I am a former Ventura resident. I haven't been back since "Most Wanted" and "Cops" started airing. By the time you get this I will have moved again.
Anyway, in the moments I have before my door is broken down, I thought I would respond to your query.
I have built some viable "word of mouth" response by becoming an "expert" on the sport of gymnastics at AllExperts.com, which is really good since I write books on the sport of gymnastics. I'm really a "genius" not an expert, since an expert can be anybody who is 5-minutes ahead of you on the knowledge/experience curve. I say "genius" because I have the ability to tap into a creative flow that at times seems difficult to turn off - or all these voices are just entities attempting to channel through me. SHUT UP!! Not you Bill - the voices.
Anyway, if you have a certain expertise, you can apply to become an "expert" and answer questions. Most of these answers are searchable on the web and reference your name and the topic, which can help spider links back to your site.
I have also found that it keeps me regular - I mean consistently writing by answering up to five questions every day. I seem to average between three thousand and five thousand words a day. I downloaded the 230 plus questions I have already answered and found I had 40,000 words on topic areas that could be another book.
There is an old saying I made up recently:
Repetition is the mother of skill.
Feedback is the father of refinement.
Variety is the crazy uncle of motivation.
Answering questions in the AllExperts column allows me to practice my writing daily - writing I know will be seen by many eyes. I have a following - at least some online voyeurs - who like to check out my significant/ludicrous answers to parents as I pretend to be the Dr. Phil of gymnastics, possibly suffering from "mental pause," who helps to soften the blow when they find out the only way their child will make the Olympics is if they buy a ticket. Oh, I'm just kidding, some of the answers make me glow just like Monica on "Touched by an Angel."
Well, some have said I am a bit "touched." I always thought that was a sword fighting term used by the Three Musketeers. You know, the clash of swords followed by the response, "Touche'!" Then Dartagnian says, "I am dying Messieur. I have been touched." Although what three guys who sell chocolate bars know about sword fighting is a mystery to me.
But I digress...
The people asking the questions get to give you an evaluation. It is much quicker than articles or books - many times the very next day. It can be a real ego boost knowing your maniacal ravings have somehow helped a fellow human being - assuming, of course, they truly are terrestrial.
Variety is also a factor in keeping the writing fresh and challenging. You never know what they are going to throw at you. Of course, I prefer salad ingredients to eggs, but omelettes are always good. (get it, throw at you - play on words - never mind!).
Now, I am really digressing. I better go take an antacid.
Rik, this is great stuff! You make a strong point when you write that answering questions on AllExperts.com creates your online presence faster than article or books. It is, no doubt, gratifying to help so many people through AllExperts.com.
One question immediately comes to mind. With so much material and a growing audience, have you considered creating a blog or an ezine?
Your writing style is humorous and engaging. I chuckled several times reading your response.
Did you copyright the "old saying you recently made up?" I like it. I may use it in future writing, unless you charge a royalty for it.
Thanks for the response. It is always good to know my mental disorders are well received.
Feel free to quote the "old/recent" saying. I have used it in a couple of my books, but there is no reason it cannot be applied to other areas.
I have given blogs some thought, about as much thought as I have given to whether paramecium prefer chunky or creamy peanut butter. One of these two obviously deserves more consideration. I think creamy, for me.
Seriously, and that is only possible in brief spurts and with great effort, blogs are a great way to promote. The problem I have is with the choice of 24-hour days or 48-hour days. If we could all agree to change to 48-hour days I might actually feel like I accomplished more of the tasks that need to be done when you are a one-man band. Perhaps I should just give up my musical dreams and focus on self-publishing.
Marion, in many ways setting up an ezine is like starting a magazine. You need subscribers. If you already have an e-mailing list of potential readers, then you are ahead of the game. You'd create your ezine and publish to your e-mail list. If you don't have an e-mail list, then you may want to investigate a software program that captures e-mail addresses (using an opt-in basis) and allows you to e-mail your ezine to your readers. Constant Contact is one such program.
The key to a successful ezine is having content to deliver to readers on a regular (typically monthly) basis. As a writer, you may be able to re-purpose material you already have to create ezine articles.
I have a mailing list of over 4000 customers.
I have lots of ideas that could easily fill a monthly magazine,
but I don't know how to get started technology wise!
Do I buy a domain name? Do I buy some software that enables me to load up articles like this bookmarketing network? Or is there an ezine site like this network? Or is there freeware I download? I am not generation X or generation Y so need some clear pointers to know how to get going!
I’m learning new things here every day. I didn’t know about the Allexpert site, but I’m certainly going to take a look and see if I qualify as an expert as something.
I’ve tried to vary my contacts to include a general target audience of readers as well as those interested in my genre. For me, consistency and saturation (putting my name, book title, and website in as many places as I possibly can) seems to have worked well so far.
As I noted in other posts, my only gauge at this point (my book has only been out 8 weeks) are the number of hits my website has received and the number of links found when you Google/Yahoo my name or the name of by book, "Silenced Cry." I launched the site on March 12 and according to the report I received last night from my server, I’ve had over 11,700 hits from people in 27 countries. Thus far in June, I’ve been averaging between 170-200 hits per day.
I’ve placed my website address on everything; posts, letters, cards, bookmarks, etc., including my signature line on my e-mail. I’ve taken advantage of placing tags on my site and other things available through my server to cue (“cue” is not the right term but you know what I mean) search engines and downloaded a webcrawler to my site.
I’ve network through numerous author forums for the past several years. My initial focus was to network through them then focus in on several Yahoo groups whose membership has an interest in the crime mystery genre. I can generate any number of reports from my server and can tell which server people are using to log onto my site. Some forums have been more active than others, so I target them more knowing that every time I post, I’ll see a jump in hits.
I’ve linked my banner and website address to as many other sites willing to exchange the information. This includes promoting my book and website through the professional writers’ organizations that I belong to. Another thing I try to do when I come across an opportunity is to respond to editorial questions on Writers’ Digest online and other similar sites. Exposure of that type can't hurt. They have quoted me several times. I also noticed that since the reviews have started to come in, there has been additional activity on my site. Most of the reviews are posted on the reviewer’s website (along with my web address), some are on Amazon and B&N and they’re all listed on mine, www.martastephens-author.com.
As I mentioned above, one of the places that sells "Silenced Cry" is Amazon (all of them). I’ve tried to take as much advantage at the things they suggest doing as I can including a bio, a blog, and posting as many tags as possible that will help readers find my book. I think at last count I had 63.
These are a few of the things just off the top of my head.
Hi Marta, I was encouraged when I read this and understood that you had so many hits from your website. Definitely encouraged me to move in this direction-great exposure and potential. Thanks for your input. Best wishes with your virtual tour.
One of the best promo tools we have found so far are to build a good looking pre-order page with a special offer such as free shipping or a 10% discount. Simple to build, many free hosting opps.
Another is a well done book trailer, posted on MySpace, YouTube, Squidoo, etc. A book trailer that has been very effective for us is on Vanilla Heart Publishing http://www.myspace.com/vanilla_heart. our new MySpace page on our most recent release, The Path: A Series on Redemption and Sensual Awakening by Award Winning Author and Poet Michelle L. Devon.
Consistent updating of your Amazon author pages, blogs, squidoo lenses, etc. is hugely important to building a great reader base, and we always provide direct links for purchase so the reader doesn't have to search for them.
For our kinky and erotica line, Caged Heart Publishing, we do a bit differently and also promote through the kinky communities each author belongs to or participates in normally. Often, signings are routed to adult shops and New Age'y' places, or through and at events and vendor fairs.
The most effective Internet book marketing techniques for me have been joining a couple of well-established writing communities, such as AuthorsDen, and sending out news releases via web PR sites regarding my work.
Link building is essential for any marketing attempts online. I started a blog to help facilitate this for independent authors: http://newgreatbooks.blogspot.com Unlike social networks and other means of creating links on the interenet, blogs themselves (although comments to blog entries do) do not have the "no follow" tag embedded in them to prevent the link from being indexed and added to your google ranking. If anyone wants me to post stuff about their book, I will be happy to do so. There is no hitch, no scam, simply a way for one author to help others out. Check it out and if you want me to post your book with links to author pages, book pages, whatever that will help in your backlink rankings, just send me the info at my email address.