#23-author-social-mediaJust because you’re an author doesn’t mean you need to “go it alone.” It’s time to succeed in the wide, wonderful world of author social media, where, as they say, the magic happens!

If you’ve been down on social media in the past, or haven’t given it the old college try, or tried and feel as though you’ve failed, then help is on the way. Today, a brief overview of why EVERY author needs a social media platform and some basic rules of the game that apply to any social interactions. Next week, we begin the “deep dive” into each of the major platforms that can help you get more marketing and sales traction for your book, including:

  • Facebook – The “people pleaser” (Most, if not all your readers will be on Facebook)
  • Goodreads – The “Facebook” for readers, with groups for every possible genre represented
  • Twitter – The place to find anything (and the fastest place readers can find YOU)
  • LinkedIn – For outreach to larger “groups” and influential readers
  • Pinterest – Huge discoverability points with minimal time investment on your part
  • Google+ – The “plus” as we see it is getting your website content better indexed by Google
  • YouTube – Bringing you and your content to life (along with Vine and Periscope)
  • Instagram – For developing tribes and reaching out to insta-bookers

7 Reasons Author Social Media DOES Have Value!

For those of you still on the fence, we get it. Social media can seem overwhelming, and tedious, and the question is always: does it actually SELL books? It can, but of course your author social media can do so much more.

For marketers, social media is imperative these days in their overall marketing strategies. As you’ll see from this chart from one of our favorite advice sites, Social Media Examiner, marketers cite these as their most common key benefits:


And for authors, these are the seven key benefits we most often see among clients:

  1. Social media is the fastest, most economical way to refer traffic to your blog, website, even Amazon.
  2. Social media provides instant feedback and market research for your work.
  3. Social media will let you discover and benefit from a community of fellow authors promoting similar work (cross-promotion)
  4. Social media is the biggest way other book influencers are sharing your book (reviewers, book clubs, festivals and indie bookstores)
  5. Social media lets you develop relationships with other people and companies who can assist you in your journey (like Where Writers Win!)
  6. Social media allows you to quickly inform readers about contests, giveaways, book sales and upcoming appearances
  7. Social media provides you a platform to build your list, and talk about and sell your work to readers, worldwide!

Five Social Media Do’s

As we dive into each social media platform, keep these general rules and guidelines in mind, beginning with the “Do’s”:

DO be authentic – People want to connect with YOU, the author, not a fake persona or worse, publicist.

DO include links – Critical on sites such as Twitter and Pinterest – whet their whistle with a brief statement, question or photo, but then give them a link to let readers further engage!

DO respect your fans – Like you, readers’ time is valuable. They may be pleased to know you share a love of animals; they’re probably not as interested in what you had for breakfast (unless it’s at a place they all need to visit!). VERY important – If they take the time to comment on what you’ve written/posted, answer them and thank them, always. Social media is a conversation!

DO include photos/visuals – Posts with pics/video get seen more, read more, and shared more. Period.

DO share others’ content – Reciprocity isn’t just kind; it’s smart marketing. As is sharing other interesting books, articles, photos, etc. Aim to share 90% of the time, while sharing your own content just 10% of the time. You’ll be known then as someone who has genuine interest in the topic being discussed, not as someone just trying to sell a book.

Five Social Media Don’ts

DON’T engage with trolls – If someone has a differing opinion, by all means respect that and thank them for weighing in. If they become increasingly agitated or verbally abusive, or can’t stick to the subject at hand, they’re likely a “troll” and not worthy of your time.

DON’T overwhelm yourself – Begin with just one or two social media platforms where you feel the most comfortable connecting with YOUR readers. Aim to spend just 20-40 minutes a day connecting (we like 20 minutes with morning coffee and 20 minutes with afternoon tea).

DON’T spam your readers – Put yourself in the place of your reader. What’s interesting to share? Useful? Helpful? Just as a magazine or newspaper has content in the form of news and stories and ads for advertisers, so too should your social media posts be about events, or contests, or new blog content, not just a “Buy the Book” message.

DON’T forget to spellcheck – Do you really want to lose a potential reader because of sloppy social media post? Yes, we’re all in a hurry and we all misspell stuff, all the time. Problem is, because you’re an author, you’ll be judged more harshly for it. Readers won’t recognize that your books, as opposed to your social media posts on the fly, have been edited three or four or more times. Take an extra sixty seconds to look over your posts for word omissions, grammar and spelling errors.

DONT give up after three months – Building your author platform with both influencers and social media takes TIME. Most publishers advise you to begin building your social network at least 9-12 months in advance of publication. Those same publishers will tell you honestly (as will we) that it can take an emerging author 12-18 months or more after publication to really gain traction (and book sales) with their audience.

It’s a marathon not a sprint; be in it for the long haul and keep the pressure on with consistent author social media posts. Bonus: Just by being consistent you’ll break through the “noise” of hundreds of thousands of other authors who will give up too soon…

Additional Resources:

11 Reasons Indie Authors Need Social Media (And How to Get It Right!)

How Successful Authors Use Social Media to Sell More Books

Guy Kawasaki’s 10 Social Media Tips for Authors

Social Media For Writers Is A Misunderstood Opportunity