National Post recently published a Special by author Hilary Davidson entitled “Sorry, but social media will not sell your book.” In this, she mentions how authors tend to think that simply being on social media will sell their product for them, that it’s a shortcut to fame and fortune.
“I won’t say that’s never happened, but it’s a bit like pointing at a lottery winner and saying you’re going to follow her get-rich strategy.”
She’s right, social media is no shortcut, but not in the sense you may think. You can’t just sign up, start posting, and watch the money roll in. If you’re looking for a get-rich-quick scheme that requires none of this, then there’s no point in reading the rest of this. Marketing and promoting on social media takes time, energy, knowledge, and resources.
“Writers are told by their publishers that they need to be on social media, like it’s some magical world that can make or break a career, but nobody tells authors what to do when they get there. Some only talk about their own work, and they don’t understand why no one is listening.”
When a potential reader sees your post, what will their reaction be? There’s a common marketing quote, "When marketers move in, buyers move out." People don't want to be sold to, they want to experience. The most successful marketing campaigns make us feel. Humor, joy, compassion, pride, belonging, hunger..... These are things that people will connect with. Connecting is what social media is all about. In that same article, Davidson said:
"Social media is an amazing creation for many reasons, and I’m an avid fan. It has let me meet people all over the world. It inspires conversations and ideas. It makes it easier to go to book festivals and introduce myself to people who would otherwise be total strangers. It can help answer research questions. If you’re passionate about something — for me, that’s a list which includes crime fiction, travel, gluten-free food, and cemeteries — social media will hook you up with others who share those obsessions. It’s an amazing thing, expanding your social circle without leaving your desk."
All these reasons (and more) are exactly what make social media such a powerful marketing tool. What if all that passion, obsession, interaction, and sharing was about your book? Even if you market it well, your book may never “go viral,” you may never win that lottery, but done right, social media marketing can make a huge difference. The key is, you have to learn how to use it right or get someone like me who already knows how.
Don’t be that author who’s hawking their product in every forum on the internet and wondering why people aren’t buying. Take a basic marketing class, attend a seminar, read up on it, and learn all you can. If you’re too busy, can’t figure it out, or just don’t want to, hire a social media marketing specialist or online publicist.
If you aren’t ready to focus on an online marketing campaign, work on building your online presence. Keep supporting and promoting other authors, get your name out there any way you can, search engines will pick it up eventually and people will see more of you and your books.