“Marketing is first and foremost about connecting.” – Wendy Paine Miller
Today’s publishing market requires authors to wear several hats, one of them being marketer. For many authors, they haven’t a clue what to do or how to get the word out about their book(s). I see it all the time on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn; authors posting about their books in an unending stream of impersonal tweets and posts.
“BUY MY BOOK! BUY MY BOOK! BUY MY BOOK, PLEASE!”
I shake my head because these authors miss the whole point. Social media is at its core, social. It’s a powerful marketing tool, if you know how to use it. Let me give you an example:
Back in 2012, I wrote my debut novel, Princess of the Light. When the time came to edit and publish it, I started chatting with some of my Twitter followers about it. Nothing major, just musings and observations. People started asking me more about it and I shared the story behind POTL. They were intrigued and as a result bought it when it was released. I’m proud to say they were my first readers and have been loyal ever since.
How did I do it? I made a connection and readers responded.
When I’m on social media, I’m a real person, not some robot. I talk about more than my books. I talk about baking, sports, what I’m reading, writing, editing, cooking, interesting articles I’ve read, news, politics, supporting food banks, the weather… the topics are endless. I’m being social and in this day and age of automation and technology, the simple act of saying good morning makes a huge impact.
So, what about book marketing?
I’m a writer and as a writer, I take great pride in crafting attention-grabbing tweets. Words are my thing and especially on Twitter, it’s a challenge to grab the reader by the collar so that they’ll want to click-through to learn more. I love it, though, because it hones my writing skills. I encourage all authors to try it.
Here are ten quick tips to help you get real on social media:
- Use this formula when posting on social media – 20% book marketing, 10% small talk (weather, exercising, cooking, etc.), 30% retweets, 20% personal (I use this to post baking/cooking pics), 20% other interests (sports, hobbies, news, politics, etc.)
- Post consistently on social media. I know time is a rare commodity for all of us. So whether you’re on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or Facebook, post consistently. The so-called experts tell us that we should only be posting x number of times per day/week. Listen, do what works for you. For me, I post on my blog 5 days a week, tweet every 20 minutes or so (thanks to Triberr) and post to Pinterest at least once a week. It’s all I have time for but it works for me. Consistency is the key.
- Use graphics/images in all of your posts. Humans are, as a rule, visual people. We eat with our eyes first, or so says my husband (Retired Chef MR N). People identify with an image and sometimes that image has a bigger impact than the wording below.
- If a follower/reader asks you a question on social media, respond. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tweeted an author and get no response. Listen, you’re not as busy as Harlan Coben or Jamie Oliver. Yet, both of these authors have responded to my tweets. It takes a few moments and yet has a huge impact on the reader.
- Retweet/Like/Reblog on social media. Not only is this a great way to meet new people, it’s a sneaky marketing move to gain new followers. The more followers you have, the bigger your social media reach, the more likely you’ll find new readers to buy your books. I employ the Golden Rule on social media (do unto others as you would like done to you) and it really pays off.
- Be real on social media. I know this sounds obvious but I’ve encountered so many authors who tell me they can’t be themselves online. “I can’t be myself, I’m an author.” Why not? I’m sure if Ernest Hemingway were alive today, he’d be spouting honest tweets in the middle of the night for all of us to see. My point is, you have to be yourself or else no one is going to read your books. Readers are attracted to a story, sure, but they first want to know about the author. Be real and let your followers see a little piece of yourself. I do this with my pics of baking/cooking and chatting with others on Twitter.
- Don’t spam complete strangers on social media. What would Miss Manners say? We all hate spam and spammers are all over social media. I see a lot of authors send tweets to complete strangers about their book, myself included. It grates on my nerves because I’m receiving book sale info about a perfect stranger. Instead, start following people you’re interested in connecting with and once a conversation has been initiated, then maybe mention your book.
- Use hashtags. I can’t emphasize this enough. We’re all busy and lead jam-packed lives. We sometimes only have a few minutes while waiting to pick up the kids from school or on a lunch break so we scroll through our feeds. We subscribe to hashtags and see what’s new. Hashtags are a great way to connect with people of similar interests. Some of my favorite book-related hashtags include: #books, #amreading, #FridayReads, #TuesdayBookBlog, #bookboost, #goodreads, etc.
- Don’t ever, ever respond to a blogger/reviewer negatively on social media. It’s bound to happen. A reader/reviewer/blogger will not like your book. In fact, they may even bash you personally for no reason whatsoever. You’ll feel tempted to correct them or defend yourself. STEP AWAY FROM THE KEYBOARD/DEVICE! I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve seen authors taking to social media in response to a bad review/comment. I call this authors behaving badly. Listen, there’s going to be plenty of readers who won’t love/get/understand/relate to/respect your book(s). It’s part of the being a writer/storyteller. How? Vent to your inner circle via email/text/phone but never by social media. You’ll never convince them and it will make you look unprofessional. Instead, go read a few raving reviews.
- Use the Tupperware marketing approach.
In 1942, Earl Tupper developed his first bell shaped container; the brand products were introduced to the public in 1948. Tupperware pioneered the direct marketing strategy made famous by the Tupperware party. The Tupperware Party allowed for women of the 1950s to work and enjoy the benefits of earning an income without completely taking away the independence granted to women during the Second World War when women first began entering the labor market, all the while keeping their focus in the domestic domain. (Wikipedia)
Word of Mouth marketing is one of the best marketing strategies, especially for authors, because it’s organic and driven by honest customers. Imagine you’re at a dinner party and the topic turns to books. What’s everyone been reading? You then begin to share with everyone at the party about that book you just finished. People pay attention because there’s nothing false about it, just your opinion. No hidden agenda, no secret business dealings, just one reader’s opinion. Authors need to tap into this marketing ploy and here’s how: Ask your readers to leave a review online and if they liked it, tell at least two friends about it. Now, there’s no way to track it but that’s the beauty of it. You’re asking the reader to help you in a very important way. Suddenly, they have an active role, not a passive one. Think organic, think natural, think honest. At the end of the day, that’s how books sell: word of mouth.
It’s time to take these easy marketing techniques and put them into practice. Get real on social media and watch your readership grow. It might take some time and planning but then anything worth doing takes time. It takes years of pressure and patience to create a diamond. Trust me, it’s worth it.
Do you have any questions and/comments about social media marketing? I’d love to hear from you. If you know someone who might enjoy this article, please share using the buttons below.
Let’s bring back the social in social media!
N.N. Light is the best-selling husband-wife writing team, commonly known as Mr. N and Mrs. N.
Mrs. N. has been creating stories ever since she was little. Her grandfather remembers when she was two years old, she would stand at the top of the stairs and tell him a story filled with emotion (and in a language foreign to him) with her hands on her hips. Let’s just say she was a born storyteller.
They’re blissfully happy and loves all things chocolate, books, music, movies, art, sports, trains, history, cooking and baking. Their mantra is to spread the Light.
Most of the time you can find them on Twitter or getting new ideas on how to spread the Light on Pinterest. They’re a proud member of ASMSG and Independent Author Network.
In addition to being authors, they’re also book promoters/reviewers, social media marketers/influencers and the owners of N. N. Light Author Promotions. They both love books, have ever since they were young. Matching up books and readers is something that gives them great pleasure.