Jo Linsdell is for me the epitome of everything today’s writer has to go through in order to achieve success. Well thought of by her peers, she has achieved international success as an author and marketing expert but she is also a busy work-at-home mother, organizer of Promo Day, the world-wide marketing conference day for writers, freelance writer and teacher.
A writer in different genres, fiction and non-fiction, she practices what she teaches and every helpful tip comes from her own hard-won experiences on the way to success.
- When did you first decide to make writing your business and what were the first steps you took to choose what to write and to create your brand?
I made writing a career back in 2006 when I sent off my first article for publication in a newspaper. They published it in the next issue. That was the moment I realised I could be a professional writer.
As lots of people had told me I should write a language guide for tourists coming to Italy, I decided that Italian for Tourists would be my first book. As a hands on learner, I chose to self publish as I wanted to learn as much as possible about the publishing industry and the publishing process. The book became a best seller and soon readers were asking for more. That was when writing became my business.
My author brand has developed a lot since then. I’m a multi-genre author and so it’s been a continuous evolution as I’ve published each book. As I’ve gained experience within the industry, and with each new publication, my author brand has become more solid. In the beginning I was just publishing a book and seeing what happened. Now I have a business plan and a brand.
- How have your book promotion practices changed over the years? Do you get better results from your video lessons than traditional text social media?
I love social media. I started out on MySpace (back when it was the place to be online) and now I’m everywhere. Over the years I’ve developed a better understanding of the sort of content I enjoy producing and the sort of content that goes down best with my audience, and so have adapted my marketing plan accordingly. I’m still tweaking it though. As social media changes all the time it’s an ongoing process.
I get a positive reaction from my video content. A lot of my videos in my Quick Tips series have been picked up and featured on websites and blogs. Associations, and schools have used my webinars to help teach students. They are definitely a good return on investment.
My best R.O.I comes from Twitter though. By my current analytics it makes up 54% of my online influence score. That’s people interacting with the content I share either by sharing it, commenting on it, or mentioning me in their posts. It’s also the most effective as far as sales traffic goes.
- What is your most successful method of publicizing a new book and in what ways would this differ for fact and fiction?
The most effective marketing strategy I’ve used is virtual book tours, both for fiction and non-fiction. The kinds of stops vary depending on the genre of the book I’m promoting, as do the types of sites I’m hosted on.
- You have always been my go-to Twitter expert since the early days of tweeting. In what ways has Twitter changed over the years? How have you had to adapt your use of it? Providing I’m not asking you to give away the secrets from your book J
Twitter was unlike any of the other social networks when it launched in March 2006 and, as the concept was so new, the company didn’t even know where it was going at the start. It has evolved over time and is now one of the most powerful sites on the internet.
Twitter is up to the minute and enables quick reactions. It facilitates word of mouth and viral sharing and makes it easy to track your competitors/hot topics in your niche. A minimal effort, high output marketing channel that’s available to all writers and authors completely free of charge. Simply put, Twitter is one social media site you can’t and shouldn’t ignore.
In the past I used Twitter as a billboard for my own content (mainly because I didn’t understand it fully). Now it’s one of my main social media platforms, and the one that gets the best levels of interaction.
- What promotional techniques would you not recommend to a reasonably new author?
Avoid “buy my book” at all costs. It looks spammy and will turn people away even before they know who you are or what you write about.
- Would you advise paying to promote your book? If so, where would you suggest you might get most results for your money?
I’m a frugal gal and don’t tend to pay to promote my books. If you are going to invest money into you book it’s far better to invest it directly into your book. A quality product is the best kind of promotional material you can have. Get a good, professional cover design. Have it edited, and formatted. Study your craft.
If I was to pay for advertising, I would be much more likely to target a specific high traffic website in my niche and pay for a side bar banner ad than to use a Facebook sponsored post. The best advertising is targeted to a specific audience. You can do a lot of promotion for free now though thanks to social media and get good results… sometimes even better than what you could get with paid advertising. I think a lot depends on how much time you have and the amount of effort you’re willing to put into it.
- When do you start publicizing your new books?
Pretty much from the moment I get the idea. I update my readers about my works in process as I work on them. It’s not sharing the draft with them or giving away too much about the book. In the beginning it’s just letting them know that I’m working on a new project and that they can expect a new release in the future. It all helps set the scene and build excitement as the release date approaches. It’s never too early to start promoting 😉
- How do you find time to do everything? Have you always been a great planner?
I’m a complete control freak. I’m also pretty organised and a good multi-tasker. I’m always making lists to help me keep track of everything. I love what I do and so it doesn’t feel like work. I have to remind myself to step away from my computer. Down time is important too.
I always check over my list for the following day before bed so I know what I need to get done the next day. No time wasted trying to remember what needs to be done. I just focus on my list and tick the tasks off as I go.
I have social media apps on my phone and save time, and keep up a regular posting schedule, by hopping on quick whilst doing things like waiting for the kettle to boil. On Twitter for example, I have lists to filter content from specific users. I just go to a list and find a few good posts to retweet. It only takes a second and I’ve shared relevant content with my readers (on topic which helps build my brand), and at the same time connected with others e.g. the person whose tweet I’m sharing, and everyone else following the hashtag(s) used in the tweet.
When I know I’m going to have a particularly busy week I sometimes schedule some posts in advance to post automatically. This allows me to keep up a constant social media presence even when I can’t be on my computer.
I also program blog posts in advance when possible. This helps make sure I have regular fresh content on my sites and means I don’t have last minute panics about what to post. It also makes it easier for me to stick to my marketing plan and ensure that my content remains focussed e.g. keywords etc for SEO and branding purposes. I’m not just randomly posting. I have a reason for every post I publish, whether it’s on my website or on my social media profile.
Thanks Jo for the generous help and advice, as always. Delighted you are my first guest author on AuthorSupport.
Thanks for hosting me Anne. I love the idea of Author Support and look forward to checking out more interesting content on site in the future.
How to be Twittertastic: Writers and Authors Guide to Social Media Series BOOK 1 in e-Book and now in the new print version is available now from Amazon.
Do please leave questions and comments for Jo by using the comments link you can find under the title of the post. We’d love to hear from you.