Our CEO (Jesse) and CMO (Mario) were invited to join Bad Redhead Media in late 2019 for the weekly #BookMarketingChat on Twitter to talk about a unique take on Book Marketing that Authors can do to help build engagement for their books and characters.
The conversation was titled “Going beyond the book- how to use curation to deepen the relationship with your readers and fans” and focused on two topics we are passionate about — book marketing and affiliate marketing — as well as our recently acquired curation platform — kit.co.
#BookMarketingChat uses Twitter, on Wednesday evenings (6pm PT), and covers a wide range of topics, typically led by a featured guest in their topic of expertise. The moderator will typically ask a handful of questions and then the expert/guest reply with the answers. Of course with each question and answer the community engages and interacts and the conversation can go every which way fairly quickly but Twitter’s tweet threading is a perfect way to avoid getting (too) lost in the multiple side conversations (as long as you follow the one single rule!).
If you are an author and responsible, at least in some part, for your marketing, we really encourage you to check it out. The one rule is to always include the hashtag #BookMarketingChat to ensure your questions, comments, and feedback are kept inside the discussion.
While we didn’t capture the whole conversation below, we’ve taken the key questions and answers and elaborated on them where appropriate but left in the key mechanics of how the #BookMarketing Chat works (hashtags and response labels).
“Going beyond the book- how to use curation to deepen the relationship with your readers and fans.” Can you share more about how an indie author would build a relationship with their fans via “curation?”
Absolutely! When you wear your marketing hat, one goal is to build a community, then to engage with them regularly.
You can do this in many ways (contests, giveaways, writing samples, etc.)
We wanted to build on this list and discuss a unique way to do this for max engagement.
Curation is weeding out the noise and only sharing the good stuff; there are different ways you can do this with your community.
1/ Curating what inspires you and your writing
2/ Giving depth to your characters by sharing the items they would use
3/ Curating the tools you use in your writing
While you can use any platform to share your curations, we’ve recently become huge fans of Kit (@hashtagkit) for its simplicity in doing precisely this (and being free to use + allowing you to earn affiliate commissions).
Full disclosure, we recently took over Kit – https://geniuslink.com/blog/geniuslink-acquires-kit/.
Can you elaborate a bit on how to curate what inspires you?
Sure, a few examples here.
First, we all have our favorite books, and chances are, subconsciously or not, we likely borrow little bits and pieces from these books to add to our stories.
So by sharing your favorite books, you allow your audience to get a more in-depth insight into you (good for building that long term relationship) and give them teasers into what makes you tick.
Second, sharing the things that help you get out of a rut can be immensely helpful for getting your fans and peers out of their ruts. It’s just a beautiful thing to do.
Here is a quick example of precisely that: https://kit.co/carolkay/musician-motivation
Or maybe you feel refreshed and re-inspired when you spend a long weekend in the outdoors. If that’s the case, why not show your fans what your camping set-up is.
The gist is that you are giving your community more insights into who you are so they can build a relationship with you, just like they do with the characters in your book. A nice picture and a few paragraph bio aren’t enough to really build a long term relationship between your community and yourself. Show them who you really are, quirks and all!
What would an author do to give depth to their (fictional) characters?
Often what sets great books apart from good books is being able to get into the shoes of a character in the book. This takes a lot of hard work from the author to weave that character development into the story.
But, another way to complement this is by building out an external profile of the character.
Now you likely don’t want to publish a dossier of the character. But curating your protagonists’ favorite things, or those things that make cameos in the story can help add that extra depth and allow your fans to better understand and relate to them.
E.g. If your lead character is a pilot, then sharing the specific aviator sunglasses, leather jacket, favorite soundtrack (Top Gun of course), and lucky rabbit’s foot keychain they have in their pocket can help further that reader-character relationship.
Our CMO, Mario, is obsessed with Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch character. What’s interesting here is that in every book, Harry pontificates about different Jazz musicians and albums that have a special meaning to him.
Why not create a Kit for the artists and albums your main character loves to listen to, especially if music plays into the story.
Come to think of it, look, there is already a Spotify playlist for just this.
The more you allow your fans to engage with your character, the deeper their bond will be to not only your characters but all your work.
You are also speeding up the “fan fiction” mechanism to make your characters’ household names.
Are curated kits only best for fiction authors?
Not at all. In a way, this works even better for people who’re experts in any given field. Take a look at sites like Usesthis.com.
Your fans would love to know what kind of gear you use to craft your stories. Your computer, your keyboard, your desk, the chair you sit on, the pen, and paper you use for your initial drafts – there is a lot of contexts you can provide.
Also, if you are an expert in a field (let’s say video editing), why not show your readers what your recommended hardware and software for video editing might be.
If your books are about therapy then what tools do you talk about using?
If your books are about cooking, what knives and pans do you mention?
If your books are about painting, what brushes and easels come up?
Beyond deepening the bond with my readers and fans, what are some other advantages of doing this?
We certainly think that you’ll get the biggest bang for the buck by just strengthening the relationship you have with your readers. Hopefully, they’ll buy more books more often from you.
But with curated Kits, you can also earn affiliate revenues on the products you recommend. So if one of your fans wants to buy the same computer or notebooks and pens you use, you can hopefully make a commission on that sale.
Given the evergreen nature of producing these curated kits, we see many authors who use affiliate marketing as an earning opportunity between books. We think there is a real opportunity to build and show thought leadership in whatever niches you play in.
How do I get started? Are there some good examples and or instructional content you can point me to?
You can use any platform to curate these (FB, Pinterest, etc.). But, we think Kit.co is a great social media platform for this task. The first step is to sign up (for free): big green button in the upper right of Kit.co.
Then it’s merely building “kits” and listing out the items that belong there. A few tips to get the most out of your Kits can be found here: https://blog.kit.co/10-tips-to-get-the-most-out-of-kit-1703abcd2f96
Finally, after you’ve got your kit just the way you like it, DM us and we’ll see about getting you featured.
Don’t forget to add “#writing” to your kits! https://kit.co/explore/writing
Where can writers find out more about you and your services
Our professional link management tools are at https://geniuslink.com.
(Y)our favorite new curation tool, can be found at https://kit.co.
Our team can be found here: https://geniuslink.com/about.
Please don’t hesitate to share the Kits you create for yourselves as authors or for the characters in your books. We look forward to learning more and helping share these with the world.
Also, please note that we are hosting another #BookMarketingChat on March 11, 2020, at 6pm PT to talk about how authors should be taking advantage of affiliate programs in their book marketing.