Bob Baker's Full-Time Author Blog

Beyond MySpace and Facebook: Meet Octopus Marketing

I must be insane. My plate is already full with enough projects, errands and to-do list items to make anyone's head spin. But I've still found time lately to wade into the deeper waters of social networking online.

Sure, I already have a presence on Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, Ning and Digg. But after months of putting it off, I finally set up accounts at StumbleUpon, Del.icio.us and Meebo. You should consider doing the same. Why? I'll explain in a second ...

On top of that, I just set up a Music Marketing Video Showcase page at SquidVids.com -- a sister site to Squidoo, where anyone can create a "lens" on the topic of their choice.

Why all this posting to so many different sites? I do it for the same reason you should: to reach people online in as many ways as possible.

My friend Scott Ginsberg encourages people to think of themselves as an octopus. Why an octopus? Because an octopus has tentacles -- and lots of them.

To make an impact on the Web as an author or publisher, you must stretch your promotional arms in many directions. You have to show up in the places where lots of people are hanging out online. You must be seen and discovered by people who are looking for the kind of stuff you create.

So, if you write books about personal fitness, set up a Fitness Video Showcase at SquidVids.com and link to the best exercise-related videos on YouTube. Set up accounts at StumbleUpon, Digg and Del.icio.us and highlight your favorite personal fitness sites (including your own).

Publish your own fitness blog and plug your posts on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. In other words, spread yourself around so people who are interested in fitness tips have many places to find you.

Better yet, readers will eventually find your name popping up on several web sites and think, "I see this author all over the place. She must be somebody worth listening to."

Now wouldn't that be nice?

Hop into the deeper social networking ocean. The water's fine. Just keep an eye out for the octopuses.

-Bob

P.S. Note that the "squid" of Squidoo and SquidVids is another aquatic animal reference. Coincidence? I think not!

Create a Major Book Buzz Online. Discover how to use the Internet to attract book buyers like a magnet. Learn more ...

Just getting started? Want to jump-start your career as an independent author? Check out Bob's Self-Publishing Success Secrets 101.

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5 Book & Author Web Site Design Tips

There are millions of book and author web pages across the Internet. Most are poorly designed (and that's being kind), many are serviceable at best, and a rare handful are truly attractive and effective. How does your site stack up?

Use these five author web site design tips to make your pages more appealing and profitable.

  1. Focus on the upper left. Eye tracking research reveals that web users look first at the upper left corner of a web page, then work their way down and to the right. So place your name or an eye-catching image in this powerful upper left-hand corner. (Note Scott Turow's home page above.)

  2. Give visitors "eye anchors" lower on the page. People generally scan lower portions of a web page. So don't place lots of long, scrolling text on your pages. Instead, use short paragraphs, bullet points, book cover images, and bold sub headlines to draw attention to the things you want people to read, know about, and click on.

  3. Place navigation links along the top. You probably already know that it's a good idea to place your navigation (links to other sections of your site) in the same place on every page. But where? On the top, right side, left side, or bottom? The verdict is in: Visitors respond best to navigation links placed along the top of the page.

  4. Spell out your "call to action." On each page of your book or author web site, you should have a goal -- something you want a visitor to DO while on that page. It might be read an excerpt, subscribe to your ezine, come to an event, purchase a book, etc. Whatever it is, make that clear and include a "call to action" -- clear instructions to do that thing now.

  5. Watch someone surf your web site. Corporate types call this usability research. You can call it whatever you want, but you'll learn a ton by simply watching different people go to your web site for the first time, even if they are simply friends and family members. Don't interrupt or make suggestions. Just observe. Then ask and answer questions. This exercise will prove invaluable when it comes to making your author web site better.

For more good web page design tips, visit

Scientific Web Design: 23 Actionable Lessons from Eye-Tracking Studies

10 Landing Page Optimization Tactics

9 Common Mistakes in Landing Page Design

Creating Effective Landing Pages

10-Point Checklist for Landing Page Design

-Bob

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Create a Major Book Buzz Online. Discover how to use the Internet to attract book buyers like a magnet. Learn more ...

Just getting started? Want to jump-start your career as an independent author? Check out Bob's Self-Publishing Success Secrets 101.

Beyond Book Trailers: Internet Video Promotion for Authors

There's a lot of buzz about book trailers right now. If you're not quite sure what they are, a book trailer is basically an audio-visual promo for a book that has the look and feel of a movie trailer. You can few some decent ones here and here. The phrase "book trailer" now even has its own entry on Wikipedia.

If you can create a movie trailer-style video for your book, go for it. But don't think for a second that's the only way to use online video to market your book.

Keep in mind that video is just another means to communicate your book's topic and your identity as its author. And there are countless ways to use video to accomplish that.

Here are three video techniques I've used to promote my own books and identity as a music marketing resource:

Interview someone who is accomplishing a goal your readers would like to reach:


Videotape your fans after public speaking events:


Edit together a tip-filled video report from an event:


Book trailers are great. But don't let the hype distract you from other effective ways you can use online video to promote your books.

-Bob

Create a Major Book Buzz Online. Discover how to use the Internet to attract book buyers like a magnet. Learn more ...

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Amazon Kindle: The New iPod for Books?

Amazon KindleI'm sure by now you've heard all about Amazon's new Kindle ebook reader. It's being touted as the new "iPod for books." Personally, I've never used an ebook reader (Sony PRS-505, Mobipocket or any of the others), thinking that I'd prefer the feel of a paper book to a mini onscreen version. But the Amazon Kindle sounds promising.

See for yourself by watching three video reviews of the Kindle at Newsweek, PC Magazine and ZD Net.

Another cool thing for independent publishers: Amazon has a Digital Text Platform site described as "a fast and easy self-publishing tool that lets you upload and format your books for sale in the Kindle Store."

But not everyone is raving about the Amazon Kindle. On the Motley Fool web site, one writer remarked ...

"I still believe that the Kindle -- in its present form -- is going to be a tough sell to the masses at $400 a pop ... For the revolution to happen, Amazon is going to need to attract millions -- or at the very least, hundreds of thousands -- of Kindle buyers at $199, instead of settling for what I would unscientifically peg to be tens of thousands paying $399 at the moment."

What do you think?

-Bob

Create a Major Book Buzz Online. Discover how to use the Internet to attract book buyers like a magnet. Learn more ...

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