Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Self Publishing Part 1: Building Tribes

The last week or so I've been giving you tips on how to publish your material with a brick and mortar publishing house. As you know this can be likened to getting signed onto a major record label. A lot of your success depends on varying factors, but primarily your agent's ability to make connections in the already crippled field. It's hard to publish this way these days because of the advent of digital publishing. I don't know how much people realize that the Amazon Kindle is a game changer in this field, so I'll be focusing primarily on that realm of publishing. It's what I've been able to research thus far, so even I am still getting a crash course in this route. So let's learn together and see what we can do here.

The first part of this series will focus on the most important and foundation building aspect of self publishing, Tribe Building. This can also be known as Social Media Engineering, or Networking. Regardless how you want to refer to it, this is the most important step in publishing the novel you are currently writing or are planning on writing any time soon. Here's why: Nobody knows who you are!

That's probably the biggest problem in publishing. 1) No one knows who you are, and 2) no one cares about you or your book. So your biggest goal is to change those perceptions and market yourself as a budding, successful author. I've attached a step by step process here for you. It's no guarantee, but by what I've been told by those successful with getting exposure through social media networking, it's a great start.

Step One: Start a Blog

Starting a blog is incredibly important. It's the only free, recurring window into your "genius" that people will see and take part in. People who are witty, intelligent, and otherwise helpful will get the most attention. For instance, the reason why I've been publishing a series on how to get published and write a great story is not just to toot my own horn, but I really love to do this. I care about you guys and want to share my knowledge to see your great ideas become successful. Starting a blog and blogging tutorials is a great start, but it takes direction. Here are some ideas of what to consider when starting a blog:

  • Post regularly: At least two times a week, on regular intervals. (Example - I post every Tuesday and Thursday.) What works best however is posting every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
  • Post Relevant Content: If the blog is serving the purpose to help publicize your book the nature of the blog should always include a facet of the story you are trying to tell. For instance, I am going to take the MWF publishing approach and write on the first day, a writing tutorial based off of a particular selection of text from my book. The second day will be a flash fiction (500 words or less) set in the universe of Spirit of Orn, and the third day will be a personal blogging day. 
  • Network with Other blogs: Right now I publish articles for Sequart Research, which is where the predominant source of traffic on this blog comes from. The only way to get exposure is to saturate yourself in markets relevant to your book. Right now I'm trying to break into some fiction blogs to become a contributing columnist, not because I love writing fiction  but because the people those websites attract can be referred back to this blog. It's the best way to attract people in a synergistic kind of way.  
Step Two: Start a Twitter

Twitter is huge for networking! I would certainly try to leverage its usage as much as possible. This section however I can't give too much insight on, only because it's so subject to circumstance that it's really hard to give advice on what to do and what not to do. The best attempt at advice I can give here is to tweet at least twice a day, and follow people of interest in your life that are popular, but not so popular that they are no longer reading tweets. Also something to take into consideration, is that certain publishing houses will re-tweet articles and reviews of their content if you tweet to them saying that you reviewed one of their titles. I did this in my Tale of Sand article and it gave me tons of great attention.

 More or less that's the top two things that I can think of right now. I'm still learning too. If I could write a third step it would be to research other means of funding as publishing can often be extremely expensive if you are publishing something that is physical, like a comic book in hardcover. Take a look at Kickstarter tutorials and training, because they certainly help. Remember though, those are all based off of pretty much what I've just told you. Bottom line here is pretty simple: Build your tribe. Get people to care about who you are and what you do and have to offer them!

See you on Thursday!


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