SECRETS REVEALED #2: THE RIGHT SIDE OF YOUR GOODREADS AUTHOR PAGE

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In my last blog, I revealed the functions, hidden and obvious, on the left side of the Goodreads Author Page. In this one, I see it only fitting to cover the right side before I go on to the messier and more technical things on the Goodreads Book page. That is not to say that the right side of the Author Page isn’t messy and technical. It certainly is, which is why you need to know how to use it. Although it has some major pitfalls and nasty snares, once mastered, it also contains enough hidden treasures to keep Indiana Jones’ bookworm little brother, Idaho, happy for a good couple of months. But why hunt for treasure when you can let your big brother (or sister, in this case) be chased by lions and shot at with poison arrows, while you wander behind and pick up the jewels that have been dropped during the chase?  With that in mind, get your rucksacks ready and put your fingers on your mouse. Again, you are probably going to want to pop open your Goodreads Author Page in a different window to  follow along from time to time so you can see what I’m talking about. Sometimes words don’t make sense unless you’re looking at the functions being described. I’ll try to keep everything organized and linear as I can for you, but making Goodreads make sense is always a real challenge. Please bear with me as I do my best to make sense of…well, what sometimes just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

OK, on to the meat and potatoes…and even some gravy, too. Let’s dive in. Continue reading

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SECRETS REVEALED #1: THE LEFT SIDE OF YOUR GOODREADS AUTHOR PAGE

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In my mind, I liken the journey I’ve taken trying to learn my way through Goodreads to a hobbit on her first adventure. I left home, barefoot, with a bag of snacks and entered into a world outside the safety of my shire that I couldn’t at first comprehend. It was a cold place. Lonely, but I was surrounded by others, most who seemed as lost as me. And there were trolls. Lots of trolls. I had to learn my way around them, but there were so many that it was almost impossible. They pelted me with rocks and taunted me until I almost gave up my wanderlust and headed home. But, I’m a ginger and also Scottish. When they decode my DNA, it will spell s-t-u-b-b-o-r-n. So, taking a cue from the three little pigs, I decided that if I was going to survive in the Land of Goodreads, I was going to have to build a house of bricks. No, not a house of bricks. That wasn’t good enough for me. Instead, I’d construct a fortress made of stone, even diamonds, shining and Impenetrable. Well, I didn’t quite achieve my goal completely. Nobody on Goodreads is impenetrable, but you can still shine and have a pretty serious fortress if you know what you’re doing.

In order to help you all get started, since my first Goodreads blog was about the author bio and photo, I’m going to give you your first couple of stones by going over the functions you have on your author page, only there are so many that I’m going to do two blogs; one covering the left side functions of the page, and the other covering the right. There are so many on both it’s mind boggling, but I will try to remain as organized explaining them as I am able. Goodreads, after all, is basically a mess as far as it’s laid out, but once you can look at it bit by bit, it’s a lot less overwhelming than it seems. So let me begin… Continue reading

Goodreads: The Art and Science of a Good Author Bio and Photograph

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I’ll be honest.  From my own perspective as an author, Goodreads gives me a headache. It’s like an elephant. A giant, messy elephant. A giant, messy elephant lumbering through a fantastically confusing hedge maze and no matter what I do or what I try, I just can’t get around the elephant. In the beginning, I tried everything to make friends with it, but it’s not the friendliest sort.  I tried to go over it, but that didn’t work. Tried to slip past it, but realized that that was a mistake. Without the elephant, it would be so much harder to accomplish my Public Relations and Marketing goals. So then I decided to start trying to figure out how to ride that elephant. I climbed up onto his back, grabbed him by the ears and shouted, “Yee-haw!” as I kicked him in the ribs. He didn’t budge. So, never one to quit, I decided that I’d had enough and I was just going to eat him. And what does everybody say is the best way to eat an elephant? Yep, that’s right. Bite by bite.

So the first bite is going to be your author page. It’s the absolute first step in devouring the Goodreads elephant. And once you have your name and book title approved and you get that glorious “Goodreads Author” in the corner of your page, what do you do then? If your answer it, “SELL MY BOOKS!” then slow down! You might not think it, but even before you start marketing your book on Goodreads, you’re going to want to make sure that you have a solid, professional author bio. Why? Well, think back to your branding. You are not a person, per se, anymore, but you now have become a company trying to convince people to buy a product. You are the source from which those products come. Your books are your products, and people who consume products want to know where they originate. Are they quality? How long has the company been in business? Do likeminded people enjoy the merchandise?  I mean, it’s all in the research. You don’t want to buy your ice cream from a factory where they also fill bags of potting soil, right? Continue reading

A Place to Call Home

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In my last post, But I Don’t Feel Like a Brand, I suggested.. maybe nudged the possibility, that in today’s digital world, we are all brands, whether we like it or not. This is great for us all because what used to cost thousands in advertising, we can do for little to no cost with digital mediums, but that also means that we have to have all of our ducks in a row.

Those ducks have to have a place to call home for any marketing/branding effort to succeed. Many of us have been lead to believe that as long as you have a presence on social media channels, you have a home. But that’s not really a home, is it? You are a squatter there, not paying rent, electricity or anything else. And as a result, you don’t have any control over what the landlord (Facebook, twitter, tumblr, etc.) demand. I’ll give you the simple example of Facebook’s recent policy change that requires those of us with brand page to pay so that we can get the same exposure we used to get free. The landlord has spoken and we are all suffering. Continue reading

Twitter This and Twitter That: Tips, Tricks, and Basics to Get You Off the Ground and Running

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Twitter. It’s reminds me of the Tardis. Only because it’s so little on the outside and so HUGE on the inside. And, depending on who’s managing the thing, there might be a mad doctor at the helm. Ah, Twitter. It’s like a little home away from home. 

People don’t like Twitter. “It’s too hard to say what I want under 140 characters!” They say. I say, “Oh, come on now! Are we not writers? Have we never mastered the art of using just a few words to express many?” I also say, “HAIKU, People! HAIKU!” but that’s beside the point. 

140 character limit messages or not, Twitter is a platform that, undeniably, can be more than massive effective if you use it right. Sure, it’s just another social media trap to get stuck in and not be able to pull yourself away from to finish your writing, but…wait. No. No, it isn’t, because no matter how much you want to say, you can only tweet 100 times an hour. And we all know how fast most of us can type and how much most of us, potentially, have to say. So, you can’t find yourself trapped on Twitter, even for an hour, before they shut you down and lock you up in their proverbial dungeons. So, you see, you can’t waste a whole day there. It’s part of the beauty of the site. You can tweet and still have time to write. Or even eat (possibly while you are writing). It’s a gorgeous thing. Continue reading

Social Media Marketing Terms Defined

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So, most of us have at least a vague idea of marketing. I asked my 15 year old daughter just now to tell me what marketing is. She looked at me like I’d crash landed into the Earth, riding a teacup that was manufactured on Mars, and told me she didn’t know. I asked her to tell me anyway and she said, “It’s selling stuff.” And she’s right! Marketing is the art and science of making a sale. There are literally thousands of different ways to market, but for the self-published author, the main, least expensive route, and the one you get the most punch out of, is Social Media Marketing. Which is, simply put, using the internet to get the word out on your book.

Some writers come into the world of self-publishing with certain advantages. Some of us have a background in public relations or advertising. Some of us know editors. Heck, some of us ARE editors! But many are just people who wrote a book that they’d like for others to read with no real experience in the industry. It’s confusing and overwhelming and often feels like you’re swimming with sharks. And, speaking of sharks, there are many, so you need to get your swimmer’s legs kicking as quickly as you can. I’ve heard it said that a book sells itself. What a total lie! It’s really an unreasonable idea that anybody could toss a book up on Amazon and have it immediately sell like hotcakes. Does it happen? Sure, but not usually to people who haven’t painstakingly prepared and sunk a whole lot of money into advertising. The truth is, to be read, you must be SEEN. Social Media Marketing is your ticket to visibility and you need to know where your hot spots are. And then, you almost need to burn blisters into your fingers to ensure that you’ll be noticed there.  Continue reading

But I Don’t Feel Like a Brand…

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Back in the days before the advent of the Internet and social media, everyone was able to live their lives in relative peace of mind. There was no Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr where we would need to tell the world our thoughts and activities. No, that was kept to a circle of friends who, if impressed, would take credit for the thought and tell others. Brands were those big nameless, faceless corporations whose products littered our shelves. We were not brands, we were just people.

Then, the beast known as social media rose from the pit of hell and the sane world ceased to exist.

In today’s world, we have to update our Facebook, create or join pages for the causes that we support, tweet our every move on Twitter and tell the world about ourselves through blogs. And no, I did not forget the comments that we make on random people’s social media profiles because they are wrong, IMHO, and we have to set them straight. Continue reading