Thursday, December 8, 2011

How to Promote Your Brand and Raise Your Klout

You may have clicked on this blogpost thinking I knew something about marketing strategies. Or maybe you’re just a friend of a friend of mine on Facebook. Or you’re my mother. Hi Mom! By now you’re growing disappointed. Because you’re starting to suspect I don’t know much about marketing strategies.

It’s true. But I promise I’m working on it. Marketing a book is a hot topic right now. Speakers talk it up at writing conferences. Twitter’s abuzz with strategies. Worthwhile ideas. As well as jokey ones. I don’t know if this is a new trend or if I just wasn’t aware of it before. Probably a little of both. What I’m hearing is that publishing house publicity departments have been cut to the bone so authors are being asked to do more and more of their own promotion. This is supposed to happen before the first book comes out. Get yourself OUT THERE, they say. Create a media presence; a brand. Network with other writers and bloggers and people like teachers and librarians who can potentially talk up your book.

It also doesn’t help that the book industry’s in a state of flux. The old method of a traditional publishing house printing up books and distributing them to libraries and bookstores is fading or at least it’s getting crowded out by Amazon and E-books. More writers are ditching the traditional houses altogether and self-publishing. It sounds easier on the surface than trying to snag the attention of an agent and/or editor. But is it, really? Just because you’ve thrown an e-book out on the inter tubes doesn’t mean an audience is going to find it.

So for the moment I’m still slogging down the traditional path, and I am dutifully following the bits of marketing advice I’ve picked up along the way. I’m facebooking and twittering and blogging. I’m passing out my card, this cutsy thing my husband put together when he was bored. 500 for 5 bucks. I’ve got a ton of them. Anyone want one? And the other day a writer friend of mine signed me up on this site called Klout so I could figure out what the strength of my web presence is.

It’s a 12. I’m guessing that's low.

The trouble is I’ve got no book to hawk. So there’s nothing there there. I was telling this to my husband and he said that shouldn’t stop me. Marketing can work wonders. Look at Paris Hilton, he said. Or the Kardashians.

But I said, bleh. I want to talk about Annie Dillard (author of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek and An American Childhood) I’m reading her book The Writing Life and it’s so absorbing. All nuts and bolts and thoughts on craft. There was no Twitter or Facebook or Blogging in the late 80’s when Annie wrote this book, so she doesn’t spend time discussing that stuff. But I suspect that she doesn’t spend much time on it now either. Okay, I just checked. She has an official website. She’s not on Twitter. She has a Facebook author page with no pic. She doesn’t appear to blog.

Not sure what I’m trying to say here except there is a difference between a writer like Annie Dillard and someone like Paris Hilton (She’s “written” three books, in case you were wondering) who's content to be a brand. Like a purse. Or a shoe. Or a box of tissue.

I just checked the Klout site. Not surprisingly, Paris Hilton has an 80. And somehow, my score went up to 13.23. Paris, watch out. I am gaining on you.

(I am not Paris Hilton.)

(Or Annie Dillard.)

1 comment:

  1. Billy Collins won't go on Facebook. And he sells actual books of actual poetry. Keep fighting the good fight.