Thursday, May 6, 2010
Guest Blog with Carl Brookins on Internet Marketing
This document is a deliberate exercise in individual marketing considerations. It is for authors who want to consider Internet marketing in this world. I deliberately did no research, relying on my memory of what’s available. I found it instructive. What I looked up are the references to links so you aren’t sent on a weird journey. I have no particular axe to grind.
As an aside, it occurs to me that weird journeys are sometimes useful. Porn for example. If you believe what you read on the Internet, nobody in the crime fiction writing community ever wants to be exposed to porn sites. Ewewew! Disgusting! Demeaning! Awful, etc etc. Well, a man I know spends a good deal of his time cruising porn sites looking for illegal stuff. Exploited children for example. He’s a cop. If he spends every waking hour he will never visit all the porn sites (use your definition of porn) that exist. Pornography, as defined by federal statutes and testimony as a multi-billion dollar business. Annually. Who’s buying? Nobody I know. Uh huh. Why is this stuff so successful? Why don’t customers buy my novels instead? And yours?
Nobody really knows what works in comparison to other techniques of marketing. That’s been true since marketing was invented and nobody I know is willing to try restricting themselves to a single method and then later changing to another method for long enough to really know what doesn’t work. Anybody who tells you they have the answer(s) is prepared to take your money. Branding, marketing yourself, selling yourself and/or your book; it called exposure, or branding if you like that label better. It’s all good. If you do it the right way. And I have the Right Way. Pardon me, I have to wipe away my tears of laughter.
For one thing, Internet marketing and advertising is new and constantly changing. The business models that worked yesterday are dysfunctional today. There’s a new cyber network popping up every time you turn around. What will tomorrow bring? Do you know about these sites?
http://www.authorbuzz.com/; http://www.librarything.com/; http://www.mysterywriters.org/; http://www.shelf-awareness.com/index.html; http://www.sistersincrime.org/; http://www.goodreads.com/; http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Working_Writers/; http://www.murdermustadvertise.com/; http://www.shortmystery.net/markets.html; http://brennalyonsden.blogspot.com; http://www.jeffreymarks.com/; http://www.ascamacho.com/; http://www.dorothyl.com/; http://www.facebook.com/; http://www.myspace.com/; http://www.jakonrath.com/freebies.htm; http://www.authorsden.com/;
That’s just a sampling of web sites with information and services that may be useful. Some of them offer specific books on modern marketing. I neither endorse nor disparage any of the above and you’ll find my books and stories at several of them. You’ll also find more sources if you visit my website, www.carlbrookins.com or http://www.minnesotacrimewave.org/.
I could go on for a very long time and build a very long list. You can do it yourself. My point is this: There are a variety of inexpensive and pricy tools available to market yourself and your writings on the Internet. There is one thing we know for sure. The easier you make for a reader of your marketing efforts to buy your product, the more sales you will have. From that it follows inevitably that Internet links to sales outlets are important. There are still a great variety of non-Internet tools which you should not eliminate from your marketing mix without careful consideration. The number of people in the nation with regular access to high speed Internet is less than 50% A lot of people use library computers for their on-line addresses. The mail is important! Do you want to ignore half the reading population?
In the end, it’s just like anything else you do, or it should be. Proceed cautiously, be disciplined, particularly when spending money. Keep track of what you doing and allot adequate but not endless time to blogging, texting, emailing and so on. Be active on the Internet, but not to the neglect of your serious writing. If becoming a successful well-paid author is your goal, you must continue to write seriously and thoughtfully. Dancing on the Internet or spending large sums on advertising and mailings unless you have the resources, can consume you. Don’t let it.