This is a continuing series of interviews on how various book authors use social media successfully. This week, I interview Michelle Miller. She is the author of the new book, The Soccer Mom Myth. The book is an indepth look into who today’s female consumer really is, how she really thinks, and why she really buys – both online and offline.
Her blog on marketing to women, WonderBranding, has won awards from Marketing Sherpa and Forbes.com, and was featured in Seth Godin’s ebook, “Bull Marketing.” Michele is also the marketing columnist for Inc.com, the web companion to Inc. business magazine.
The goal of this series 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. Let’s begin.
1. What was or is the biggest challenge that you found when you started to use various form of social media such as blogging as a marketing tool?
When I started blogging nearly five years ago, I was lucky to get advice from other bloggers on the biggest challenge, which really was two-fold. One – be prepared to add fresh content on a regular basis. I’ve seen more blogs die on the vine because of initial enthusiasm followed by the reality of what kind of commitment it takes. Two – the time you need to take to read other people’s blogs, join in the conversation, and build relationships. The old adage “No man is an island” couldn’t be more true than with the blogosphere – it really does take a village, and the more you connect with others, the more success you have.
2. What was the most unexpected result or surprise that you got when you started using social media applications?
The biggest surprise for me was the openness of other bloggers and how they welcomed me into the fold. What an amazing community – I now consider many of marketing’s biggest and best minds to be personal friends, first thanks to the blogosphere and now to apps like Facebook and especially Twitter. For me, the day would be empty without some interaction with my Tweets.
3. With the launch of your new book, what social media tools do you intend to be using the most in order to get exposure for it?
The book has been out for a few weeks now, and Holly (my co-author) and I decided to be judicious with our time and energy. Since we both have long-standing blogs of our own, we decided to just keep writing on our existing blogs rather than create a whole new blog for the book. We do have a website for the book that’s gotten a lot of attention, and that directs visitors to our individual blogs. Plus, web visitors can sign up for a weekly newsletter tip that’s delivered by email.
I’m currently writing a new book for Bard Press which should be out in late 2009, and I am in the planning stages of how I’ll use social media apps like Facebook and blogging to really give the big push… this next book will be a biggie for me and I’m preparing myself to invest the time (and money!) it will take to go for a bestseller attempt.
4. Care to tell us how much time you put into social media on weekly basis? Where is the time divided?
Whoo-boy. I’d say between my blog, the Grokdotcom blog, the Inc.com blog and my time on Twitter and Facebook, I put in about 8-10 hours a week. A big chunk of that is offline, of course, doing the writing, because I want the content to be effective for the reader. And oh yes, there’s the time spent reading other blogs… guess you can add about four hours to that weekly total, at least!
5. What does your social media profile look like? Where can we find you online?
- My blog, WonderBranding, can be found at http://www.wonderbranding.com
- I write the marketing blog for Inc.com at http://www.inc.com
- I also write for the Grok blog (home of web wizards Jeff and Bryan Eisenberg) at
- You can find me on Facebook,
- And if you’d like to follow my dog, Penny the WonderDog, she Twitters as well.
6. What’s the best advice that you could give to other book authors who want to explore how social media can help them and the promotion of their books?
The best thing authors can do is spend some quality time (I’m talking HOURS) reading other blogs and see what it takes to build great content and strong readership. No matter if authors have published a book, are writing a book or are just thinking about writing a book, a blog is the best first step. It builds your writing chops as well as the confidence you need to write with conviction. Authors should also consider Twitter, which is not only fun, it connects you with more people that you dreamed possible.
I’ve been blogging at WonderBranding for nearly five years. I followed the same advice I give authors above, and it really helped build my confidence. Because of the blog, I got the writing gig with Inc.com.
My posts for WonderBranding helped developed my ideas for The Soccer Mom Myth; often, when I was stymied over an idea, blogging about it helped clear my neural pathways and opened me to new angles of approach. Finally, it got the attention of Ray Bard from Bard Press, who also saw me give a day-long seminar last fall and then approached me about writing the book I’m currently working on. And if you know about Bard Press (they only publish a couple of titles a year at the most, and market the hell out of them – most of their titles become bestsellers), that’s quite an honor.
In the end, write good content and you won’t have to do a lot of marketing. If you’ve built a strong readership, been honest and authentic in your writing, and you’ve developed a community of other bloggers, promotion takes on a life of its own. It’s a world I love!