Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Is There Gold In Them There Hills?

Part II
by Connie Flynn     
The second in a three to four part series on the wisdom of pouring your heart and soul into an Indie Publishing business on Amazon.
Since you're back I'm assuming you decided a Kindle career is worth the effort or at least the exploration of it is. That means that you now have a slot in the Kindle bookstore. And an aggressive writing plan because there's strong evidence that it takes a minimum of four novels to build traffic to your books.

If you're a published author who regained publishing rights on your earlier work, you're now entering a world much more daunting than writing a book. You now have to convert them to Kindle format. If they are from pre-digital times, you'll have to scan in and convert them.  You can hire someone to do this work, but the expenses add up quickly and you aren't yet making money. Eventually you might choose to do the work yourself. Hello, learning curve.

But you're still in this, right? In that case this is a good time to investigate social media and how it will work for you.  The big three are Facebook, your personal blog, and Twitter.  These links will take you to the sign in pages and you can follow their instructions after that.

I advise you to start with a Twitter account. It opens up the whole internet world if you take time to browse and to click on links that call to you. Do take time to consider the questions you're asked before providing the information. I discourage cutesy or social commentary names. Your real name or your well-thought out pen name works the best.  Keep it short. - seven to twelve characters is great and, yes, spaces do count as characters. Hopefully there isn't more than one of you using that name because then you have to use numerals or dashes. For instance, my pen name is KCFlynn2 because someone beat me to plain old KCFlynn. My business partner, Linda Style is @lindastyle_. Very smart choice, most people put the underscore between the two names, but that's harder to remember. The rule for social media names is simplicity and remember-ability.

Facebook truly is a time-suck but it's where you can build personal relationships fairly quickly. The link for signing up is above and the site will tell you what you need to do. Again, give the questions some reflective thought before you answer. Once you get in . . . well, you're just there and here are a couple of things you need to do.  First, put your picture in the small box, then start trolling for friends. Why in that order? Well, people are much quicker to friend you back if they know what you look like. Yeah, it's no reliable proof that you're a good person, but people are funny that way. I know I am. I'm very reluctant to follow anyone on Twitter who doesn't have a photo up.

So, okay, you're nervous about everyone knowing your face. In that case do a slice of your face, preferably showing some eyes. I'm serious, because now you need to reel in those friends. And that, if you want to sell books, is what Facebook is all about. Here are Facebook's guidelines on how you go about it finding these friends.

This leads into the third of the big three, the blog or web page or both. Unless you're an internet whiz, and I'm guessing you aren't because otherwise you wouldn't be reading this post, I advise you to skip the web page and just do a blog. There are two major free blog sources, Wordpress and Blogger, which is provided by Google.

The free Wordpress is very basic and doesn't even let you change fonts without paying for the privilege. It's also very complex, and while the simple things are still simple, it takes some time to find that out. But some people swear by Wordpress. I suggest you talk to several types before you decide.

I've tried both. Started with Blogger, went to Wordpress, then back to Blogger. The 'blog' link above goes to Blogger. You have to establish an account with Google before you can use the Blogger function. Here's a tutorial to help you get started. Keep your first blog simple. You can always update your design later.

Blogging is not for everyone and how often you need to post becomes an issue. But frequent blog or web page posts are one of the most reliable ways of getting high search engine placements.. If you choose not to do regular posts, then let the blog serve as your quasi-webpage. List your books, your accomplishments, your bios and use it to draw in Facebook friends and Twitter followers.

While I obviously haven't touched on the many new social media sites opening up, and might do that in a later post if time permits, there is one last place I need to send you before you have your social media tools fully in play: Amazon.com's author page.
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This little tool is often overlooked by Kindle authors and it offers so much. Click on the link and explore. You'll discover a place for your bio, which can be a chatty little mini-blog. You can link in your blog and Twitter posts so new content automatically posts to your 'page.'  There's a section to list your booksignings and appearances, and you can personally insert your book descriptions. The authors page links to every book you list and many readers click in to see what the author has to say.That's just a glimpse of what the author page offers, so take the time to at least peruse the basics.

Next month's blog will touch on the basics of tweeting and how you actually use these tools to make money without getting everyone ticked off at you for always promoting your platform. 

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