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Authors: Boost Your Blog Posts

Posted on: October 13th, 2015 | No comments 


As a nonfiction author, you’re an expert on a topic—be it health care, personal finance, or neuroscience. This is what sets you apart from others and makes your blog posts more interesting. From time to time, it’s important to offer your readers a different perspective for the content you write—so you are not predictable or promotional. Here are four ways you can make your content more intriguing.

1. Offer expert critique of the hottest issue in the news if you are qualified. Alternatively, you can amplify what someone else is saying about the issue. The Ebola virus has become a major health concern and one that transcends borders. If you’re in health care, write about how to not catch viruses in general or clarify any myths about Ebola.

2. Show readers parts of the profession/work you do that they don’t know about. If you’re an expert don’t repeat the advice people get everywhere; write about topics that only you would know about from experience. For example, if you’re a venture capitalist, what do you observe about entrepreneurs in their closed-door meetings and pitches that people don’t see? If you’re a financial planner, what are some of the situations clients bring you that are most common? Think about what you see or know and offer these insights in a post.

3. Make a “best of” list. Nobody has the time to read everything, which is why “best of” lists are popular; they winnow down content into bites of information. Plus, they are fun and interesting. Think about ways you can simplify the universe of information on your topic and come up with recommendations—“5 Best Movies on Finance and Wall Street” or “5 Best Business Memoirs” or “10 Worst Book Jackets.”

4. Ask other experts in your field or a

Well-Established Authors Share Their Digital Storytelling Tactics

Posted on: October 10th, 2014 | No comments 

On my last post I talked about how first-time authors should use social media to build awareness about themselves and their work. But what about the rest of you who are advanced bloggers, Twitter users and the like? You should step it up to the next level.

This article in Mashable talks about the creative and sophisticated ways some authors are using digital and social platforms to tell stories, connect with audiences and promote their work. While these ideas make sense for authors with well-established followings and readership in fiction, first-time authors can also get some inspiration. I especially liked the idea of posting or tweeting about a variety of subjects—focusing not only on your book but also on topics that you are passionate and knowledgeable about and causes your involved in. The key being: take the time to be interesting and thoughtful.

Finding Facebook Friends and Fans: What Authors Need to Know About Big Changes in Facebook

Posted on: January 25th, 2014 | No comments 

Chances are once you’ve published new content to your website, you automatically update your other social media platforms to reach friends and fans: you send out a tweet, update your Pinterest and LinkedIn accounts, share on Google+, and post to Facebook. What you may not know is the new content you just posted on Facebook will not automatically appear on your friends or fans’ newsfeeds. In fact, your content will reach smaller number of fans than before. If you want to ensure reaching all your fans, it will be at a cost.

In the good old days it was a given that your posts would appear in your fans’ newsfeeds (where people spend the majority of their time) but according to Facebook, the onslaught of content has increased competition for what is limited space. Over the past six months, Facebook changed its algorithm; now, fewer fans are reading your content in their newsfeeds.

Reaction to the changes at Facebook has been mixed. The small business owners profiled in the New York Times article, “Facebook Revamps Ads to Compete With Google,” are not complaining; in fact, some have embraced the changes. But comments posted by other small business owners to an Advertising Age article (“Facebook Admits Organic Reach is Falling Short, Urges Marketers to Buy Ads,”) are far from happy. To read candid comments on the relative worth of Facebook for business owners, irrespective of the changes, read “A Social Media Marketer Assesses Facebook’s Advertising Platform” (NYT).

There is no doubt that Facebook is an important tool for authors. It’s where you can generate “Likes” for your work, comment on posts, and interact with your fans. But with these new changes, you’ll have to decide whether it’s the right social distribution channel for you. Our recommendation?

It’s Never Too Early: Self-Promote Your Self-Published Book While You’re Writing It

Posted on: January 14th, 2014 | No comments 

Big Fish Media is chronicling author Susan Price in a series of posts as she navigates the world of self-publishing. We follow the choices she faces, the decisions she makes, and the challenges she encounters in all areas, including research, production, and marketing. We’ll also offer tips, resources, and insights about self-publishing.

By Sarita Venkat

Susan is in the home stretch of completing her manuscript. As an expert on the topic of family philanthropy (she’s been immersed in the field for 15 years), Susan is writing a book titled Generous Genes: Raising Caring Kids in a Digital Age, which builds upon her 2001 book The Giving Family. Generous Genes will reflect the way kids are using technology as a tool in their giving. She started writing her book in earnest in early 2013; countless hours of research later, along with more than 100 interviews, and nearly half the words toward her goal of having a 60,000 word manuscript by February 1, 2014.

But, similar to the conundrum many writers face, it’s been challenging to keep up the writing momentum and find the time to promote her yet-to-be-published book (she’s also accepted a few paid consulting opportunities; while enticing when she’s getting no advance for her book, they have added a further wrinkle to her already tight schedule).

Publicity is critical at all stages of the self-publishing process so it’s never too early to promote your tome. As someone who has traveled the traditional publishing route with her previous titles, Susan will miss having a publicity department supporting her new book. (“Even though people complain that they didn’t get much help from the marketing folks, they still do some things for the author.”)

For example, Susan took advantage of the 2013 holiday season to generate buzz for her book

Six Steps to a More Engaging Author Website, Part 2

Posted on: November 2nd, 2013 | No comments 

In our latest post, we shared three out of six steps many of the most engaging effective author websites have in common.   In part two, we provide three more.  I’d love to hear your ideas about what we missed!

4) Hosting a Dynamic Blog: Websites with a built in blog get 55 percent more traffic than websites without a blog. While that’s a compelling argument to have a blog our recommendation is to only maintain one if it’s updated at a minimum once a week—if not more. A good blog should offer a steady flow of insight into the author’s activities, thoughts, and ideas.

  • Author and NYT journalist Daniel Coyle (The Talent Code) blogs frequently on his site. In fact, his blog is front and center: it’s the main feature on the homepage. In addition to its frequency, Coyle integrates pictures and videos and has catchy post titles—“How to Spark Motivation? (Step One: Shut Your Mouth)”; “A Two-Minute Video That Might Change the Way Your Kid Thinks”; and “Best Parenting Tip Ever.”
  • Dan Ariely, (Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions) an author and professor, posts his “Ask Ariely” Q&A column from the Wall Street Journal to his blog. The questions are varied and Ariely’s responses are brief and interesting (he incorporates plenty of behavioral science research into his answers). The bottom line: Ariely blogs prolifically about his field of interest and expertise making the blog a must-read.

5) Having a “Rockstar” Testimonial: It’s always better to have other people talk about how great you are and author Richard Florida (The Rise of the Creative Class) hit the jackpot on this front. His homepage features a video clip of U2 front man Bono recommending Florida’s bestselling book to a panel

Refreshing Take on Networking – Focus on Values, Beliefs, and Your Authentic, Best Self

Posted on: July 19th, 2013 | No comments 

We did some editorial work for Porter Gale’s book Your Network Is Your Net Worth, published this June by Atria/Simon & Schuster. I was a fan when I was working on it, and I’m a bigger fan now that Porter has done such a masterful job of bringing this book to its fullest potential.

Porter’s book is so invigorating, smart, and approachable to a range of readers—not just self-promoters or people who love to network. It’s a wonderful step-by-step guide (packed with networking tips) for those of us who may be introverted or out of practice socially. I particularly recommend it to writers, creative entrepreneurs, designers—basically anyone planning to bring a book, product, online initiative, or artistic work to the public. I love this passage from the introduction:

“The old way to network involved climbing a ladder while pushing others down or to the side for individual benefit. The past was about competition, pursuit of materialism, and ‘keeping up with the Joneses.’ Networking all about your position in the game and the number of degrees on your resume or titles placed after your name. This process worked for some people, to be sure, but not for most. Thankfully, networking has evolved from a transactional game into a transformational process. It’s not just about ‘who you know,’ it’s about ‘who you are becoming as a person.’”

Among the many intuitive, but you’d-never-thought-of-this-way-by-yourself, networking tips and strategies are:

  • Give Give Get: Porter explains how you can help others professionally while not expecting anything in return, but knowing how to receive help or mentoring when it comes to you.
  • Shake It Up: This strategy focuses on the hidden benefits of making changes to your favorite routines (based in a positive mind set).  Make minor shifts in daily routines such as

Book Apps: A Marketing Opportunity for Authors

Posted on: September 27th, 2012 | No comments 

Book apps represent a new territory for authors. Our advice? Don’t be intimidated by
this digital technology; an app is a new way to interact with your readers and one that
augments the reading experience.

You know the stats: According to the Association of American Publishers, U.S. book
publishers brought in more revenue from e-books than hardcover books in the first
quarter of 2012—a first for the industry. What’s driving the e-book growth and
craze? Very simply, the explosion of the tablet and e-reader market. Former Morgan
Stanley analyst Mary Meeker’s highly regarded Annual Internet Trends Report
(2012) noted that 29 percent of U.S. adults own a tablet or e-reader—up from two
percent less than three years ago. In 2011 alone, 48.3 million iPads, Android tablets
and e-readers were sold to U.S. consumers according to research by the NPD Group.

The growth of the tablet market brings new opportunities for book publishers with
one particular area ripe for exploration and experimentation: the app market. The
iTunes App Store alone has more than 660,000 apps, of which, 65,102 are primarily
for books. By all accounts, more people will use mobile/tablet platforms than PCs
making apps more relevant and mainstream.

How does this affect book publishers? They’re being pushed to become multimedia
companies by creating audio, video and interactive components for readers. Thus,
publishers are learning that apps are one way to sell content and reach an engaged
audience. Besides understanding app functionality, enhancements, pricing and
marketing, book publishing professionals must answer these questions:

  • Should a book become a dedicated app or an enhanced e-book?
  • Do these “immersion experiences” make people happy when they read their books?
  • Does it add value to the reading experience or does it get in the way of enjoying a book?

Not all books lend

Using Facebook in Marketing Your Book: Five Tips for Authors

Posted on: September 24th, 2012 | No comments 

It’s easy to lump all social networking sites together and devise a one-size-fits-all book marketing strategy. This is not advisable because when promoting your book, it’s more effective to identify tactics that lend themselves to specific social media sites. Sure they’ll be some overlap but each site is unique and has its strengths and weaknesses. So, in this post, we’ll focus on ways you can build momentum on your Facebook fan page. These tactics will require your time and energy but the pay off will be worth it.

  1. Write content that reflects your personality and expertise. Unlike Linkedin, which has a professional focus or Twitter where you’re restricted by a word-count, your personality can really shine through on your Facebook page. Newsfeeds contain a lot of information so try to inject humor, passion, and insight in your content. However, Facebook is all about pacing yourself—post once a day or several times a week. Also try to mix up different update types—a status update, a link, a note, a photo, or a video update. Finally, don’t forget to update your profile picture or cover photo every six months; both images are a reflection of your personality and interests.
  2. Connect with authors and other groups. There are more than 800 million users on Facebook so spend some time and research other authors you admire and book or writing-related groups. By becoming a fan of other groups, you’ll gain access to a potentially marketable community of readers and writers. Make sure you join discussions and observe what others are saying. You may be able to incorporate some insights into your marketing efforts. Also “like” other groups/authors’ pages because when you do, Facebook notifies the administrators of these pages. In return, some people may decide to like your page, which will expose your name

Managing Your Social Media Expectations

Posted on: September 7th, 2012 | 5 comments 

Recently, Businessweek published an article on writing successful business books. What’s an up and coming publishing and communications consultant supposed to do? I lunged for it, curious about how an outsider sees this sub-industry and whether readers would need any guidance on what the piece said.

The article, “How to Write a Bestselling Business Book,” written by Eric Spitznagel, is to be commended for its clear prose, good interviews, and focus on how publishing has changed in the wake of the economic crisis. Certainly read it for the insights of major brand authors such as Jim Cramer and Seth Godin. I liked some of the tips Spitznagel proffers authors:

  • know the importance of brevity
  • realize that the days of big advances are mostly gone
  • grasp the reality that many bestselling business book authors arrange for astroturf book purchases to make the bestseller lists
  • pay attention to titling your book because your publisher will
  • write a book you’d like to read yourself (Cramer’s advice)

In the tip ‘Jack Up Your Klout score’, I thought Spitznagel overstated the value of social media visibility and equated it with the celebrity and visibility of a Jim Cramer. (A Klout score is the measurement of a person’s overall online influence.) Many successful authors aren’t television personalities or household names—consider bestsellers such as Lean Startup by Eric Reis or When Markets Collide by Mohamed El-Erian, published when I was at McGraw-Hill.  El-Erian was a respected fund manager who was well-known in the finance pages but only really became a star after his book was published.

To become a bestselling author, Spitznagel wrote, “you need name recognition or an impressive Klout ranking…”.

This reminded me of a point I’ve wanted to make for some time. Yes, social media traffic and influence are important—but with limitations. With

How Guest Posts Boost Your Content Marketing (With Links to Five Top Sites)

Posted on: August 15th, 2012 | 2 comments 

 I attended a 2012 BookExpo panel where the moderator said the iconic statement content is king is no longer true: content marketing is king. This comes down to creating and writing posts and Tweets and marketing them to larger and larger numbers of followers. What most marketing folks forget is how hard it is to consistently write well and have the research and knowledge to offer fresh insights. But if you want to get followers to share, click, and connect, you need better content marketing.

One of the most effective strategies for writers and thought leaders is to sign up for major blog platforms and post on topics relevant to that platform. In other words, to reach folks interested in a field, go to the biggest blogs in those fields and guest post. However, you’ll need to be serious about your post. Read what your target blog is posting on a daily basis, and peg your post to breaking, high-interest news. I remember when I wrote a post on business books and publishing for CBS BNet, a business news site. After the bin Laden operation, my editor asked me to write a column the next day about the books publishers should be pursuing about bin Laden in the wake of the successful May 2011 mission.

A related strategy is to tap into online influencers. Write about and interview the connectors, authors, and bloggers with major audiences in the social media and online space. For example, if you are in marketing, expert and author Guy Kawasaki has more than one million followers on Twitter. Write about Kawasaki’s big ideas, comments, books, or social media and link back to his website. You never know, some of Kawasaki’s followers and fans might find your post and ideas.

Many big blogs