Friday, March 6, 2009

Social Networking and Book Marketing

As authors we're all told to join social networking groups as a means to market our books. But if you're like me you find that this can be an overwhelming task. There are so many social networks out there that to effectively use them all of them can become a full time job.

The solution is to become more selective and find the networks where you're readers are. And one of the fastest social networking sites on the Internet is the ning social network. But unlike MySpace or FaceBook, ning users can set up their own custom social networks catering to their own special interests. The networks are free for members to join, with a low monthly fee for the network owner. Some of the ning features include the ability for members to upload photos, videos and audio files. Each member has their own individual page, and members can join groups within the network as well as post blogs and discussion forums on the site. The ning network even has a live chat feature which allows members to talk to one another in real time.

There are a number of ning networks for authors. Some are specifically set up for authors to network with other authors and share tips and ideas for marketing and promoting books. These networks can be very beneficial. Other ning networks may state that they are a place for authors and book lovers to meet, however, in my own personal experience, I’ve found the vast majority of the members of these particular networks to be authors looking for readers. So how does an author use the ning network to find readers?

I have found the best way to use a ning network is to think outside the box and join those networks that are about my own hobbies and interests. For instance, I do old west historical reenacting, and I write kids books about the history of the old west. I was recently invited to join a ning network created by True West Magazine. I find I’m spending much more time on this network because that’s where I’m finding people who share my passion and who would have the most interest in my books. And while some of the members are other authors, most are from other walks of life. Bottom line; I’m starting to get comments from members who want to buy my books.

Do you write cookbooks? Perhaps you may want to join a ning group for cooks. Do you write books about dating or interpersonal relationships? Perhaps you may want to find a ning group for singles, or newly singles. There is even a ning network for singles who love cooking. Can’t find a ning network for the things you write about? Then you may want to consider starting up your own network. The possibilities are endless.

For more information about ning, or to search for a ning network, please visit the ning website at www.ning.com.

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