Marketing for Authors & Writers: Social Networking Can Work for Me? Yes it can work for YOU!

I’m in the middle of a series of weekly (?) posts about how Authors and Writers could use LinkedIn more effectively if they wanted to and tomorrow I’ll be putting up a post about the Top Ten Groups for Writers and Authors.You can read the earlier posts on the Marketing for Authors and Writers page.

I’ve noticed two things from the posts I’ve already written; first very few people have commented on the posts and secondly those that have, have been less than enthusiastic. This makes me think that perhaps most writers and authors feel that LinkedIn is not their network of choice because they want to spend as much time as possible building that elusive Author Platform where they can connect with their fans quickly and easily. I would surmise that most seem to feel happier on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Shelfari or their Blog. It seems that LinkedIn may be dismissed because it’s for business and professionals and it’s not a fun, happy ‘share my cute photo of a cat’ sort of place.

I’m here to burst that bubble and I’m hoping that today’s post may just begin a process of swinging your opinion around just a little in time for tomorrow’s clincher.

Before I talk about Authors and Writers though I need to set the scene and I hope you’ll bear with me.

I work with businesses large and small all day, every day. My role is to help them use the online opportunities afforded by things like Social Networking more appropriately to help them grow their business. Let’s look at two different factors that influence business (writing) success

1. The Four Ways To Grow Your Business

According to most business guru’s (such as Jay Abraham) there are only three ways to grow a business (and yes, if you are taking your writing seriously this is a business like any other). I have added a fourth which I believe is equally important.

The first way to grow your business is to increase the number of customers (readers) and this is what most businesses (and authors) hope social networking will achieve; the second way is to increase your prices; the third way is to increase the number of products and/or services you sell to each customer (repeat business) and finally the fourth way (in my humble opinion) is to reduce your costs thereby increasing your profitability.

As an author or writer, your activity on the social web needs to address one or more of the areas you feel you can control, this may or may not  include pricing simply because there is a consumer mindset about how much books cost. If you are jobbing writer on the other hand then you can charge what your market will bear. You may also have a broader base to your writerly business which could include speaking, presenting and teaching in which case price can easily be a significant factor.

2. The Groups That Can Help You Grow Your Business

There are also four groups that you could choose to work with to help you grow your business in any given network too and choosing just one of these groups and one network can help you meet one or more of the four ways to grow your business:

  1. Customers – in this case your readers and commissioners  (obviously)
  2. Suppliers (printers, proof readers, editing services etc….)
  3. Competitors (other writers and authors)
  4. Intermediaries (publishers, agents, book sellers, festival organisers etc ….)

I’m hoping you are starting to get my drift here πŸ™‚

Putting Them Both Together

Let’s take a look at just one of the networks, the four ways you could grow your writing business and the four groups you might choose to work with and see what happens:

Facebook is primarily a network where the consumer rules. You will see many of the big consumer brands like Kindle Direct, Love Reading and Goodreads on there, as well as an increasing number of pages from authors such as you and I too.

The purpose of being on Facebook is to tap into its consumer driven micro-economy. If we break down our activity then, we should be on Facebook to increase the number of customers and encourage repeat sales (by creating fans). We are therefore working with group 1 (the readers) and, if we are savvy enough, group 3 because after all writers are readers too and we may find ways to engage and entertain each other.

Facebook however, is not typically where you will find suppliers unless you happen to be exceptionally lucky as I was when I found a great stationary supplier (you can click here to read about how Facebook networking really can work). And it’s certainly not the place to find the intermediaries either – unless you happen to stumble over them or they are exceptionally well-networked like Rachelle Gardner (see my post about top ten Facebook Pages for authors and writers).

It’s also not the place where you are going to reduce your costs, in fact with the changes to Pay to Promote it is quite likely your costs will go up instead. Nor is it the place to set prices – to be honest I don’t think any of the networks are as this is an internal question for your own writerly business based on what you are selling.

When it comes to social networking, the trick is to find the right network for the right group and the right method to grow your business. We all need to do this; successful authors and writers do not simply focus on increasing their readership – they look across a broader spectrum of opportunity and so should you. Tomorrow, I’ll tell you how to use LinkedIn to begin doing just that πŸ™‚

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9 thoughts on “Marketing for Authors & Writers: Social Networking Can Work for Me? Yes it can work for YOU!”

  1. The mission of The Haven Foundation is to strengthen and sustain the careers of freelance professional writers, artists and others connected with the entertainment industry across the United States. A professional is an individual who is committed to his/her industry or work, who has derived at least 1/3 (33.3%) of his/her income over the past three (3) years from his/her personal production, performance or other work in the industry. The qualified person must have experienced a recent, unforeseen emergency or triggering event that has significantly and adversely affected the qualified person’s ability to produce, perform and/or market his/her work and, thus, creates the need for immediate relief funds and/or assistance. The Foundation is not able to assist in situations of financial need that result solely from lack of employment, poor sales and/or poor business practices.

  2. A very useful and insightful article. Though I’m on linkedin, I hardly connect with people over there. This is going to change my attitude. Thanks for sharing

  3. I didn’t think you were Anne and you are right that a piecemeal approach doesn’t work so well as being structured from the beginning. Once everything is finished though …. then I’ll be looking forward to seeing how you apply it all πŸ™‚

  4. I am definitely not ignoring your series on LinkedIn (you will be pleased to know). I just think it needs a proper studied approach rather than a piecemeal one, so I will find this series very helpful once the book edits are sorted. Thanks, Linda.

  5. And that is just one of the great reasons to use it. Providing more insight into your professional self is always helpful. I guess it happens though because as I said in the article most people focus only on the sales side . forgetting that there are many different ways to reach the same goal and perhaps a better place to meet potential agents and publishers would be to be active somewhere like LI πŸ™‚

  6. Hello Linda,

    Another great article. I understand your argument about how many writers do not use, or see the need to use LinkedIn. Most have Facebook and twitter, but not very many care about LinkedIn. Maybe it is more important to get readership? But then won’t more people read if you’re actually published?

    I only speak from my observations here on WordPress. I am not a writer by any means; I enjoy writing and WordPress provides the perfect hobby. But more importantly, it gives my online (LinkedIn) resume more personality πŸ™‚

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