In today's writing world, there's huge competition for readers. Authors are expected to have their own social media platform whether they are traditionally published or self-published. The first question writers ask is “Can I sell any books using social media?” Followed closely by “I don't have time for social media.” The answer to the first question is yes, you will sell books using social media but more importantly, you'll connect with your readers. I feel that all authors need to make time for social media to be successful with their book marketing and this is backed up with information from traditionally published authors.
From Guy Kawasaki's 10 Social Media Tips for Authors: “Wrap your mind around this: One of the most important factors that traditional publishers use to decide whether to acquire a book is the marketing platform of its author. You’d think that the main reason for approaching a traditional publisher is to reap the benefits of the publisher’s marketing, and you wouldn’t have to bring your own.
Life is full of mysteries, and whether you’re working with a traditional publisher or you are an artisanal publisher (a.k.a., “self-publisher”), the potency of your marketing platform can determine your success.”
While people are mourning the death of the traditional book and bookstores, we can also celebrate this brilliant new way that readers, authors, and their books are connecting in this new frontier. Books are reaching a new renaissance as the possibility for online popularity can push a book from an author's mind to their computer and straight into the hands of their fans as happened with indie phenom Hugh Howey. Hugh wrote his WOOL series and self-published them on his website. Fans found them and went crazy for them creating online buzz and unheard-of book sales for a self-published author. The pure quality of content gave Howey's books legs and found readers as he published them in five small novels in a serial manner. Fans couldn't and still can't get enough as they flock to his website to check his word count on his next writing projects.
I'm creating a twelve-part series for authors on how to use social media marketing to sell their books covering everything from the basics of social media, why design matters, how to create a social media plan, online book tours, and more. I've been working with authors with My Book Club for several years, working with Guy Kawasaki on What the Plus! as well as APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur – How to Publish a Book by Guy and co-author Shawn Welch. I moderated a Google+ community for APE and the focus is all of the APE processes so I've been talking to writers for months about writing and specifically the entrepreneurial part since that is my focus. But first, let's talk about how to get people to fall in love with your book with social media because that's why you're here.
Falling in love is a passionate act that connects you with another person, this can be a romantic partner, new best friend or even a book. When people fall in love with a book, everyone knows it. They talk about it with their friends, write about it on Facebook or Twitter and sometimes write book reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. You want that book to be your book, right? Social media marketing can help you share your passion for writing and your topic with a whole new fan base.
Why people will connect with you on social media:
L – LOYALTY
Building a relationship with someone through social media communications will build trust over time and eventually a loyalty will build as well. As people get to know you and your work, they will seek you out on social media.
O – BE OPEN
It's the only way to go! This doesn't mean that you need to overshare every detail of your life but just be yourself. Let your readers connect with the person behind their favorite book and learn more about you. Keep a layer of personal privacy but share what is appropriate and be consistent. I share photos when I travel but not all my personal photos. One bonus for introverts is that it isn't as overwhelming as live events so quiet writers can shine just as brightly as their extroverted counterparts.
V – PROVIDE VALUE
Give people a reason to seek you out and come back for more. Share parts of your book research on your blog, tweet interesting quotes or a great line from a book that you're writing as a teaser. Writers are creative, smart, and interesting, use these traits to build your social platform. Provide value to the people who follow you by sharing things that they can learn from or that will entertain them.
E – BUILD EXPERTISE
Google is making a huge shift on on-line search with Google authorship and author rank, these tie together your blog or website with your social media for a new kind of social SEO. What this means is that all your online writing and social media are tied together with how people will find you when they search on Google. Your name will rank higher with people who you are connected with on social media channels.
Being an “expert” within a certain field can lead to media interviews such as blog interviews, podcasts, or live streams. All these are fantastic for your brand. The tricky part is you don't want to write iguana expert in your bio, declaring yourself an expert is a social media faux pas.
As we go through this series, I'll discuss social media for writers in greater detail so that you can learn how to LOVE social media and have it LOVE you right back.
Have you started to build your author platform for your writing yet? What's holding you back?
Next week, I'll cover some social media basics for writers. I hope you'll join me then!