Self-Promotion: The TDF Way

I was just listening to The Dork Forest, episode 517, and it was really inspiring. This week's guest is Melanie Vesey, and Jackie Kashian, the host, bills her as knowing about all the social media platforms and how to use them, but the conversation was about even more than that. Melanie is talking about the entire process of being somebody who does something creative and needs to publicize it: self-promotion, if you will.

Jackie is most interested in social media in her questions - aren't we all - but Melanie's very first point is that you need your own website. I must admit, this is something that has been on my mind - whether it is still useful to have your own site. To hear her confirm that it is necessary to have a website, so early and so emphatically was nice. She explains that your website is where you are, it is the key and the focus of everything else you do, because it is where you send people to in order to sell them stuff.

A Message from the Author

I write sci-fi novels that belong to a series called Dark Galaxy, which starts with Galaxy Dog:

What starts as an ordinary invasion of an alien planet brings to light an ancient archeological site of huge importance. A young man called Knave makes a life-changing discovery there and rises from a lowly position as an infantry trooper to become a player among the powers of the galaxy.

The entire series is available to buy from Amazon.

As well as moving product, you can also use your website to introduce yourself to the audience, and give people a timeline of who you are. These are all solid suggestions, and as I said they confirm my own feelings on the subject. Melanie then gets specific, saying that a website you make yourself, on Squarespace for example, is better than having somebody create one for you. The website should be simple enough for you to alter easily, without having to send an email to your website person. However, although she recommends Squarespace for its simplicity, she does admit that it lacks flexibility, and you should chose the platform that's right for you.

Jackie agrees, and admits that even though The Dork Forest is built with WordPress, she doesn't understand WordPress, to the point that she can't add images to her content, and that hampers what she can do with the site.

It's only after she has emphasized the importance if having a site that Melanie moves on to talking about social media. She starts with Instagram, and notes that the free lunch period there has ended. Now, if you want people to see your important posts, about new product that is about to drop, you have to promote the post. You pay to promote it, and to target it, usually - according to her - in the region of one dollar per day.

To do this you need a business account, so you should be switching your personal Instagram to a business version right away, which is done in the settings. Similarly, she advises having a business page on Facebook, along with your personal one (on Facebook you need both). She says this is because other business pages can only tag your business page, not your personal one, therefore you have to have it.

She says to just treat the two pages as the same thing, post all your posts on both. After talking about Facebook and Instagram, they move on to talk about other platforms, like Snapchat, and Melanie advises being everywhere. Don't concentrate only on Twitter.

With all this talk of self-promotion, Melanie takes a moment to remind people that you should he doing 80% content and 20% promotion, don't swamp. Then came the most interesting part of the discussion, for me.

She said to release your latest content, be it a podcast or whatever, the same day every week. This has a Pavlov’s dog sort of effect where people start to expect this weekly content, and keep coming back to find it. She said not to be one of those places where you just disappear for a week or two, then come back, say sorry, and then expect people still to be interested. This is my biggest failing in trying to self-promote. I just started a serialized sci-fi novel, for example, released a thousand-ish words at a time. I did four or five installments then forgot about it. I have to put that right, and start releasing this content on the same day, round about the same time, every week, just like Melanie Vesey suggests.

To end, just a reminder that the best way to support this blog is to buy one of my books. Simply go over to Amazon, or Kobo and get one.