How to Market your Book with Social Media Tools

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Writing a book is a huge undertaking! But the really hard work starts when you are done. If you've already started building your social media platform, hooray! If you need to get started, what are you waiting for? Writers today need a social media platform whether you are self-published or traditionally published. It's up to you to market your book. Guy Kawasaki says that you should be marketing your book as long as you want people to buy it.

I did a presentation recently at a writer's conference and I wanted to share my presentation with you, my awesome blog readers, as well. The most important thing that I wanted writers to know is that they have all the skills to be awesome on social media. Be confident and give it a try!

A last-minute idea that I had before starting my presentation was to take a selfie photo on stage with the audience in the photo. It was spontaneous, fun, and I connected with the audience immediately. They were part of my story before I even started and part of my social media story later.

Selfie at PubCamp

The next most important message is that social media is not hard selling. You can't come online and talk only about yourself and say buy my book over and over again. No one wants to hear that, you won't sell any books, and you'll become frustrated.

There's no social media magic formula – create your own mix {click to tweet}

  1. You need to balance the material that you share in social media. Some people share an 80/20 mix. 80 percent other people’s materials and 20 percent yourself.
  2. Don’t be “that guy or girl.” You cannot only promote yourself. You will have no followers at all.

Please check out my article How to Promote Yourself Without Being a Jerk for more tips.

I've created all my social media marketing campaigns for Guy Kawasaki and Kreussler Inc. with no budget. I just come up with an idea, find the tools that I need to create what I want and do it. I'm the MacGyver of social media marketing but guess what, you can do it too! It doesn't cost a lot of money to create great work, you just need to be detailed, creative, and smart.

Here are a few tools that writers can use to create media for their social media marketing book campaigns.

How to Market Your Book with Social Media ToolsTogather – Create an online book club or host a reading. Use the talent and tools to at Togather create a great online (or offline) event

Storify – aggregate content from across the web to tell a story.

Shindig – Host a video chat

Google+ Hangouts on Air – A great way to connect with readers, other authors and get the word out about your book. You can host them or be a guest. Some of the best conversations I've had in the past year have been on Google+ Hangouts with authors. Here's a recent Hangout I was on with Robert Scoble, Shel Israel, Shawn Welch and Guy Kawasaki for Age of Contextyou'll see how this is a great way for authors to share the premise of their book.

Pinterest is a fantastic social media tool for writers. I recommend at least ten boards on your Pinterest account. Set up something like this:

  • Board #1: About me (pins things you like that share your personality)
  • Board #2: Links to your social media accounts and website
  • Board #3: Your book/books
  • Board #4: Your blog/website articles
  • Board #5: Books you like
  • Board #6: Writing inspirations
  • Boards #7-10: Choose four topics that you like to create boards. Use the focus of your boards to help establish your brand and area of expertise.

Once you’ve built this foundation, you can add storyboards, character boards, location pinboards or any aspect of your writing that you would like to focus on that will entice your readers and get them interested in reading your book.

You want to let your followers get to know you as a person through your pins, Pinterest is not all business or sales. People will not be interested if you just push a sales message through your pins.

Pinterest is a visual channel so make sure that you pin colorful, interesting photos and add descriptions to each pin. My chapter in APE is about Pinterest and how authors can use it.  I hope you check it out. You can find me on Pinterest here.

Some authors I love on Pinterest:

Guy Kawasaki

Hugh Howey

Laura Frantz

Nick Trandahl – he had me at the pipe and alphabetized boards.

(Disclosure: I work on Guy and Hugh's Pinterest boards)

I hope you found a few new ways that you can use social media to market your book. If you use one of these ideas, tweet me a link and let me know how they worked for you. It's not too late to put together a great holiday promotion for your book, so get working!

Photo credit: Big Stock Photos

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  1. A strong place to start when deciding to promote a book. A lot of useful materials. Thanks Peg.

  2. Great post Peg what you Guy Kawasaki said bout having to keep marketing as long as you want to keep selling is so true

  3. Interesting post and very useful tips on promoting book via social media tools…Thumbs up..!!

  4. Marcia_Riefer_Johnston It’s actually not a good photo but great if you look at what a photo should be which is to remember something special that happened so in this sense it’s a great photo for me.

    I’m glad you got some inspiration from my article and I hope our conversation the other day gave you some ideas too.

  5. PegFitzpatrick I love the spirit that your photo captures. And yes, your suggestions have made a difference. For instance, I did add “speaker” to my LinkedIn tagline. I forgot that this change would trigger notices to my connections. I’ve received a number of “congratulations” messages. You helped me get the word out.

  6. Great article, Peg! Thanks for sharing your expertise! I took the leap a few years ago, writing and publishing a flash fiction ebook. The experience of writing it was amazing. Then I got to the marketing! 
    That’s when the learning curve began. Collaboration and getting the word out about your book is so important! With social media at the tip of your fingers, and writing in your blood I’ve learned that the experience of marketing today can be just as amazing as the experience of writing. 
    I’ve found using social contests on Facebook and Twitter really helped too. Thanks for your comprehensive tips, to give a leg up to fellow ebook authors!

  7. Krista Bunskoek Hi Krista! Great to meet you.
    Awesome – sounds like you’ve figured it out. What types of social contests did you do? Have you tried any with Pinterest?
    Thanks for sharing your story.

  8. PegFitzpatrick Thanks Peg! I found Twitter was the best way for me to connect with fellow flash fiction writers. I used social contests like vote contests (to choose book covers, and character names) and sweepstakes (to give away free copies of my finished and published book!). 
    Vote contests are pretty cool, as you can really get your community engaged, and interested in sharing the creative process. There’s also essay contests you could use – to have fun with collaborative ebook writing (for example, (ok, i just thought of this one): set up an essay contest, with a story theme or image; get your “tribe”/community to write 500-1,000 word stories; get people to vote for their favourites; compile the best stories into a collaborative ebook!)
    I haven’t personally used a lot of Pinterest networking for my ebook, but you could use “Pin it to Win it” contests (to give your book away, and spread the reach of your ebook by getting lots of repins), or you could even host any kind of interactive contest on your blog, and Pin it to your followers… 🙂
    (I know a lot about social contests, as I now work for a company that makes social contest apps (http://corp.wishpond.com) – they are a cool way to engage,  just add your creative touch!)

  9. I totally agree with
    you, social media is so time consuming! It’s great that you are getting out
    there in other ways! One thing I can suggest is some social media tools to help
    save you time.

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