Congratulations, you’ve written a book! You’ve argued with characters, stressed over the plot, edited until your eyes blurred, and consumed enough caffeine to keep a small village awake for a month straight.
You have a nice shiny new book with your name on it and now you need to sell it. Depending on your publisher, whether traditional or indie, your book is out there somewhere: Amazon, Wal-Mart, Barnes and Noble, and/or little mom and pop bookstores.
It’s not enough for it to just be there. It’s never going to get read if no one knows about it. I don’t like to sell things. Especially things I’ve created. I’d rather sit behind the scenes and go unnoticed but books won’t sell that way. Sure, your publishing company may help with promotion. They could set up a blog tour, do some advertisements, and lead and guide you, but there is only so much they can do. You’re not their only author.
The success of your book is going to depend largely on you.
I’m writing a two-part blog post to share some tips to help you promote your novel. This week I’m going to focus on how I use social media.
Social media is huge. Almost everyone has some form of social media, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat or one of the many others. One of the biggest tips I can give it to create an online presence and interact with your followers and friends.
I personally use Twitter and Facebook, so my tips will be for those specific platforms.
Let’s start with Twitter. If you don’t have a Twitter account and you decide to start one or if you have a Twitter account, my first tip is to go on a following spree. Following in the twenty-first century has a different connotation than it did when I was growing up in the 1980s and 1990s. Having followers is a good thing.
Find your favorite authors and follow them. Follow other writers, authors, publishers, editors, bloggers, readers, anyone who posts about books. Twitter will suggest people to follow. Follow them. Most of the time, when you follow someone, they’ll follow you back.
Twitter has a special character that can connect its users by subject. #. For those of you over 30, that’s the pound key, but it’s been given a new identity. It’s now referred to as “hashtag”. For more information on hashtags see this helpful post from Twitter. https://help.twitter.com/en/using-twitter/how-to-use-hashtags
Use hashtags when posting about your book or even when you’re writing. (Hint, you’ll find followers that way too.) When promoting my debut novel, Hidden Danger, on Twitter I use these hashtags:
Facebook is another great tool. You can use your personal account to create a “Page”. It’s basically another account. You can create posts and interact with others as that “Page”. My Facebook author page is http://www.Facebook.com/JenniferPierceAuthor. The neat thing about having an author page is that Facebook gives you the option to “boost” your posts. I’m not sure on the logistics of how Facebook boosts the post but I do know that it allows people who aren’t your friends or who haven’t already liked your page the opportunity to see your post. Facebook does charge for this particular service though. I’ve boosted a few posts and spent $7 per post. But if that $7 leads to two people buying your book, you’ve made your money back.
Facebook also has groups. It’s what it sounds like. Groups of like-minded people gathering on social media to discuss a specific topic. There are a lot of writing, reading, and book related groups. Join the groups, interact with the other members, and build friendships. Lots of groups allow you to promote your books on certain days. A Few of the groups I’m a member of are:
The Bookshelf: Christian Readers & Writers
Avid Readers of Christian Fiction
ACFW Mystery/Suspense/Thriller Group
Something I didn’t know until recently is that you can use hashtags on Facebook.
When creating social media posts, don’t forget a buy link. It’s easier for them to just click on the link and go directly to your book than for them to have to go to the website and search. The buy link can be super long so you can find a website to shorten it, like bitly.com.
Posting the title of your book and the buy link on your social media sites is good, but eventually people are going to stop seeing the posts if that’s all you do. A helpful idea for creating posts on social media is using memes or graphics. Create something eye catching to make people stop scrolling through their feed and look at your post.
I like to create images that include the cover of my book along with a short line from the story or one of the taglines. There are lots of free sites you can use to create graphics.
Here are a few of mine:
The biggest and most important tip for social media use is to stay connected. Interact with your audience. Ask them questions, answer their questions, and post regularly.
Next week I’ll talk about interacting with your community.
Jennifer Pierce currently lives in Arkansas with her husband and two children. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and River Valley Writers, where she serves as secretary.
More about Jennifer Pierce:
Books by Jennifer Pierce include Hidden Danger which is out NOW and Expecting Danger, available Dec. 4.
All Maggie Jones wants to do is sell her late father’s property and get out of Whitehaven, Texas as fast as possible—before she runs into the one man she’s spent the past six years avoiding. Someone has other plans for her, though. Sinister plans. And when a seemingly harmless act of vandalism turns into a series of menacing threats, she has no choice but to turn to last person on earth she wants to see for help.
Sheriff Cody Smith never expected to see Maggie again, especially after he’d broken her heart all those years ago. Maybe this is the second chance he’s always wanted. But when he realizes Maggie’s in grave danger, he intends to keep her safe at all costs. With lines from an old nursery rhyme as their only clue, he needs to find out who’s behind this deadly game before the rhyme ends and Maggie’s time runs out. Can he protect her, catch the bad guy, and make amends for past wrongs? Or will old wounds get in the way?