Gone are the days when writers had only writing to think about. Publishers were the only ones in charge of book marketing. Naturally, their goal is to generate more book sales, so they still promote their authors.
However, a huge part of the promotional campaign falls on the author’s shoulders. We’re not talking about showing up to promotions and signings. We’re talking about a marketing practice that will become part of your daily life: social media marketing. It’s the best way to engage in personal branding and generate buzz for your book.
How do you do it?
Create a Strategy
You can learn from the successful social media strategies that other authors use to promote their books, or you can create your own strategy. Whatever you decide to do, just remember that you absolutely need a strategy.
You won’t be using social media to share random moments of your life with friends and family. This will have a greater purpose for you, so you need to develop a plan and stick to it.
Perceive Social Media as an Advantage
Social media is a serious advantage. You get to connect with fans from all over the world. You can listen to their feedback and respond to it. This is something you don’t get from the traditional marketing methods.
Take Ben Okri as an example. He has used Twitter to publish a poem, a line a day! This gave his followers an exclusive right to read this poem before anyone else.
Use the Hashtag
Ben Okri hasn’t been using Twitter for a while, but his last activity tells us something important: he understood the power of the hashtag. He was constantly using the hashtag #benokriwild in 2012, with the aim to create awareness for Wild, a collection of poetry that came out that year.
Create a hashtag for your book. Use it every day. When your readers get your book, they will use the hashtag to recommend it and leave feedback.
Show Your Personality
Your social media activity won’t be limited to book promotion. You must also express your personality, so your readers will feel closer to you and your work. Take a look at what Elif Shafak, a popular Turkish author, is doing on Twitter.
Sure, most of the tweets are in Turkish, but you can use Google translate or check the ones she wrote in English. You’ll see that she’s mostly tweeting about the causes she stands behind: feminism and human rights. The same causes that make her work so powerful.
Pick a Network You Like
This is what Mignon Fogarty, the creator of Grammar Girl, recommends: “I think you really have to enjoy interacting on social networks or you won’t do it well or stay with it. You can’t force yourself to do it; you have to find the things you like and do those even if they aren’t the most popular. For one person it might be Twitter, for another LinkedIn, for another YouTube, for another podcasting, and another blogging.”
Experiment with various social media channels, but don’t feel obliged to make them all part of your daily practice. If you don’t like Instagram, you don’t have to use it. If you like Facebook, use that one!
Brian O’Connor, an editor with EssayOnTime, gives an important tip to writers who want to use social media for book promotion: “You just don’t give up. That’s the most common mistake I’ve seen writers make. We advise them to use social media properly, and they do it for some time. When they don’t see instant results, they just don’t bother trying more.”
Look: this won’t give you instant results. You have to work your way to building a greater audience and engaging them at a deeper level. Stay persistent and you’ll get there!
How do you know if you’re successful in social media marketing? When you get people talking on your social networks, you know you’re a success! How do you do that? Write intriguing posts. Ask them what they think about your latest project. Ask what they expect from the books they read.
Billy Coffey, author of Snow Day, agrees on that: “Whether fair or not, getting your good story into the hands of the public now depends in large part upon your reach, and your reach depends in large part upon your savvy with blogs and social media. That can be a scary thing. Writers are notoriously withdrawn and even shy. The idea of having to ‘put yourself out there’ can be tantamount to having to tap dance in front of a firing squad. But it can be done. I promise that, and I offer myself as proof.”
Use the Power of Influencers
You’re targeting people who read your genre? An influencer has already connected with them. It may be a fellow writer, or just a passionate reader who shares reviews on a blog. It may be a librarian or a book owner, too. Just make sure they have loads of followers who react to everything they publish.
When you identify these influencers, contact them with an offer to give them a free copy of your book, which they will honestly review.
Share a Free Chapter
When Michael Stelzner from Social Media Examiner launched his book Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition, he provided the first chapter of the book as a free-to-access PDF. Within the first two weeks of the launch, over 27,000 people accessed that chapter.
How? He included a Retweet This button at the end of the sample. This made his launch really popular on the network.
Everyone loves free stuff. That’s exactly why Amazon lets you look inside the books. Your audience on social media will get a glimpse at your work. If it’s intriguing enough, they will buy the book.
You know you had to find your own voice to write that book, right? Well, you need to do the same for a successful social media campaign. People won’t follow you if they see boring status updates and random photos. Why should they follow you? What do you have to offer?
Whatever platform you choose to use, do it in a very unique way that reflects your personality!
No matter how private you want your life to be, you can still use social media to your advantage. Just make your presence there meaningful and the success will follow.
Lynn Adamsen is a freelance writer and editor from Edinburgh who has helped individuals and businesses with their writing challenges for almost a decade now. Now she is taking full advantage of the web copywriting course. Feel free to get in contact on Twitter.