The Best Way to Use Social Media To Sell Your Books

By Rachel Thompson | Author Marketing

Sep 13
The Dos and Don'ts of Goodreads by Guest @nblackburn01


(This post originally appeared on Girlfriends Book Club. Republished with permission.)

The Best Way to Use Social Media To Sell Your Books

I’m often asked this question, as both a successful author and book marketer, and my answer is always the same: don’t use social media to sell books. [share ]Social media is social, not selling[/share]. If you plan to sell a whole bunch of books on social media, you will be disappointed. Manage your expectations, author friends.

Let’s deconstruct.

What IS Social Media?

Social media is comprised of different channels like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, StumbleUpon, etc., that work in different ways to connect people together. The actual definition of social media changes almost daily, mainly because it’s comprised of tech-based systems, which as you know, change almost daily!

Let’s go with the standard, go-to Wikipedia definition (as of today):

Social media is media used for social interaction, using highly accessible and scalable communication techniques. Social media is the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into interactive dialogue.”

So the key terms here are social interaction, communication, and interaction dialogue. 

Why then, do you think, authors do nothing but constantly spam their book links screaming BUY MY BOOK!!! on Twitter and other sites? How is that interactive?

It’s not. I think, more than anything, it’s a combination of ignorance and laziness.

Social Media Best Practices

Keep in mind that social media is but one small part of your author platform. If that’s all your using to sell your books, you will likely not sell much, especially given that social media is not a very effective selling platform, as we just discussed.

How can you best use social then? It seems like a no-brainer, but be social! Here are my top tips:

  • Focus: Focus your social efforts by identifying your ideal reader. What’s your demographic? Who are they? What do they read? Age? Income? Write it all out.
  • Keywords: Now write out about five or so keywords that will help you to find topics that you are interested in or passionate about, that will help you connect and interact with those readers. Don’t only focus on YOUR BOOK ALL THE TIME. You are a three-dimensional person, right? You don’t only talk about one topic all the time. If you’re interested in cooking, have cooking be a keyword. If you love restoring cars, discuss that.
  • Be generous. Share, retweet, and give back to your community in ways that you enjoy. Find a blog post you love? Share it. One caveat: don’t ever let anyone pressure you into sharing something you aren’t comfortable with. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.
  • Be consistent. Tweet, share, or pin a few times daily. Building up your social media presence will help your SEO ranking on Google. Be sure to have all your social media icons in a prominent place on your website and linked (typically, top right). It takes only a few minutes each day to share content and you can even schedule (some, not all) using Buffer or Hootsuite. There’s really no excuse to justify worming your way out of it – you’re only hurting yourself. You may not want to be on social, but your readers are ! Social media is this generation’s word of mouth. How can you connect with your readers if you don’t connect with your readers?
  • Be authentic. We can all spot a poser a mile away. Share content that really interests you. Set up Google Alerts about topics that you would already read anyway and share, or use Hootsuite’s Suggested Topics tool – enter in a few keywords and it pulls up articles to choose from. Ask questions (people love to give opinions and talk about themselves), share quotes or visuals. Be interesting! 


Pulling It All TogetherHuffington Post, RachelintheOC, BadRedheadMedia, Writing, Authors

Does a social media presence matter for selling books? Remember, social media is all about building relationships. Build relationships and people will be more likely to purchase your work – we buy things from people we like — humans are funny that way. Here are a few more reasons:

  • Your readers are on social media. The latest Pew Research shows 74% of all Internet users are active social media users. If you are not, you are missing out on potential opportunities.
  • Focus, again. That entire 74% is not your demographic. The biggest mistake I see authors new to social media make is spamming their book link to everyone. Everyone doesn’t read your genre. [share ]Find your readers by – you guessed it – building relationships.[/share]
  • SEO matters, too. While you may think Twitter is stupid or Google+ is a waste, Google doesn’t. Google indexes tweets and Google+ updates, and that means they count far more than your many Facebook interactions (which don’t count at all).
  • Visuals matter. Set up Twitter cards to increase images (which increases your RT rate and chances of indexing). Learn more about Twitter cards here.

The-Broken-Collection-663x1024These little tips count, and this is how I’ve successfully sold my five books (Broken Places is currently #1 on Amazon’s Poetry list), how I work with my own BadRedhead Media clients, and how I’m working with the authors of the Gravity Imprint (which I’m directing) of my publisher, Booktrope.

Do a little bit every day and create a plan of action so you can get yourself up to speed in no time. Share your thoughts, experiences, and questions below!

Further Reading: Check out my latest article on The Huffington Post, Top 3 Reasons Censoring Your Writing Is Holding You Back.


Sign up for my newsletter and never miss a post again! I will never share your email and that’s a promise. Follow me on Twitter @RachelintheOC or @BadRedheadMedia for social media, branding, or marketing help. Increase your blog traffic by participating in #MondayBlogs (a Twitter meme I created to share posts on Mondays — no book promo)

All content © 2018 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.

Pictures courtesy of royalty free Unsplash.

About the 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, The San Francisco Book Review (BadRedhead Says…),,, and Self-Publishers Monthly. Not just an advocate for sexual abuse survivors, Rachel is the creator and founder of the hashtag phenomenon #MondayBlogs and two live Twitter chats: #BookMarketingChat (co-hosted with TheRuralVA, Emilie Rabitoy) and #SexAbuseChat, co-hosted with C. Streetlights and Judith Staff. She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.

Leave a Comment:

(3) comments

[…] that this has anything to do with my article on HuffPo. Why? It’s not about ME. Remember, social media is about building relationships, not selling. Twitter is Twitter, not The Rachel Show. Slow down, it’s just one tweet or share. I know […]


[…] consistent, engaging, share interesting content that’s focused on what you are interested in. Build relationships with readers, book bloggers, book reviewers, and other influencers who are also interested in your same topics. […]


[…] Social media is an integral part of any author’s platform, and it needs to part of yours, too. Social is social, and it’s how adults and professionals network. Every one of my clients comes to me via online connections, mostly through social media, referrals, […]

Add Your Reply

Leave a Comment: