Strategy for #Zombie Authors

by Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna

This may or may not be part of a series of blog posts about online personal branding for authors (not just Zombie authors) that desire to be known. If it is, this is the second blog post in the series. The first is here:

Online Strategy

Social media marketing is a long term strategy unless you have serious ad and marketing spend at the ready. Even if you have a million dollar war chest for online advertising and marketing, the results are still not guaranteed. I’d like to tell you all about a 500 Million dollar TV campaign that produced no trackable and no visible results but then I’d be violating a confidentiality agreement.

A reasonably successful social media marketing strategy requires you to build enthusiastic and supportive relationships with other human beings on social media – especially with those persons who are themselves obviously exercising a smart social media marketing strategy. Don’t spend time, attention and interest on the curious and fickle. Most likely, they won’t be around in six months in continuation of the mutual support and benefit that is critical to your getting known.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with being helpful and kind. In fact, I encourage reasonable exercises of those things just for the sake of character and growing you.

Long term and long tail

According to best-selling author Mark Schaefer, getting known takes anywhere from two to five years. I would round that up to three to ten years. If you are discouraged by Mark’s or my assessment, stop wasting your time on the sand castles. You could use all those hours of curious and half-hearted experiments for better purposes: loving on family and friends, reading better books, and writing better books, for example.

Practical tricks and tips

This section is an interruption of the business plan that I want to explain to you. But I imagine it is necessary because who doesn’t want a glimpse at the how to’s of effective strategy?!

Most Author-related FB posts and Twitter Tweets are poorly designed direct marketing prompts for a sale that is unlikely to happen; they too often present like the untrustworthy slogans and barks of a used car salesman in a cheap suit. I make that mistake, myself, when I’m pressed for time, a deadline, coming short on milestones or didn’t plan the week/month strategy.

If I make the same mistake twice in the same week and on the same channel – it actually means I’m losing the hard won credibility that I have worked so hard to build. Don’t do this.

Here’s what a bad selling post looks like. Please don’t ask, expect or encourage people to share a post that looks like this. It’s just really bad mojo for everyone.

Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 9.40.56 PM.png

Here’s what a better designed selling post looks like. But still, I can’t use/recycle this particular post more than twice a month without my feed looking spammy.

Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 9.09.58 PM.png

Here’s another. Do notice, however, that even these better ads don’t get much traction in terms of likes, shares and comments.
Better ad.png
Do try to relate to actual persons OR allow them to relate to you through your subject matter and comments. This is the effective course of action to take. One powerful way to relate to an author is by posting encouraging Amazon and Good Reads reviews of their books AND posting those reviews to your social media.

Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 9.33.01 PM.pngHere’s another.

Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 9.37.07 PM.png

Here’s an example of a poorly designed, generic post that authors can “relate” with. Still, it was shared 118 times without me having to personally ask people to share it. Memes can do some serious lifting but don’t go overboard.

Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 8.52.02 PM.png

Start thoughtful (or exciting) conversations.

Screen Shot 2017-08-01 at 2.22.48 PM.png


Time, design and technicalities

Doing things in an ok manner takes time (attention and work), design (money) and some awareness of the technical challenges and work arounds. A smart group will figure out ways to solve most of these challenges. For example, if a group can keep talented graphic designers and editors in paying work, they can negotiate lower rates. This is especially an important to do for getting graphics support and the development of generic graphics that everyone can use.

On the other hand, if everybody does their own thing in their own way, ain’t nobody got time for that. Literally. Ain’t nobody got time to market and sell books all by their uninformed and ornery lonesome.

Exercise Two

Do you want more blog posts about an online strategy for getting known as an author?

Here’s what I need to see to be convinced that this unpaid effort of mine is meaningful to you.

1. I need to see 30 or more comments on this blog post. Comment with a few words of thanks, ask a question, or give me intelligent heck with sufficient evidence of my error.

2. I need to see 30 additional shares of my pinned tweet for my YouTube reading of the Desiderata (link below) because 7000+ shares is not enough. [grin]

30 July 2017
Fairfax, Virginia

Have you heard about my novella, Francesco Augustine Bernadone?

“This fast and furious LitRPG, sci-fi book packs a punch like Saitama, the One-Punch Man, while giving us haunting glimpses of the near future and our existential predicament. With subtle hints of Dostoyevsky, Tolkien and The Walking Dead, this story is more delicious than the world’s greatest chimichanga. Sorry, Deadpool.”

– Yogizilla


49 Responses to Strategy for #Zombie Authors

  1. Stan Faryna says:

    No one has anything to say – this blog post is so perfectly helpful and intelligent? 😛

    • Jason Slack says:

      Thank you for the article. I know what it takes to put something like this together. The hard work paid off!

    • Dennis Norton says:

      I think if you add a little bit of the book to the post I bet that does help. Of course, you cannot post the exact same words more than once, but adding an excerpt is a good thing.

      • Stan Faryna says:

        Yes! The potential new reader has no idea if they will like your book or not. Even if your book is 99 cents, they don’t have time to start reading something they might not enjoy. Let them taste something and see if it is good.

  2. An excellent article. Thank you for putting into words what so few have – but I suppose that’s what being an author is all about! Sharing!

  3. grivante says:

    Thanks Stan. I really like how you post examples of the various possibilities. Keep it coming!

  4. mesmithcity says:

    It’s given me some examples. I like examples. It makes it easier for me to create my own version…

    • Stan Faryna says:

      I know you will run with this, Morgan! And that makes my heart glad.

      • Ahmad McWilliams says:

        I am hoping to do the same! You have great info here and if used correctly one should see an increase in social media interaction, right? Do YOU think it has anything to do with timing of your posts or anything like that?

    • Jason Slack says:

      Examples are one of the best ways to show another person that things can work for them if they follow those general guidelines. Seeing examples can really get your creative juices flowing and that is a great thing!

      Stan did a great job here.

      • Ahmad McWilliams says:

        Jason, do you have any examples to share with us as well? I like to see different results coming from different attempts.

    • Valerie says:

      Me, too. I need to see it to understand.

  5. Ahmad McWilliams says:

    I think you do a great job of explaining the benefits of social media for authors. You are right that many of the “promotional” tweets or posts just seem to include too much selling! I think you provide some great examples here as well.

  6. Jason Slack says:

    Some of your “poor” examples still work. Even though they are shared and you think the posts are bad, they are still getting EYE TIME and that is the goal with social media right? I know you prefer clicks to links and things like that, but shares just increase that chance so I do not see anything wrong with it.

    • Stan Faryna says:

      If conversions are the diamond standard, shares are the gold standard and comments, the silver. Likes are mostly icing on the cake, but you usually need a few dozen likes to get the enthusiasm going. The problematic of internet eye time is that a unique viewer may need to see a thing 100 times or more before they begin to accept it as something.

    • Valerie says:

      They may work, but only for the moment. The well done ones add reach and conversation.

  7. Valerie says:

    Thank you for explaining this in such an easy to undertand way. It is hard for authors to understand why the book they worked so hard on isn’t enough, but sadly it isn’t. You have to share more than just your book. You have to share you with the world, too. Thanks stan!

  8. Jeff Kellery says:

    Thank you for this helpful blog post. Can you recommend graphic designers that can help me pimp my posts?

  9. Tom Jefferson says:

    I saw how many followers you have on Facebook and Twitter. Wow! How did you build such a huge audience?

    • Stan Faryna says:

      I’ve been an active netizen since the 1990s. That helps. I used to be a hot shot online strategist and my opinion about the online development, marketing and advertising industry was once valued. That used to help. [laughing]

      Make relationships with people – don’t just add them to the list/database like so many micro trophies. Be accessible and answer people when they reach out with a PM or email. Be valuable, kind and patient.

  10. Brian Wilson says:

    No one comments on my blog posts and social media posts. It makes me sad.

  11. Okay. From my heart. I have many many FB friends. At least I think they are many. Of course, FB doesn’t let all your friends see what you are doing, and so you would have to tag them all in your posts. So I cannot keep up with all my friends, although I do try and wish everyone a happy birthday when I get the prompt! That’s not my question though. I have lots of close friends I can talk to and talk to a lot. They respond to my posts, converse back and forth from my newsletter, my blog, Twitter, FB. However, I don’t think they read. Books I mean. I’m having a difficult time finding readers. I have lots of author friends who wish me well…

    • Stan Faryna says:

      Yes, reading is in great decline. From what I gather, less than 5% of my FB audience read more than six books per year – unrelated to their professional interests and aspirations. But tv, almost everyone watches TV – even when it sucks. Authors may be the best generic social media audience for an author.

  12. This was all really good information. As an indie, there is so much to learn, but this was super easy to look over and digest.

    • Stan Faryna says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Shelly. I know that the time you spared for this read and comment was very precious!

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