For those who self-publish, and even those who traditionally publish, social media has become the main means of creating buzz about their book. It is well recognized that word of mouth is the primary reason a book sells. However, generating word of mouth in the first place is a daunting challenge. Accordingly, we thought we would share with you some ideas – some of which you may have already tried, and others you might consider.
If you aren’t doing so already, you should be using social media to help readers get to know and like you but it clearly takes time and persistence. You need to engage your fans and start a conversation with them. Share your interests and seek to form friendships. Be positive and entertaining; make it fun and enjoyable for both you and them. Remember these are the people who will tell the world about your book. However, this is not the place to vent your frustration. And importantly, do not spam your book; there is such a thing as overkill in promoting your book.
Let’s talk about some of the ways you might be able to encourage readers to pick your book:
Set up a page on Facebook for your book with the cover and a short synopsis. Give your readers some background on how you do your research, or your writing process. Ask them questions to engage them and offer occasional free books. Did you know that you can add a free shopping cart and create a shopping cart app to sell your book directly from your Facebook page? Make it easy for a reader to find and buy your book. Consider holding a contest for those who share your page and give away a free book. Be generous, post links to other authors’ pages; they will do the same for you. Remember, your objective should be to engage followers so don’t just give information, start a conversation.
Consider starting a “theme” blog where you can discuss your research, your book and the books of other authors in the same genre. This is also a great place to put some ads. Again be sure to provide a link to your book’s webpage.
Network with other friendly bloggers- ask them to review your book on their site and do the same for them. Be sure to go to other blogs and leave comments (but not a sales pitch).
Post daily, or at least weekly, and keep it interesting. Be creative- include humor, current events, and even party suggestions with book themes. Make visitors want to come back!
This is the place to post your book news but again do not go into overdrive pushing your book!
Here’s another good idea- consider packaging your book with another author in your same genre for a special discount. You can then cross-promote on each other’s blogs. If you are each doing appearances or speaking engagements, you can include the other author’s book when selling yours.
Always add a link to your blog, webpage or Amazon page. You can obtain shortened links at “Bitly”. Although it is difficult to get followers to click through, they will never find you if you don’t add this. This is also a great place to have a contest. Give free books to those who retweet your tweets most often. One free book to a reader who becomes a fan turns into a number of purchased books by readers to whom they spread the word.
Twitter is a place for conversation. Give news about your subject, or self-publishing in general. Ask questions. Start a dialog about your topic. Be sure to engage your followers. This is not a place to talk endlessly about your book- get their attention and hopefully they will follow through with a click to your webpage.
Fundraisers and Charity
Find a charity that would benefit from your book’s sales. Steen Holmes has been generous with donations to Missing Children’s Society of Canada with profits from Finding Emma; similarly R.A.R.Clouston has made donations to ocean conservation groups from the profits of The Tempest’s Roar. This is a wonderful way to share your success and gain new fans.
Consider offering signed copies of your book to schools, charities and other organizations for their fundraisers.
Create a webinar to talk about you topic or your writing process. Once you pique people’s interest, you can mention your book. However, this should not be an infomercial for your book!
Teach A Class
Think about offering your expertise to a community college, church or temple. You could speak on your book’s subject matter, your reasons for writing, or your experiences with self-publishing. Not only can you sell your books after the program but you may be able to get a small fee.
Not having a traditional publisher does not mean you can’t have a launch party. Throw one yourself and invite the local media. You can do this at your home, at a local book store, or at a library. Have a book signing, provide food and make it a true celebration.
Stop by your local library and ask them if there is an opportunity for you to speak to groups that meet there. Often senior groups, book clubs and other community groups are interested in “entertainment”. After getting to know you, the library is more likely to suggest you to other local organizations that are interested in speakers; they may also recommend your book to readers looking for a good book.
Be thoughtful and creative in winning new fans.
Join the conversations – we would love to hear about your successes – or failures- in using social media to sell your book!
I have been trying to do most of these, but never thought about teaching a class.