Welcome back to Anna’s World. This week, it is my pleasure to introduce you to a friend of mine, Kurt Liebetrau. Kurt is the Marketing Director for John Adam Murph, rising country star. I’ve talked about JAM in the past, both here and on my Facebook page. He’s mentioned in my soon-to-be-released, The Road To His Soul, which is Book #3 in my Fab Five series. May 22 is the big day! John has allowed me to use his name and one of his love ballads, Don’t Forget Me, as the theme song for the lovers in the book, Kendyl and Colt. Perfect song for their storyline, and when you read the book, you’ll understand why.
Today, Kurt’s going to give us some marketing tips geared towards authors. Since meeting Kurt through John, he’s often helped me out and when I asked him if he’d take time out of his busy schedule to do an interview for my blog, he immediately said yes. I found his suggestions to be very helpful and I hope you will too. Let’s see what he has to say!
Anna: Wow, welcome to my blog, Kurt. I finally cornered you long enough to get you to spill some marketing secrets for all my author friends and me. First of all, why don’t you tell my readers a little about yourself, what you do, what type of experience you have?
Kurt: I grew up in a small town in Michigan and have lived on or near the water most of my life. I lived in Daytona Beach for 21 years and moved to Huntsville, Alabama and am living on the TN River. Needless to say, I love anything outdoors; fishing, hunting, four wheeling, scuba diving, surfing, skiing, cliff diving, caving, etc. If I’m outside; I’m happy, if I’m on the water; I’m in love. I started in the direct mail and marketing business in 1984. I have owned several direct marketing firms over the years and have seen quite a shift in marketing efforts over the years but most significantly within the last five years with the rise of social media.
Anna: Lots of marketing background, just what we need around here. As you know, we Indie authors have to do a lot of our own marketing. Our publishers market for us, but in order to be successful, that’s not enough. We have to really dig in and find new and exciting ways to bring the readers to us. I use the social media, along with blogging to spread the word about my books. I, along with other people, tell everyone we know, I pass out bookmarks, I’ve planned some book signings for later this year, but I’m sure there are ideas we haven’t even thought of. Do you, as a marketing expert, have any suggestions for us?
Kurt: Social media is an excellent tool to spread the word. Being in front of your readers as much as possible is very important, especially using different mediums such as Facebook, Twitter, Email, Website, etc. Make sure your website is mobile friendly. Here are ten musts for social media marketing:
1. Respond to every comment — Seems simple enough. Someone’s taken the time to engage with you; they deserve your attention. But when you get busy it’s easy to let those things pile up and go unanswered. If you don’t have time to personally reply to every Facebook comment or tweet, at least like/favorite them.
2. Make sure your website is social-friendly — Does your website make social sharing easy? If not, download one of the plug-ins that enables share buttons (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, G+, etc.). Don’t make someone have to do extra work to share your latest book release or blog post.
3. Customize your social profiles — No one wants to follow THE EGG on Twitter. And a big, bland Facebook header image isn’t doing you any favors either. So really take the time to add compelling profile images, background images, bios, etc. Oh, and don’t forget to put something in the “About” section on your Facebook Author page.
4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help in the real world — Your family, friends, and existing readers are the ones who can help you spread the word early on. Don’t be shy about asking for some sharing, engagement, and retweet love.
5. Don’t confuse your personal profiles with your author profiles — When you’ve got a personal Facebook profile, an author page, multiple Twitter accounts, and everything else — it’s easy to get confused about where you’re posting new content. Make sure to double check that your latest Instagram photo of your new book cover is going to your author page and author Twitter feed. It’s not rocket science to fix a mistake, but it’s a bit of a pain — and kind of embarrassing too.
6. Reward frequent interaction — Offer prizes or have a “reader of the week” title for people who regularly interact with you through social media and share your content.
7. Post consistently — Don’t disappear for months at a time. You don’t necessarily have to tweet or post something on Facebook every day (though it never hurts!) — but avoid long dormant stretches. It conditions your readers to forget you.
8. Remind people to follow you via social media — Use your book covers, bookmarks, your book signing, and your email newsletter to tell folks where they can find you on social media.
9. Have a conversation —
Don’t just promote your latest release non-stop. Engage with other folks you admire. Ask for your fans’ opinions. Show them your goofy side. Tell them a secret.
10. Don’t autopost everything —
There are tools you can use to post a single update to multiple channels — Facebook, Twitter, etc. — with the push of a button. But people who follow you on each platform want to get a unique experience in each place. So while it’s ok to use the autopost method occasionally, try to make an effort to give each of your social media audiences a little something different.
Anna: These days, you’re the marketing director for country artist, John Adam Murph, also known as JAM. Tell us a little about what you do for JAM as far as marketing.
Kurt: It’s been a pleasure to be the marketing director for John Adam Murph. The first thing we did is to completely redo his website: johnadammurph.com then we created a new Facebook band page. Having JAM in front of his fans as much as possible through social media is extremely important to us. With every new release or live show we create an event and hype it up as much as possible. Although keeping fans updated is important, getting new fans is even more important. With likes, sharings and retweets, we are able to accomplish this.
Anna: Since John so graciously allowed me to use his name and his love ballad, Don’t Forget Me, in my upcoming release, The Road To His Soul, I’ve probably driven you crazy posting on your facebook wall and sending you PM’s. I have to say, you’ve been very sweet and patient with me. Now’s your chance to talk about JAM on my turf. Tell us all about this guy, who is not only a great singer, but a wonderful person, as well. I’ll be dedicating a post to him soon on this blog, just before the book releases, but I want you to tell us a little “backstage” info that we won’t hear from him.
Kurt: JAM is a father of four beautiful children, three boys and a beautiful girl. His oldest, Caleb “CAM” who is 15, is becoming quite the phenomenal guitarist, following in his Daddy’s footsteps! JAM has a heart of gold and would be the first person to give you the shirt off his back! Most girls dream of that…he’s quite the “eye candy” as my friend Kim says! He truly is the entire package, from his songwriting, to his vocals, to his heart for the troops. He’s been over to Iraq seven times to play for the troops through the Stars for Stripes foundation. He has a memory that I’ve never seen in anyone and is borderline genius. His music speaks for itself and will stand up to anyone out there!
Anna: Yes, he’s one-in-a-million, that’s for sure. I’ve know JAM for about five years and he’s just a super guy! Thank you so much for taking time out to chat with me today, Kurt. I’m looking forward to having you stop by the release event on Facebook for The Road To His Soul to help me out like you did the day my first book, Crossroad to Love, was released. It’s been a pleasure to sit down and pick your brain about marketing. (Not like I haven’t done it before, but this time I’m sharing your insight with my blog readers.) Now, I’ll let you go so you can finish your day’s work and hit that favorite fishing spot, like I know you want to. You’ve found the perfect balance between work and play, something many authors have yet to find.
Kurt: It’s my pleasure Anna, and best of luck to you and your fellow authors as well as your readers. I hope I have given someone some insight to this world of social media. Fish On!!! JAM On!!!
Thanks for visiting Anna’s World today. Feel free to leave a comment or a question for us. Next week, I’ll be doing a feature on JAM and his music, so you’re not going to want to miss that!!!!! Until then, have a fabulous week!
Kurt having fun!!!