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The Rules of the Game; or, How Our Customers Are Worlds Unto Themselves

1. Customer Service — whatever channel it is provided in — lives within the world of language.

2. That world can be viewed as a game.

3. The game has rules, some clearly articulated and scripted (“answer X when customer says Y,” “provide this offer when this action occurs,” “the desired ROI is this…,” and so on). This is the explicit knowledge of the game — it can (ideally) be accessed by anyone.

4. Some of the rules of the game are not explicit — they are tacit. They guide our behavior but we can’t articulate them. As the thought-provoking chemist Michael Polyani noted in both Personal Knowledge and The Tacit Dimension, “we [often] know more than we can tell.” Riding a bike provides a good example of tacit knowledge; when riding, for example, one never makes explicit the laws of mechanics (balance this, exert pressure here, etc.) — one simply rides.

5. Indeed, the majority of rules in the game are tacit. We have to observe the world at work to understand what the rules actually are. As the great language philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein noted, “I do not explicitly learn the propositions that stand fast for me. I can discover them subsequently like the axis around which a body rotates. This axis is not fixed in the sense that anything holds it fast, but the movement around it determines its immobility.”

6. Tacit rules can be observed at work in different contexts. For example, we may notice, after repeated trials, that a number of customers use an unexpected word (or cluster of words) at a specific node within the customer journey. We craft a response, a rule changes, the customer journey map reorganizes itself — and the world accommodates that change. In this instance we can codify the tacit knowledge and make it explicit.

7. Our goal is to convert tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge.

8. And indeed, many companies are doing an excellent job at codifying tacit knowledge — that is, making what was previously hidden explicit.  Cogito, for example, is an interesting company in this regard, in that its emotional intelligence software surfaces up the “hidden signals” that inform language (tone, inflection, etc.) and then provides directions (“speak more slowly,” etc.) on how to respond to the customer and even provides a CX score — just like in a game. After a period of time, in-the-moment suggestions (“be more empathic”) can become normative rules (“If customer says X, then Y”).

9. “Repositories of data” provide the framework for “world views.”

10. Worlds are alive — they grow with each interaction and interconnection.

11. Each client comprises its own world.

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By |September 26th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

The Ghost in the Machine; or, The (Un)Intended Consequences of Amazon’s Purchase of Whole Foods

Imagine the Whole Foods of the near future — it’s no longer a store in the classical sense but, rather, a space of “personalized anticipation.” It’s an intelligent place, complete with sensors for tracking customer purchases, robots for stocking shelves, and cameras that record your facial gestures, in case you need help. It’s a place that knows you better than you know yourself, what you eat, and if you are a member of Prime, of which half the households in the United States are, then what you watch, what you listen to, what you read, and much, much more. In this new world, to paraphrase Buddha, “All that we are is the result of what we have consumed.” And Amazon knows (or will know soon) what you have consumed.

In the next few years Amazon may well achieve its own Copernican revolution in the way we “position” ourselves in the shopping universe. Davey Alba writes in Wired that Amazon aims “to minimize friction in the shopping experience—and, it should be said, reduce labor costs. In Amazon’s world, you don’t even get out of the car. And if you do enter a supermarket, you can get what you want without so much as reaching for your wallet or phone.”

To be sure, there is a sense of shock and awe when one considers Amazon’s strategy — a two-fold strategy, really, as Ben Thompson points, consisting of AWS for businesses and Prime for consumers. There is intellectual audacity in what Amazon does, innovation, and a focus on the long game, the results and ramifications of which are now appearing like some new land glimpsed dimly on the horizon.

And a sense of unease, too, for there is a suspicion that we are on the verge of an epistemological break with the objects in the world — rather than acting upon them with some modicum of intentionality and rationality, they will act upon us, limit and shape our choices — indeed, anticipate us. To be sure, Amazon is playing no small role in reformulating our being-in-the-world.

Of course this purchase will have consequences, some unintended, within the whole grocery market eco-system. Many will be positive, in that they will create more jobs in a variety of areas. For example, in the Whole Foods of the future it’s fair to say that we will see very few staff — Amazon’s use of automation in their warehouses and their experiments with the technologies that power Amazon Go presage such a shift.

This means that customer journey maps will need to be adjusted as the customer experience changes. Micro moments within the journey will assume different positions and will require different responses. Branding — and storytelling — will take on even more importance. Label information will need to become more effective and precise. And lastly, the product provider will have to assume more responsibility for “customer education.”

The information delivery mechanism will change, also. More and more we will see information on products delivered via a kiosk or roaming robots. Companies will need to take a page from the Amazon playbook and develop rich, seamless omni-channel learning experiences to succeed. This will be particularly relevant for companies that make products for the Whole Body Department (vitamins, supplements, etc.).

Of the shopping experience of the future, Amazon likes to say “No lines. No checkout. (No, seriously.)” Forward-thinking companies might want to insert an additional sentence — “No staff.” — and plan accordingly.

** Look for Amazon to buy a health insurance company in the near future, further extending the reach of Prime into all aspects of our lives.

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By |September 20th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Writers & The First Moment of Truth

In our previous posts on Writers and Micro Moments and the Writers & the Zero Moment of Truth we looked at the importance of understanding a reader’s “journey” and the “micro moments” within that journey.

The journey motif is a strong one in the Customer Relation Management and Cloud Marketing communities. Salesforce, for example, has a “journey builder,” a customer interaction mapping tool. And Google has a treasure trove of excellent articles on those moments when a person wants to know, go, do, or buy.

Writers who are looking to market and sell their books do well to understand what is needed in each moment of their potential reader’s journey of discovery and determine what kind of content the reader might need to help them move down the path, or “funnel,” to a transaction. In short, to quote Mike Grehan of Acronym Media, writers need to map their reader’s “intent with the right content response.”

Which brings us to the First Moment of Truth (FMOT). FMOT is a concept first advanced by Proctor & Gamble. It is the 3-7 seconds after a shopper first encounters a product on a store shelf. It is in these precious few seconds, P&G contends, that marketers have the best chance of converting a browser into a buyer.

So, what is the First Moment of Truth for a writer who is marketing their book? Undoubtedly it happens when a potential reader looks at the book cover. It is at this point that the individual makes an emotional, gut-level decision about the work — to find out more about it, or to move on. Usability guru Donald Norman refers to this as the visceral level of experience. At the visceral level, writes Norman, “people will be strongly biased toward appearance.” 

There have been numerous posts (and studies) on the importance of having a good book cover. This is particularly the case with self-published writers. Darren Beyer’s post on this topic demonstrates ably that a book is, indeed, judged by its cover. And this is why many book covers look similar (I know of four that look almost exactly like Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See).

There are two takeaways for the book marketer:

  • First, it’s important to think of your customer as taking a journey to your book. Mapping that journey and identifying the micro moments within it will help you understand the content you will need to generate.
  • Second, we cannot overemphasize the importance of making an emotional connection with a reader through a well-designed cover. As Maya Angelou said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

— Mark Schroeder

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“Dogs Are People, Too”: What I Learned At Big Boulder 2016

This week I had the fantastic experience of attending the 2016 BigBoulder conference, thanks to the largesse of our partners over at GNIP. This was my first time attending the conference and the Big Boulder Initiative deserves a round of applause for the great job they did. Boulder’s best hotel, the St. Julien, was a gracious host, the food and drinks catered to a variety of tastes, the talks covered a wide range of pertinent issues in the social data world, and of course informing it all was the vibe of Boulder — even though I have lived here for twenty years, I still can’t get over how spectacular a venue it is. And if that wasn’t enough, the Dalai Llama was also staying at the St. Julien. Talk about a vibrational charge!

The BBI has already blogged about the talks in some detail so I won’t rehash a job well done; rather, I would like to share a list of thoughts, observations, and “things overheard” (without “last person” attribution). I have kept the list short, but truth be told, the conference generated a whole host of thoughts and ideas. So, without further ado: 

  • Dogs are people, too.
  • Brad (a real guy) does a better job than Radian Six at measuring sentiment. No one should tell Salesforce that.
  • A lot of folks are watching Mr. Robot. Is life imitating art?
  • If not art, then life often imitates (or is shaped by) Twitter — at least during political crises.
  • Pictures can tell a story — if we can see them.
  • Empathy — in design and presentation— will be a key element.
  • There are multiple truths.
  • We have miles to go before we sleep.
  • Bots are the future. But they still need Brad.
  • Algorithms are biased.
  • Now what?

Here are a couple of suggestions for the BBI for next year (assuming unlimited time and budget):

  1. It would be great to have a meeting planner capability where attendees are able to schedule meetings with other attendees prior to the conference. That may have been available and I was not aware of it.
  2. How about some workshops for brainstorming specific problems?
  3. What about a start-up competition? Start-ups would get ten minutes on the stage to make their presentation. Attendees could vote on the winner.

Look forward to seeing you all at Big Boulder 2017!

— Mark Schroeder

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What Is An Audience?

In today’s social media culture we assume bigger is better. Advertisers push their message onto millions of followers and get instant approval from billions of likes and retweets. But for writers, the ideal audience has nothing to do with numbers. Instead of pushing our work onto as many people as possible, it’s much more helpful to focus on pulling in that smaller slice of the population who will love what we’re writing. 100 fans who care about our work, can’t wait for our next release, and who loan our books out to friends, are worth more than a million faceless followers who will never take a chance on one single story. Instead of shouting louder to be heard over all the social media noise, the secret is to cultivate a solid audience that is ready to listen to what we have to say.

About The Author
Lauren Sapala is a fiction writer, writing coach, and blogger. She founded the Write City writing group in San Francisco, and its sister branch in Seattle. She coaches all levels of writers, helping them to discover their voices and realize their goals and dreams.  Lauren currently lives in San Francisco and is working on her fifth novel. She blogs regularly at www.laurensapala.com.

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By |October 19th, 2015|Uncategorized|2 Comments

This is How You Know You’re Working With a Great Editor

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Guest Post by Caroline Beaton

Editors are writers.

This is good news.

Because they’re writers, editors ideally grasp basic grammar, flow and how to skirt buzzwords, adverbs and cliches. As writers,editors dissect phrases and painstakingly rearrange them. They seek clarity and precision in every word.

It’s also bad news.

Writers have pet peeves, preferences, unique voices, bad habits and egos. As a result, editors can be persnickety about making something “just so,” even if it’s contrary to the author’s vision. At best, editors’ creative biases leak benignly into the writer’s work. At worst, past publishing traumas and insecurities haunt each piece they try to “remedy,” causing them to overwork or over-critique your piece.

Because writers see editors as authorities (as they often are, with influence over what’s published), incidental power dynamics abound. Once entwined with a certain editor, it can be difficult to recognize if they’re damaging your work and even your well-being. Here are some signs you’ve found a keeper:

1) The best editors write.

If your editor isn’t actively or occasionally writing and getting published, ask yourself why not. We already established that editors are writers, so if they can’t get their own stuff published, they probably can’t get yours published, either. Would you take cooking advice from a self-professed cook who hadn’t prepared food for anyone in years?

Editors who write stay off their high horses because they’re constantly immersed in the trials of publication themselves. They know it’s hard. When editors are active in the field instead of just calling fouls from the stands, they’re more humble and better able to relate.

At the same time, editors shouldn’t write your stuff because:

2) The best editors are not construction workers.

If your piece gained words while you were away, get out of the relationship. Editors should play Tetris with the building blocks you provide. When they dump confetti atop your solid castle, they’re showing off and don’t have your best interests in mind. Great editors want you to come through.

On the other hand, well-intentioned deconstructionists can become butchers. Though Raymond Carver’s first editor, Gordon Lish, played a key role in Carver’s initial fame, the degree to which he cut Carver’s stories—by as much as 50 percent—made Carver resentful and embarrassed. Lish’s incessant trimming ultimately ended their relationship.

Great editors, in short, leave heavy lifting to the writer. The author should govern major content changes while the editor guides smaller design work and helps them articulate what they’re trying to say. This is why:

3) The best editors are psychotherapists. 

Good editors don’t put words in your mouth (even if it sounds better that way). Instead, they ask questions; they try to get to the bottom of the scene or message. They help you see your piece in a different light.

Here are some examples of what editing psychotherapy sounds like:

“It seems to me like you’re trying to convey ______. Is that right?”

“Can you tell me more about that?”

“Help me understand this.”

“I’m not quite sure what you’re trying to say. Can you explain?”

“This really grabbed me. Say more!”

And of course: “How do you feel about that (scene, part, sentence, transition, character)?”

In this way, great editors are like Harry Potter’s Mirror of Erised: they help us see both what we lack and what we most want our work to express. But this kind of dungeon digging can be aggravating, so:

4) The best editors are nice.

As an editor for elephantjournal.com, I sometimes get submissions prefaced by, “Be as critical as possible. Tell me exactly what I did wrong!” I admire such vulnerability, but tearing the piece apart doesn’t actually help anyone. Remember? I’m just a writer! I have perspective and editing skills that may make stuff successful, but that doesn’t mean I’m always right. Many editors and producers have, in fact, been fatally wrong. Before the Beatles got famous, they auditioned for the production company Decca Records. Decca rejected them on the basis that, “The Beatles have no future in show business.” Great editors know that arrogance makes them both unkind and more likely to mess up.

Overly critical editing also signifies laziness. It’s easier to say what’s bad about writing than what’s good about it. But pointing to what authors did right gives them a better revision guide than outlining everything they did wrong. In other words, framing critiques around “more of this” is more helpful than saying “less of that.”

Great editors respect your work, even if it’s not yet where it needs to be. They are willing to work with you and see multiple solutions. They don’t mind you backseat driving because it’s your car. But they also know when to lay down the law:

5) The best editors are ruthless.

Great editors kill our darlings even when we can’t. Though they communicate before changing key parts or removing large sections of text, they won’t let just anything by. Their standard is impossible and they constantly challenge you to meet it. When you’re getting too heady or self-important, they’re not afraid to say, “This part sounds a little self-involved.” When you’re off track, they’ll tell you, “I got lost! What are you saying?” Great editors, in sum, won’t take your crap.

Of all the above, this characteristic causes the most contention between writers and editors. Elephant’s writers, particularly the regular ones, routinely challenge our edits and/or feedback. It hurts to be told “no”; it also hurts to have something you sweat for shredded. But tough love is essential. An editor without spine is just a cheerleader. By and large, Elephant’s writers ultimately thank us for pushing them.

When you have a “flawless editor” who you “never disagree with,” ask yourself if he or she is helping you grow.

If you’re already working with someone who failed this test, remember: “Great editors do not discover nor produce great authors; great authors create and produce great publishers” (John Farrar). Set the bar by communicating with your editor what you want out of the relationship. Hold your editor accountable by asking specific, pointed questions and checking in regularly. Don’t let yourself be bullied into silence, but make sure your editor isn’t either. If there’s still tension and multiple editors have seen your piece, be honest with yourself: is it them, or is it you?

 

Caroline Beaton

Caroline Beaton is a Denver-based freelance writer and an editor for elephantjournal.com. Her articles and fiction have appeared in The Denver Post, The Aspen Times, Yoga International and The Commonline Journal, among other places. Get in touch with her at www.carolinebeaton.com or via Twitter @cs_beaton.

At Find My Audience, we understand that not all authors are marketers. That being said, growing your social audience can expand your readership and book sales. You don’t have to be a book marketer to find new readers online. We are here to simplify this process for you. Sign up today and connect with potential readers across the globe.

 

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By |September 9th, 2015|FindMyAudience|0 Comments

Meet and Greet Mondays: An Interview with Ricardo Fayet from Reedsy

Reedsy

1) Before launching Reedsy, did any of you have experience working in the publishing industry? What caused you (and the rest of the cofounders) to come up with the idea? I assume there was a passion that sparked the idea.

There was definitely a passion for books that sparked the idea, but more from the consumer side. In our founding team, we’re all avid readers of different genres, and it i s from this perspective that we approached the publishing industry.

We adopted the digital formats very early on, and were incredibly excited about what this disruption in the distribution models meant for the content creators, i.e. the authors. We started investigating the rise of independent publishing, and came up with this idea of building an intermediary model, fairer to the authors but keeping the highest standards of quality.

 

2) Can people view books that have been published as a result of collaborations that took place on Reedsy? If so, where?

We don’t yet track the books that come out of our numerous collaborations — that will be part of an ulterior development of our model. However, we do often get thanked via email, Twitter and Facebook for our great marketplace and also sent the book we have made possible.

So we’ve started publishing some “success stories” on our blog, highlighting some cool projects that our editors or designers worked on through Reedsy. Here are a couple:

Life in the Loop (1)

 

3) Do you have any well known success stories? (book titles)

We’ve had some fairly famous authors use Reedsy to find a new editor or designer: Brant Cooper, co-author of The Lean Entrepreneur, or Janice Graham, NYT bestselling author Janice Graham, who wrote The Tailor’s Daughter.

We’ve also recently started working directly with some UK-based agencies to help them rebrand literary estates for re-publication, and we’ll soon publish a wonderful “success story” about that.

 

4) How does Reedsy plan to stay ahead of the other marketplaces for freelance writers and editors?  

Though we’re still quite young, we have built an editorial/design network and a reputation that really set us apart. On Reedsy, authors know that they are guaranteed to work with a talented professional, whomever they end up choosing.

But we’re not stopping there. We’re currently building some amazing tech tools to help authors write, edit, collaborate and publish more efficiently. We believe we are about to change the way authors and publishing professionals work together to create beautiful books.

 

5) What is the biggest struggle you’ve had in launching the service to authors and editors? How did you overcome it/ are you overcoming it? 

The biggest challenge for us is that we operate in a space where authors are quite suspicious of new players. And they should be, considering the amount of “wannabe” editors/designers out there — on top of the websites that are just plain scams…

This is why we’ve spent a lot of time softly building a reputation through our blog, through our presence at writer’s conferences, and through our transparency. We prefer authors telling other authors about us and growing through word of mouth, which is what we’ve been doing quite smoothly.

 

6) Where do you see the future of the company going? 

We will continue growing our marketplace, and adding new categories to it: book reviewers, marketers, publicists — as always, all carefully selected and pre-vetted. Then, there’s the collaboration tools I mentioned earlier that are going to make a big difference in this industry.

But a bit like Find My Audience, we also want to connect rising authors with great stories to avid readers in their genre. This is why we are slowly dipping our toes into publishing and marketing right now, before making a big splash after the Summer — more on that then!

At Find My Audience, we understand that not all authors are marketers. That being said, growing your social audience can expand your readership and book sales. You don’t have to be a book marketer to find new readers online. We are here to simplify this process for you. Sign up today and connect with potential readers across the globe.

moi

Ricardo Fayet is a co-founder of Reedsy, an online marketplace that enables authors to directly access the wealth of editing and design talent that has been leaving major publishers over the past few years. A technology and startup enthusiast, he likes to imagine how small players will build the future of publishing. He also blogs about book marketing and conducts weekly author interviews on the Reedsy blog.

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By |July 6th, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments

The Original Social Media for Authors

Author signing autograph in own book at wooden table on light blurred background

The classic book talk still rules.

Maybe the publishers aren’t paying for as many big glamour author tours—jets, limos, chauffeurs—as they used to, but the old-fashioned book tour remains a cornerstone of the book-selling business.

The Tattered Cover in Denver (two stores in Denver, one in Littleton) buzzes with talking author heads every night of the week. If you’re a writer and want a slot, you need to request it months in advance.

Jenny Milchman, a friend who writes thrillers, hops in her car on a regular basis for what is officially the “world’s longest book tour.” It’s coast-to-coast, no store-too-small campaign. The 2015 edition of her road trip is called “Bring on the Night,” in honor of her third book, As Night Falls. Her gasoline-pumping ways start later this month (follow her here: http://www.jennymilchman.com/tour/bring-on-the-night-2015). You can stop and greet her when she stops at the Tattered Cover in Denver on July 23.

I would imagine the publisher backs Craig Johnson’s tour for Dry Bones, his latest, and all the Walt Longmire novels before it, too. At his recent stop in Denver, the room was full before the appointed hour and Craig answered questions for 15 minutes before the official “talk” began.

By the way, could you keep up with Craig? You’ll need some stamina. I counted 21 bookstore stops in May and he didn’t start the tour until May 12. He visited every town from Tehachapi to Tonopah (actually from Santa Fe. N.M. to Cody, Wyoming).

Up and down the Front Range of Colorado and anywhere you go, you could make a career out of being the ubiquitous book talk audience member from bookstores to libraries to the offbeat venues, too.

Even with Twitter and Facebook and Goodreads and blog posts connected to your LinkedIn profile, nothing beats a great book talk.

It’s the original social media.

The book talk is like the comeback of vinyl—something real.

You get to look those writers in the eye. You get to hear what they have to say. Why this topic? What drove them to write this book with these themes, these characters, these points, these ideas, these touches, these images, and in this particular style? How do they write? How to they come up with ideas?

Who inspires them? Where do they fit on the journalistic or narrative non-fiction landscape (if it’s non-fiction) or in the great sweep of story-telling in the post-modern avalanche of fiction?

You never know what you’re going to get—not really. Recently, Gregory Hill’s launch of “The Lonesome Trials of Johnny Riles” ended with a small-band acoustic performance of America’s chestnut, “A Horse With No Name.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFRo13Uy8f4 By the time Hill gathered his mates on “stage” for this performance, he’d already sold everyone in the room a book—his prepared speech was spot-on hilarious and well thought out.

If you’re a book talk fan, by the way, and are unfamiliar with the Authors on Tour podcast, check it out—a wide variety of Tattered Cover presentations are captured on audio for your listening pleasure. http://authorsontourlive.com/ (And if you’ve never given a book talk and want to get a flavor for the ones that work, that’s as good a resource as any to hear how they run.)

The recent podcast with T.C. Boyle was fantastic—and includes a long reading from his new book. http://authorsontourlive.com/tc-boyle-podcasts-the-harder-they-come/ All for free. What more could you want? Well, other than being in person to get the book signed by the author?

Book talks rock—stimulating ideas and in-person authors (artists) who have poured years into putting together something you can devour in a few days.

It’s you, the writer, and a book.

The best.

About the Author
Mark Stevens has worked as a reporter for The Christian Science Monitor in Boston and Los Angeles; as a City Hall reporter for The Rocky Mountain News in Denver;  as a national field producer for The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour (PBS) and as an education reporter for The Denver Post.  After journalism, he worked in school public relations before starting his own public relations and strategic communications business. He is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, Colorado Authors League, Pike’s Peak Writers, and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. Mark is the author of The Allison Coil Mystery Series, which includes Antler Dust, Buried By The Roan, and Trapline. Visit him at http://www.writermarkstevens.com/.

At Find My Audience, we understand that not all authors are marketers. That being said, growing your social audience can expand your readership and book sales. You don’t have to be a book marketer to find new readers online. We are here to simplify this process for you. Sign up today and connect with potential readers across the globe.

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By |June 18th, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Pinterest for Authors

Every morning I spend a few hours collecting content to share on the Find My Audience social media platforms. I look for trends in the publishing industry and I pay special attention to the articles that describe how things are changing for writers (and readers, for that matter).

The publishing industry is always evolving and it adapts with the times—and fast! That said, in today’s age an author’s success is dependent on his or her ability to hit a moving target. Authors are left wondering, “What can I do to keep up?”

One thing the experts do agree on is the need for authors to focus on building a strong social media presence—right now. The social web is where things are happening for authors these days; and it makes sense, considering that’s where their readers spend their time.

One of the best social media platforms for reaching readers and sharing content on the web is Pinterest. You can use it as a tool to introduce yourself, engage with your audience, and drive traffic to your various websites.

What is Pinterest?
Jon Reed describes Pinterest as “a virtual corkboard – a place to pin your interests. You create and arrange boards on specific topics and pin images and other media such as video to them.” In essence, Pinterest is a referral engine that is filled with customer insight intelligence. Seth Fiegerman adds to the conversation in his article explaining why, “Pinterest Drives More Traffic to Publishers Than Twitter, LinkedIn, and Reddit Combined.” He says that, “When it comes to referral traffic from social networks, there’s Facebook and Pinterest—and then there’s everyone else.” Instead of having to ask people what they like, they tell you by pinning it.

Why is Pinterest a useful tool for authors?
It gives you the opportunity to share your content and your books with your current audience, as well as many potential prospects. As long as you have a visual representation of the work you have done – book covers, book trailers, illustrations from your novel, fan art, or even a headshot – you can pin links to your work, driving traffic to your website(s). Because referral marketing is so powerful in the publishing industry, it’s no wonder why successful authors are starting to use Pinterest. It screams book marketing!

Authors who are on Pinterest already?
Take a look at some of these Young Adults authors who already have accounts on Pinterest:

Lisa Shafer (Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire): http://pinterest.com/lisawriting/
Laura Thomas (Tears To Dancing)http://pinterest.com/lauracthomas/
Todd R. Tystad (Blue Hill): http://pinterest.com/toddrtystad
Sara Zarr (Story of a Girl, How to Save a Life, etc.): http://pinterest.com/sarazarr
Amie Kaufman (Wrecked): http://pinterest.com/amiekaufman
Lynne Kelly (Chained): http://pinterest.com/lynnekellyh
Caitlin Kittredge (The Iron Codex series, etc): http://pinterest.com/caitkitt/

So how do you get started?

  • Sign up. You have the option to log in using your email, Facebook or Twitter account. I recommend connecting with one of your existing social media accounts because it will be significantly easier for you to find your friends, family members, and favorite public figures or blogs to follow.
  • Create your profile. You get to choose a username for your account. Keep it consistent with your other social media usernames. That’ll make it easier for your fans and potential followers to find you.
  • Check your settings. Turn your email notifications on. You want to know who is pinning what, and overtime you’ll start to understand the “why” behind their behavior. Having access to the “whom”, “what”, and “why” is important.

How do you pin?

  • Install the Pin It Button. With the Pin It button on your browser, you can easily pin any of the content you have on your page.
  • Add a Pin. When you are browsing the web and you want to add a pin, you can click the Pin It button on your bookmark bar or on the website you are pinning from. Then, Pinterest will give you the option to select which board you’d like to pin it to.
  • Create a New Board. Everything you pin is added to a board you have created. You can do so by clicking the “Add +” button in the upper right-hand corner of your main Pinterest page. Select the option to Create a Board. You can name your boards anything you’d like–but try to be specific, so that when potential users search for pins or boards similar to your board, it will show up in their search results.
  • Repin from Your Feed. You are able to see what your followers are pinning as well. In order to repin their post, all you have to do is run your mouse over the pin and select the “Pin It” button. It’ll direct you to the board you’d like to pin it to.
  • Like and Comment. Engage with your Pinterest community! Like pins; comment on pins; get to know your followers and let them get to know you.

Sources used for the above information:

–Alexa Davis

At Find My Audience, we understand that not all authors are marketers. That being said, growing your social audience can expand your readership and book sales. You don’t have to be a book marketer to find new readers online. We are here to simplify this process for you. Sign up today and connect with potential readers across the globe.

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10 Tips to Grow Your Audience on Instagram

The saying goes that a picture speaks a thousand words. This statement couldn’t be truer than on Instagram, a social media platform where your photos do the talking. If you’ve got 140 characters or less to find your following on Twitter, then on Instagram, you achieve success through compelling snapshots and short quips about them.

You don’t have to be a professional photographer to establish yourself on Instagram. But you do need to know a few things to set the stage before getting started.

Establish your online persona
The person who taught me how to get started on social media introduced the concept of developing an online persona, and this principle applies to all social media handles from the get-go. Know what message you’d like to get across and establish your goals and primary focus. It helps to ask yourself why you’re on social media and what you hope to achieve. Once you are clear, the answer will reflect in the types of photos that you share on Instagram—whether you’re working it purely for business purposes or posting occasional personal snapshots to give your brand a relatable image. Your audience recognizes authenticity and will respond to you, so be as true to being yourself as you’re comfortable with sharing. It will make a difference.

Write a strong bio
Remember to write a clear and concise profile. It’s your first introduction of you or your brand to your audience. I always believe in being natural and real with people. If you’re funny, definitely incorporate humor in your bio. If you’re using Instagram to promote a business, then include information about the business and a link to the site. Your profile photo can be you, your brand logo, or a pretty picture of items you sell.

Choose a theme
Decide on a look or theme to carry through your photos. While this isn’t absolutely necessary, if you’re doing work in beauty or design and you have a signature style, then IG is a great place to showcase that look and attract people who love your style too. Check out @aquietstyle, @misspoppydesign and @TLVBirdie who do an awesome job presenting their branding in a clear and consistent way.

Then there are others who focus exclusively on food (feast your eyes on @julieskitchen), yoga (check out @yoga_girl who currently released a book thanks to her Instagram popularity), flowers (dream of greener pastures on @saipua), vintage fare (@folkmagazine and its shop @buyfolk), slow living (arrest your fast pace here: @local_milk) and more.

Use the search option to build connections
Pressing the search button used to take you to the Instagram photos with the most hits. Recently, the IG team tweaked the search engine, so that you can now use it to discover accounts that share similar interests. You can then:

  • Like their posts.
  • Leave comments. It’s debatable whether or not it’s a good idea to ask people to check out your feed. I’m of the opinion to always play it cool and let them come to you, unless you develop a connection. What I find is that leaving positive feedback on someone else’s feed often earns reciprocal positive attention back.

Take a good photo.
This seems pretty obvious, yet there are still some bad photos on IG. Instagram offers a point and shoot camera, as well as tools and filters to create the exact image you want. With the latest iPhones and Android phones, I find these to be enough without resorting to a fancy camera or expensive photo editing programs.

Here are some basics rules to follow:

  • Make sure the photo is focused. I can’t tell you how many pictures I’ve seen that are blurry. This is IG where all you’ve got is your photo. Make it work FOR you. A photo that is unfocused carries an underlying message of a lack of professionalism.
  • Unless your style is “less is more,” it seems that the more brands and different types of items generate more likes. For instance, as with @TLVBirdie, her fashion and beauty flat-lays get more attention than her other shots. Similarly, the more products I include in my posts, the more “likes” they get too.
  • If you’re going to post generic photos taken from Pinterest or “regram” someone else’s photo, always credit the original and don’t do it often. Too many “inspirational” posts tend to get stale on Instagram and are more suitable for Pinterest.
  • Pay attention to which photos generate more of a stir than others and do more of that.
  • Develop your style. Lauren Conrad is a great example of consistent use of filters @laurenconrad. You can check out her pro-tips here, if you like her images.

Clever caption
Short and clever captions seem to do best, since IG is mainly a quick scroll-through visual platform.  But feel free to ask questions to get other Instagrammers to engage with you.

Rock the Hashtags
Hashtags belong at the END of a comment on your photo and help others find you. If you don’t want to clutter up a clever slogan, you can always add the hashtags in the first comment to the post. Whatever you do, don’t #talk with #hashtags mid-sentence. I don’t like it on Twitter and it doesn’t belong on Instagram either.

But definitely use them. They will enable search engine compatibility and will help you find accounts who are using the terms.

Yes to the #selfie
People seem to like these photos aimed at capturing you. Check out @beautybybritanie who nearly doubled her following in a year with more than the occasional selfie. But make sure it’s working for you. One friend told me that she did an insta-video (limited to about 10-15 seconds long) with her singing and actually lost follows, so pay attention to what your audience likes and dislikes.

Tag brands or people in the photo
Before posting, you can tag the brands or people who are in your photo. In turn, the tagged accounts get a message signal (the symbol on the right under your profile lights up and when clicked, they will see your pic). If they like the photo enough, they may repost it to their account and you can cross-promote each other which is always win-win.

Don’t post too frequently
The rules of engagement are different on Instagram than on Twitter or Facebook where frequency of tweets and posts garner increased visibility. On Instagram, it’s the opposite! Too many consecutive photos will actually lose “likes” on each photo. What works? I find that one post between 9 am to 11 am, one around noon, and one in the evening after 8 pm should do it. Sometimes I wait until the first post of the day stops getting attention before posting the next photo.

Instagram can open an entirely new avenue of free exposure to your brand and business. It is well worth exploring the possibilities. Go ahead. Take a shot!

Sarita Coren is a freelance writer and blogger at Peace on the Skin & Peace Within, www.ediblefacial.com. She is committed to spreading the world about green beauty, holistic wellness, and living from the heart. She can be contacted at ediblefacial@gmail.com.

At Find My Audience, we understand that not all authors are marketers. That being said, growing your social audience can expand your readership and book sales. You don’t have to be a book marketer to find new readers online. We are here to simplify this process for you. Sign up today and connect with potential readers across the globe.

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By |April 28th, 2015|Uncategorized|2 Comments