3 S.R. Johannes: Making Connections vs Selling Yourself

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Making Connections vs Selling Yourself

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Connections vs Selling

I know marketing can be overwhelming.

How do I know? Hmmmmmmm

Because people email me telling me! :)

"I'm scared."
"I don't know how."
"I just want to write."

I get it. It's hard to do marketing as a writer.

I know - you're a writer. You just want to write. You don't want to "sell yourself."

So then don't!

Building a network takes the selling out of your marketing.

This is the reason why you start NETWORKING waaaaaaaaaay before you need to sell anything. Way before you need anything.

Here is the bottom line.

You build your network way in advance of any book contract and you do it for the purpose of making genuine connections. To help people. To reach out and touch someone. (not literally of course - that would be illegal! :)

This way - over time - you build honest and authentic relationships over time. So when your book comes out or if you need something. You are no longer asking a stranger. You are asking your network.

That means you don't have to sell anything, you just have to ask for support. There is a difference.

Jill Lublin, one of the authors of Guerilla Publicity, advises her clients, “Start publicity way before you need it.”

According to Mashable.com article "Social Networking Matters", "Networking is not only about the ability to connect to people – it is also about the ability to use those connections. We call it a “two-way-street” – networking is not something you do by yourself, you always need your counterparty to be in there with you, to want to help you and assist your advancement. You only achieve this willingness by doing something in return, or even before you ever ask for anything. This is true networking – there are no shortcuts, you need to invest time and effort in order to reap the benefits of the connections you have made."

Put the system in place so when you need the word of mouth, when you need the publicity, when you need the buzz, it is organic because you have built relationships on trust. You did not build them because you needed something.

Do you have to do all social networking all?

Of course not.

But you must have a web presence and you must do at least one form of online networking.

Do you have to blog, tweet, FB, ning, lit chats, after party lit chats, email, interview blah blah blah?


But you have to do something and it HAS to be online. Because that is where everyone is nowadays. Online. So to lose that opportunity just isn't business smart.

Pick one or two and do them really really well. Not half ass. But well.

The important thing is to do something that you are excited about. Have fun with it.

So here is my brilliant advice:
  • If you don't know how, learn it
  • If you do something crappy, do it better
  • If you hate doing marketing, don't do it if you don't care about selling books
  • If you think your publisher will do it for you, you're wrong and in la la land
  • If you think you don't need marketing b/c your book is great all on its own, wake up
  • If you don't have time, turn off the tv and make some
  • If you have a question, ask me. :)
Do you have any questions about social networking??


DL Hammons said...

This is something I learned from you awhile ago, but it can't be repeated enough. Thank you for showing me the light.

DL’s Blog

Alissa Grosso said...

I'm always a bit surprised when I go online to look up information on an author, and can't find much. It really doesn't take much skill to put up a simple webpage. Programs like blogger and Wordpress, make it really easy even for complete novices to have some sort of site where you can share your information with the world.

I'm on Twitter and Facebook, although I will admit I neglect the Facebook account too much. I've seen some authors who have managed to use Twitter to their advantage, and discovered many authors via Twitter that I wouldn't have known about otherwise. It's a great tool!

Carrie Harris said...

That IS brilliant advice!

Unknown said...

I love this! I think you're correct that the key is finding one or two things and do them well. I love doing FB (which I only joined a few months ago) and my blogs.

I know enough about myself to know I'll never, ever Vlog but that's okay -- I think it shows if you hate doing something. My next possible step is Twitter but I'm still not sure on that one yet. Thanks for an informative post. :)

Janet Johnson said...

Perfect advice. "Selling yourself" sounds soulless. "Making connections" sounds fun. Friendly. Great post!

Kerri Cuev said...

Shelli, This was such a great post!
I never looked at it like that!
I just love blogging and having bloggy buddies! Enjoy your day!

Kelly Polark said...

Making connections! Such good advice!

Donna Gambale said...

Love it! And that brilliant advice is pretty feisty --- and brilliant!

Susan R. Mills said...

Great advice and I couldn't agree with you more.

Elana Johnson said...

Excellent advice. I have a question about Twitter. It is by far my least favorite form of social media. I really like lurking. But reading the convo's between other people sort of freak me out. Sometimes I really try to build relationships there, but I find myself talking to people I already know quite well. What else can I use it for?

I already: lurk. Click on links. Read the #yalitchat stuff if I don't make it in myself. Read what agents/editors are saying.

But what else is there? Or is what I'm doing enough? I feel like I'm doing it half-assed, and I hate it. Thoughts?

Catherine Denton said...

Love this post. And your brilliant advice. Especially "If you don't have time, turn off the tv and make some". lol
Winged Writer

Doraine said...

As always, good advice. And I'm trying to connect more and lurk less.

Corey Schwartz said...

I was going to say the same thing as DL. Keep these posts coming. I need to hear it over and over!

Frankie Diane Mallis said...

Yes, this is sooooo true. I wasn't even thinking along these lines when I started blogging, but Im now realizing how lucky it was that I decided to!

V. S said...

Everyone in online now a days. I tend to search for authors through internet, to learn more about them and their books.

Great advice.

Daniel said...

Having stubbornly just reworked my website and blog, these are wise words about marketing and networking!

Irene Latham said...

"If you don't have time, turn off the tv and make some" -- YES!

TerryLynnJohnson said...

Wonderful, awesome advice. And I've never heard of delurker so thanks.

Anonymous said...

Your post today goes right along with mine. Great minds and all that, LOL. :)

lisa and laura said...

100% agree! Marketing has definitely taken me out of my comfort zone (I'm not quite as natural as Lisa), but I'm getting there. It takes a little work, but it is SO worth it.

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

catherine - sorry about your friend - for some reason my comment would not stick on your blog.

Jackee said...

"Pick one or two and do them really really well". Brilliant advice and timely for me too! Thanks!

Sarah Campbell said...

Another good post, Shelli. Pre-published authors can always reach out to published authors as they are learning. I wrote grants and spearheaded a project that brought a bunch of Southern Breeze authors to my kids' school -- during my pre-published years. It is one of the ways I learned about rates, marketing materials, what makes a good school visit, etc.

Lori W. said...

Great advice. I don't do Twitter and rarely get on Facebook, but I've definitely bought books as a result of stumbling upon an author's blog and feeling a connection with their writing.

Ben Campbell Novels said...

No doubt you're experiencing this first-hand. This post reminded me of my surprise college graduation party, when my best frined attended it and shoved his business card under my guests' noses. He worked my party with soc/pro networking until a guest complained about his insensitivity to my accomplishment. My wife tore up his cadrs and bid him farewell.