OLD POST ALERT! This is an older post and although you might find some useful tips, any technical or publishing information is likely to be out of date. Please click on Start Here on the menu bar above to find links to my most useful articles, videos and podcast. Thanks and happy writing! – Joanna Penn
Twitter has changed my life over the last few years and one of the most rewarding parts of social networking is connecting with like-minded people. In this interview, Dan Blank and I share our huge enthusiasm and positivity for all things social media, publishing and writing related. I was also interviewed on Dan's site a few months ago about writing and publishing.
In the intro, I mention the launch of my new Social Networking for authors and writers multimedia mini-course and also an upcoming webinar series “How to write a novel” with author 0f 11 books, Roz Morris from NailYourNovel.com. This starts in November so should help if you want to try NaNoWriMo this year. I also talk about being 3/4 through first draft of Prophecy and how much I want to get it out of the way but the plot has become quite intense and I am untangling things right now.
Dan Blank is the founder of We Grow Media, an online media consulting & training company. He works with writers, authors, editors & journalists to build their online media & marketing skills and engage their communities in fun and meaningful ways. Video interview at the bottom of the post.
In this interview, we discuss:
- The impact of the new Kindle on the publishing market. Amazon vs Apple on the Walmart mass approach vs quality high-end products. What is the ripple effect going to be? The day after Christmas will be huge for downloads. It may be a tipping point because Amazon can drive the whole market.
- How are publishers dealing with social media and self-publishing? Things are evolving in the publishing industry. There are challenges about how to react and the experiments are very hard when you're that big. Every publisher is talkng about ebooks and digital, there are staff focused on this. The question is – will the whole industry shift or will it remain a smaller chunk? How will resources be assigned and are they moving quickly enough, compared to Amazon who is moving aggressively to make deals with authors etc. They have no ‘pride' to uphold in terms of old culture.
- If people haven't started blogging/tweeting yet, is it too late? Of course not. The underlying value is very basic. Do you want to be talking to your audience? Do you want to evolve ways to reach people? Do you want to learn how to sell books? The tools may be different but the values are the same. We can leverage these platforms in the same ways. However you are connecting is valuable. You need a sense of commitment, passion and willingness to make a sacrifice to build a body of work and connect with people. A blog is a body of work. You're building a writing career. It defines your legacy over time. Only 1% of people will take it seriously. The rest want it but aren't willing to sacrifice. There is an opportunity but you do need to choose what you give up.
- If you're worried about social media, safety or privacy, you need to draw the line and experiment. Find small ways to experiment e.g. share a small piece of information about yourself. We all have issues with this type of thing but you can't expect people to get to know you unless you actually put something personal out there. Go a little bit past your comfort zone but don't share very personal things. See where your lines are.
- We discuss using multi-media and whether authors should use it. It's a human connection. Seeing someone's face is very powerful. There's an instant connection and audio is also important. This person's voice is in your head. In terms of doing video and audio, you will be doing something others won't be. Facebook has changed the way photos are used, people are more comfortable with it. Very few people are comfortable with video and audio. You have to get used to it, but it's worth it. These are skills you can use for other things as well. Expand your comfort zone.
- On working up to success over years. We mention John Green, YA novelist and video blogger who has incredible success selling direct to his market. Dan also interviewed Jackson Pierce who does a similar video style.
- On Google+ , yet another social network – do we all need to use it? Google+ seems to be a very engaged community full of early adopters who are sharing at a much more personal level. It's almost still a private party. It's a mix of facebook and twitter, but it is difficult to decide how to use these platforms. You need to decide what you want to do with it. If you want to connect with people, who can you connect with there? For Google+ to be kept running, Google have to decide to keep it going. But then this may be true of all the networks. Always think about how you're differentiating yourself, so you could get into it while it's still forming and be one of the bigger players later.
- Balancing time between writing and marketing. Dan doesn't believe in balance. It's not possible to have everything compartmentalized and have time for everything. It's more important to be obsessed and therefore it becomes a part of your life. If you are interested and passionate, it will always be a part of your conversation and attitude. Opportunity finds people like this. Be passionate and strategy just comes from that. Social media just becomes a part of your life.
- Author-entrepreneur. To be successful, you have to have an entrepreneurial spirit. You need to think about the whole process, making critical decisions about your career. It's not just about writing. You're going to build relationships, you're going to investigate the data and the options. This is a business.
- On talking about income and sales figures in the publishing industry. We have Joe Konrath and others talking about their sales figures and income. This doesn't happen in most industries because money is fraught with so many issues. Success is partly defined by money, it is critical. Writers need to understand that the money has to be there as a support. It is a great help to hear about what good numbers are as a new novelist. It also gets rid of the BS around success in publishing. It's good to know where the benchmarks are. The impact of the international market, the Kindle going into India and the coming opportunities for authors who consider the global supply chain.
- Dan works with writers to help them build their author platform and structure their professional career for the long-term. A lot is mapping out your goals and your brand, how to leverage social media etc.