This is the third and last part of a three-part post, about Internet book marketing, excerpted from Michael Booth’s ebook, The Ebook Ebook.
Want a social networking site that will actually work for you? There is one, but you have to create it yourself. By laying out the playing field and establishing the ground rules you can tailor your social network to your own needs. Make a thematic network related to the subject of your book and you can turn yourself and your book into the arbiters of your entire sector. It’s far easier than you might imagine.
Suppose your passion is spiders and other eight-legged beasties, and you’ve written a book on the subject. Set up a social network called “Arachnophilia” and attract other eight-legged enthusiasts. (You know what I mean!) Suddenly you’re the arbiter and administrator of that whole universe. People (relevant, passionately interested people, people who need your book!) will appreciate immensely your initiative in creating a space on the web just for them, and they will fill it with content for you. After all, you are the expert. You wrote the book!
Have a look at Print Universe, which I set up in a weekend in the summer of 2009, just to see what would happen. (Full disclosure: My wife, Maureen, is a printmaker.) The results were gratifying, both for us and the nearly more than 600 participants on the site thus far.
The online service which permits you to do this is called Ning. You’ll find that making your own social network is virtually as simple as creating a blog. Just follow the simple instructions. Once you get it up and running the time required for administration is minimal. I like to send a personal welcome to new members, but you don’t need to do even that, as the process can easily be automated. Until recently Ning was free, but now they charge $200 annually for their services. It’s cheap at twice the price.
Suddenly You’ve Got a Lot of Work on Your Plate, You Noticed?
So, now you’ve got to keep on top of writing and sending news releases, as well as administrating and updating your websites, blogs, social media presences and your Ning site. What you need, if you don’t want a nervous breakdown, is a content-creation strategy. This is geek talk for “getting organized.” Like most everything else, it’s best to do it in writing. I prefer to do this job in Excel, which has a particularly rewarding duckies-in-a-row quality about it. But you could also do it in Word.
You’ve got a lot of copy to write, and some of it can be adapted or reused, but you have to decide which and where. Before starting you should develop the messages you want to convey to your different audience profiles. Keep them simple and on target. No, you’re not always going to be sending the same communications to everyone. You will want to direct different messages to scouts and scoutmasters. So you have to create profiles for the different groups you’ll be sending to and tailor their messages accordingly. Then line up your collaborators, interviewees and technical help (or are you going to shoot your videos yourself?) Consider paying your technical help. Trust me, your brother in law will never get around to it.
You’ve also got burgeoning folders of photos, videos, and other graphic material (or if you don’t, you should!) which need to be filed in an orderly manner. Nothing is more frustrating than knowing you have the image but can’t find it. A little bit of planning can save you that aggravation.
Your Internet marketing campaign is going to cost you some money, though not necessarily very much, depending upon how much of the work you’re going to do for yourself. So include a budget in your content-creation strategy. Later on you’ll appreciate having done so. Apropos of budgets, have you noticed that, with the recent exception of Ning, all of the formidable online communications services we have discussed here are free? Not only that, you have another massive advantage in all this business of online promotion: You’re a writer!
So, you’ve done all your homework conscientiously, you’re keeping everything nicely updated (Do you remind yourself of the circus performer spinning plates on poles?), and you’re running out of eye drops. Your success must be guaranteed, right? Not exactly. Nothing is guaranteed, especially in these times of utter economic disorder. Take heart, however. If you take Internet marketing seriously and do your homework you will have multiplied your chances of success by 10. The other side of this coin is the sobering truth that if you don’t get serious about Internet marketing for your book, your chances of success are nil.