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Expert Interview – Toni from Duolit

 

Duolit is comprised of a team of two ladies – Toni and Shannon. They help authors with lots of free book marketing advice on their website – http://www.selfpublishingteam.com.They even have a very useful ‘book marketing kit’ which you get if you sign-up for their newsletter.

We (the BookBuzzr team) got in touch with them in order to pick their brains on the fine art of book promotion. The interview follows:

Hey Toni. Thanks for being here. We’re excited to have you share your hard-earned experiences with our authors.

You helped Shannon publish a book a few years ago. What was that experience like?

Phew! It was crazy. This was back in 2008, when self-publishing was still in its infancy, and we were googling ourselves mad trying to figure out the process. It seemed very step – from choosing a printer to buying an ISBN – was designed to be as confusing and overwhelming as possible.

If you could go back and relive that self-publishing experience, what would you do differently?

If I could take the current technology, we would spend WAY less time figuring out the publishing process. It’s SO much simpler now! Without that part to worry about, we could focus on building up a fanbase before the book’s release.

What is the number 1 mistake that you see authors make when it comes to marketing their books?

Rushing to release and, by extension, waiting too long to start marketing. If we could convince every author to spend at least 3 months polishing her work and building up a fanbase before launching, we would eliminate the sales problems 85% of our author friends experience.

You are big on getting authors to identify their target market and their reader hangouts. What would be some best practices to perform these activities effectively?

There’s really only one: don’t be afraid to narrow your focus. So many authors tell us that “there’s something in my book for everyone” and that’s great, but in this age of divided attention there’s simply no logical way to spread the word about your book to “everyone.”
Instead, find your “one” reader, and laser-focus your attention on appealing to him/her. You’ll still earn tons of readers who aren’t anything like your “one,” but you’ll also develop a core group of (what we call) “crazy-dedicated fans” who become evangelists for you and your work.

Once you’ve found the “one,” figuring out where she hangs out is a snap!

Do you have any tips for how authors should use Twitter to connect with readers?

This is what Shannon and I call a “sticky pickle” (yes, we’re very Southern).

Using Twitter to connect with other authors is easy; there’s a ton of hashtags available and no shortage of others to converse with. Effectively reaching readers, however, is a bit more trial-and-error. We recommend:

    1) Knowing your reader. Yes, bringing it up again. It’s that important! Go beyond generic target market info and understand who she really is.
    2) Finding her hangouts. If you’re in a popular genre, like romance or sci-fi, you can easily find blogs for readers who love the genre. If not, we have several other ideas to try!
    3) Learn from their tweets. How do other folks on those hangouts tweet? Which hashtags do they use? Do they share links or have conversations? Write down 3 sample tweets to reference and start connecting!

Coming to GoodReads … what is the best way for authors to reach out to readers on GoodReads?

We’ve heard from our indie friends that the two best ways to connect on Goodreads are:

1) Giveaways. Not only will your book find its way into more hands, it’ll also land on many ‘to be read’ lists.

2) Ads. We’re usually not huge proponents of indie authors purchasing ads. We’ve heard, however, that the ads on GoodReads are not only extremely cost-effective, but also bring in many new readers.

What’s better – a Facebook group or a Facebook Fan page? Or both?

We’re definitely proponents of Facebook pages. The endless customizations available allow you to fine-tune your page, making it super-fun and interactive – a great way to engage your readers.

Would you like to finish off by with some final tips for effective book promotion?

Absolutely. I could go on and on (I love this stuff), but here are a few additional (more general) pieces of advice:

1) Encourage connections. The coolest thing about indie publishing and social media is that authors have the ability to connect one-on-one with readers, but so few take advantage of this connection.
Action step: Engage your readers. Post personal updates, reply to everyone and create conversations.

2) Embrace the DIY mentality.  To succeed as an indie author, you must LOVE figuring things out on your own (or have stacks of cash to pay someone else to do it for you).
Too many authors give up on blogging, mailing lists, WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, etc., because they’re not sure how to do something or are afraid of messing up. Google is your friend!
Action step: If you run into a roadblock, spend 15 minutes searching for more information or how-to’s. You’ll be amazed at what you can quickly figure out on your own!

3) Don’t give up. We see this SO often, and it makes us terribly sad. You must be willing to give your marketing and promotion time to work. Self-publishing is a very long game, and you won’t land on Oprah’s couch overnight. For the dedicated and passionate, however – results will come!
Action step: Commit to trying something new for (at least) a month before declaring it a failure.

We want every author to find success, so if you’re stuck, frustrated or need a bit of guidance, get in touch with us. We’ve worked with hundreds of authors and will help you right the ship!
 
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Vikram Narayan is the founder of BookBuzzr Book Marketing Technologies. (Twitter – @bookbuzzr ) Vikram is a graduate from Carnegie Mellon University. Prior to starting BookBuzzr, Vikram founded another software company that has been successfully serving clients from all over the world since 2001. When he is not dreaming up ways to help authors accelerate their earnings and book sales, Vikram spends his time playing the guitar, practicing Aikido and spending time with his family.

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