I want to try something new. I was on Facebook the other day—connecting with new people and interacting with people I’d already connected with—when I became connected with Travis Breeding. He sent me a message and we chatted via Facebook for a while. We “discovered” (though this information was already available on our respective Facebook pages) that we were both writers who are interested in autism and neurodiversity.
He directed me to his websites and an idea was spawned: I provide feedback and analysis of trailers for books I haven’t read by authors I have no affiliation with. I provide general advice to readers about marketing. What if I analyzed the marketing of authors who I do know, or at least those I have some association with?
Seems like a good idea, if I say so myself!
So, let’s start with Travis:
I first became aware of Travis Breeding via social media. It wasn’t enough that we were “friends.” He reached out to me so that we could actually interact. This worked!
I then took a look at his website and found, among other things, a video embedded in his site. This is a great idea to make the author more “real” for the reader. Again, we’re looking for a connection, and he made it. (While it’s cool that he was able to embed a real interview, that’s not necessary for the effect most of us are looking for.)
The big “Buy now” button is a great way to grab the potential reader’s attention, though it might be more successful if there was a stronger pitch for the book associated with the link. Still, it’s great that readers don’t have to go searching for a way to get his book—it’d just be better if there was, associated with the purchasing, a stronger incentive to want the book and to want it now! One click and you’re there!
One thing I found to be a little disappointing is the limited content. There’s a bit about the author and invitation to have him present, there’s things to purchase, there’s the video, and there’s some quotes/recommendations. A website should also contain some kind of free sample of the author’s writing, particularly on the subject matter: an excerpt from the book, a blog, an article that’s available online, or something. It’s a little difficult to trust a writer that doesn’t provide much written content.
And then there’s another site, less well-polished and less effective: Travis on Lulu. Again, there’s a short blurb on the author. Then, there’s a wider selection of available products, with a variety of prices. These also include more information about the products than was available on the main site. The biggest problem is the cover thumbnails—they’re not at all interesting. Though he is working on getting the real covers for the books posted on the site, which would resolve the problem.
Unfortunately, these two pages do not seem to be directly linked, which is something that should be corrected.
Overall, however, I think Travis is off to a great start! Marketing isn’t just about communicating value or making a sale, it’s about building a relationship. A hands-on approach works!