We’re going to shift our focus from publishing this week to what comes after your book has been published. Depending on your publishing deal, you may get some extra help with marketing your book. For the most part, this isn’t a huge concern for publishing houses anymore. If you’re going it alone, you definitely need to know how to market your book. Today, we’re going to talk about social media specifically and then we’ll branch out to some other marketing tools out there for writers.
Here’s our definition of what social media is:
Social Media: websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.
Basically, the function of social media is to get yourself on the internet and to engage with other people in an active or inactive way. Which sounds pretty easy right? Well, it’s not that simple. You need to come up with new and exciting things to get yourself on the map or you go through tried and true methods. There are many differing ideas on how to go about this.
I know that I personally think of books and literature as a more ethereal product that you’re going to have to sell. It’s not really about the physical book. It’s what those pages that you’re going to want to sell. On top of selling your book, you have to sell yourself a bit too.
Here’s a little chart about building your audience as a writer:
I definitely want to touch on the don’t only sell suggestion. I love it when authors give a little more about themselves than what their book jacket tells me. Jennifer Cruisie would write not even a page about the book I was reading. A quick look at some weird thing that happened to her. For her book, Getting Rid of Bradley, she shared that she had readers come up to her and say “dead dog” that I thought was quite cute after I read the book and understood the reference. I also enjoy looking through Christina Lauren’s website and especially the blogs. They like to review other books within the children’s and YA genres. They’re funny and they let their personalities shine through.
Writing around your novel is a great way to connect with your audience and make them want to come back for more – just to see what you are up to.
If you’re not using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other online platform then you’ll want to pick up one or more of them. They have huge online presences that you can tap into and direct your website or blog or stories. (It’s one of the reasons as to why I need to get a social media page going for this blog.) With increased readership and traffic to your site, this puts you in a better position to get published with a traditional publishing house and to also get better publishing deals in the future.
Here are some do’s and don’t’s with social media marketing:
- DO learn about social media marketing. There’s a lot of free resources you can use online or you can pay for a full on course in what to do. Either way it’ll benefit you and your writing.
- Sub note: SEO (or Search Engine Optimization) is a HUGE trend right now in successful social media marketing. What this does is gets more and more people to visit our site through key words and hashtags. This can be done through coding as well. What happens is that search engines, like Google, go through everything posted on the internet and categorize it. The more keywords and relative words you have in a post the closer to page one you get, which in turn drives traffic onto your site.
- DO listen to your audience. They provide good feedback. You can work on certain things like your editing skills – if you didn’t engage the services of an editor. What they liked or didn’t like about your characters, etc.
- DO engage with your audience. If people want to talk to you then try to answer them back. Plus it makes the you seem more human and less likely a hungry, money mongering fool with no feelings towards your readership.
- DO use some sort of automation. Obviously, don’t spam people with posts and information. It can and will lead you to lose followers, but you do want to get information out to your readers. Potential good automated messages – when your next book is going to be released, any big announcements or accomplishments (like awards) or anything you’re super proud of. You’ll want to put this on all of your social media channels and there are programs out there, like Hootsuite, that will post your news to all your social media accounts. On top of that, it’s free to use!
- DO track and measure everything. If you’re not doing this then you don’t know how you are doing and if you’re reaching who you want to reach. You don’t need to be using the fanciest or most expensive tracking program out there to do this. For my blog here, I just use what WordPress has for me and that is working well for me.
- DON’T spread yourself too thin.You do not need to be on every social media platform all the time and posting things like crazy. You’ll drive yourself nutty. This is why the use of a good automation program is a benefit for you, it’ll post whatever you want to whatever site you need it to get posted to. Plus it’s okay to start small and then expand your online presence over time. Most experts suggest starting with two to three social media platforms, master them and then expand your platforms as you grow.
- DON’T be afraid to post multiple times a day. This goes for your social media pages particularly. So tweet once or twice about this amazing blog post you just drop or are going to drop. Keep it in the minds of your readers.
So, those are some do’s and don’t’s for marketing strategies that you can apply to your social media and website in order to drive traffic into buying your book.
Here are some resources on the different types of social media that you can use to help get you noticed and to help you gain more followers. They are articles on how to use certain social media platforms, like Facebook, effectively to your advantage.
There are a lot more social media platforms out there than just the ones listed in the links above. I do fairly well on Pinterest for example. I have about fifty followers on my writing board alone. The message to take away from this is that you need to use whatever works best for you. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Always do your research as well and make sure you know how to use social media effectively for you.
That’s all that I have for you this week. We will be continuing our discussion on marketing on Thursday, so please check in for that!