Making the Most of MySpace

Many writers hate marketing, but Jordan Dane, the bestselling and award-winning author of the No One books (No One Heard Her Scream, No One Left to Tell, and No One Lives Forever) finds it almost as much fun as writing. Here she explains how to get the most from MySpace:

I must admit, I was skeptical about blogging in general. It seemed like the most successful people blogged with such regularity and innovation that I only saw it as a potential time drain without any impact on sales. Then, I found the MySpace version of blogging and began to tinker. Here’s what I discovered:

MySpace is FREE and can be used as a business tool for authors. The site claims 170+ million registered users. And most of these users list their book preferences with great enthusiasm. The MySpace community is an electronically linked group of customer leads. It’s not just for twenty-somethings trying to hook up or Dateline’s mechanism to identify future pedophile guests. And did I mention MySpace was FREE?

My brilliant webdesigner created my blog on MySpace for a minimal fee. Building a brand, I believed it was important to carry over a consistent design. I also linked my website to my blog to run contests easily, show excerpts, and allow my blog buddies to navigate between my blog and website with ease. Once I had a MySpace blog, I began to explore.

How does MySpace work? MySpace was initially created for the music community, to expose a young audience to new bands/musicians, but authors can benefit in the same way. Most MySpacers are well-read and clearly state their reading preferences on their interesting blogs. Anyone who reads books in the genre you write can be considered a solid customer lead.

With a simple MySpace search, you can hunt for anyone who appreciates similar authors to your work, comparable genre, or other criteria to establish common ground with your potential readership (ie special interests like Boston Terriers, cities, hobbies, states, colleges, etc). Pull from a vast list of potential ‘friends’. If someone looks like buddy material, REQUEST your new pal and wait for a response.

To set yourself apart from others, post courteous comments on their blog once they add you. Or post a bulletin alerting your friends of a new blog article. (To learn how to code in MySpace, try the template found at www.bulletintalk.com. I use this site to format my broadcast bulletins.) Interesting blog articles keep them coming back. You can generate buzz on your work and develop a devoted group of potential readers because these new friends are genuinely fun to associate with. I’ve found subtlety works best. No hard sell necessary.

With self-control and good judgement, you periodically post a bulletin to your new friends, but these blanket notices get swallowed up in the sheer volume of posts that can be generated in a day. A better way to cultivate the friends you’ve got on MySpace is to give them a reason to sign up on your website mailing list. For example, run a fun contest to steer them there and make it worth their time. Build your reader list using the contacts you make on MySpace. And with steady communication on MySpace and your website newsletters, you’ll develop an online interactive community plus develop an interesting new group of friends. Playing a proactive role in the development of your readership is key. Yes, it takes time, but you may find it’s worth the effort. If you genuinely enjoy people, you will find MySpace addictive and fun. Be disciplined with the time you spend online and you may find a real gem for marketing your work and making new friends.

© Jordan Dane, 2007

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