Marketing books on social media has become one of the most popular ways for Authorpreners to sell their work— but it very rarely offers the results they’re after. Many authors will regularly post book blurbs, book covers and promotions on their platforms, but this not an effective way to make sales.
To really harness the power of social media (and trust me— there’s power there), you need to understand exactly how to use each platform. So today I’m going to go into that with you:
First Of All: What’s Your Skill Set?
If you’re chatty, extroverted, and bold… Twitter is perfect for you!
Do you come up with fabulous one-liners? Are you that person who has a popular opinion because you’re #relatable? Or perhaps you’re passionate about current happenings and connecting with different people? If this seems like you, then I would strongly recommend Twitter.
Twitter is a place where people from all different industries can share ideas and join the conversation. It’s useful because your readers can follow you on your platform and get notified when you tweet new stuff.
As an author, you can also engage with editors, publishers, agents and writers, as well as in online chats that are currently trending through a magical piece of technology called a hashtag.
Simply #HashtagYourSubject to instantly be put on the radar of everyone searching for content under that niche.
If you’re photogenic, creative, and visual… Instagram is the place to be!
Do you understand the art of photography? Do you love showing snippets of your life? If so, I recommend using Instagram.
On Instagram, you can share photos of your life— and as a writer, you can really utilize it to give people a glimpse at what you’re working on, the places you’re going, what you’re currently reading, and who you are as an individual.
Much like Twitter, Instagram uses hashtags as well to sort your photos into the right categories. Some commonly used hashtags that might be useful for authors include:
And there are tons more.
If you are sharing, helpful & knowledgeable… Pinterest is your home!
Do you love sharing ideas with people? Creating collections, learning new things, and saving articles to read later? If so, you will thrive on Pinterest.
Pinterest is basically Google 2.0— you can search for and ‘pin’ anything, and best of all, it provides a list of keywords to help narrow down your search into something more specific!
Many writers, and in particular bloggers, use it to create ‘pin boards’ of their content and ideas.
For example, some bloggers will pin their blog posts and then optimize them, which means that they have more chance of being discovered through the right keywords because it’s not limited to the first 10 search results on Google.
Authors, on the other hand, create character inspiration boards, story boards, and even writing prompts, so that readers can come and see what’s going on in their head as they write!
If you’re both of these things, Pinterest is basically a non-negotiable platform. You’ve got to get on it.
If you are entertaining and/or a good speaker… YouTube is for you!
Are you the kind of person who’s really good at verbally telling stories? Or maybe you can silence a crowd with your speech making skills? If so, then you need to get on YouTube.
YouTube is a video platform where people can upload videos they make. There’s an entire book community on there called #BookTube, and very recently another community started called #AuthorTube. This is a great place to talk and discuss ideas through your videos, or even connect with readers by sharing your thoughts on other books.
If you are Old School and Seeking a Focused Audience… get onto Facebook
If you’re still dipping your toes into social media, you might feel most comfortable on good ol’ Facebook. Now before you knock it, it can be quite effective if you know where to go.
Having an author page is a great place to establish some kind of internet presence, especially if you don’t have a website yet. Plus, Facebook lets you join reading and writing groups, some of which can be very helpful when promoting your novel and sharing tips. (But I don’t recommend using them solely to promote your book, and here’s why.)
The downside is that your reach won’t go far— any posts you share will only reach people who have friended you, or who follow your page, which makes it really hard to grow your audience without spending money on ad campaigns.
If you are a writer… then you must get on Goodreads
For real, if you aren’t sold on any of the above social media platforms, at least get onto this website.
Goodreads is a massive book database where you can look up any novel and find/post reviews for it, find similar books, and join reading communities. It is an author’s best friend.
Plus, being an author gives you a number of awesome perks— including your own author page, the ability to run giveaways (though I don’t recommend this*), respond to reviews and questions, connect with other authors etc. There’s no crazy hashtags involved or insane computer skills needed— it’s just paradise.
*Recently, Goodreads changed their policy and now you must pay money to do giveaways. Don’t waste your money on this. You can host a giveaway that’s just as effective (if not more so) on Twitter and Instagram. Read more here (pt 3).
What Other Options Do I Have?
Other ways you can grow your presence online, especially if you’re just starting out, is through apps like Wattpad, Tapas, Episode, or even just through a blog. Though be warned— writing communities always have risks, and posting work online doesn’t protect it from being stolen. If you’d like to learn more about the pros and cons of writing communities, I recommend this post, this post, this post & this post from different writers who have had varying experiences.
Remember: Quality Over Quantity
It can be disheartening to see authors with heaps and heaps of followers, but keep in mind that there are people out there who will follow you just to build up their own network, not because they’re interested in you. So if you’ve got a small following with engaged, interested readers, as opposed to being someone with hundreds of followers who never interact with you, then you are doing fine my friend.
Written by Pagan Malcolm
Pagan is an indie-published, YA fiction author & former marketing assistant at Pen Name Publishing, as well as the founder of Paperback Kingdom.