Posted By Amber Scott on June 6, 2011
by Amber Scott
1st Turning Point First Mate
Copyright © 2010-2011 Amber Scott
First published Feb. 25, 2010
Today, I am pleased to feature Smashwords CEO and Founder, Mark Coker, and share his answers to my author promotion questions.
AS: If writing a great book comes first and word of mouth or “buzz” comes second, what is the third crucial promotion component new authors should utilize?
MC: Marketing should start before you put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard). Authors should join online writers groups and social networks, network with fellow authors and readers, contribute and add value to their communities, and start cultivating friends who want to support your success. If you work to advance the success of your community, your community will work to advance your success by opening unexpected doors of opportunity.
AS: Thanks to a great 1st Turning Point article, I learned the difference between a tagline and a brand. What would you say is the most common misconception authors at any level have about promotion?
MC: Many authors think promotion is all about selling. I see two problems with this: 1. Most authors by nature are not salespeople. 2. Nobody wants to be sold to.
AS: Standing out in a crowd is important in an ever expanding industry. Can you offer any examples of an author’s creative marketing strategy that helped her/him stand out?
MC: One Smashwords author, Alan Baxter of Australia, conducted an innovative blog tour that generated blog coverage for him and his books across over a dozen blogs. The value of such exposure goes beyond the short term sales of a book. Such exposure helps build the author as a brand. In marketing, success breeds more success. Check out my interview with Alan on the Smashwords blog, where he talks about how to set up a blog tour.
AS: On Smashwords, you offer a wonderful free download, “Smashwords Book Marketing Guide.” What other books or websites on author promotion would you recommend?
MC: I’d definitely recommend Dan Poynter’s Self Publishing Manual Volume 2. Dan Poynter is the godfather of self-publishing, and his latest book explores how authors can take advantage of new technologies to advance their publishing and book marketing. The book is filled with common sense, actionable advice. You can buy it at Smashwords for $7.97.
AS: Among the many, many “dos,” like the effective Twitter use tips you offer in the free download, can you offer any illustrative “don’t” example?
MC: Here are a few “don’ts” for marketing and promotion:
1. Don’t delay the start of your marketing—make it a daily activity.
2. Don’t spend money you don’t have on marketing—it’s easy to spend hundreds or thousands on marketing, but very difficult to earn it back. Protect your pennies.
3. Don’t be selfish—if you help others learn, grow and succeed, they will return the favor many fold.
4. Don’t beg people on Twitter to follow you—earn their follow instead.
5. Don’t assume you know it all—never stop learning from other people.
6. Don’t abuse your social network friends—when someone “friends” you, it is not an invitation to spam them with marketing requests and sales pitches.
AS: Mark, thank you for taking the time to share your insights with us!
by Amber Scott
Face Your Target…
Brooke Munkle didn’t leave a lukewarm marriage just to flounce into the next warm bed. She is focused on re-creating her life and too young, too hot, Elliott Jovovich has no business distracting her. If only he’d get out of her head. If only she didn’t feel so old and boring. Maybe if she keeps things simple, she can allow herself this one indulgence. Who would ever find out?
Pull The String…
Elliott Jovovich sees through Brooke’s stiff facade. Underneath her struggle to hold it all together, a vibrant woman is waiting to be freed. He tells himself it’s not the chase but the reward he’s after. To win her heart, he’ll even play by her rules, which would be a helluva lot easier if her hostile best friend didn’t fight so dirty.
Steady. Aim. Release…
Playing cupid wouldn’t be punishment if it were easy. The sneaking around, the spying, compatibility issues, blind chemistry. Brooke keeping secrets. Elliott constantly getting in the way. If she doesn’t match her first best friend in two lifetimes with true love fast, Millie’s partner will be reassigned and he’s all she’s got in this life sentence to fight for.