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Monday, September 10, 2012

What Do Michelle Obama & Book Publishing Have in Common?

Regardless of Your Political Persuasion the Obama's Have Served as Role Models for All Wake Up Dreamers
Thought for the day: At the #DNC Michelle Obama gave an inspiring speech. She may have stolen the show for the entire election campaign. While listening to her speak, I started thinking that she should run for president. She is a shining example of how hard work & education can lead to accomplishing your dreams. The primary goal of her speech was to support her husband & his dreams. However, her genuine desire to help all people reach their dreams has been evident in her tireless work with veterans & fighting obesity in children over the last four years. As I work on my ambitious goals to help others through my book, I have been humbled by the amount of work needed to accomplish my task. Michelle Obama's dedication to lending a hand to those following in her footsteps aspiring to reach their American dreams inspired me. I decided to write about the at times overwhelming task of book promotion & share with other writers some of what I have learned over the course of the last couple of years.

Every writer is a dreamer. Just to write a book requires imagination, courage, perseverance & a leap of faith. Even in this age of self-publishing, with the help of the internet & social media, getting a book out to the world takes determination & hard work. When I began this journey, I knew it would not be easy. In addition to working on completing the book, I began developing a website, Facebook fan page, Twitter following,  LinkedIn account & this blog. I have had the help of three Dream Teams of interns. Along the way I have met, either virtually or in person, over twelve thousand people. They include, psychologists, authors, photographers, film makers, journalists, bloggers, housewives, veterans, & people from all races, religions & socioeconomic levels who finds my message inspiring. I am especially grateful to all the writers who have shared their knowledge, tweeted & posted about my work. I'd like to give back to them in this post by sharing some of what I have learned about the massive task of marketing a book.

Before I share some tips on social media, let me tell you about where I was a little over a year a half ago. When I began this process, I was a passive observer on Facebook. I had a personal page, but I tended to simply click through the posts & rarely made a comment. I didn't think anyone would be interested in what was going on in my life & was afraid as a therapist to share anything personal. Nothing in my life seemed worthy of writing about in a facebook status update. Twitter was an even more foreign concept to me. I had attended an EWN (Entrepreneurial Women's Network) workshop in Norwalk, CT about the use of twitter, opened an account & never did anything with it for over a year. To me it seemed silly that people were tweeting about where & what they ate for dinner. On LinkedIn, I had a partial profile, but only a handful of connections. I was afraid to reach out to anyone I did not know well on LinkedIn fearing that I would automatically be ejected from the site. I had tried to blog a few years before, but when the program on my website started to malfunction, I gave up. I did not think I had enough to write about on a regular basis.

Today, I have over 9,000 followers on 3 twitter handles: @WakeUpDreamNow, @DreamNonProfits, & @PostTweetDreams, almost 600 fans, 247 friends & a couple of thousands of pages that like me on Facebook, over 500 connections on LinkedIn & over 12,000 pageviews on this blog since it's inception last January. In addition, I have a presence on YouTube, Tumblr, Google+, Pinterest & Klout (score = 60). Surprisingly, given my passive observer stance less than a year ago, I actually enjoy social media & blogging immensely! What happened? I think the change in my attitude toward social media was gradual, but here's some of what I have learned.

Remember Sharing = Caring!
Tip #1: Don't be afraid to speak up on the social network sites. Join the conversations! Once I began to overcome my reluctance to share my thoughts & opinions, stopped lurking & observing, social media became an amazing networking opportunity.  I don't share the mundane activities in my life, but I do comment, share, like, tweet & retweet things that I believe are important. I support other authors, nonprofit organizations, & causes that I care about. The more I support & share, the more people support me. I have met & interacted with people from around the world whom I would never have encountered without the help of the social networks. If you are a friend of an aspiring author, take note, help them out by sharing, commenting & liking their posts, too.

Tip #2: Join & participate in groups that are interesting to you. On Facebook & LinkedIn there are a myriad of groups to choose from, join them & start interacting with new people with similar interests. From those groups, I discovered some amazing resources for therapists & authors. On Links For Shrinks, I have met wonderful therapists from around the world. They have discussions about therapeutic dilemmas as well as support & critiquing of facebook, twitter & blogging. From those groups & discussions, I have met writers from Psychology Today, professors from prestigious colleges & other creative thoughtful therapists whose ideas give me food for thought & for my social media posts. From the authors groups & discussions, I have discovered the a treasure chest of resources for aspiring authors & curious readers looking for great books by aspiring new authors. The authors I have "met" through this network help one another by sharing & tweeting about book signings & other events. They often teach one another about marketing, offer guest blog spots & share writing resources. You can use search words to help you find the people & groups you wish to follow on Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter.

Tip #3: Pay attention to people's profiles on Facebook & Twitter, follow their links to their websites & you may discover other resources. Recently, after getting my book onto kindle on, I began paying attention to Twitter handles related to ebooks. I noticed one connected to a website called, they offer an array of free marketing resources & tools for authors including: A review request system where you can put your book in front of readers who want to read & review your book; a thriving community of authors willing to share their marketing tactics & lessons, & failures; helpful advice & resources for new & experienced authors alike; and, specials & offers for discounted services to help you publish your book.

Tip #4: Mind your manners. When someone helps you, acknowledge their support & return the favor. Social networking is not that different from other social situations. We learn as children to say, "Thank you," when someone does something for us. On the social networking sites, it is important to say thank you as quickly as possible. If they share something that you have posted thank them. if you see something that they have posted that you think your followers will appreciate, share it & let people know how you found the information.

In short, the more you give to others, the more you will get in return from those you meet. I'd love to hear your stories about people you have met via social media. I will share more stories about my encounters in subsequent posts.

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