You Asked for It: Matt Valenti

Indies Unlimited reader Matt Valenti asks, “My book is a political satire ideal for promoting during the election. Unfortunately, my marketing is entirely from scratch and I’m brand new at this. I want to strike while the iron’s hot but I’m not sure what marketing activities to focus my energies on the most considering my limited time. Thanks for any advice!”

Well, Matt, great question. We’ve had several posts about marketing over the past few months. However, what you ask about is a very different animal compared to the “traditional” (I laugh as I type that, what is traditional in Indie publishing?) long-term marketing plan discussed previously.

You are in a situation where increased awareness could maximize sales during the next few months. Not to say that you shouldn’t settle down after the election and return to normal marketing procedures, but for now, you want to hit it big while everyone is talking politics WITHOUT becoming a SPAM machine.

First step is to narrow down your social media marketing to the basics—Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Why those three? Twitter has over 500 million active users, Facebook is expected to hit 1,000,000,000 users this year, and Google+ has over 400 million users in just 18 months, a feat that took Facebook seven years to achieve.

Now, what do you do with these platforms?

Back in the spring, I ran a social media marketing campaign for two non-profits involved in a Cultures of Giving fundraising campaign. With only three weeks to establish their social media platforms and get the message out, it did not leave much time to build a following.

Instead of focusing on building followers, I focused on providing content to people interested in the mission of my non-profits. I focused on Twitter, by using hashtags (#) to bring my content to ready and willing participants. Google+ is also important for reasons already discussed here, and well, Facebook is Facebook!

We raised over $116,000 for one non-profit and over $20,000 for another in a short ten-day period. That’s what you call building a platform in a small time-frame. Here’s a reference letter I received from one of the non-profits.

You can take the same principle and apply it to your political satire. You need to get really good at creating snippets of 100 or so characters, saving plenty of room for hashtags like #republican or #democrats and a link to your book. Meanwhile, post some of your excerpts to Facebook and Google + for all to see.

It’s not all about you, though. Spend time checking out what others are talking about in the political world. Retweet and reply to others who are discussing the issues. You can easily do that by using the “# Discover” option at the top of the page on Twitter. This will give you a list of tweets that are using a particular hashtag. Say you want to see what others are saying about the Democratic National Convention, then type in #DNC in the #Discover section and you’ll see the conversations.

From there you can engage in conversation and quickly build a following. The key is to try out different hashtags. Don’t stick with the basic ones; think of some niche topics that might fit your political satire. Use the Discover section to converse with fans of #Colbert or #Dailyshow and I’m sure you’ll start to find followers that will be very interested in your work.

In summary, get Twitter, Facebook and Google+ ramped up. Focus on Twitter for short-term idea specific conversation. Get your categories in place on Amazon; you can see how to do that here from an earlier post. Most of all don’t SPAM. Have fun engaging with others, if your Twitter profile is set up properly (courtesy of our own KS Brooks) with links to your book and a summary of your political satire edge, you’ll have books flying off the shelf.

Author: Jim Devitt

Jim Devitt’s debut YA novel, The Card, hit #1 in three separate categories on the Kindle Bestseller list in early January and was a finalist in the Guys Can Read Indie Author Contest this past summer. Devitt currently lives in Miami, FL with his wife Melissa and their children. Learn more about Jim at his blog and his Amazon author page.

10 thoughts on “You Asked for It: Matt Valenti”

  1. So many indie writers are out their spamming now, it’s a bit pathetic. They’re also spamming for each other. More pathetic. I totally believe we need to support each other, but, Really? I do like your points here though Jim. I’m still messing around with Twitter (new FaceBook linkage is pretty amazing). Content for any communication will totally be king forever. It’s a long haul…

    1. I agree David, the amount of spam and spamming for others is ridiculous. However, there’s nothing wrong with helping others get the word out if you believe in what they do and its a good product.

      And you’re right, it is a long haul.

  2. Thanks Jim, I’ve never known exactly /how/ to use the hashtags so this post is twice as useful for me. Maybe now I can find out why Twitter is so popular!

  3. Wow, thanks Jim! I really appreciate the targeted advice.

    It’s advice I really needed to hear, too, since my Twitter activity has been next to zero — and I mean that literally: I’ve sent exactly one tweet.

    Likewise, my Google+ activity should probably be called Google-, since I set up my account a year ago and never looked at it since. And I’ve barely shown my face on Facebook.

    Why? Ambivalence. I’m an outspoken type, yet I’m fairly private and not always very gregarious. Social media still makes me feel a little bit like I’m back in high school, and once again I’m sitting nowhere near the cool kids in the cafeteria.

    Nevertheless, I wrote a book, and now the thing keeps whining about how bored it gets without anyone reading it. (The 50+ times that I read it during the editing process weren’t enough – apparently it wants lots of people to read it, and perfect strangers, too.)

    So I’ve been getting over my ambivalence and venturing into the cafeteria, and I’m not so worried about whether I’m sitting with the cool kids. I’m just looking for people who might laugh at my story at least as much as they laugh at me.

    Your suggestions give me a great direction to go in, particularly the idea of using Twitter to find fans of the Daily Show or Colbert Report, who are an ideal audience for my story. I’m going to set aside an afternoon next week to spend playing around on Twitter (somehow that sounds obscene, but everyone’s doing it, I suppose). I’ll report back here to let anyone who might be interested know exactly how much of a fool I make of myself in the process.

    And don’t worry, everyone, I won’t go to the dark side and become a SPAM machine. There’s really very little danger of that happening, trust me.

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