Congratulations – you’ve recently put the finishing touches on your first book and now it published on Amazon and hopefully Barnes & Noble! Yay! Believe it or not, that is a rare accomplishment that not many people can claim. If you thought writing your book was hard work, brace yourself for the next necessary phase: marketing your book.
The tremendous recent changes to the publishing industry have been a double-edged sword: they offer greater opportunities for self-published authors but they bring a lot more competition. No matter how great your cover is and no matter how great the content is – a book will never sell itself. You and you alone are going to have to be creative if you want to boost your sales. One way to do it is through effective use of social media. So how do you use social media to promote your book?
Here are seven social media marketing “musts” for first-time authors.
1. Create great Social Media Posts with Quality Content
You put in a lot of time and energy to ensure your book is of the best it can be, and you’must match that quality and make your social media content stellar. Your audience wants/needs distilled information presented clearly and directly. Since you are now an author, you can claim a degree of expertise in your chosen subject. Use that expertise to make every Facebook post, Instagram Post, LinkedIn article, and Tweet a highly engaging experience. Provide tips and information your readers won’t find anywhere else, and do it in a concise fashion. If you have written a Romance Novel, instead of providing tips you provide a juicy piece from your book… get people slobbering on themselves and wanting to know more. Ask questions about what readers are looking for in your genre.
2. Investigate new media
Facebook and Twitter are among the top social media platforms, but that’s not to say you should focus on them to the exclusion of all else. Pinterest, Instagram, and Vine are all good options too. Tumblr can also be a great place for Authors to get engagement with readers. You should make a “page” on Facebook just for your book. Name the page the Title of your book. That way you are easy to find. And you can use that as your fan page. Do not try and do them all – all at once, though. Engage one at a time, with a clear strategy for each, and you can effectively increase your reach. Consider writing short blog posts with links to your book. Posting your blog posts on Social Media is a way to say a lot more to your audience. One place I always direct new authors to is Good Reads. Go on there and claim your book and develop your Author Profile. Invite friends to Good Reads and connect your Good Reads account to your Facebook page. This is a form of cross-marketing that works really good. Yes initially it takes some time to do all of this, but you can accomplish all of this in just 4 hours a week. And your book deserves 4 hours a week of dedication to getting it seen. In only 90 days you will see your ranking get higher on Amazon and your book sales will elevate.
3. Respond to each comment
The last thing a writer has time to do is sit on their social media pages waiting to instantly jump to reply to every comment. So if you have created a “Book Page” on Facebook, you can have a couple of admins to help respond to comments or messages. Always remember the “social” element of social media. Respond to each and every comment, whether positive or negative. Your goal is to develop a conversation and an ongoing relationship with your followers. Even if you’re simply expressing gratitude for someone taking the time to comment, you’re doing yourself, and your book, a big favor.
4. Connect with other authors
Be sure to connect with authors in the realm or genre of your book. Respond to some of their posts and start to develop a relationship. You can gain exposure this way, and you never know what a fellow author might be able to assist you with. You can also exchange reviews with other authors. Getting reviews is very important, and sometimes you need some to get started. Offer a free Kindle download to your readers and other authors and politely ask for a review.
5. Offer an inside look at your book
Consider providing a link to your website (if you do not have one refer to number 6 below) from your social media accounts where a follower can download an inside look at your actual book – the first chapter, for example. It’s a great move that can ultimately improve your sales. You just need to put a chapter in a PDF format so they can download it. Social media is an interactive format, meaning you should be trying to get your readers involved.
Social media marketing for writers is serious business, and there’s a good bit of work involved if you’re going to get it right. If you start to develop a solid audience and then make a misstep, you’ve just wasted valuable time and energy. Manage your schedule as best you can, giving 4 hours a week of your time to devote to your social media marketing and improve your book sales. You can break that into 1 hour 4 times a week or 2 hours twice a week. The first 90 days is critical to stay consistent. After that, you can reduce to 3 hours a week. Now you need to consider writing book two. (See number 7 below).
6. Develop your Author Central Page on KDP
If you are a self-published author, then you have a KDP account. In your KDP go search and type in “Author Central” sign up and develop that page. Even if you have a website, you can use this Author Central link on all your social media posts. This is a great way to tell readers more about yourself, add pictures and videos and you can also attach your blogs RSS feed to your Author Central page. At Author Central, you can share the most up-to-date information about yourself and your works with millions of readers. Learn more See timely sales data for free, including sales trends over time and a map that shows where in the US your books are selling.
7. Start thinking about writing your second book
Now that you have established some fans from book 1, this is a great time to get them involved with your second book before it is even published. You can ask questions like “What is a good name for my 19th Century European Princess in my upcoming book?” Or, “should I make my next book a little sexier?” Start giving little exciting clues about the plot of your next book on Social Media. This will set you for increased sales when you do your next book launch and it will entice people to want to buy your first book so they can start a collection of your books. The second book says to people, “I am an established Author” and this gives you far more credibility as an author. Think of a songwriter, we make jokes about the one hit wonder, it hit the charts but they never got another song out there. Don’t be a “One Book Wonder” go for the whole package and become a well known respected author.
Good luck and happy bookselling!
If you want someone to help you get everything all set up, please contact us, we are here to help!