Monday, March 22, 2010

Free Online Marketing Help from Tony Eldridge

Tony Eldridge joins me today to offer some marketing tips!

(And please visit me at Psychotic State today for an incredibly funny guest post from Heather!)

Free Online Marketing Help For The Technophobic Author

Free Online Marketing Help For The Technophobic Author

Facebook, Twitter, blogs, HTML, websites, social media, social networking, RSS feeds, autoresponders, Web 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0…

Terms like these can make the average author cringe when they hear that they need to “Be on the Internet”, “Get a blog”, “Tweet”, “Do a podcast”. For many authors, just getting a business card is a chore that can cause nerves to fray.

Well, if you fall into this category or know someone who does, take heart. If you commit to baby steps, a month from now, you can have an online presence that you might now think is impossible to have.

Rather than give you a fish, I want to teach you to fish in this post. What do I mean? Instead of giving you a list of resources you need to have on the Internet, I want to give you a few resources that can help you make the decisions yourself about what you need on the net and then will teach you how to do it.

So, let’s get started:

1. Video Instruction- There are a lot of text instructions on the Internet to explain how to do anything from opening a Twitter account to creating an HTML page. But sometimes, the easiest way to learn is to look over someone’s shoulders as they show you. Videos can do this for you. YouTube is one of my first stops when I want to learn how to do something.

2. Free E-books/Reports- Many experts who charge for their services often offer e-books that teach you basic skills as a way to get you to sign up for their newsletters. The info in these books and reports can be a tremendous blessing. Don’t be afraid to sign up. If the expert does not deliver what they promise, unsubscribe and look elsewhere.

3. E-mail/Forums- Sometimes the easiest way to get an answer is to simply ask an expert. If you have a friend who is doing what you want to do, ask them to point you in the right direction for resources you can use. You may find that they will give you specific answers themselves. You can also post topics in forums asking your questions. Forum members are typically the type of people who thrive on helping others, and on a forum you generally get the benefit of receiving multiple insights to your question.

4. “What Is…”- Another one of my favorite tools is the search engine. If I simply don’t know what something is, or if I want to make sure I know, I go to Google and type “what is {insert term}. For example, “what is RSS?” yields results 1-10 all trying to explain to me what RSS is, including a video entitled, RSS in Plain English. You will be surprised at how quickly you’ll find answers to your questions.

5. Templates- When you first start out, templates can help you get started quickly while giving you time to learn new technology. While templates can lock you into limited features, they can allow you to have some features when the alternative without them is having no features. There are free templates available for websites, blogs, and just about anything you need to drop content into. While there is a good argument about recreating the wheel and coming up with a unique layout, in this case until you know “how” to create the wheel, using a template is a viable option.

6. Blogs/Newsletters- There are people who love to write about things to help authors learn about marketing (and other things as well). When you run across a blog that has content you find useful, look for a way to subscribe to it via e-mail. That way, you will never miss a post. When you scan the new post that is e-mailed to you, you have the option of keeping it or deleting it and moving on.

7. Blog Comments- Blog comments can be a gold mine when it comes to learning information. You will be surprised how many people have the same questions you have. Comments do these things for people who take the time to read them:

A. They clarify part of the post

B. They encourage others to share their experiences about topics discussed in the post

C. They expand on the topic of the post

D. They invite others into the conversation which increases the likelihood that the most up-to-date information is included in the conversation

E. They provide for a way to meet others who you can connect with and have as a future resource for later issues

Blog comments can be a great way to learn basic technical marketing information, especially if you move beyond a casual reader to an active participant. Most blogs have a way for you to have comments e-mailed to you when new ones are created. That way, you will be able to keep up on the conversation without having to go back constantly and check for new comments.

No matter how much of a technophobe you are, if you follow some of these avenues, you will find ways to ease you into what can be a confusing world for those who are not familiar with it. I said earlier I was not going to give you a fish, but rather teach you to fish. I hope that I accomplished this. However, I cannot resist in passing a few “fish” your way. Here are some resources for people new to the technical world of marketing books online. I know the authors of these free resources and I heartily commend them to you:

Miller Mosaic’s (Phyllis Zimbler Miller and Yael Miller) free report: The Power of 3 - This report walks you through a quick-start of the three big Internet sites that you should start your online presence with: Twitter, Facebook and your website.

The Savvy Book Marketer’s (Dana Lynn Smith) free ebook, Top Book Marketing Tips and The Savvy Book Marketer monthly ezine.

The Creative Penn’s (Joanna Penn) Author 2.0 Blueprint . How to build your online platform and find free or lowcost Web 2.0 marketing tools.

The Spirit Author’s (Lynn Serafinn) 5 free mp3 podcast downloads that captures the wisdom of 18 book experts as they discuss everything from writing, to marketing to publishing your book.

Author Marketing Experts’ (Penny C. Sansevieri) The Publishing Insiders . This is a series of free on-demand and upcoming classes presented through the Blog Talk Radio format. There is a lot of great material to get you up to speed on the technical aspects of book marketing online, and a whole lot more.

Marketing Tips For Authors (Yours Truly) Free Video Marketing Tips For Authors Newsletter . Look over my shoulders as I walk through some of the more technical aspects of marketing your book on the Internet.

I hope these resources and suggestions can get you started. I know the Internet can be a confusing place for authors who are new to it, but there are a lot of people who are willing to hold your hand as you get started. Just take a few small steps at a time and before you know it, you will be the guru helping that new author taking his or her tentative steps into the Internet.


Tony Eldridge is the author of the action/adventure novel, The Samson Effect , that New York Times best selling author Clive Cussler calls a "first rate thriller brimming with intrigue and adventure." He is also the author of the video e-book, Conducting Effective Twitter Contests. You can sign up for his free Video Marketing Tips For Authors newsletter by visiting his blog, Marketing Tips For Authors


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Great tips, Diane and Tony! I'm tweeting this...

Mystery Writing is Murder

Creative Chronicler said...

Excellent post & advice. Thanks, Diane & Tony!

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I’m not new to the internet, but I still have much to learn about online marketing. I am looking forward to checking out these links. Thanks.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I’m not new to the internet, but I still have much to learn about online marketing. I am looking forward to checking out these links. Thanks.

Morgan Mandel said...

Google is my friend. I use that for just about anything, but I don't usually go to YouTube for answers. I'll have to try that.

Morgan Mandel

B. Miller said...

Wonderful post with lots of great information! Thanks for posting on this extremely relevant topic - I'm bookmarking this for later reference.

The Old Silly said...

Powerful info packed post! Thanks, both of you - got this one bookmarked for reference.

Marvin D Wilson

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Tony is full of great information!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Good stuff here.

Unknown said...

Tony --

Thanks so much for sharing the info on our free report "Twitter, Facebook and Your Website: A Beginning Blueprint for Harnessing the Power of 3 for Your Business" at

Phyllis Zimbler Miller

Jemi Fraser said...

Fabulous post! Tons of information here.

I spent the weekend trying to change the template on my blog. I nearly blew up the laptop and the universe while I was at it. I'll try some of these links and see if I can manage it sometime before the apocalypse :)

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Diane, Tony is one of my absolute faves! In fact, I'm mentioning some of his how-to videos in my coming book on Tweeting for retailers. (-:
Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Author of the new booklet ($6.95!) on tricky edits for writers

AngBreidenbach said...

Excellent information. I'll be signing up for a few of those newsletters, but Tony's video stuff is really of interest to me. I tried to do some videos but they really weren't good enough to use so I'm glad he mentioned this kind of marketing! I might even be able to use it for my new cookbook, Creative Cooking for Colitis, coming out in a few weeks! Hmm. Maybe I can somehow video making one of the recipes and put it on YouTube.


Angela Alston said...

Nice intro for techno-phobes, newbies, wanna-bes, and do-bees. Useful for non-authors, as well.


Dana Lynn Smith said...

Great post Tony, and thanks for recommending my free Book Marketing Tips ebook and my book marketing newsletter.

Here is another great source of information for the technically-challenged: MaAnna Stephenson offers manuals for setting up and managing a blog on WordPress or Blogger, available at

Her step-by-step instructions are so clear that anyone can do it! Also check out the articles on her resource page.


Tony Eldridge said...

Hey all,

Thank you for your wonderful comments. I am sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I had some offline issues strike me last week and I am just now getting back online.

It's a very friendly world, this Internet, if you know where to look. People like Diane and others can really make this a fun place for everyone. And it's amazing how much good, quality information is out there at no cost or low cost to help people tradition into the technical world beyond the printed pages.

Diane, thanks so much for inviting me to be part of your blog. It is a resource itself that deserves to be within reach to anyone looking to brand themselves.