If you’re an author, you’ve undoubtedly dealt with the daunting task of marketing your book. When dealing with traditional publishers, it’s important to note that they will consider your marketing platform before working with you. And although you’re probably thinking that you’re using a publisher because you want to market a book on your own, you should know that utilizing social media will help you get more out of working with a publisher.
If you’re apprehensive about managing your own social media accounts, read our breakdown below. We’ll answer some of the top questions and concerns that authors have and help you understand why it’s so important to utilize social media in your book marketing campaign!
1. Q: It seems so time-consuming to manage my own social media accounts. How can I possibly manage writing my book, working with my publisher, and updating all these sites?
A: Did you know that it can take up to nine months or even a year for a platform to truly be effective? Although that sounds overwhelming, take heart: A lot of this can be done in just minutes a day. In order for you to get the most out of your social media sites, you’ll have to start small. Update them frequently – even while writing your novel – and you’ll see them grow organically over the next year. The key isn’t to make intense or time-consuming updates; rather, it’s to be constant in your updating schedule.
You should always work with your publisher so that they can link to your sites, garnering more hits and more followers. They’re indispensable in your social media marketing process.
2. Q: There are so many platforms out there. I don’t know which ones are necessary for me. How do I know which ones to choose in order to most effectively market my book?
A: It really depends on how you like to update your fans, really. But below are the top three you should work with:
• Facebook. Pretty much every author should utilize Facebook – it has a wide reach and offers a ton of ways to interact with your fans. Plus, it’s really easy to learn how to use – and you probably already use it in your day-to-day life.
• Twitter. Twitter is also easy to use and reaches millions of people daily. It’s potent because you can use it to link to images, sites, videos, and more! Use it to update fans on blog posts, or simply link to something that you feel applies to your book. It only takes seconds and can have a big impact.
• Pinterest. Pinterest has exploded in popularity. It’s great for people who love visual cues – you can post links to articles and videos just as you would on Twitter or Facebook, but everything is arranged in an artful and thoughtful way. Pinterest utilizes hashtags, too, so you can easily find things to pin that pertain to your book’s subject; likewise, you can pin your blog posts and any other materials you’ve created to better market your book. One final note: You can pin the book’s sales page. Give your followers an attractive, direct link to your sales page!
3. Q: How do I make sure my page is seen by my fans? What if I make my site and no one even comes to it? What a waste of time that would be!
A: First of all, you’ll have to make a convincing and attractive profile page. You should also be sure to completely fill out your information. When you have a professional site with lots of quality content, people are more apt to recall your page and look to you as a trustworthy and capable person. Here are a few tips to ensure your page is the best it can be:
• Include a photo of your face, and not of your child, spouse, or pet. People like associating a face with an author. If you are writing under a pen name and would prefer to keep your identity under wraps, use a photo of something easily recognizable – and use it for every platform thereafter. As an author, it’s beneficial to use your book cover, because people love seeing teasers. It’ll also keep your book’s image and feel fresh in their minds. But whatever you choose to do, remember that consistency is key!
• Completely fill out your profile using your life story, your book’s plot, and any other important information your fans want to know. You can also create a character list so people can engage with your characters as well. Be sure to link back to your publisher and ask them to link to your site as well. That way your fans will know where to buy your book!
4. Q: But I don’t know how to effectively post. There are so many guides out there, and I find it all to be rather scary.
A: The beauty of social media is that you can let your fans create a lot of the content for you. Ask them to share updates with you. Link to their sites and respond to their questions. They’ll be more likely to return and to share your links with their friends. Or, link to sites with relevant content. All you have to do is browse your regular channels for news and simply share it with your fans. Do this regularly and people will find your updates interesting and fun to share.
5. Q: Okay, so if I make my pages and update regularly, I should gain followers. How do I make sure I get the most from my posts?
A: You’ll want to update frequently. Use pictures to entice people to click through on Twitter and Facebook. Write a short blurb about your thoughts on the post to personalize it. If you so choose, you may repeat a post on Twitter several times, but you should at least reword it. You shouldn’t repeat posts as often on Facebook as you would on Twitter, however – you’ll simply have to get the feel for how your fans respond before you decide on a schedule.
But by the same token, you don’t want to appear desperate or come off as brash. Don’t post unrelated comments and then hawk your book. Don’t “beg” for likes, shares, or retweets. These things come on their own when you engage your audience and connect with other social media users in an organic way. Furthermore, don’t say anything that could reflect poorly on you or your publisher – and certainly don’t mix personal business with professional business. You also shouldn’t discuss “hot button” topics like politics or religion.
Another great way to get more from your posts: engage with fans through a Twitter party. You can tweet with brands, fans, and new friends in a short period of time. By chiming in with witty remarks and relevant content, you’ll definitely make some new friends.
With a little bit of work on your end, you’ll be able to better supplement your publisher’s efforts to market your book. Remember, you’ll want to gain true fans and followers. Your publisher will be happy that you’ve done some of the work on your own! Most of all, have fun – being social should be an enjoyable matter. Good luck!