What's in a Spreadsheet? How about your entire marketing strategy for the next year?
Well, this is embarrassing. I was going to post the first article in a series of articles analyzing Jenny Blake's "Spreadsheet for Self-Published Authors," which I wrote about at some length in our June newsletter. Now, although I ran out of time, our intrepid, Jazz-slinging sorta-resident blonde at large, Stevie (Stephanie) Nilles, (whose music you can hear, completely free, here, leapt to my rescue and wrote 99% of the article. The article's so spiffy, though, that I've decided to add it to our FAQ, as well, so if over time, you misplace this article, just check out our Main FAQ, and you'll see the article there.
Therefore, Jenny Blake's Spreadsheet, Tab 2, Online Promo, lines 7 through 22, coming at you: (by Stevie Nilles, utterly unnecessary commentary by Hitch)
How to use Twitter:
Type www.twitter.com into your browser. On the right hand side of the homepage, you will be invited to join Twitter as a newbie. You will need to provide is a full name (this will be your user name!), a functioning e-mail address, and a new password for your account. After you login, Twitter takes you through an easy-to-use step-by-step process to get your account up and running. It enables you to follow existing users you likely know (presumably via your e-mail address), list your personal and business interests, find friends via email address, and begin tweeting. An omnipresent right hand sidebar also enables you to easily connect your new Twitter account to your mobile phone (you can download a Twitter application and/or set up mobile notifications to be sent directly to your phone), and to connect your account to existing accounts on Facebook, LinkedIn, AOL, Hotmail, Yahoo, and Gmail.
How to set up a Facebook page for your website/book:
I think it's safe to say if you don't already have a personal Facebook account, you haven't yet joined in on the party that is the 21st Century. In the event you don't have an account, setting one up is just as easy as setting up a Twitter account. Type facebook.com into your browser, and after providing a first and last name, e-mail address, password, gender, and birthdate, you're signed up! After you've logged in (and, if you wish, provided varying degrees of unnecessary personal information), you will be directed to your homepage. If at any time you feel lost and forlorn, you can click on "Home" on your upper right hand corner to get back.
To set up a Facebook page, move your pointer over to the left hand sidebar, and click on the link to "More," located just below "Games" and "Apps" at the bottom. From here you can click on the "Pages" tab. A box on the upper right hand corner of this page will enable you to "Create a page." To create a page for your book, click on the "Entertainment" box and choose "Book" from the drop down menu. To create a page for your website, click on the "Brand or Product" box and choose "Website" in the drop down menu. You can also create a page for a business, company organization or institution, artist or public figure, or cause or community. From here, Facebook will guide you step-by-step through creating a page for your product.
How to create an Amazon Author Central log-in:
Navigate to authorcentral.amazon.com and click on "Join Now" on the right side of the page. Provide your e-mail address and a password, which will be the same password you use for your amazon.com consumer account if you already have one. If not, you can create a new password. Click on "create an account," agree to the terms, and then you will be guided through an easy step-by-step process to confirm that you are, in fact, you, the soon-to-be-famous author.
How to become an Amazon Affiliate:
Go to amazon.com. At the bottom of the page, click on the link to "Become an Affiliate" under the tab marked "Make money with us" (they really pull you in). In order to sign up, click on the big blue "Join for Free" button. You will then be directed to enter your payee information (name, mailing address, and phone number) in order to get paid in the future via check. Next, you can create your website profile. For this you will need the name of your website, the website URL, and a brief description of your website. You can choose primary and secondary topic tags which best describe your website, how you drive traffic to your website, how you build links, etc. After you agree to the terms and conditions, you can begin using Associates Central via a step-by-step process.
How to create a YouTube account:
How to use bit.ly:
Bit.ly is an online engine that shortens, shares, and tracks your links. Shortened links are helpful because they enable you to post direct links to Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, instant messaging, and websites, without taking up the annoyingly large amount of space most complete link codes require. Shortened links are particularly helpful in services like Twitter, which restrict your posts' character counts.
To create a shortened vanity url, simply go to bitly.com, copy and paste the link you'd like to shorten in the empty box provided in the middle of the page, and click on the "shorten" box to... shorten.
To track and analyze links regularly, you can sign up for bitly by clicking on the blue "Sign up" box at the bottom of the homepage. To sign up, you will be asked to provide a username, e-mail address, and a password, then click on "Sign up." Once you are logged in, you can choose to connect your bitly account to your Twitter and Facebook accounts in order to shorten and share links directly.
Using social media management tools:
Straight from the horse's mouth, HootSuite and TweetDeck are "a personal real-time browser, connecting you with your contacts across Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Google Buzz and more." You can download either system to your desktop, iphone, android, or chrome. Essentially it's a dashboard service that arranges all of your social networking accounts into neatly organized columns, enabling you to connect and navigate among all of them simultaneously. Go to tweetdeck.com, or hootsuite.com, choose which machine you'd like to download the service to at the top of the page (computer or mobile phone), then click on the "Download" button provided and follow the step-by-step instructions to piece your virtual media life together. (Please see above instructions on how to sign up for any of the aforementioned networks). (Note from Hitch: Personally, I use Seesmic, which I like. However, you should try them all--most have free trials--and see which suits you best).
Blake mentions a dedicated book website or section of a business website would be "nice to have." She provides her book's website LACbook.com as an example. The only indisputable downside to creating your own product website, apart from the added extra time required to create and update it, is that a domain name usually costs money. That said, there is a plethora of free online sources that will help guide you step-by-step through building your own website, from registering a domain name to navigating through coding in order to make your website, and by extension, book, give off an uber-professional aura.
How to use LinkedIn:
LinkedIn is a social media tool that enables its users to create exclusively professional profiles and to connect them to current and potential business colleagues. It is a social networking tool akin to Facebook, but (theoretically) devoid of personal details.
To join LinkedIn, navigate on over to linkedin.com and click on "Join Now." You will need to provide a first and last name, e-mail address, and new password, then click on "Join LinkedIn." You will be guided through a step-by-step process in order to create your profile, by providing employment information, a zip code, company name, job title, etc. The process will then direct you to connecting with colleagues you already know via e-mail address.
To create a Company Page for your book, login to your personal account, then click on "Companies" at the top of the homepage. In the drop down menu provided, click on "Find Companies." To the right, next to FAQ's, will be a link to "Add a Company." After you click here, you will be guided through a step-by-step process to add a company by providing the company (book) name and confirming your e-mail address.
How to obtain blogger reviews:
Blake suggests you make a list of potential bloggers for review (Hitch note: add them right into that spreadsheet, so you can track them, or create another tab inside the spreadsheet, and list them there). You can compile this list by creating a list of blogs you already know or have a relationship with as your jumping-off point. Many blogs list a "Blog Roll" of blogs they know, like, and regularly read or contribute to. This list will help expand your existing list.*
Then, Blake says, email 200 bloggers to see if they want to review a copy of your book and decide who gets extras for giveaway contests. You can e-mail these bloggers via an anonymous e-mail blast, or you can use a Microsoft Office mail merge to create a draft to a blogger to use as a template, then personalize the messages and email them separately.
*For those of you who receive our newsletter, you’ll recall that we posted lists, replete with links, of over 50 ebook forums and reviewers in our December 31st and January 26th newsletters (which you may find at our archives, here or you can get there with this bit.ly shortened url: http://bit.ly/jPphxt ). For those of you who are realizing that you're really missing out by not getting our newsletter, you can subscribe via this link: http://eepurl.com/b8nBn