Welcome to another edition of Publishing and Publicity for Smart People, the column. Don’t miss the podcast this week. Michaelbrent Collings will be sharing tips on getting books converted into scripts and selling them. Matter of fact don’t miss any of our episodes, they are filled with fantastic marketing info. Visit our website to listen to any program.
Leon: Tell us a little about you, hobbies and family.
Collings: I’m a guy who wears a lot of hats. Author, musician, martial artist, lawyer. But of all of them, my most important jobs are those of a husband and father.
Leon: How did you begin your writing journey? (Or business if it applies)
Collings: I began at age four, when I wrote my first story… in red Crayola; It was a story about a parrot. Other than that, it didn’t have much going for it <grin>. My father, a professor of creative writing at a major university, took a look at the story and helped me improve it, to my delight. I was hooked, and have been writing since then.
Leon: What audience (or clients) do you want to reach?
Collings: The perfect audience, for me, is one that is willing to shell out a few bucks for my books. Ha! Seriously, I’m in this to tell a good story. So I appreciate people who are looking for that. People who want to escape from “normal” life for a while, be it an escape into a world of time-traveling serial killers (as in my book RUN), or an escape into a world of wizards and witches who are warring over the fate of humanity (as in my book Billy: Messenger of Powers).
Also, the perfect audience is one that is willing to shell out a few bucks for my books.
Leon: What are the most effective ways you have promoted your book or business?
Collings: The most effective ways to promote a book (or any other product for that matter), are the following:
1) Be willing to talk about it. Any chance you get. A lot of people have great stuff they’ve written. But they’re too shy to ask anyone to read it. Guess how successful at selling their work they’re going to be? If you have something good, you should believe in it enough to think that asking someone else to read it isn’t a burden, it’s a gift.
2) Have a good product. Like it or not, most books (and hamburgers, and cars, and everything else) sells from word of mouth. Which means that in order to bring in readers, your work has to be good enough that not only do they want to plunk down five or ten or twenty bucks to get it, they want to convince all their friends to do the same!
Leon: What ways have you used social media?
Collings: Well, I’m on Twitter, and have a Facebook fan page and my own website. Those are my main social media focuses, and they seem to be working out fairly well for me!
Leon: What is the importance of tools like Twitter, Facebook, SEO, Web Optimization, Blogging, Podcasting, etc. to author promotions?
Collings: The reality is that more and more people today make their purchases through the internet. That includes books. So a wily author is going to know how to drive eyeballs to his/her website using SEO and web optimization tools, as well as how to keep them returning through blogging, podcasting, and basically just keeping their presence felt on the ‘net. Final word: being a bit of a tech geek is going to do nothing but help your career.
Leon: What are 5 things you feel every author should know about book marketing?
Collings: 1) It’s hard.
2) It requires WORK.
3) It requires PATIENCE.
4) It requires CONSISTENCY.
5) It CAN be fun.
Leon: What are 5 things you want the audience to know about the importance of your business?
Collings: How about just one thing: books are critical. They are the medium through which we express our hopes and dreams, our fears and our plans for conquering them. A person poor in books is one poor in spirit. And that’s just sad.
Leon: Please give our authors a closing word of encouragement.
Collings: You can do it! Writers write. That is the single defining characteristic of our profession. Life is nothing but a series of interconnected stories. Which means that if you’re alive, you’re qualified to TELL your stories. You have to practice, practice practice, but I sincerely believe that everyone has it in them to be a writer… and succeed.
Media Specialist and Author Promotions