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Welcome To SORMAG's Blog

Friday, October 28, 2005

PANEL: Internet Marketing For Writers



Sylvia Hubbard, LaShaunda Hoffman, Tanya Bates, Sheila Goss, Vanessa Davis Griggs, Jacqueline Coffey, Lori Soard

Come learn some great internet marketing tips.

Tips will be posted in comments.

Post your questions in the comments section.

Please read the previous comments before you post, so we don’t have duplicate questions.

Please address your questions to a panel member or all panel members.


Tempie said...

Hi Panel...you each see I love people...I love marketing and sales, face to face, door to door, telemarketing, etc...you name it -I have done it...but now my preference is internet.

It works for me now because I feel I can market internationally or local and without leaving the comfort of my home unless I so choose and with decreased expenses all around on everything from gas, clothes,printing materials, etc plus it is convenience 24/7 to fit my personal needs. Plus I have found a increase in referrals once a bond is formed through the internet as different than face to face. It has been unbelievable the people I have met and have quality professional relationships and we have never met...smile

What are your thoughts on that?

Also, having previous internet business experience I have found it depends on what you are marketing and what audience you are targeting?

What are your thoughts on that?

Any member may answer or all?

Thanks Tempie
Badge #151

SORMAG said...

Hi Tempie,

I do all my marketing online. Our best internet tool (EMAIL) You need an email account and you must answer your email.

You won't believe how many authors have email accounts, but don't answer email or their account is too full to accept email.

You miss important information this way.

My first suggestion. Have three email accounts.

One for personal mail. Check at least three times a week.

One for business mail. Check daily. This can be used for promotion, anything that has to do with marketing your book or contacting agent/editor.

One for fan mail. Check once a week. Answer this mail, fans love to hear from their favorite authors.

Why do I suggest this, because one account can't handle it all, and if you have one account you end up reading mail all day. With three you can check the most important one. Your business mail daily and the others when you have time.

I'm off to bed, will be back in the morning for more tips.

LaShaunda - OO

SORMAG said...


Please tell us a little about yourself and give us some internet marketing tips.

Shelia said...


I agree with your post, because internet marketing works for you 24 hours a day, all over the world even while you're sleeping :)

Shelia (#16)

Shelia said...

To piggyback on what LaShaunda said, having an email account should be top priority. And if at all possible, return your fan mail within a reasonable time too. If you're that swamped, hire an assistant (you can probably hire an intern from your local college...look into seeing how they can get college credit).

#2 A Website is another marketing tool...this is one place people can go and get information about you and your books. Have links on how they can purchase your books and you're selling without even knowing you're selling, isn't that cool? smile

#3 Email Tag line. If you've gotten an email from me, you know I mention my books, and website at the end of every email--You'll be surprised at who actually reads your tag line. You can advertise a new book or blog entry without shouting "Look at me...I have a new book." It's a more subtle approach.

#4 Contribute articles to online e-zines. E-zines goes out to hundreds and some cases thousands. You never know who will see it and will find your book interesting--don't limit yourself.

#5 Last, but definately not least is to do your own online newsletter. Send out to your email distribution list and watch it grow. I send one out at least once a month. Make it informative, make it fun.

Shelia (#16)

Shelia said...

To see an example of the newsletter I send out monthly, paste this into your browser:

Shelia (#16)

Lori_Soard said...

Hi, Tempie. I think you can do a lot of your marketing online, but as you said it depends on what your product is. If you are marketing an e-book exclusively, then I don't see a lot of reason to market to people who aren't on the Internet. On the other hand, if you have a paperback exclusively, then you may want to focus more efforts on local markets through appearances and booksignings. If you have both, then I'd mix it up.

One thing that really seems to help me with promotions for the authors I represent is having an online e-zine. The number has grown steadily over the years and these are avid readers who are interested in new books and new authors. You can add to your list by having contests and online events too.

Hope that helps!

Lori Soard
Professional Promotions


jacqueline coffey said...

Good Morning,

I'm Jacqueline Coffey, VP of Author and Publisher Relations for www.blackbookpromo.com and our team knows and believes in internet marketing! It is, in my humble opinion, one of the best, most affordable and effective marketing tools available to writers, authors and publishers to date.

At www.blackbookpromo.com, we offer inexpensive email marketing campaigns/eblasts that reach over 108,000+ Black book enthusiasts, media, book clubs and industry professionals. With this service, you or your book is seen by the most influential people in the industry and the most important- book readers - who will create additional word of mouth marketing about you, your book or literary event.

I encourage writers, authors and publishers to strongly consider/plan to include internet marketing and online promotion in their marketing mix. It affordably creates awareness, builds brands and leaves a trace forever in online search engines. Plus, as the earlier panelist said, you don't have to leave home or spend a lot of money. Ads in major Black publications can cost upwards of $3,000 and that's for a small ad! And, you are advertising with other people who are competing for the consumers attention, and there's no immediacy unless you offer a website address for them to check out your book.

I also agree with the panelists that authors should prepare to have multiple email addresses-one for fans that have yourname@yourname.com--this could be fan mail. It's promoting your name while sending emails. You can create different names before the @ symbol. One for your publicists, events, fans, business, fun, etc. But please by all means, remember to check them often.

Also, authors and publishers often think having an website or blog is enough in and of itself, but, I'm afraid it's not if you aren't constantly marketing and promoting the website or blog for people to find you. There are over 175,000 books published a year, with over 50 million people being online. You can see from these numbers why's important to market and promote your website--everywhere and on everything!

Also, set up your website or blog to capture email addresses to stay in touch with fans once a month. Offer them something. Keep them interested with sneak peeks, etc. Keep them coming back. Also be sure contact info is displayed for an email address you check as well as excerpts, where to buy, a link to buy now (link your book cover to amazon.com or bn.com) so people can buy immediately, as opposed to just telling them where they can go buy it. Internet marketing offers an invaluable option that print or radio doesn't and that's immediacy!

This is one of my favorite subjects and as you can see, I can talk on and on about it forever!

Please feel free to stop by www.blackbookpromo.com to learn how the options and opportunities available will help you with internet marketing and online promotion.

Jacqueline Coffey
(Badge #91, I believe)

Tempie said...

I would like to thank each of you for your time and all of your valuable information!!!

Questions: any member of the panel may answer or all.

With blogging do you run into any complications such as spam laws with email marketing? If so, how can you avoid or prevent them?

Can newsletters be done through a blog? If so, how?

Thanks Tempie
Badge #151

Shelia said...

Tempie, (see your questions and my response below:)

With blogging do you run into any complications such as spam laws with email marketing?
The person reading the blog has made an honest effort to click on a link to bring them to the blog, so that is in no way spamming. Now there are spammers who will post remarks in the comment section. To avoid that happening on your blog, have it setup so people who leave comments have to enter a passcode/password.

Can newsletters be done through a blog?

I have yet to see it, but that doesn't mean it isn't possible. For me it wouldn't work, because of the type of newsletter I send out.

Lori_Soard said...

The only problem I see with a blog is that they have to come to your website, vs. you having their email when they sign up and being able to go directly to their inbox. I think a blog is important, but for me, I would use it separately from the newsletter.

If you could find a blog that had them sign up, so you could send them a notice when new items were posted, that might work. There are some PHP programs out there that will allow you to have a website where you can post a new "article" and then send a reminder to registered users. Check out Mambo and PHPWebsite.

Lori Soard
Professional Promotions

Sylvia Hubbard said...

Being a mother of three young children I have found that the internet affords me the comfort of not leaving home and still getting my work done. I do find I get more referrals and often when I'm offline, I'm able to network even better because more people know me from our online relationship.

Everything i learned from the internet I learned on my own, but I studied hard in a field that very few people learn about and I share my knowledge. That fact alone leaves my target market open to almost everyone. I know in the beginning, I could not associate with poets and nonfiction writers or prosers because i was a fiction writer and on top of that it was romance (often looked down to from other genres), but after they found out that I had internet marketing experience and i knew a thing or two, I was readily accepted into their circles.

I'll emphasize the importance of an email tag line, like Sheila Goss pointed out. You are missing out on so many opportunities to get the word out when you don't do that. And make sure when you add your URL to your signature line, please add the http:// before it so that it will highlight even if the person accepts only text emails.

After reading all the other panel's tips on marketing, I'd like to add that the most effective marketing tip has been to not only have your own ezine, but to submit articles, short stories and more to other ezines.

You are able to find your buyers once you start actually reaching out by using other ezine's mailing list. Especially if you put in your byline your own website name and how people can find more information like you've afforded them in the article you've provided.

One of the best internet tools personally that i've found are blogs. Blogs are becoming one of the fastest internet tools that writers can have. But its not just getting a blog, you MUST update your blog often. Not only for your visitors or readers, but also to attract new readers who often keep up with the list of updated blogs.

I keep two blogs. A story blog at http://SylviaHubbard.blogspot.com and then there's a personal journal (sort of) called How to Love A Black Woman @ http://LoveABlackWoman.blogspot.com.

On my story blog I'm posting either fresh stories from the top of my head, or previews of my paper back book. During the process of posting the stories, I either give my readers a preview or an insight as to how i did the story, why I stopped the story, what's my problems with the story. In turn, my readers give me feedback on if they like the story and keep me pumped to "bring it on."

My journal blog is there to give people insight to my own personal life and my strife with men. People find it amazing that I come up with these wonderful love stories, but i find it amazing that I can even imagine these love stories, when in reality I have not have that myself. So I get men and women to talk about my issues with relationships in general.

That blog has become successful because of the constant reader participation and it was recently linked to by http://BlackMenInAmerica.com because the publisher enjoyed the ingsight that I offered.

Now you asked with blogging do i run into any complications such as spam laws wit hemail marketing? I've set up a form on my blog for people to fill out if they want to be notified when the blog is updated or I ask them after they comment can i email them when I've updated. I keep a list of these email address. On top of that, I belong to many writer groups that I ACTIVELY engage in and I notify them as well, plus other personal writing and reading email addresses.

Setting up your newsletter on a blog is relatively simple. You can set it up there and then either link it to notify either a Yahoo Groups address, or you can do the notification on your own.

Sylvia Hubbard said...

Additional Internet Marketing tips are available also in my guide to Internet Marketing for Writers

I mention how author's can create discussions, do online books signings, blogging tours and also step into the realm of PodCasting.

Sylvia Hubbard

Lori_Soard said...

Hi, all. I was talking about events and contests to add readers to your newsletter as I was sending out promotions for Fall Fest. I think you might get some ideas of what you could do on your own on a smaller scale. If you want to check out fall fest, it is a pretty basic event this time around and I think might give you some ideas. Of course, we get a lot of traffic to these through our newsletter list (we have about 24K on it now) and we do advertising in various places and so on. I think if you just offer a free download at your site or a contest, then you should consider at least asking if they want to be added to your list. Most people will say yes. I make it part of the contest entry form, so they can easily check yes and sign up for the newsletter.

For Fall Fest--go to:

If you want to promote with one of our events: www.soardpro.com/author_promotions.htm

Lori :)

JENNA said...

Thanks for the tips. I have the blog, website, & tagline. I'll have to workon articles from e-zines.

My CP finaled in the American Title 2 contest, where all voting is done online. The contest turns into a publicity free for all, or at least it did last year. Any thoughts on innovative things she could try to encourage voters to 1. vote, and 2. vote for her? She has a blog and website she plans on using to post direct voting info.

Jenna 08

Vanessa Davis Griggs said...

Good day:

I'm Vanessa Davis Griggs, the author of PROMISES BEYOND JORDAN and the sequel released 2005 entitled: WINGS OF GRACE.

The Internet so levels the playing field for everyone. I would suggest having a Web site preferably with your name if you're an author and/or the name of your book if you like. Don't make the name too complicated because you want people to remember it when they decide they want to visit.

The thing I love about my Web site which happens to be www.VanessaDavisGriggs.com is that it works for me 24/7 (except when the server is down, of course). I can have so much information available to so many different type people without having to mail anything unless something is requested. You can read excerpts from my books. People in the media can visit me and get my bio, photos of me, and background information. Think of the money you save in postage alone doing that.

But having a Web site and not letting anyone know you exist really does you no good. So you have to visit other sites that complement what you do. Put your Web site on your signature in your email. If you have flyers or bookmarks, be sure to include it there. Don't think only what someone can do for you, but what you can do for others. I love getting emails and I agree with the persons who said as authors you should answer emails. Not only do I make it a priority to answer all my emails, I generally respond to people who sign my guest book.

The way I see it, no one has to buy or read my work. Then they take the time to let me know they enjoyed it. The least I can do is let them know I appreciate them. And I can do that...using the Internet.

Vanessa Davis Griggs

Shelia said...

Lori, thanks for the link for Fall Fest.

Sylvia, I frequent your blog weekly too :)

Ladies, if you're still online, post your blog here if you haven't already in one of your posts above.

Shelia (#16)

SORMAG said...

I’m a firm believer that articles are great marketing tools. I met many authors because their articles. They always make sure to include a link in their bio.

Forums and mailing lists are good marketing tool too. Be an expert on these groups. Share your wisdom. Members remember your willingness to share and look for your books when they come out. They also are good for word of mouth.

Internet marketing only works if you work at it. Yes having a web site is good, but you have to do more to keep your name in front of people.

Being a guest blogger is a new concept. At SORMAG we offer featured author spots. We do an interview and a chapter excerpt.

You can be a guest blogger at someone’ blog. You introduce yourself to their readers and they learn about your books.

The internet is always coming up with new ways to market yourself. Try something new for each book.

MJ Rose came up with a mini video for her book this summer. She even had blogger link their blog to hers and gave a donation to a charity for every blog that said they linked to hers.

Marketing takes time, but I’m sure if you’re in this business to stay you’ll make time to do your marketing.

Sylvia Hubbard said...

Hey can you send me that link to her book video. I've been thinking bout doing the same thing.

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