Tuesday, February 3, 2015

IWSG: Ask PZM, February 2015


It's that the first Wednesday of the month, which also means it's Insecure Writer's Support Group Wednesday. Thanks to our noble Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaugh, it's time to share our fears and insecurities, or support and assistance. Doesn't matter which.


If you'd like to join Insecure Writer's Support Group, click hereBe sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.

Our hashtag is #IWSG

The awesome co-hosts for today are: 

Gwen Gardner,
Dolorah, 
Sarah Foster, 
and M. Pax!


Please stop by and thank them for their time. 

Before we get to Ask PZM, just a reminder that The Insecure Writer's Support Group Guide to Publishing and Beyond is now available for free downloading. You can check out the sites here.




ASK PZM


Q. What do you think are the basics for any writer or author in the world of the Internet?

I strong believe that no matter where you are on your writing journey – beginning, middle, one or several books published – you need to have one hand in the writing field and one hand in the marketing field.

And this means the sooner you start the marketing area the better off you will be.

In an ideal world, I would recommend starting a website/blog that you own (self-hosted) from day one.  This website/blog then becomes the home base for all your other marketing activities.  You can share your writing and publishing journey as you build up a fan base.

Let’s say, though, that for whatever reason you are not yet ready to own your own online real estate.  Then choose some entities where you can establish a presence (and hope that the entities remain popular and user friendly).

For example, if you are a fiction or nonfiction writer, you might want to set up a free Wattpad.com account and showcase some of your writing in order to get early fans.  (See my Wattpad account at http://www.wattpad.com/user/ZimblerMiller )

Perhaps you write on nonfiction topics that fit with the business mindset of LinkedIn.  You can now write blogs posts on your LinkedIn profile.  This is a great way to start sharing your writing with target markets.  (See my blog posts at www.linkedin.com/in/phylliszimblermiller)

Remember, if you are writing blog posts, try to include at least one interesting photo with the post.  That photo can draw attention to the post and then be used to add the post to an appropriate board on a Pinterest account.  (See my boards at www.pinterest.com/zimblermiller )

All of these activities – and more – can be done before you have even finished the first chapter of your book.  In fact, starting your marketing activities early on can help you gain input for your writing.  (One of the fans for my dystopian story THE MOTHER SIEGE on Wattpad gave me a great idea I would not have thought of on my own.  I incorporated his idea at the end of the screenplay adaptation I wrote of the story.)

Warning:  I am NOT suggesting that you spend tons of time each day on social media rather than writing.  I am suggesting that you plan to participate in a few places that enable you to showcase what you are writing about and to start connecting with your prospective target audiences.

And, of course, you can join online writing and marketing groups that offer valuable information.  Things change so quickly on the Internet that very few people can keep up with everything.  But if you have online groups that have your back, you’ll be farther ahead than others who are going it alone.  (Those of you who are regular followers of Joylene’s blog have a definite advantage.)

Amazon cautionary tale:

I recently learned of an author who refuses to put his hardcover book on Amazon because he thinks Amazon takes too much of the book’s price.  His book is only available via his own website.

I understand that he is about to have TV appearances as part of a publicity campaign.  I suspect that many of those people who see him on TV will automatically go to Amazon to buy his book either because they do not remember his website URL or because Amazon already has their billing and shipping information.

In my opinion, this author is making a big mistake as I believe he should have his book where the most people shop for books.  (I am reminded of the expression “Cutting off the nose to spite the face.”)

Q: Anything else you’d like to mention?

Those of you who have often read my posts know that I believe in helping others online without the expectation of help in return.  Still, I am pleased that Derin Cag, founder and CEO of the new site Richtopia.com, appreciated my few suggestions for him so much that he reviewed on his site my book TOP TIPS FOR HOW TO MARKET ON THE INTERNET WITH PICTURES.  Check out this review at http://richtopia.com/reviews/top-tips-how-to-market-internet-with-pictures and other articles on his site.




Phyllis Zimbler Miller is a digital marketer as well as a fiction and nonfiction author.  Her ebook TOP TIPS FOR HOW TO PUBLISH AND MARKET YOUR BOOK IN THE AGE OF AMAZON is at http://www.amazon.com/Tips-Publish-Market-Your-Amazon-ebook/dp/B009RBJW3E

37 comments :

  1. I wish I'd started social media before I signed my first book contract.
    That author is going to lose a lot of sales.

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  2. Having "one hand in the writing field and one hand in the marketing field" is good advice. I think it's shortsighted to believe the latter isn't important when we're first starting out. Establishing an early online presence that can evolve to meet later needs is a good move, but it seems that many beginning writers spread themselves all over the internet without any kind of coordinated presence. My personal preference was to start in one place, with a blog, and expand to other media as publication became more of a focus. I'm still not on Pinterest, for instance, because it has no outreach/marketing advantage for me but would provide too great a temptation to waste time. I think I'm telling myself that writing is a bigger priority for now, but eventually the time might be right. LOL.

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    1. You're right, Carol, Pinterest is too distracting. I can lose myself there for hours. Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment.

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  3. I started the social media long before I published. I don't think I'd be doing so well without the network I established. You have to be where the people and buyers are.

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    1. You've done a great job of establishing your presence as an author, M. Glad you stopped by. Thanks for co-hosting.

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  4. Great advice, and exactly what I need. Going to bookmark this post. I'm a lousy marketer, always a shy person, I ended up an adult with no skill for it. Thanks for paying it forward, very, very appreciated!
    And cutting off to spite the face is a bad, bad option!

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    1. I can truly relate, Yolanda. That's why I think Phyllis is a God-sent. Couldn't have figured out any of thing without her. Thanks for visiting.

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  5. Sound advice to establish a platform early.

    What is that author thinking? Most sales still run through Amazon, like it or not.

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    1. I think that's the point, he wasn't planning ahead. Too bad. But never too late. Thanks, Diane!

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  6. Great advice, especially the part about not spending all your time on social media. It's important to plan it and schedule it so time doesn't slip away, which it has a habit of doing.

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    1. Very true, Lynda. Time is speeding as I type. Thanks for visiting.

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  7. Great post. It is easy to get caught up in spending more time learning about marketing and social media than writing. I realized knowing all that did me no good if I had no product to market, but I do not consider my time wasted. I did decide this year to back off the other and spend my time writing and producing---and most of not to worry about the what if's and if I can and just have fun and enjoy writing the way I always have, before I decide to publish. I agree we all need to learn and do this, but TIME management is the KEY to balance and surging forward.
    Juneta at Writer's Gambit

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    1. Good decisions, Juneta. You've got the right attitude and I can see success in your future. Loved your Star Wars post.

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  8. Lovely post! I especially took heed of the cautionary tale as there's no denying the fact now that Amazon is the place to go to buy books. I had toyed with the idea of only selling my book through my website too, however you've talked me out of it! Thank you :-)

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    1. I'm glad you stopped by, Yvette. It's a good thing to learn something new. thanks,

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  9. This is excellent advice, thanks so much for posting. I also agree a hand in the marketing world is needed for writers these days. It's great that there is such a network out there to learn from, too...I've been in the marketing field for 9 years and I still need help!! :-)

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    1. I feel the same way, Randi. There is no end to what we need to know. Thanks for visiting.

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  10. Great advice!
    How on earth can an author refuse to put his book on Amazon? Where has he been living? Sounds like he may be out of touch with the reality of this ever-changing industry...
    Well, I started blogging first, and that led to writing... and now I'm taking it a step further... but I don't know what I'm doing... it's trial and error mostly... but I 'm trying to network as I go along.

    I'm listening to your interview on blog radio as I visit blogs. (22 first drafts of Dead Witness? *eyes popping* and about 20 odd different critiques? But what an amazing journey this story has undertaken...)
    Such a great interview, Joylene.
    Niche audience captured my attention.
    Did I hear correctly... contract offered over the phone by a lady down with bronchitis?
    Listening to you mention your books impact across the globe from Poland to The West Indies to England... wow!

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    1. Oh, Michelle, you are a dear friend. Thank you for your kind words. Always here for you.

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  11. Another wonderful interview! Thanks for sharing :-)

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  12. So many angles to consider for marketing.

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  13. I agree with everything you suggested, and I try to do them. I haven't ventured on to Wattpad yet. If my current novel fails to sell, I may go that route, since I can't self-pub (Egypt has no Paypal, so no way for me to receive money...) Thanks for the info!

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    1. You're welcome, Lexa. Here's hoping your books does better than even you hoped.

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  14. Social media is a great marketing tool, but it can be addictive.

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    1. I'm having an opposite problem. It's like trying to eat liver when you really really don't want to. Thanks for visiting, TM. Best of luck with your new novel.

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  15. Fantastic advice. Social media can take up a lot of time. I try to schedule it but sometimes I end up online more than I'm writing!

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    1. Same thing happens to me, Christine. It's a continual struggle. Thanks for visiting.

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  16. i try to be excited by social media, and sometimes I succeed. I've met a lot of interesting and wonderful people through it, but I'm still scratching my head over what sells books.

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    1. If we could only bottle success. Thanks for stopping by, Lee. It's always wonderful hearing from you.

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  17. What an interesting post. I agree with you that the author who will be doing all those appearances will probably have many people looking for his books on Amazon. He may end up losing a lot of sales. Writers definitely need to keep a hand in the marketing jar. :)
    ~Jess

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Thank you for visiting my blog. Please come in and sit for while. We will talk about writing. We will share our dreams. Then I will serve tea and cookies. Home made and Gluten Free.