It’s a new world out there for nonfiction writers of all sorts who want to get published. If you’ve been reading the last week’s worth of posts here on this blog about promotion and marketing, you’ve gotten just an inkling of what it takes to succeed—and it’s not just a good idea and good writing. Successful writers today think outside the box, act outside the box…crush the box. They use all the new-fangled tools on the Internet available to them to ensure they and their work(s) succeed.
With just three days left to Write Nonfiction in November (WNFIN), I’d like to focus on helping writers take advantage of the changing publishing environment. That’s why on the last day of the challenge, Nov. 30, at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET, I’ll be interviewing agent and author Michael Larsen for the WNFIN finale teleseminar on How to Become a Successful Writer in a Bottom-Up World. Register for this teleseminar here.
With so many books being sold online, and ebooks sales continuing to rise, tomorrow Mark Coker, CEO and founder of Smashwords, an ebook publisher and distributor, will discuss the new ways in which readers are finding books online.
Today, however, we’re going to see how a savvy write can use social networking to help research, write and market a book. I’m so pleased to feature a guest post from my friend Philippa Gamse, whose book, 42 Rules for a Web Presence That Wins, was just released. Philippa has done something very unique: She used a social network—LinkedIn—-pre-publication to research and write her book. And now that her book has been released she is using that same network to market and promote it. Her expert guest post explains how she did this and offers nonfiction authors—in particular business authors who might use LinkedIn to connect with other business prospects—insight into how to follow in her footsteps. As you read, consider how you might use Twitter, Facebook and Google+ as research sources and more direct marketing avenues as well, and which might serve your type of book or market.
LinkedIn: A Great Tool for Business Authors
By Philippa Gamse
There’s a lot of buzz about LinkedIn as a premier resource for recruiters and job-seekers.
But don’t overlook LinkedIn as an excellent tool for writing and promoting your business book. Here’s how LinkedIn helped me both pre- and post-publication of my recent book 42 Rules for a Web Presence That Wins: Essential Business Strategy for Website and Social Media Success.
Research and expert interviews: I follow several LinkedIn groups in my field of web strategy, including “Web Governance” and “Web Managers.” These groups are full of high-quality discussions, and, therefore, attract high-caliber members.
While I was writing my book, I monitored topics of interest to me. On several occasions I contacted the author of an especially pertinent post and requested further details for a quote, case study or full interview. I was never turned down.
As a result, I have examples in my book from companies, associations or experts that I didn’t previously know. I was able to expand my horizons and understanding, and, of course, these contributors are now in my network of connections.
Soliciting endorsements: In my experience, email sent via LinkedIn almost always receives a response and is very unlikely to be classified as spam. Since it’s a requirement of membership to provide a valid and working email address, using LinkedIn is a highly reliable method of contact. I always use it when approaching someone for the first time or when my communication is important and unexpected.
I was honored to receive some phenomenal endorsements for my book, including several from prominent figures in my field that I approached through LinkedIn. I used either InMail for an existing connection or sent an invitation to connect to someone new with a cover note explaining my purpose. Once we were connected, I could correspond with them further and obtain their agreement to proceed. (I’d never invite a new connection without a personal message).
Marketing and promotion: Now that the book has been published, I’m busy promoting it through all of my connections. This is where my strategy of not connecting with unknown people is paying off; I won’t accept an invitation from someone I’ve never heard of without a check-in. (“Thanks for contacting me. I don’t think we’ve met. Can you tell me your interest in connecting?”)
Since I know something about all of my connections, I’ve been able to identify people who can help me to spread the word about the book. In a number of cases, I’ve offered to send a complimentary copy in return for a review, blog posting, recommendations to clients and colleagues, etc. The ability to see the connections of people in my network allows me to judge who has the influence and reach that I need and to prioritize my approaches accordingly.
All in all, I believe my LinkedIn contacts are so valuable that I’ve started to review my Twitter followers and to invite those who look interesting to connect on LinkedIn as well. It takes a little time, but I think it’s worth it. I just landed an interview with a high-traffic Internet radio show after seeing the LinkedIn profile of a Twitter follower and making the connection.
If you’re working on a business book, make the most of all the opportunities that LinkedIn affords. It will pay off for you.
About the Author
A Web strategy pioneer, Philippa Gamse has been working with Internet applications since 1991. Originally from the UK, she formed her US-based consulting and speaking practice in 1995. Philippa drills deep into the visitor experience and creates actionable and specific recommendations for your Web presence. Clients report significant improvement in quality Web traffic, visitor engagement, costumer loyalty, and qualified sales leads within 30 days of implementing her recommendations. She was the sole featured expert for the cover story on effective Web strategies for UPS Compass Magazine Fall 2009, distributed to more than one million businesses. Philippa is a Certified Management Consultant—an ISO-accredited designation recognized in over 60 countries. Her book, 42 Rules for a Web Presence That Wins,was released in October 2011.