I have been blessed to be granted an interview with Nick Thacker. For Those of you who don’t know him, Nick Thacker is a blogger, writer, and author. He writes at http://www.LiveHacked.com on writing, productivity, and life. He recently finished a book called Building A Blog for Readers, available on Amazon – http://www.livehacked.com/blogging-101. Sign up for the LiveHacked newsletter here – http://www.livehacked.com/newsletter.
Your background is in marketing. What do most writers need to know about marketing and promotion that they probably don’t know?
Great question: the short answer is that we need to stop looking at “marketing” as a bad word–when a church uses outreach and relevant worship to garner community attention, it is engaged in marketing. Likewise, when you know that there is a very specific subset of the population who would absolutely love your product (book), and you meet this person on the street, you need to market your book to them.
To do this effectively, of course, there’s a lot more art and hard work involved. Ads don’t work nearly as well anymore, and we’re in the times of the “long tail.” Use these facts to your advantage, and don’t waste time and money promoting to subsets that won’t ever care about you or your books. Instead, find the places your subset is already hanging out and connecting, and hang out and connect with them. When they start to know and trust you–believe me, they’ll find your book. And they’ll love you for it!
Don’t remain on the cloud of “if I’m a great writer, all I need to do is write, write, write and someday I’ll make it!” Sorry–we’re all competing to “make it,” and being the best writer on the block isn’t special anymore–it’s the barrier for entry. Traditional houses are looking for authors who know how to self-promote–successful self-published authors do this as well.
I notice the word “hacked” several times on your site, beginning with the name of your blog. How do you use this word, and what do you mean by it?
“Hacked” is a throwback to my programming/computer nerd background (Dad’s an engineer and I grew up around computers), but it’s also a term I use to mean we shouldn’t accept the status quo for what it is. We’re meant to enjoy life, and get the most out of it we possibly can. “Hacking” our life means tweaking it to make it better, in small yet profound ways.
I recently read your blogging manifesto (and I highly recommend it). Do you wish to comment on it?
Thanks! It was fun to write, and difficult at the same time. I’m a man of usually many words (if you couldn’t tell…) and restricting myself to simple questions and brief discussion was trying for me. However, because of this “no frills” rule, I think Building A Blog for Readers explains the very essence of what we should be doing as authors, writers, and people in general: asking the right questions, and inherently understanding that we already know the right answers. If you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, grab a copy before the price goes up next week. Also, check out the Cheat Sheet I prepared (for those of you like printing things out, this is a great one). Find it at www.livehacked.com/blogging101
I see you believe in guest posts in creating familiarity for a writer. I have some questions regarding guest posting etiquette. Is it appropriate to submit a guest post from your own blog archives? How about submitting on your blog simultaneously with the guest post? Or could someone post on his site a guest post sometime after it posted on another site?
To answer your questions–no, I don’t think submitting anything that’s already been published elsewhere is appropriate, nor is submitting the same content simultaneously with a post. I’d even hesitate to agree with the third question (posting the post after it’s gone live somewhere else), even though I’ve done this before (many, many years ago, and I learned my lesson!). Here’s why:
Bloggers are smart. They know that there’s a trade-off between a host and a guest poster–we’re not fooling anyone. A guest host is getting a (hopefully) great, unique post, and saving them the time of needing to write something, and the guest poster is getting a link from a high-profile, high-PR site that’s most likely going to give you some free, targeted traffic.
That traffic is very valuable, and big companies pay big bucks for that sort of thing–the least we can do as guest bloggers is respect their desires of providing awesome content that’s completely unique (and always will be) to their site. Unless a site explicitly states otherwise, I assume they want a unique article. I could go on and on about this, but just suffice it to say that we’re getting a lot in return for a few hours of our time–we should definitely be pumped about that.
Tell us three interesting things about you that most people don’t know about you.
1. I have a music degree on trombone.
2. I used to have a pet tortoise (about a foot long; used to walk freely throughout the apartment). It literally was the best pet a college kid could have, but the wife wasn’t too keen.
3. I’m an Eagle Scout (If you’re 17 and reading this–it’s the most important thing ever, you should keep going with it, it’s amazing, you’ll never have to ask for anything because everything will be handed to you on a silver platter for the rest of your life. If you’re over 17 and reading this–what a let down. It was really fun, but I can’t imagine college admissions people caring less about something than they did about my Eagle Scout award…)
I want to thank Nick Thacker for this chance he gave us to know him a bit better. I encourage you to visit his site. Also, if you are a writer and blogger, you need to go to his site because today, July 12, 2012, Nick is launching a new product that deals with platform building. I know I will be there.