Hello, Out There!: Marketing your book using social media
You’ve written your book, published it on Amazon, and now you’re ready to sit back and watch the royalties roll in. If only it were that easy. As a self-publishing author, if you don’t get the word out about your book, no one else will. Even traditionally published authors are shouldering more of the responsibility for marketing their books than they used to. Luckily, social media makes spreading the word about your book relatively painless. Here are some quick pointers for effectively using social media to drive sales of your book.
Create a page for your book, using great cover art as your profile picture. Ask your friends and family to share your page so it reaches more people. Update the page regularly, but don’t make all of your posts a push of your book. Fans of your page will want more than just a sales pitch. You can post news about your book’s topic or interesting tidbits about things going on in the publishing world or the literary world. You can also use status updates to announce book milestones (“Just sold the 500th copy of my book!”), brag about awards your book has won, and let people know about book signings you are holding. Consider putting up excerpts from your book as a post to whet peoples’ appetites. You can also offer incentives for your fans, such as giving away a signed copy of your book when you reach a certain number of fans. Make sure you include information on your page about where people can buy your book. Most of us already know how to use Facebook, so this is an easy way to get some attention for your book.
You can use Twitter to share a lot of the same information that you would on Facebook, but Twitter makes it easier to network with other users. You can join conversations about topics that relate to your book or about writing in general and use the @ character to talk directly to people who follow you and retweet you. Retweeting other people’s tweets is also a good idea. Your followers get good information and you get brownie points for helping that person spread their message. Hopefully, they reciprocate, putting you and your book in front of a whole new audience.
Just like with Facebook, you don’t want all of your tweets to be about your book. Tweet content that will keep your followers interested in what you have to say so they are paying attention when you do mention your book. If you wrote a nonfiction book about pets, tweet about pet issues. If you wrote a romance, tweet about things going on in the romance fiction world or share links to articles about love and relationships. You can sometimes use these posts to talk about your book in a more subtle way. For instance, if you tweet about an article related to keeping a marriage together, you could say, “Haley and Branson sure could have used this advice in My Awesome Book!” Use hashtags related to writing or to your subject matter so that people looking for tweets on the subject will find you. Create a hashtag for your book name and ask fans to tweet about your book using the hashtag so it trends. (For you Twitter newbies out there, a hashtag is a pound sign symbol (#) that people put before relevant keywords or phrases in their tweet to categorize those tweets and help them show more easily in Twitter Search. Clicking on a hashtagged word in any message shows you all other tweets marked with that keyword.)
Tweets are only 140 characters, so you have to keep it short and sweet. If you can manage it, don’t use all 140 characters—that way, people have some character room to retweet you.
The goal of Goodreads is to connect readers and authors, so it is a great place to market your book. People use Goodreads to find the next book they want to read, so set up an author page and make sure they know about yours! The Goodreads Author Program lets you create a profile, write a blog, publicize upcoming events, and post videos (perfect for your book trailer!). You can also create ads or hold a book giveaway.
Goodreads has a feature called Listopia that allows users to create lists of books that other users then vote on. There are lists for all genres, such as “Best Action Adventure Books,” plus other collections like “Books You Must Read” and “Exceptional Indie Books.” Add your books to appropriate lists or ask your readers to add them for you. (Some people frown on an author adding their own books to a list, though it is not against the Goodreads rules. Just make sure you are only adding your book to appropriate lists. And maybe stick to lists like “Books about dogs” rather than “Top 10 books ever!” to avoid looking arrogant.) The more votes you have, the higher up on the list you appear—and the more exposure you get—so rustle up some folks to vote for your book.
Goodreads is also a great place to talk to your readers. You can hold discussions on your profile, in groups, or on the discussion forums. You can even hold a Q&A with readers about your book. This is a great way to get people excited about your book and about you as an author.
No one can buy your book if they’ve never heard about it. Use social media to your advantage and let all of your future readers know what they’re missing!