At Writer’s Bloc, I often talk about the marketing of books, because it seems so many authors still don’t understand the importance of it.

That’s why, this week, I am going to touch on a couple points made by Michael Hyatt in his new book, “Platform.” To be fair, I’ve also reviewed it, but in this space, its contents are relevant. I wouldn’t agree with Hyatt about everything, of course, but frankly, his publishing knowledge is a resource that writers should use until there’s nothing left to wring-out.

“Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World,” is a true insider’s account of the value of marketing in an age of intense competition. Hyatt’s new book is jammed with valuable tips, but today, I want to focus on only one (don’t want to give away too much of the book): setting up a Facebook Fan Page.

Like you, I speak to writers all the time who have varying degrees of disgust for social media sites like Facebook. I’ve heard the arguments, pro and con, and for me, I only care that FB is a powerful tool for promoting my agenda (still not sure what that is!).

So let’s start with this: For those of you who are willing to create a Facebook page, let’s move along. For those of you who cannot hide your disdain, go read a book. Preferably Twain.

Let me begin by giving an old-school example on the power of associations. At a conference in D.C. back in the ’90s, a fellow told me that he worked at the White House, and his job was to answer mail. The White House took mail seriously, because supposedly, each person has at least 250 people in his or her circle. That was 20 years ago.

Look at what kind of reach Facebook has:

  • 800 million active users
  • The average user is connected to 80 community pages, groups or events.
  • More than seven million apps and websites are integrated with Facebook.

This is just for starters. Do you see the vast potential for reaching FB users with your book? Hyatt distinguishes between a FB profile page and a fan page. It’s the fan page you should be interested in.

Just while typing this, I’ve been notified of both the publication of Joel Rosenberg’s new book, “Implosion” and a simulcast he had. Rosenberg and his marketing team use all means of promotion, including Facebook. You should, too.

In his “Platform” section on FB pages, Hyatt digresses a moment to tell us he dislikes the term “fan” page, but then he makes this point: “Regardless, my Twitter feed shows up in both places. The interaction on my fan page is more limited, though, which is what I need in order to preserve my sanity. My ‘fans’ can write on my wall and I will reply back as I am able – just like I do with Twitter direct messages and replies.”

The point I’m taking away from this one bit of “Platform” is that while Hyatt (and many of the rest of us) weary of some of Facebook’s interference in our lives, he sees the value for promoting whatever cause he embraces.

One other tip with regard to Facebook (or any other social media site): Don’t blitz people with “buy my book” appeals. As with any other web-based information site, you must provide enough free (and compelling) content to justify someone coming back again. That’s how you acquire fans who will eventually be buyers of your books.

This morning, I noticed an iPhone video courtesy of Justin Lee, an author with Jericho Books. Lee had attended the recent giant book convention, BEA, in New York, and was smartly promoting himself and his book, which he will no doubt link to Twitter and Facebook.

He knows two things about today’s readers: They are on social sites and they love video that enhances their learning experiences.

For a conservative like me, watching center-left (some say “moderates”) and real lefties utilize social media to promote their causes is somewhat painful. Yet I learn one thing from them: Using Facebook and every other means at your disposal can be the difference in selling eight books, or 80,000.

Because it’s a noisy world out there.

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