Maria Zannini Puts the Reader FIRST!
When my first book, Touch Of Fire came out, I was a babe in the woods. Frantic to make some sort of noise to call attention to a total unknown, I studied what other authors were doing to market themselves. I was in for a shock.
The authors I studied belted out their elevator pitches like street vendors at a Tangier market. They parroted the same excerpt on every blog stop, shamelessly plugging, begging, and grandstanding. It was all about them and very little about the reader. New as I was to the world of publishing, my gut told me that was the wrong way to approach a prospective reader.
At first I followed their lead, but it made me uncomfortable so I scaled back and reevaluated my strategy. I started by asking myself: What does a reader want, and how do I fulfill that need?
People read novels to be entertained, amused, and distracted for a few hours. Carrying that a step farther, I put myself in the reader’s shoes. What’s more likely to encourage a reader to try a new author: a book brag, or some little anecdote that makes the author appear accessible and personable?
I decided to use blogging as my main vehicle, but rather than addressing my peers, I’d try to appeal to a broader audience. To reach the folk in all of us, I’d talk about my homestead, my dogs, and only a little about my writing. Regardless of the topic, it would strive to be relevant and comment-provoking.
My purpose is to engage the reader with posts that are informational, entertaining, and sometimes anecdotal.
That’s not to say I won’t have the occasional ‘commercial’. I give myself permission to sell my book at least once during its release week. Other times, I’ll pitch fellow authors’ books.
My theory is if I come across as interesting 80% of the time, readers won’t mind shop-talk the other 20%. If they like what they see, they’re likely to visit my sidebar or the other pages on my blog to learn more about me and my books.
There’s no shoving on my blog. We’re all just folks who like to read.
Here are my tips to make your promo more about the reader and less about you:
• Retweet other people. If you found it interesting, chances are good others will too.
• Share things that are useful, entertaining, or clever.
• Tweet late-breaking news.
• At least once a week, blog about something personal (but not too personal). The topic should be something most everyone can relate to.
• Rather than blurbing or excerpting your book, talk about your research or a personal experience while writing your book.
• Host other authors that your readers might enjoy. (Make sure it’s not promo porn.)
Anywhere you’re seen in public (either live or on the internet)
• On Facebook, stay light.
• Practice your funnies. People love to laugh.
• Be a people person. If you’re a guest on someone’s blog, be sure to reply to every comment or greet every visitor.
• No matter where you appear, the audience should be made to feel important. Never forget to put him first.
And now dear reader, it’s your turn. I want your opinion to this burning question. In a battle for uber suaveness, who could melt your butter fastest: Hugh Jackman, Gerard Butler, or Cary Grant? Or write-in your candidate.
No giggling. This is a scientific poll. I’m trying to visualize my next leading man.
Bio: Maria Zannini used to save the world from bad advertising, but now she spends her time wrangling chickens, and fighting for a piece of the bed against dogs of epic proportions. Occasionally, she writes novels.
Blurb for APOCALYPSE RISING: The only place to hide was in the past. Leda and Grey have one chance to escape a madman and that’s through a portal to a time before the apocalypse. But nothing has prepared them for 21st century culture, and every misstep draws them closer to the End Times. The world is teetering on extinction, and they may very well be the cause of it.