I did a webinar a few days ago for my publisher, Booktrope, about book marketing tips. The biggest question authors have is this: how can I market my books without spamming “Buy my book!” constantly on Twitter, Facebook and other channels? It’s a valid question, because as readers ourselves, we feel the bombardment fatigue. As authors, do we want to be constantly self-promoting? I know I absolutely do not!
Social media is a tool in your tool box — let’s call it a hammer. People are hammering us with tweets, (or maybe you’re doing that yourself), but to what end? Here’s what you need to ask before you start with all that hammering…where’s the nail? What are you building? Where’s your plan?
Is that all you can do to sell your books? No way. You have SO many other options!
I love social media because it’s an excellent way to connect with readers, book bloggers, book reviewers, and even other authors in a way that’s two-way, interactive, talking and listening, sharing cool articles and blog posts, discussion and discourse.
Twitter: What didn’t I say up there? Selling. The hard sell. The “Buy my book!” constant tweets. Sure, you can do that (and I do, too, occasionally, when my books are free or discounted — like right now), but constantly pushing in every tweet? No. Why? Because it’s ineffective and annoying. If that’s all you are capable of saying, of writing, then why would anyone be interested in purchasing your book? You are a terrible salesperson. There is no skill, no craft, no finesse there.
What can you do instead? Everything I listed in the first paragraph! It takes time and effort to build a fan base, and you need to invest in your readers just as you are expecting them to invest in you. If you expect them to take the time to read your work, shouldn’t you take the time to find out who they are, what interests them, discover common interests?
Tip: Use ManageFlitter to find readers, book bloggers, and book reviewers by entering in keywords. It’s not a perfect system, but it works well for me and I’ve used it for about five years to grow my following. Once I connect, I interact, retweet, share relevant information, discuss, etc.
Facebook: Use your personal account to interact, post interesting articles and blog posts, videos, quotes, etc….anything but a product or service because that’s against Facebook’s guidelines anyway. You need an author page for that stuff. And no, you can’t post what’s on your author page over to your personal account — why do people ask that? That’s like robbing Peter to pay Paul.
Tip: Facebook now offers a lovely new option — Notes. Click on the “More” button, and you’ll see a Notes option. Open it, and a whole new world opens up for you. I’ve chosen to share an excerpt from my upcoming release, Broken People (out next year from Booktrope). This is a great way to share your writing without the hard sell.
The best part about connecting with others is that you build up good karma — when you’re generous, the vibe carries. When you do have a new release, promotion or win an award, people are more than happy to share because they like you, are genuinely thrilled for you, and are happy to get the word out, without you even having to ask!
“I can’t blog because then I won’t have time to write.” If I had a nickel…
Listen, it’s not difficult to figure out that you need a web presence as part of your author platform, and a blog is an excellent way to ‘advertise’ your wares without that hard sell we all despise. Not sure what to write about? Here are a few tips:
In publishing, we brand the author, not the book. Readers want to know about you, the author.
Tip: Keep in mind, you will likely be writing more than one book, right? So if you create accounts, websites, or blogs that have your book’s name, what happens when you move on to the next book?
A great way to engage with your readers directly is to use what’s called ‘permission marketing’ tactics, aka email marketing. They subscribe to your email newsletter, you share your latest updates with them. I use Mailchimp but there are a lot of options out there. I share my latest blog posts with them, top tips, anything promotional (i.e., a sale or free promo), new excerpts from my upcoming books, contests, etc. Make it occasional, interesting, fun!
Here’s a great article from The Creative Penn with lots of ideas on email marketing.
What’s important to remember here: you own this list. You don’t own social media. They can block or suspend your account at any time, particularly if you’re spamming (please, don’t be spamming). You do own your email list however, if you do spam, people will report you as well.
Tip: Add a newsletter sign up tab to your website and Facebook author page. You can capture sign-ups in many places. Make it easy for people to sign up for your newsletter, not a treasure hunt.
You have a myriad of options to advertise your books, website, blog. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, even Instagram all offer options. Google AdWords is a good option if you can figure it out (or pay someone to do it).
The reason advertising is helpful: it doesn’t come directly from you. Indirect selling is helpful because it takes away the broadcasting module of your platform — it removes you from the equation, and focuses instead on the product. You can spend a small amount ($1-$5/day) for a few days if you feel it’s worth the effort. It’s totally your call.
Tip: Check out AuthorRise.com — I like their free options and if you choose to spend money on Facebook advertising, they work with you to make it as targeted as possible for you, you set your budget, and they do all the hard work! I’m very happy with their tools and services.
(Bonus: I ran across this awesome article and wanted to share it! 40 + Social Media Tools for Personal Branding http://ow.ly/UnhXJ via isocialfanz.com by Brian Fanzo.)
In Part Two, I cover another six to eight more marketing tips, including specific promo sites you may not be aware of.
Please feel free to share your own tips below!
To learn more about the Gravity Imprint (books about trauma and recovery) I’m now directing for Booktrope, click here.
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All content © 2017 by BadRedhead Media aka Rachel Thompson, author, unless otherwise specified. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to use short quotes provided a link back to this page and proper attribution is given to me as the original author.
Rachel Thompson is the author of newly released BadRedhead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge: How to energize your book sales in a month – created to help authors market their book. She is also the author of Broken Places (one of IndieReader’s “Best of 2015” top books and 2015 Honorable Mention Winner in the San Francisco Book Festival), and the multi award-winning Broken Pieces, as well as two additional humor books, A Walk In The Snark and Mancode: Exposed.
She owns BadRedhead Media, creating effective social media and book marketing campaigns for authors. Her articles appear regularly in The Huffington Post, IndieReader.com, The San Francisco Book Review (BadRedhead Says…), 12Most.com, BookPromotion.com, and Self-Publishers Monthly.
Not just an advocate for sexual abuse survivors, Rachel is the creator and founder of the hashtag phenomenon #MondayBlogs, #BookMarketingChat (co-hosted with Melissa Flickinger) and #SexAbuseChat, co-hosted with certified therapist/survivor, Bobbi Parish all live Twitter chats.
She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.