Know the Lingo
Here at RAR, we’re required to use a lot of social-media and marketing terms because, well, that’s our job … but we figured some of these may not be familiar to you yet, so we’ve spelled ‘em out here. Sure, you could use your Google-savvy brain and look them up for yourself, but we’d rather tell you how we use them and what they mean to us, in the RAR-verse, rather than what they mean to Webster’s.
The super official personal-investigator-quality document we create to make sure we reflect your interests when we post, informed by the two incredibly detailed quizzes we provide (only one of which is mandatory, if talking about yourself is just too painful to bear). A RAR exclusive!
Taken from the screenwriting term, your RAR bible will consist of everything that matters in your book. You may be internally screaming that everything in your book matters, and we don’t disagree! The bible is just a short, convenient way to access plot points, character traits, key items, and all those sorts of things for when we’re on the go and need a refresher.
Lucky bugger who gets to write about whatever topic they like and get paid for it. Book bloggers (sometimes referred to as professional readers nowadays) are your key target, and getting them to talk about your book is a big win, since a surprisingly large number of people look to these bloggers for their reading suggestions. (Check out these awesome book blogs: The Indie View, Omnivoracious, Book Riot)
Your brand may never be as big as Coca-Cola™, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have one. Your brand is the impression people have of you based on all your content and activity as an author, in person and online. The goal is to make your brand not only widespread, but also memorable to the people who come across it. And who knows? Maybe after 125 years your brand will be as recognizable as Coke™! (The Book Designer has some great articles on branding, if you want more info.)
The trash bin. The garbage can. The waste basket. The place from which things do not return.
We live in an age when people need to be able to talk to each other instantly at any moment so, you know, this is the data that lets us do that. (Don’t worry: “any” and “instantly” only fall into business hours for us because we’re not your mother. And we don’t share the information with third parties because we’re also not the NSA.)
Anything and everything created and placed onto the Internet that, if the rumors are right, will never die and will live on forever somewhere in the “cloud”—whatever that is. Don’t get the wrong idea, though: if you lose content and want to access it, you won’t be able to find it. One of the mysteries of the web.
Any written content intended for a wide audience to read. You’re a writer, so chances are you’re pretty good with this stuff.
Even though “copy” is defined as above, copywriting tends to refer specifically to writing for promotional purposes—content for newsletters, websites, jacket blurbs, and so on. Because writers have the power to make words mean whatever they want.
The new marketing frontier. Something as immense as the Internet can’t exist without sales people finding it and claiming it as their own. But, hey, since they’re already doing it, you might as well use the web to create your own marketing schemes, which can consist of email lists, adverts, social-media platforms, etc.
In American Buddhist culture this has become shorthand for expressing respect and gratitude, especially useful when people can’t see you bow. With gasshō we acknowledge the smallness of our egos, the vastness of Being, the contributions of others, and ourselves as part of the totality of existence. (Some of us were raised by hippies.)
A glutton for punishment willing to undertake all the brow-wiping work of writing with none of the glory. Or in our case, the person who can momentarily assume your identity and bang out that blog entry so you don’t have to.
You know the cool kids in high school that everyone wanted to hang out with? These are those people, but there are more of them, their reach now encompasses everything from fashion to food to books, and they have massive followings. Court the influencers and their acolytes will follow. Such is their power.
Good jacket copy is important. Seriously. We can’t overstate this. The cover design and jacket copy are the two most important marketing tools an author has, because people judge books by their covers all the time. If your jacket copy doesn’t make a book-browser’s fingers literally itch to open the book and start reading, keep trying until it does or hire someone with the knack. (Can also be used as promo copy to get readers to click that “Add to Cart” button on Amazon. Again, important.)
This list is comprised of the wonderful, brilliant, loyal, physically and spiritually attractive people with excellent taste who have decided you’re noteworthy and thus deserving of a designated piece of their oh-so-precious time. Treat these people well and you’ll have a faithful following who are likely to not only give a rat’s bum when you share your most exciting news, but also actually buy your books. (Need help managing your mailing list? Check out Mail Chimp, Constant Contact, or Active Campaign.)
This term doesn’t have an easy definition, so bear with us here. It generally refers to an image with words on it (or an associated phrase placed either above or below the image). This can encompass everything from pretty images with quotes on them, to poorly rendered drawings or screengrabs with some sort of relatable or funny phrase attached. In the latter example, a common theme is complete disregard for spelling and grammar, which can be painful to the bookish, but it’s allowed—nay, encouraged—in cyberspace, so have a heckin good time with it.
An appealingly designed email with relevant pictures and links and info about a business, person, or organization—in this case, you. This is the thing you send to your mailing list (see definition above) regarding where you’re at with the being-an-author business. This is the place to write about yourself more personally, and it’s also the best place to announce things like giveaways and pre-order or purchase dates for your book—because the group who receives your newsletters is usually the group that’s most dedicated to you and your work. (Which makes them the best!—and the most likely to buy your book, wink wink.)
It was your personality, but it’s ours now. It’s the “you” you want to project to your audience, which may be similar to the hilarious, hair-down you at parties or may be more like the “you” you’d be if you were suddenly elected to office. It’s what we use to reflect you and your interests on your social media platforms, where we are writer versions of method actors, and for which we will expect a special Academy Award come awards season.
Your platform is your ability to connect with other people who are interested in what you have to say. Remember when someone would literally stand on a box and shout until they gathered a crowd who would listen to whatever they had to say? Well now that shouter is you, the box is metaphorical, and the people gathering around you are home on their couches instead of in the town square. Much more sanitary. (Jane Friedman has lots of good explanations of platform, and pretty much everything else an author needs to know. Check her out.)
Photos, gifs, videos, drawings, icons, charts, graphs, glyphs … any pictorial elements. Generally used to promote laughter, amazement, envy, shock, awe, delight, and every other emotion except boredom, which is what you get when you only post text.
A short video of yourself talking directly to your audience that is generally posted to YouTube, where you can talk about anything you want. This allows people to see and hear you, and eventually tricks their brains into thinking they have a personal relationship with you, and may cause them to approach you on the street as if you were once in Girl Scouts together. It’s a weird and magical thing, and not nearly as scary as it sounds. (The most successful author-vlogger has got to be John Green, of VlogBrothers fame, which sparked the formation of Nerdfighteria and also kept his books on the New York Times Best Sellers list for weeks on end—along with Green’s skill at writing for young adult audiences, of course.)