The Week # Friday 14th August

You can dream and wish for the viral success but in reality it’s not something you can rely on. Trust me, I hope every morning and every night that my books will explode in popularity, don’t we all, but the reality is you probably won’t get even close to that. However, you could try to implement the ‘pillar’ system. This is identifying bloggers, youtubers, tweeters, news outlets that have ‘reach’. A good way of selecting your pillars is to look at their audience. If they have an audience of millions they’re not going to respond to you, if they have an audience of hundreds of thousands then they might, if they’ve got an audience of tens of thousands then there is a much better chance of making some head way with them. So the game is here, you gain 7-8 small level pillars, people who may only generate to 150,000 or the like all together but if they are all talking about you and your book then you may get a few thousand sales using the 1% rule. It has a better chance of success than going after big pillars such as JK or the like. It isn’t her fault that you are invisible to her, just look at the numbers, send her a tweet “hey JK help me out, a new writer just like you blah blah blah blah” and  that one tweet to her and her 45 million followers  is just lost in the sea of tweets to her.  Of course she might spot you, like you, read your book, recommend it and you sell a million but the likelihood of her taking your tweet and doing anything with it, out of the thousands and thousands of like minded tweets, is akin to the chances of me moving to Mars. It is not even worth thinking about, I would say it’s impossible so don’t drive yourself nuts thinking about it – if you have been then you need to get over that fast. That was one of the biggest things I struggled with when I launched my first book, thinking if I could just get it notice then these huge pillars would roll it for me. I remember thinking about Richard Branson, a successful guy who is very dyslexic and he would relate to me, enjoy my work – but not a chance – you can’t connect with them, the reality is they don’t see you and why would they – they employ folk to do their social media for them as it is a full-time job!

Even though we can’t get the big pillars if you target active groups then people are reading it which is half the battle and hopefully you start getting good reviews – so that is all good but this is where it gets tougher as you have to sustain it your presence, by nurturing your area of the web and you can only do this by making sure you have stuff constantly going out. If you are a regular follower of my blog (and thanks if you are) then you know that I try to get ‘The Week’ out weekly. That’s not really enough and it is better to also get videos, photos, and other content out as much as possible. I have done some YouTube videos but it is much more time consuming and it is ok when my editor isn’t away on holiday but he seems to be all the time!  So if time, equipment and editing skills are lacking then do what I do and write a series that looks at issues in sections, to make up a series. I have done this with the recent elections, party manifestoes, tech changes and the how to write a book and get that book out there.   This works for me as I enjoy researching topics and putting it together.

The other major consideration is your visuals – they are vitally important, so let’s move onto visuals – you have got to have a killer cover to grab attention. I think my most recent one does show what I mean. I’m really happy with it and it has had some good responses.  The visual will make people click on it, if you’re doing Facebook ads, so they are worth giving some considerable time to. You want something which will make people stop to look at, possibly make them think ‘what the hell is that?’  and actually Google it then maybe want to buy it. So select something bold, pick something that makes you look at it for some time, don’t just slap a image on that you think is OK. OK isn’t good enough, spend time on it. There is so much info on how a cover sells the book so do it right. With this in mind work do work on your images all year round, with your blog or YouTube – get good solid images which makes people look at it. I am quite pleased with my bank of images used to date and from my numbers it seems to draw folk in so the time spent on this is worth it. A little nose around my website, facebook page and YouTube channel will show what I have used.

I recommend that you use a website called canva. It is really outstanding at helping all of us with our imagery. You can design and create your own visual material; you can create your cover for your book, your Twitter banner, as I have, add to your facebook page, from adverts to placeholders to website and more. I highly recommend them and most of their resources are free. If you use your own images they just re-size them for you so deffo go check them out.  I will put the links for it with one to lulu in on my site

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