Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Book Buzz 2.0 - Tyora Moody

Thinking Ahead
by Tyora Moody

When writing a book, one may think it's too soon to think about marketing. The impression I've been getting the past few years, it's actually a very good idea to not only start thinking about book promotion, but to study the various avenues. Whether published traditionally or self-published, too many authors concentrate all their efforts on writing the book. That's only half the process. The next half is selling the book.

I often receive emails from unpublished writers about whether it's beneficial to have a web presence. Yes, if you want to sell books in the future. It certainly doesn't hurt to have an established audience prior to the book contract. If anything, it may make you more appealing to a publisher who in all honesty is clearly looking for the dollar sign aspect of your book.

Think about celebrities who automatically get book contracts based on their name or reputation. I know, I know, but those are celebrities. Yes, but think about the concept. What was appealing about them to the publisher? Keeping that in mind, here are some simple tips for the "average Joe or Jane" to start to think about in terms of book promotion.

1. Complete the book.

Before you think too far ahead, you should have a manuscript under your belt. The most important step in your plan, is to be sure you can complete a book. It might not be the final version and you may still need to seek editing, but if you want to be a novelist, discipline yourself to write on a regular basis. Most agents and publishers want to see the completed manuscript from fiction writers.

You can also consider smaller projects like short stories, articles or blogging. The main point is begin establishing yourself as a writer.

2. Purchase a domain name.

It's important to nail down a domain name as soon as possible. The domain name is usually yourname.com. For branding purposes, it’s always best to use your name unless you are writing under a pen name. There are other extensions like “.net”, “.tv”, “.us”, etc, but most people recognize “.com” as a company and you are in a sense a company or a brand.

When you do a domain name search, sometimes the name you want may be taken so it’s good to have a list of alternatives. For example, an author I worked with, Monique Miller wanted moniquemiller.com for her domain name, but it was already taken. She opted for authormoniquemiller.com.

As you explore domain names think about whether people will have a hard time spelling your name or if someone shares your name. Author Tia McCollors ran into this issue with her last name and uses not only TiaMcCollors.com, but also TiaWrites.com. Both domain names are directed to her Web site.

3. Establish an online presence.

It's not necessary to have a full web site unless you already are (1) writing frequently or (2) have a platform. I will talk about having a platform later.

If you do decide to pursue writing articles, it will probably be a good idea to start an online portfolio. This could be your actual articles or links to where you may have your writing posted online. If anything, it provides you a place to keep track of your submissions and generate interest in the topics you are writing about.

4. Think about branding.

Have you noticed that some authors have tag lines. Others have certain topics or themes that show up in their books over and over again. Branding helps publishers narrow down where they can best place your book. I believe the better you know your brand, the better you can sell your future book. This means knowing and understanding the genre you have chosen to write in.

If you are a romance writer, what makes your writing different. Do you tailor it for a Christian or inspirational audience? Maybe you are interested in writing romance with paranormal elements. Now is the time to study other books similar to yours and set yourself apart.

5. Develop a platform.

Having a platform may be more important for nonfiction writers, but it's probably helpful for fiction writers as well. Do you talk about domestic violence, cancer, parenting, divorce, etc in your fiction or nonfiction book? It what ways can you develop spin-offs from your novel using the hot topics presented in your book.

Many writers are speakers. There is a possibility you can speak as an expert on this topic at a conference, on a radio show or on television. You can also write articles for print or online publications.

Last year on the NEXT LEVEL marketing blog, online publicist Marlive Harris, explained to our readers about using Hubpages.com and Squidoo.com as apart of their marketing. If you can establish yourself as an expert on a certain topic, this could help you sell and market your book later. So, be sure to store all your research in a file system. This may come in handy later or you might could make good use of it now.

With these five tips, I hope you will think ahead and plan accordingly for your writing career.


Tyora Moody is a writer and web developer. The owner of Tywebbin Creations is also a social network enthusiast. You can find her online at two of her favorite networks, Facebook and Twitter. For more marketing tips and ideas, be sure to stop by the NEXT LEVEL Marketing blog at http://www.tywebbin.com/next.


Author Jessica Nelson said...

Great advice Tyora! Thanks. I still need to get my domain name. Grr...

Tyora Moody said...

Thanks for reading the article, Jessica.

Yes. The domain name is the "top" priority when it comes to branding. Stay on the lookout for deals from godaddy.com and you can always purchase it for several years.



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