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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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What is Micro-Marketing and How Will it Work for Authors?

Here at Find My Audience, we spent most of 2015 developing a full-featured Audience Relationship Management platform for writers. We let authors define their books, then we found potential readers across social channels. Writers could promote leads, create different profiles for their work (to establish segmented audiences), and even engage via their social media accounts.

Our beta users loved the promise of the platform. These included Big and small Publishers, as well as traditionally and self-published authors.

But while we were riding a wave of positive feedback, we felt that we needed to simplify the platform and make it easier to use. Our power users were creating multiple profiles, saving leads, engaging with and growing their audiences. But the average user was finding it hard to manage all the features we provided.

We realized that the problem was endemic to the challenge we had set for ourselves. Book Marketing has always been at least as much art as science, and now in the rapidly-evolving world of digital/social media, what works and what doesn’t has become even more mysterious.

Lessons have been learned and best practices are being developed. Facebook works for some things, but not for others. The same goes for Twitter, Pinterest, and the Blogosphere.

There are many success stories. Peter McCarthy, who has inspired us in the design of our system, is perhaps the smartest person in the industry at digital marketing, and he has brilliant case studies. But the successes are always hard won. The challenge — growing an audience of potential readers who can be addressed when they are ready to buy — does not lend itself to an easy technological solution.

In March of this year, we decided to simplify: to make our system much easier to use, and support our authors in playing small ball to build an audience. With one e-mail a day (or week), we’ll give authors the most highly qualified people, sites and messages they should pay attention to right now. With 10-15 minutes of attention each day, they can incrementally build their audience, as well as their awareness of different sites, channels and events that will most fruitfully increase their exposure to readers.

That’s what we mean by micro-marketing. We hope every author will give us a spin for a while, and let us know if the system provides value.

As much as we all want the “silver bullet” marketing approach that will work every time, with little cost or effort, no such thing exists for most commodities, even less so for a book, where subjective appeal is paramount.

With a micro-marketing approach, we hope to make audience-building easy, rewarding and, dare I say it, fun.

— Paul Agostinelli

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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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Lessons Learned at Boulder StartUp Week

Last week, I was happy to attend a session at Boulder Startup Week on “Mental Health and Wellbeing in the Startup Realm“. The topic was especially intriguing since it combines my two vocations as Startup Founder and Meditation Teacher, and it featured three great speakers: Tom Higley of 10.10.10, Sarah Jane Coffey of Reboot.io, and Brad Feld, Managing Director of the highly successful Foundry Group (AND a strong advocate for revolutionizing the publishing industry).

Of the many insights I gleaned from the talk, there were a few that I found especially relevant to Find My Audience, our company and our users.

The first was a comment made by Tom that the insecurity endemic to startup life can often manifest in a form of “weaponized anxiety,” where a person’s (or organization’s) fear of failure gets projected onto other people in what is essentially a violent attack. The only way to disarm weaponized anxiety is to recognize your fears, own them, and turn them into excitement.

Just as an author faces the often-terrifying “fear of the blank page,” everyone who works at a startup is subject to persistent, daily insecurity, the knowledge that the basic existential matters of their work (financial security, viability of the business model, ability of the individual to contribute value to the company and the company to contribute value to society), are under constant question.

Writers learn to face this uncertainty as a matter of course, without reactivity or blaming their discomfort on someone else. Who else is there to blame? Instead, they embrace it every day as the juice of their creativity. Those of us who work in startups can learn a lot from that approach.

The other insight I found helpful was the call for authenticity in one’s emotional struggles, especially with one’s colleagues. A culture of “productivity at all costs” and relentless drive almost always leads to burnout, frayed psyches, and broken professional relationships, if not families!

Sarah Jane was especially poignant in her honest account of the wages of relentless, self-critical perfectionism; Tom was eloquent on the need for leaders to help create a culture that allows everyone, especially themselves!, to admit when they are pushing past their capacity; and Brad was inspiring in sharing how he works to neutralize his obsessive tendencies by giving himself the freedom to NOT DO what his schedule seemingly demands. (Sounds like an especially effective form of ad hoc Cognitive Behavioral Therapy!)

These speakers did a great job of restoring the personal dimension of technology work, a domain that famously risks turning individuals into machines. Being authentic about our skills, our capacities, as well as our emotional tendencies, is the only way to build a company with a healthy culture and, I would argue, a product with heart.

Authors of course know a lot about being authentic. Whether we are writing a novel, or software code, we need to speak from the place of our deepest human truth, flaws and all.

–Paul Agostinelli

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By |June 6th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Meet & Greet Mondays: An Interview with Jennifer Bowen from Bookhive

This week Meet and Greet Monday interviews Jennifer Bowen, ‘Queen Bee’ (CEO & Founder) of BookHive, an online  service that provides focus groups for authors who want to test finished manuscripts in target markets. Jennifer is a graduate of NYU Tisch School of the Arts and writer of the YA trilogy, The June Awakening Series. Her creation, BookHive combines target audiences with authors looking for feedback on their work.

Where did the idea for BookHive come from?

I’d been working on my first Young Adult novel. After a year of writing and getting feedback from my writers group in NYC, I was curious what a fifteen-year-old girl would think. While the people in my group thought it had promise, they were all in their 30s and 40s, and I wondered if I had my finger on the pulse for my target audience. So I cobbled together a group of teenagers to get feedback. I took that feedback and it truly informed my edits that next year. When I retested it a year later with a new group of teenagers, it tested much stronger. That’s when I knew I might have something that could help other authors.

How do you feel BookHive provides value to the writing community?

It’s an organized, vetted beta-reader process. We provide responses from eight-to-ten targeted readers where the author can receive fresh, unbiased feedback.

What is the most successful genre(s) for BookHive? Why?

Right now we test Fiction of all kinds, YA/Middle Grade and Memoir. Thus far, all of these genres have been successful.

Tell us a little bit about what happens when a Beta Reader is assigned a manuscript. How long do they have to read it? What does feedback look like?

Our beta readers are first vetted when they sign up. We gather their basic demographics (age, gender, region) as well as ask for a writing sample, how many books they read a year, if they are in a book club, and the types of books they enjoy. When a new manuscript comes in, we reach out to our beta readers with the synopsis and make sure it’s a book they would normally gravitate to. They have approximately three+ weeks to read it. The survey is both qualitative and quantitative, and the author can add two to three personalized questions to address any specific concerns. The results are a 35+ page report full of feedback, along with a two-to-three page analysis by a BookHive representative. The results are then discussed with the author over a phone or SKYPE call.

How has BookHive evolved since you began? Did it take any surprising directions you didn’t expect?

Mostly that it’s been effective thus far and the authors are happy. Who knew? I mean, I knew it worked for me, but I was glad it worked for others. A few times the beta readers have pointed out an issue that later the author will tell me someone else has previously mentioned. That gives me reassurance that we are on the right track.

Find My Audience is interested in the differing opinions that individuals have when defining the idea of an “audience”. How would you define “audience”? As an innovator of the publishing world, what does audience mean to you?

I think the audience for my authors are those faithful readers who love their style and, ideally, become life long fans. By letting the beta readers into the process a little earlier, we hope to create a culture that promotes everyday consumers being more valuable. We will never replace editors and are not looking to do that. But before authors hand over their manuscript to a very small group, or even singular person, for shaping the whole thing, I think it’s smart to get a read on their true audience, those folks who will actually be buying the book one day.

 

JenniferBowen_BookHive

 

 

Jennifer Bowen
QueenBee (more fun than CEO)
BookHive Corp.

https://www.bookhivecorp.com

Tweet me: @bookhivequeen
Facebook me: BookHive Corp

 

 

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 |November 30th, 2015|Uncategorized|2 Comments

Social Media for Authors: The Basics

These days having a social media presence is crucial for writers and authors. Not only can social media help your book sales, but it also expands your readership, gives you opportunities to try out new content, and helps build a community around your work and interests. If you’re new to social media, you may be wondering what platforms you should start with. If this is the case, Facebook and Twitter are great places to start. Here is a little more detail on why they are valuable to you as an author and how to properly get started and tap their potential.

Twitter
Twitter is an all-encompassing social network that allows you to interact with readers and other authors in ways that you never have been able to before with only 140 characters messages called “Tweets.” Writers and Twitter go hand-in-hand like bagels and cream cheese, because, let’s be real, what wordsmith doesn’t love a good old 140-character challenge? But Twitter isn’t just a quippy way to share a message. The accessibility of to potential readers by on Twitter is unlike any other platform; the readership-building potential is incredible.

How to use it
If you’re new to Twitter, it may be a good idea to approach Twitter as a reader first, then as an author. What I mean by this is, find some of your favorite authors and follow them on Twitter. If you’re reading one of their books, Tweet at them and let them know. See how they react and respond to you and other readers. Look at the type of content they share and how they inform readers about their new work. Find other readers who love the same authors and follow them as well and begin forming relationships. By building a community around an author’s work that you love, or authors whose work is similar to your own, it will make it easier to pitch your own book to your followers on Twitter. Just an FYI: users on Twitter tend to be more interested in being advertised to than on other social platforms, so feel free to send potential readers direct tweets or messages!

Facebook
For some authors, Facebook can cause consternation, especially since Facebook is constantly evolving the way that users can increase their reach. That being said, there are over 1 billion people using Facebook worldwide, which makes it one of the largest social platforms on Earth. The number of potential readers on Facebook is huge! And if you’re a self-published author, there’s a good chance that marketing your book is up to you, which means Facebook is a tool you can’t afford to not use.

How to use it
Having an author page for your work is just as important as having a website, and, in some cases, more important. Facebook is a way for readers to reach out and connect with you, and share your work. Thus, if you’re new to the platform, create an author’s page, one that is separate from your personal page that readers can “like“ rather than “friend.” Make your author page about your professional work or your book and share things that are related to that. Do you have a blog? Share that. Did you find an interesting article that you think your readers will also enjoy? Share that. Creating a conversation around your work and topics that you find interesting will help create your author brand. But remember: don’t say too much or too little. Finding the right balance and not overwhelming your readers is important. Users on Facebook are a little less interested in being advertised to directly via personal messages or posts on their private pages—so if you’re going to promote your work on Facebook, make sure you do it through your own page or through the platform’s official ad builder.

 

More articles on social media for authors: 
Twitter Tips & Tricks
The Do’s and Don’ts of Facebook for Writers
11 Steps To Take In Marketing Your Book
The Original Social Media for Authors
Pinterest for Authors
10 Tips to Grow Your Audience on Instagram

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By |October 26th, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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

Why Being a Published Author is not a Prerequisite for Top-Shelf Editors

Erasing

Guest Post by Susan Hughes

The debate about whether an editor must also be a published author in order to be worth his/her salt is not a new one. Personally, I stand firmly grounded on the editors edit/writers write side of the fence.

I guess some would call me a one-trick pony. I have no published novels. I’m “just an editor.” And it’s okay; in fact, it’s actually a plus. Here’s why:

First of all, take into consideration the fact that anyone can be a published author today. With the advent of self-publishing, there has been a rapid influx of wannabe writers. Does that mean they’re all talented writers? Are they all cream-of-the-crop, top-notch storytellers? Of course not. So why would being a published author be a prerequisite for being an editor?

Second, creative writing and editing are two uniquely different processes. Delving into the storytelling realm is a right-brain activity. It requires extensive use of the creative, fluid, intuitive side of one’s brain. To be a good editor, however, one must be objective, rational, focused, and structured. These skills require critical thinking and the use of the logic-based left side of the brain. And yes, some folks function well from both hemispheres, but most of us have a dominant side.

Take into consideration the fact that all serious writers are encouraged to hire a professional editor. Writers create when their muse tells them to do so, often late at night and for hours on end. They’re encouraged to just let it flow. There’s always an eagle-eyed, analytical editor waiting in the wings, ready to swoop in and clean up the misplaced modifiers, head-hopping errors, and other grammatical issues. It’s what we do. In fact, we love doing it. Ask a writer how they feel about editing, and you’ll find most despise the process. It goes against their creative grain.

Third, a talented writer has a unique voice. As an editor, it is my job to see that the voice remains intact throughout the process. Many writers would not have the ability to edit for someone else without a bit of their own voice and writing style seeping in. Editing is hard enough without bringing extra baggage into the mix.

I’ll admit I’ve done some writing—lots of writing, in fact. I have plenty of ideas in my head, but getting them on paper is the hard part. I’ve had a booklet published, but it’s a how-to, a systematic, logical piece of writing. A left-brain activity. Give me someone else’s story, however, and I’ll make it shine.

That being said, top-shelf editors are those who have immersed themselves in the written word. They’re avid readers, with a lifelong love of stories. The same can be said of the best writers; it’s a deep, common bond. Just don’t mistake that connection for a mutual skillset. Writers and editors play uniquely different roles in the writing process. To expect either to excel at both jobs is unrealistic and counterproductive.

susan_hughesSusan can be reached by email at myindependenteditor@gmail.com.  She also can be found on Twitter, promoting her clients and marketing her business @hughesedits4u.

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 29th, 2015|Uncategorized|0 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

The Importance of SEO for Authors

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Guest Post by Amy Chung from Pigeonhole Books

Authors, whether self-published or traditionally published, will at some point need to understand the importance of SEO as part of their online book marketing strategy. Most authors baulk at the idea of trying to capitalize on this phenomenon because some believe it is too difficult to master. In most cases however, the difficulty lies in the mere fact that authors don’t understand the basics of SEO. Let’s explore this notion thoroughly.

HOW DO SEARCH ENGINES WORK?
A search engine is a system that indexes information on the World Wide Web to allow everyday users find the data they are looking for.

Let’s think about this for a minute. Imagine the amount of information available on the Internet. If you were charged with the task of producing the most accurate data whenever anybody is looking for something, how would you do it? Where would you start? Which article, document or page would you grab first and why would you do that?

If you were the gate-keeper and someone was looking for 4 inch stiletto heels made of patent leather, you wouldn’t be retrieving contact details for a plumber. For this not to happen however, some very clever people created algorithms that help to succinctly compartmentalize information.

Common sense would prevail that these search engines would be looking for key words such as stiletto heels or patent leather. The next task they have to do is filter which pieces of information containing those keywords they should show you first. One would imagine that the page that mentions stiletto heels 50 times would appear before the page that only mentions it 5 times. Try typing in stiletto heels in Google. This search provided approximately 2,450,000 returns. Where would you be amongst that massive amount of data?

Society takes search engines for granted. You don’t even have to type your query into Google anymore! Just ask, literally! Google is as synonymous with search engines as Coca Cola is with soda. If you don’t know the answer to something, most people would tell you to “Google it”. The Internet and search engines have made our world so much smaller and if you want people to buy your books, you have to understand SEO.

WHAT IS SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It refers to the activity in which we engage in to try and organically improve our page rankings. How do you move from page 125 to page 1?

SEO is an essential part of ensuring your book is duly ranked when readers are looking to buy. It is about how we communicate to the web so that they can recommend you. The key word here is relevance. How relevant is your website/blog to the end user and what they are searching for?

Relevance is determined by the content of your website and search engines decide if it has suitable pages, titles and descriptions. It also looks at the performance of your website in terms of speed and ease of navigation. The number of link backs or citations is another big contributing factor to relevance, whilst retention rate of readers certainly also improves page rank.

SEO is highly complex and most indie authors will never understand its full potential. You do however at a minimum need to understand what it means and how it works so that you can at least try to produce information that is SEO friendly.

HOW TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SEO

1) CONTENT
Content is key. This does not mean however that mentioning the words “children’s picture book” a million times is enough to get to page 1. I can assure you, that is not the case. New, relevant and fresh content on a regular basis is the key driver. Ensure the content is original, free of errors and well organized.

2) URL
Ensure your prime product or keyword is in your URL. E.g. http://www.books.com/childrens-picture-books.

3) SOCIAL MEDIA
Ensure you have social media sharing buttons on your website or blog. The more places the book you have written appears on the Internet, the better. Sharing also means you and those kind enough to share, are spruiking the same message and thus inevitably using the same keywords.

4) TITLE TAGS
Create effective title tags that include your keywords. Hence all of my posting begin with “Online Book Marketing Tips”. These words will consistently appear on URLs.

5) CORRECT TARGET
When creating new content, write for your followers and readers, not for search engines. Otherwise, you won’t be naturally creating the kind of content search engines are looking for.

6) JOIN GOOGLE
Google rewards those who are part of the family. Join Google+ to get a shot at improving your rankings. Listing your business on Google Maps makes a difference too!

7) SITE MAPS
Create a site map for your website so one can see where everything on your website is located. You would be surprised how many people actually use site maps and search engines seem to like this extra piece of information.

8) HEADERS
Use your headers! Write a description under your website name.

9) BACKLINKS
Getting other websites or blogs to produce a link back to your own website is one of the best ways to increase ranking. It shows credibility and is to be encouraged. Be careful however not to spam other blogs by providing your own back link through comments. Google frowns upon this and can be more detrimental than anything else.

10) RESEARCH
Google autofills the most popular search terms. Find out what they are and incorporate those phrases onto your pages. Do it every so often to see what is trending.

A sound understanding of SEO will form part of your everyday online activities. Everything you post across all your platforms should require some thought about how optimization.

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 |August 4th, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments