Tuesday, January 5, 2010

ASK PZM - January

Ask PZM:

Q: My book is coming out in a few months. When is the best time to start marketing it?

The best time to start marketing a book is probably before you’ve written it. Thanks to social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, not to mention free blogging sites, you can start creating relationships with readers even before you write the first word.

Given that your book is coming out in a few months, you want to start connecting with potential readers RIGHT NOW. This does NOT mean joining Twitter and only tweeted about your upcoming book with a link to a website that announces “the best book you’ll ever read” (I’m not making this up – I just saw this).

It does mean sharing information from yourself and others related to the topic of your book. And it’s a very good idea to have a way of capturing emails for when your book is published. This way you have an easy tool for letting people know the book is now available for purchase.

For an example of capturing emails before a book is even written, see the website for the nonfiction book that author Carolyn Howard-Johnson and I plan to write – www.FictionMarketing.com – and while you’re there, get the free report on blogging to promote fiction.

Q: I want to start on social networking. Which is the best general social networking site to join first?

This is not a one-size-fits-all answer. Much is dependent on your comfort level with different levels of privacy, different site environments, and time available to connect with potential readers of your book as well as potential book reviewers.

Now, in my opinion, as a book author you should want to be as publicly “seen” as possible. Obviously you have to be thoughtful about what personal information you reveal. (For example, I do not make my phone number public even on my own company website.)

What this does mean is that you definitely do not want to “lock” your tweets on Twitter. Therefore Twitter will probably be the most public site for your sharing of information, which can definitely be an advantage.

For your personal account on Facebook, for example, you are offered different levels of privacy and you are required to confirm friend requests. (There is no approval process on Twitter of who can follow you.) And LinkedIn also requires approval of who can connect with you. (Wearing my marketing “hat” I believe this is a big downside to both Facebook and LinkedIn.)

FYI – If you create a Facebook Fan Page anyone can become a fan – that’s the point – and Facebook has dramatically enhanced this application in recent months. If you want to learn how to set up a Facebook Fan Page (different from a group page) with effective keywords for Facebook search engines and external search engines, see http://www.millermosaicllc.com/facebook-fan-page/

For a general social networking site (as opposed to a book networking site), I do believe that at this time Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are the best sites with which to start. Pick one and, after you are reasonably comfortable on that one, you can add the second and then the third site.

Send your questions for next month’s guest post to Joylene at cluculzwriter@yahoo.ca and Joylene will forward your questions. You can ask to remain anonymous or have your name made public. It's entirely up to you. (If you do use your name, you can include your book title and website URL or another URL.)

Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller on Twitter) has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is an Internet business consultant whose power marketing website is http://www.MillerMosaicLLC.com. Get her free report “How to Become a Twitter Marketing Expert” at http://www.millermosaicllc.com/free-twitter-report and her free report “Power Marketing’s Top 3 Internet Marketing Tips” at http://www.millermosaicllc.com/free-report


  1. Thanks for the useful questions and answers, Joylene.

  2. Thanks Phyllis & Joylene. On plus side - I started "marketing" by mentioning the 2nd book at the end of the 1st. Working on cover art now for book 2 & want that "out there" for a bit to hopefully generate some interest.

    Minus side - I have a fan page created by someone else & have no clue how it works. Don't tell, but I never look at it. Never thought about Twitter for writerly stuff. Most of the other 'networks' routinely become platforms for sales pitches. It also takes too much time / maintenance to keep up with them - IMHO.

    Capturing emails? Not sure about that. Sending unsolicited stuff sounds like spam to me. Am I wrong?

    Thanks, DE

  3. I'm not sure, Dave. I gather Phyllis means you let your readers know when your next book is released. But I'll let her answer. I don't capture emails either. Hence PZM has a column and not JLN.

  4. Dave --

    I'm NOT talking about unsolicited emails. I'm talking about the exact opposite -- sometimes called permission-based marketing. This is using a double email opt-in system to ensure that people really want to receive emails from you.

    I've written an article about this at http://www.millermosaicllc.com/how-to-use-emails/ on my site. And while there, sign up for one of my free articles and you'll see what I mean by double email opt-in. Plus you can unsubscribe with a moment's click.

    As I explain in my Examiner.com column today (see http://budurl.com/willing), you have to be willing to invest the time and effort. Twitter is a wonderful platform for sharing information and learning from others. There are even book-themed tweetchats.

    And if you write a blog, sending that blog into your Facebook Fan Page is a basic step to sharing new information with your fans.

    Good luck,

  5. Thanks Phyllis - Will check those links / articles. Glad to hear your email explanation - I think the word 'capturing' kinda got to me.

    Okay - Off to read & find out how big a moron I really am.

    Joylene - I left a note on my FB page for my Canadian Friends. It's just dripping with sarcasm. Hah!

  6. Thanks for an interesting post. Lots of good things to consider. It's interesting that the very reason I don't use Twitter (lack of friending control) is one of its big advantages when it comes to publicity. Another reason I don't use it is that to be really effective you have to monitor it constantly and right now I don't want to be that tied to it. Facebook and a fan page sounds adequate, at least for now. I'm sure that as my situation changes, so will my methods.

  7. Carol --

    Using Twitter effectively for publicity does require a strategic plan. But it does NOT require constant monitoring.

    To the contrary, with a good strategy in place you can go on Twitter twice a day for about 10 minutes each time and have a very effective impact if you are committed to a consistent and continual plan of sharing information with others.

    You might want to start following http://www.TwitterandYourWebsite.com for more info.

    And FYI -- for an effective Facebook Fan Page you have to make sure that new content is also going into the page on a consistent and continual basis.

    There's no such thing as a free lunch, as I'm sure you know. See my article http://budurl.com/willing

    Good luck,

  8. Thanks so much, Phyllis. See you Feb.5/10.


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