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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Expect the Unexpected

Hello all.

I've just returned from an ice fishing trip to northern Minnesota. Had a great time. Not so many fish caught, though. Oh, well.

Anyway, I'm back. And true to form, I have something to say.

I've been on this self-pub marketing adventure for about nine months now. And I'm starting to see some unexpected turns in my marketing road -- turns that mean new and unanticipated opportunities.

Let me give you some details.

Writers' Groups

I belong to several online writers' groups in which I participate to varying degrees, as time allows. I always knew that networking with other writers was important from both a writing and a marketing standpoint. But I hadn't realized some of the many doors these connections would open.

As a member of The Independent Author Network (IAN), I have experienced unprecedented peer support for my books. Even though this group is very new (just started up in December), it has already had BIG impacts on: 1) The number of hits I get on my website; 2) The number of writers who have emailed or messaged me about my writing; and 3) The number of potential reviewers -- and actual reviews written -- for my novels.

Beyond these benefits, several members of IAN have actually purchased and read my books! This is most certainly above and beyond the call of membership. But when a community forms, one learns more about the various members' writing endeavors, and you can't help but want to know more. (I've bought several books from the IAN crowd myself -- and have enjoyed them very much.)

As a member of The Definitive Serious Writers Group on LinkedIn, I've broadened my connections even further. Terrence Brejla put this group together to form a small, informed, cordial collection of writers to share ideas and information. It's a private group. But if you want "in," please contact me (betcherjl@q.com) and I will pass along your interest to Terrence. In this group, I've not only sold books and obtained reviews, but made some telephone connections and established topnotch editorial contacts as well.

As a member of the Association of Independent Authors, I've gotten great coverage of new book "events." The AiA is happy to publish, email and tweet all sorts of accomplishments, including reviews, awards won, honors received, milestones achieved, etc. Membership is $50 a year; but imho, it's well worth it.

Twitter

In addition to circulating in writers groups, I also spend a good deal of time connecting with other writers on Twitter. My Twitter name is @JohnBetcher.

I have identified most of my Twitter followers -- or they have identified me -- through tweets with a writing or publishing emphasis. Hashtags I use a lot include #amwriting #authors #writer and #IAN. Searching for #amwriting on Twitter is a great way to find fellow authors.

When you connect with folks on Twitter, the discussion often includes more than just writing. In one case, I connected with an Egyptian poet who wanted to read my, at the time, soon-to-be-released book about a trial to determine God's existence, entitled A HIGHER COURT - One Man's Search for the Truth of God's Existence. I sent her a PDF of the nearly final version.

That interchange on Twitter got me into a discussion with my new Egyptian friend, May, about Islam, Christianity and her poetry, among other subjects. When the Egyptian protests began, May's well-being became a matter of my concern. Here was a person I had never met, seen or spoken to (other than on the web), and I felt very connected to her as another human being.

Initially, I asked May if she would like to communicate her message of freedom for Egypt through a regional TV station in my area. She was agreeable. So I contacted several by email with an offer of a telephone connection to an Egyptian protester "on the ground" in Egypt. By the time one station followed up on my email, the Egyptian government had terminated all communication between the U.S. and Egypt. I told them I was sorry, but I could no longer connect them to May.

To my complete surprise, the reporter asked if I would be willing to do an interview on the Egyptian situation. Other than May, I have never (to my knowledge) even MET an Egyptian--at least not a live one less than a couple thousand years old. But I agreed to do the interview, nevertheless. The TV crew came to my home and we spoke for over half an hour on camera. The interview resulted in the news story shown here.

There I was, on a news show with over a million viewers, and I WASN'T even talking about my books! (You can bet I gave the reporter copies though.)

The TV interview has led to new connections for me on FaceBook and Twitter -- some Egyptians, some writers, some publishers, some simply concerned citizens of the world. And the Editor of Onislam.net news service has invited me to write an Op Ed piece for their publication. You can bet I will do so.

Are you starting to see the possibilities here? I was just tweeting with a friend about poetry, when all of a sudden, I was on the evening news. Was it Ferris Bueller who said, "Sometimes life moves pretty fast. If you're not careful, you might miss it"?

My head is still spinning.

Conclusion

The possibilities for the unexpected to occur in our social media lives are greater today than ever before. In fact, they are so great that I believe we should begin to EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED and be ready to embrace it.

Opportunities abound. They "come at you fast." Will you miss yours? Or are you ready?

That's it for today. Thanks for stopping in.

All the best.

John

10 comments:

  1. Hi John, just wanted to let you know that I have IAN and AIA listed in the brand new Writers Resource Directory. Would love for you to stop by and help spread the word about this new tool for writers. Also please feel free to contribute any useful resources.

    Thanks,
    T.K. Richardson
    http://tkrichardson.com
    http://writersresourcedirectory.com

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  2. Thanks TK.

    I will do my best to swing by soon. I'm in catch-up mode right now. LOL.

    Come again soon.

    John

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  3. Those are some amazing connections. Thanks for sharing.

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  4. Hi Tim,

    The broader we cast the nets, the more amazing and unexpected connections we WILL make. We just need to be ready to answer when opportunity knocks.

    Thanks for stopping in.

    John

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  5. John,

    I found you on twitter which led to now your blog. I really like it. Great flow, easy and informative. Question, do you have to be only self published to join these groups?

    Thanks
    Bri

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  6. Bri,

    The groups I mentioned above will all accept authors who are published through small publishers, as well as self-published writers.

    And I am not aware of any official policies in these organizations that prohibit membership by traditionally published authors. Personally, I am very supportive of all authors, regardless of their chosen method of publication. I just happen to know more about selfpub because I am living it.

    Thanks for stopping by. Come back soon.

    John

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  7. Wow, John! Great post. As usual. And what a fascinating story. Thanks for sharing it.

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  8. Ben,

    Thanks for your kind comment. LIFE is a fascinating story. It's up to us authors to tell it. :)

    Thanks for stopping by.

    Cheers!

    John

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  9. Hi John,

    This is a great post. Thank you for the IAN shout out.

    To T.K. Thank you for adding The Independent Author Network to the Writers Resource Directory

    WRP

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  10. William,

    Thanks for your comment. IAN is a great group -- as you well know.

    I was January's featured author and won a publicity package worth more than $500 - at least in my opinion. IAN gives one away every month. Dedicated author/marketers should really check it out.

    Thanks for stopping by.

    John

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