning other people's stories?
Great Ways to Learn
Here are 3 great ways to learn more:
1. Writer's Centres like the Sydney Writer's Centre have great courses such as Catriona Pollard's blogging course
2. Educational seminars like the She Inspires Social Media seminars - the presentations are available with each of the presenter profiles.
3. Online communities and blogs such as CopyBlogger with it's collection of practical how-to articles