A few weeks ago Alyssa mentioned that we’d be attending Author Marketing Live. We traveled to Cleveland this week, and filled up on information, tips, and great connections. The day was jam-packed from morning until evening with outstanding and helpful content. The presenters were generous with their time and expertise. People kept mentioning that it was like a fire hose gushing at them; there was just that much information. If you'd like to get some of the flavor from the day, you can check out #AMLive14 on Twitter, especially the tweets from September 8th.
I reread my notes on the plane ride home to make sure I understood what I had written and to gather specific takeaways that spoke to me. I’ll be sharing these and more information on publishing and marketing in a new feature on Mondays. Stay tuned for that. Today I’ll share a few overarching principles and tips I picked up from Author Marketing Live.
Go to live conferences. I’m often reluctant to travel because it can be disruptive to my family and my work and writing schedule, so I understand when other people feel that too. And this conference was so worth it. The content was rich, and I gathered a lot of helpful information. Better than that was meeting some fabulous people and making new friends. Writing can be lonely, and it’s so lovely to connect with other writers who get excited about the things I get excited about. The camaraderie you find among fellow writers is pure magic. If you can swing it, attend a conference. Talk to people, ask questions, and share what’s working for you and what’s not. If you need help finding the right conference, Alyssa offered some helpful suggestions in this post.
Experiment. We learn by trying new things. That is obvious, but sometimes we’re reluctant to try new things because we’re not sure they will work out or because we don’t want to leave ourselves in a worse position. It’s helpful to hear other people’s experiences, but really we need to try new things for ourselves to learn what works for us. One of the presentations on using social media strategies introduced a wide range of tools that I hadn’t tried (some I hadn’t heard of). Instead of becoming overwhelmed, I picked one thing I can try. If it doesn’t work, I will have learned something. If t does work, I’ve gained valuable time and efficiency that I didn’t have before. When we first started using Twitter, I didn’t understand how it worked; I wasn’t even sure how it would help us. After a while of dipping my toe in and trying it out, I’ve come to love Twitter and the connections we’ve made there.
Try one thing at a time. There are so many things we can do to set ourselves up for success in writing and publishing (and life, for that matter). But we can become overwhelmed if we take on too much at once. My best success comes when I add one new item at a time and get comfortable with it before I add something else. How do you pick the one thing to try? Find that item that is the easiest to implement and will give you the most efficiency for your time. For example, if you’re doing well in social media, but your email list isn’t growing, pick one relatively easy task that will help you find and attract your true fans. For example, you could point your social media followers to your email list or add a call to action at the end of your books. You could also add more ways to join your email list on your website.
Build your list. We’ve mentioned the reasons for building your list that you own, but it bears repeating. You don’t want a social media gatekeeper between you and your fans. Social media platforms make changes according to what works for their business, not yours. Even if you haven’t published your first book, start building your own platform with an email list. Check out our post on building your list here. We’ll be updating it and sharing more information in the coming weeks.
Several presenters mentioned my favorite takeaway from Author Marketing Live, but author J. Thorn put it best: “Leaning into the unknown and doing things for others without expectation is a way to become successful.” Sharing your expertise and time with both your peers and your fans will earn you great friends and loyal followers.
What have you learned lately? What is one thing you’ve been dying to try? Publicly stating your intentions is a great motivator for positive change. In the comments below, tell us one thing you’d like to improve in your writing or publishing life that you’ll take action on in the next month.