In an effort to learn how book authors use social media successfully, I developed an ongoing series of interviews with some of today’s best selling authors.
The goal is to share best practices in social media and help other aspiring book authors learn to use this medium to increase book sales and exposure of their work.
My first interview is with Daniel Pink. He is the best selling author of the books, Free Agent Nation and A Whole New Mind. His newest book is The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide That You’ll Ever Need. While there are tons of career guides written, this one is unique because it’s the first business book to be done in the Japanese Comic book form known as manga.
I’m hosting an evening with Dan and his new book on Wednesday July 9th in McLean. You can register and RSVP here. We’re giving away a copy of the book for every registration! Check out the cool embedded video trailer that he is using for the new book below. I can’t recall the last time that a book author decided to use a video trailer for a book.
What was or is the biggest challenge that you found when you started to use blogging as a viable social media marketing tool?
There were a few challenges. One was the pressure to post as often as you must on a blog. I’m a book writer and some time feature magazine writer. I’m used to spending lots of time on my writing. Blogging has a very different metabolism. Another was the realization that there wasn’t perfect overlap between what I wanted to write and what readers want to read. Looking at which posts are popular and which aren’t is very revealing. But you can’t let that be your master. In other words, the Factoids of the Day on danpink.com are staying, damnit!
I see that you are just getting started with using Facebook and Twitter in addition to blogging as social media marketing tools. What prompted you to explore these? Aren’t you busy as it is?
The primary impetus with Facebook and Twitter was that I didn’t quite grok exactly how they worked and why they were important. Once I began playing around, I began to understand both their peculiar rules and potential impact. I’m not a rabid user, by any means, but I’m convinced they’re important.
What’s the best advice that you could give to other book authors who want to explore how blogging can help them and the promotion of their books?
Marketing is not a monologue. It’s a conversation Also, I’m sold on Seth Godin’s two-part formulation for any offering in today’s marketplace:
- Make something worth talking about.
- Make it easy for others to talk about it.
What’s the problem with most blogs by book authors today? Why do they fail to meet their goal of selling more books through their blog?
I’ll offer three reasons.
- They still think marketing is a monologue.
- They’re not fully committed to the medium (which is fine — but if that’s the case, one probably shouldn’t bother).
- Their books might fail part one of the Godin test. (See above.)
I noticed on your Johnny Bunko website that you had a section called Contests. One of the basic principles that I encourage book authors to use when using social media is to incentivize the process in order to help them increase sales and exposure of their work. As of this writing, you haven’t given much away as to what or how your contests will look like. Are you thinking along similar lines whereby you want to increase word of mouth by incentivizing the process? Care to let us in on any plans that you have in store?
We haven’t quite settled on precisely what we’re doing. I think contests are just plain fun — and that people who participate tend to talk about the experience. But I don’t want to do a contest simply for the sake of doing a contest. I want the contests to be connected to the ideas in the book. And since the book is still in its early days, I want to give those ideas a little more time to seep out.
I notice that you insert a new page from the book for people to read as a new blog entry every few days. What is the logic to this? I’m assuming you’re using it as a teaser to get more people to buy? If so, is it working?
The goal is simply to provide more value and entertainment to people who visit the site. And remember: latecomers can read all the pages we’ve released on one fell swoop on the “Read the Book” page. If people who read these pages are entertained enough to plop down 10 bucks for the book, that’s great. But if they’re just seeking to be entertained for free, that’s cool by me. At least they’re reading my stuff.