How to use Tumblr: An author’s guide.
So, you wrote a book and now you’re just waiting for the sales to come rolling in, but instead all you hear are crickets. Slowly you come to the realization just because you wrote it doesn’t mean they will come. Field of Dreams my ass. Bastard movie and its lies! Oh, uh…sorry about that.
So, how do you wrap your head around promoting your book? Don’t people know your book is the greatest book ever!
Well, I hate to break it to you, but now that you are done writing your masterpiece the real work starts. So, you run back and forth posting to message boards and social networking sites over and over telling people to buy your book. You work out just the right pitch and then add your post to the pile, of hundreds if not thousands of others just…like…yours. Hmmm, sounds like…pointless work, but it doesn’t have to be. There is another way. It doesn’t have to be WORK. It can be FUN all day, every day.
Tumblr is the hottest mirco blogging site out there! It is sort of like a lightweight version of blogger/wordpress blog meets twitter. Tumblr is used for sharing snippets of information or media and it tends to be more visually oriented.
Here’s one of my Tumblr microblogs: Cover Allure
It’s a blog with fewer features? Just give me my blogger account and be done with it.
You could go with just a regular blog, but Tumblr offers so much more. With a blog you spend a lot of time writing well thought out posts only to have to turn around and get it to rank in the search engines so somebody will maybe find you. Maybe somebody will read your post and then again maybe they won’t. It’s sort of like living in a house with all the bells and whistles you could ever want…in the middle of the forest…with hard to read signs with arrows pointing in arbitrary directions. “This way to the SALE!”
Sounds like a lot of work to me.
What about facebook?
Facebook is more of a social site to use with your friends and acquaintances. Although, as of late, posting on facebook isn’t even good for this.
People tend to get annoyed with you when you make too many self-promotional posts period, never mind posting too often. Self-promotional posts get lost in the shuffle while pissing people off! As you can probably guess this is not a great way to sell books.
Not to mention that most of your posts are only reaching the people you already interact with on a regular basis, which are probably your fellow writers, friends/family, and the people who are already your fans. In other words the only people who see your posts have already bought your book.
Author pages? Forget about it! I hardly ever see an author page in my feed ever. Why? I’m not sure, but facebook has made it so difficult to find these pages that I don’t even bother looking.
Groups are a little better, but most of the time you run into the same problem of promotion blindness or the group puts special restrictions on self-promotional posts. Why? Because people don’t really want to see post after post telling them to buy your book, buy it now, it is the best book ever, promise.
How about Twitter?
I don’t know all that much about twitter. It seems to place unnecessary restrictions on your posts. I don’t really care what you had for lunch or that it is “super hot out today,” nor do I care to post every little bit of my life in such a trivial way. From a promotional standpoint it always seemed like a simple way to post announcements to work I’ve done someplace else. Sort of like the house in the woods scenario above, but instead of a crappy sign I’ve upgraded to calling people I know to tell them about the sale. Twitter does work for some people and if that’s you then great. You can also integrate your Tumblr blog and your twitter account.
Tumblr is the new popular thing, but if you’re like me you really didn’t “get it” when it first launched. Most of the time when I see the word tumblr I wonder why someone misspelled tumbler and then I think of a glass. Why would I want a tumbler glass?
Well, I still wonder why they misspelled tumbler, but now I have come to realize it has to do with the second definition of the word.
Tumbler: 2. An acrobat or gymnast, esp. one who performs somersaults.
Reason #1: Content
Tumbler is all about being an entertainer with your content.
It’s a new form of marketing called content marketing.
Content Marketing (from wikipedia) is an umbrella term encompassing all marketing formats that involve the creation and sharing of content in order to engage current and potential consumer bases.
In other words instead of asking people to buy your book (to give you something) you are asking yourself what is in it for them. Then you provide (usually) free content to entertain your potential readers. You give them what they want and in turn they will think of you in a more favorable way and pay more attention to what you are offering.
Reason #2: Sharing
It is really easy to share content on tumblr. Imagine instead of living in the house in the middle of nowhere now you’re in an apartment building filled with young and hip people.
Most users fall between the 18-25 range (up to 49), are educated, and read more/consume more media than the average person. There are more females who use the site and overall the general feel tends to be the cool, trend-setting crowd. In short people perfectly suited to try out your new book.
All you do is create some short content to share. Pictures or animated gifs are popular, but you can also share quotes, short articles, songs, and video. Then you select a handful of relevant tags to describe what you are sharing and when you publish your post people can find your post based on the tags you have used. After this people can click on the information they find interesting they can click on a heart shaped icon to like your post or they can reblog the post. To reblog means that person makes a copy of the post (linking back to the source) and places it on their own page. With a few simple clicks many potentially interested people have viewed your post.
Tumblr Marketing 101:
Tumblr will turn you into a natural marketer without the dirty used-car salesman’s feel.
Since the site doesn’t use a keyword search it forces you to be very specific in the type of micro blog you create.
Let’s say you are interested in toys. So, on Tumblr you might set up a miniblog for 80’s Toys or Horror Themed Toys. Or perhaps you’ll get even more specific and set up a mini blog for Creepy 80’s Toys.
So what? How is this important to you, the author?
It allows you to reach people who will already be interested in the subject matter of your book. Let’s say you wrote Jimmy Plush Teddy Bear Detective. So, you would create a page called Teddy Bear Detective. Then you would fill your page with various examples of noir, pulp, movie detective quotes, amusing pictures of bears/Teddy bears dressed up, clips on living Teddy Bears, etc. All of which reinforces the brand language. People who are interested in those subjects will then like, reblog, or even follow your blog.
So, now you have people interested in similar subject who are more willing to say to themselves, “You know what? I keep finding myself liking the stuff I find on this blog and the author who runs it seems like a funny guy. I think I will try out his Teddy Bear Detective book.”
After they read the book they might come back and post more information about the book on their own blog because it is easier to go through a few quick clicks than it is to take the time to write a review.
I know what you are thinking. This is still work. You’re right. It is work, but not as much work AND since it all focuses on reinforcing your book’s brand it seems like play because it covers a topic you were already interested enough in to write a book about.
BUT if you want an EVEN EASIER way, a quick and painless way to promote your book for FREE just email me at augustfahren [at] yahoo [dot] com or contact me via my contact page at http://wantweirdbooks.com/contact/ and I’ll feature your book(s) on Cover Allure.
Cover Allure is sort of like a Beauty Queen Fight Club where the best looking covers get love and the rest well…let’s just say the phrase survival of the fittest comes to mind. It’s unobtrusive, easily scanned, and puts your book’s brand to the test at the most basic level—The cover. Because we all know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover BUT WE ALL DO. More importantly your readers will, so make it easy on yourself and get some free publicity now.
Include in your email:
- Your book cover (in jpg format with a height of at least 300 pixels)
- Basic genres/categories
- 6 Tags (or fewer)
- A short paragraph, blurb, or other information you would like to be used for the photo caption.
- The URL to where your book can be purchased.
- AND if you are offering it for free on a certain date(s).
PS. Warning, once you find out how easy it is to get set up on Tumblr you may become addicted.