Many writers ask me about changes in the publishing industry, how to make sense of the transformation, and what it really means for them.
I try to tackle that, in part, in this Q&A with WetMachine, where the insightful John Sundman poses a variety of questions about trends, e-books and e-publishing, self-publishing, author promotion, and online marketing.
Here's a brief snippet, where I share my thoughts on how to meaningfully participate in online communities once your book is released:
Jane’s Simple Rules for Forum Participation
- Don’t do anything without having a hub or homepage where you want
people to visit, to find out more about your work and sign up for
news/updates. You should be capturing the e-mails of your fans or
readers (people who willingly sign up for updates—not spam).
- More than 500 million people use Facebook and spend more time on
that site than Google. You should understand what it means to be visible
there to your readers. I don’t mean selling on Facebook, but being visible and interacting like a real person, not a marketer. Gretchen Rubin sets a good example for authors to follow.
- If your target readership is active on Twitter, that’s 3rd priority.
If you can’t get comfortable with it (and getting comfortable might
take months), then give it a pass. Before you do, though, you should
know that some bloggers’ No. 1 source of referral traffic is Twitter.
- If you’re selling your work primarily on Kindle, or if your work is
available on Amazon, then you should be doing everything possible to
optimize what’s happening on your Amazon page. It helps to read up on strategies that have worked for others.
- GoodReads is climbing in importance. So that’s next on the list for anyone writing a work of interest to avid book readers.
- If your work is highly targeted in a genre or niche, then you should
know the most active community for that genre/niche. That may be
deserving of 2nd or 3rd place on this list. Only you can know what this
site is, as someone who ought to be an active member of that community.
- This is not related to forums per se, but guest posting for
popular bloggers who appeal to your target readership should be part of
your outreach strategy when you have a specific book to promote. Copyblogger has an excellent post to help you understand how.
The full interview is lengthy, but I think you'll enjoy it. Go read it.