Listen to a podcast featuring OSV author Sherry Weddell

Sherry Weddell

OSV author Sherry Weddell

Sherry Weddell has followed up her bestselling book Forming Intentional Disciples with a new offering: Fruitful Discipleship: Living the Mission of Jesus in the Church and the World. In her new book, Sherry shares what she and her team have learned from helping over 100,000 Catholics around the world, examining different charisms, sharing guidance for discerning and exercising the gifts received in baptism, and encouraging readers with true stories from all kinds of parishes.

Sherry spoke with podcast host Jon Loenetti recently about Fruitful Discipleship. You can listen in here or just click below.

Sherry’s author platform includes the Catherine of Siena Institute and web site. She’s a popular speaker who travels internationally. She also hosts the Facebook group Intentional Disciples.  View her author page on the OSV web site here. 

Podcasts (What is a podcast?) are exploding in popularity and Catholic podcasts are no different. Player FM, a popular client for listening, has a good list to try. Find it here. Podcasts can be a nice addition to your author platform — whether you jump into the medium on your own, or are a guest on one. (Here’s a quick podcast how-to.) Many of these podcasts are by radio hosts that are on the OSV news release and Twitter lists and are recordings of their  shows, and they often contact our marketing department for guest information, which we’ll then coordinate with you.

Don’t hesitate to directly contact a host about your book if you’d like them to consider you as a guest. A short, “Hi, this is Chris Smith and I have a new book out with OSV about *your topic*” email — or even a tweet — should be enough.

If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact us, as always.

Write, or get lost on Twitter?

Are you crazy busy?

Social media comes easy to some authors. They take to Twitter like a duck to water. (Sorry.) They take to Facebook like an image to a mirror. (Sorry again.) Their perfect lives are reflected perfectly on their perfect Instagram feeds.

Then there is everyone else.

If you’re normal, you’re wondering just how in the world you can live a life, manage a family, write a book and post about it to a blog or a newsfeed or MyFaceGram or whatever. St. Jude, pray for us!

No worries. Your OSV team is here to share the best writings, tips and insights from across the internet, saving you time and frustration.

Today, take a moment to visit Dan Blank‘s web site, WeGrowMedia.com. He has an insightful post on “Craft vs. platform: Which comes first?” that might help you make decisions on how to manage your time.

Be sure to sign up for Dan Blank’s weekly email and follow his blog for more updates.

 

Do I HAVE to use social media?

FacebookMany authors and writers have an active social media presence, and it can be an important part of your author platform. But if you haven’t ventured into the Facebook/Twitter/Instagram waters already … must you? Do people really care what you eat for breakfast? How can that help sell your book?

Publishing consultant Jane Friedman has an excellent post on just this topic. She talks about the need for authors to engage in social media, the channels that authors should/could use, and what to post about (not necessarily your breakfast).

You can read her post here.

twitterYou probably also know that OSV has an active social media presence. General posts can be found by following @OSV on Twitter, on Facebook by being a fan of Our Sunday Visitor and on Instagram by following @OSV. Book authors should also follow:

On Twitter: @OSV_BookAuthors
On Facebook: OSV Author Toolkit.

We’re happy to retweet or repost your personal updates about your OSV books, talks, radio and TV appearances, book signings and blog posts. Just tag us or email us at cdee@osv.com.

P.S. Need more help about what to post about? Polly King (pking@osv.com) would be happy to give you some ideas — or Jaymie Wolfe (jwolfe@osv.com) or Mary Beth Baker (mbaker@osv.com).

Breakfast poutine

Breakfast poutine, Quebec, Canada

Try tweeting or Facebook posting about your writing process — tips or tricks you use to motivate yourself, and favorite saints and prayers that help you. Favorite Bible verses and quotes that have meaning for you are also good possibilities. Don’t forget to update your followers and fans on your blog posts, or articles you write for other publications — both new ones and appropriate archived ones.

 

Readers appreciate little looks into your life, but you don’t have to give up your privacy. Post as little or as much as you’re comfortable with. If you visit a new church, chapel, or other religious location, pictures and short descriptions are wonderful. If you’re on vacation, you might even find yourself posting about a special … breakfast.

Speaking of pictures, if you love taking photos with your phone (or a real camera!), don’t be afraid to try Instagram. There are lots of Catholic accounts to follow. Visit the @OSV account and click ‘Following’ to find some good ones.

Tip: Use the co-posting function on Instagram to make it quick and easy to post to other social media channels. Instructions here.)

What is an ‘author platform’?

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The best definition of an author platform I’ve seen comes from Writer’s Digest:

“Platform, simply put, is your visibility as an author.

“The definition of platform, broken down, is your personal ability to sell books through:

  1. Who you are
  2. The personal and professional connections you have
  3. Any media outlets (including blogs and social networks) that you can utilize to sell books.”

(You can read more about the building blocks of a platform on Writer’s Digest here.)

Alan Rinzler on Forbes.com describes it well:

It’s still about visibility, but today’s approach has changed. The New Author Platform requires a focus on developing an unobstructed back and forth between authors and their readers, with the authors — not the publishers — controlling the flow. Now it’s the author, not a publicist, who inspires readers to buy the book. The New Author Platform allows not only well-established authors, but unknown, first-time beginners to do an end run around the conservative gate-keepers and reach readers directly.

Who are good examples of Catholic writers winning the author platorm game? Check out Brandon Vogt and Hallie Lord — two authors who have published with OSV.

You’ll find that their platforms include a variety of social media and digital products — web sites, of course, and blogs; social media, especially Facebook author pages, Twitter and Instagram; videos; and radio appearances and shows, speaking engagements; teaching (classes or conference sessions) and webinars; and enewsletters.

No author has to do all the things — but to connect with your readers, it helps to do some of the things. Only you can settle on the mix you’re comfortable with updating on a regular basis.

More recommended reading about author platforms:

Have questions about your author platform, or ideas to share? Let us know. Email me at cdee@osv.com.

 

A social experiment – social media tips from authors

From TheWriteLife.com, here’s a nice article that includes author’s tips on using social media to sell more books. Here were some of my takeaways:

  • Do the stuff you like, don’t do the rest. If you hate LinkedIn but love Twitter, do that. If you can’t stand Facebook but love to blog, do that. If you love it you’ll keep it up and build your platform from there.
  • You don’t have to do them all. If you jump into 20 forms of social media, you run the risk of burning out and giving up.
  • Be yourself. ‘Nuf said.

Check out the advice from these authors and post your own tips and tricks in the comments!

St. Isidore, pray for us!

What exactly is your platform?

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May I have your attention?

It’s a question often raised in book publishing — how do I get my book noticed when it’s in a sea of other books competing for readers’ attention? To make it even more of a puzzle, how do you get your CATHOLIC book noticed when it’s in a GALAXY of other books competing for their attention? Sounds impossible, but it’s not, with a little advice from Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World by Michael Hyatt. If you don’t own this book already, click the cover image and buy it today. This boils down hundreds of books, articles, blog posts, and water-cooler conversations into a simple, easy-to-execute method of building a platform and growing it.

But what’s a platform, anyway?

“Today’s platform is built of people. Contacts. Connections. Followers,” states Hyatt, who literally built his platform from a grand total of ZERO followers to one of the largest in the world. How did he do it? His book provides short chapters that capture the step-by-step method that worked for him — including:

  • Start with WOW — differentiating your product
  • Prepare to Launch — the elevator speech, endorsements, PR and more
  • Build Your Home Base — hot tips for building your online platform
  • Expand Your Reach — getting more traffic, followers, and fans, and losing less
  • Engage Your Tribe — the right ways to engage in the conversation

You, up on the stage.

In our experience it is the combination of Our Sunday Visitor marketing efforts — including traditional and non-traditional media, trade, consumer, and parish sales efforts, and public relations — with the efforts of the author in the context of their own platform, that achieves the most success (read: more sales).

Are you working on your platform? What tricks and tips can you share?

So, you’re doing a book signing.

481300_352251878180669_58947230_nBook signings are a fantastic way to get the word out about your book, and generate sales. It’s not difficult to set up, but it does take some planning. So here are some easy steps to make the most of your next signing!

What’s in store.

Bookstores love author signings! Plus, they’re great for you because the store does a lot of the work. Contact Catholic or Christian bookstores in your area that are carrying the book, and offer to do a book signing at their store. You could sweeten the deal for the store by offering to do a short talk or read excerpts from your book. Continue reading