Social media

June 5, 2016 at 12:21 pm

social_mediaSocial media can be a useful tool in reaching people so they hear about your book. Gaining an international audience is now an attainable goal for an unknown author with a small print or self-published book, thanks largely to social media. A few years ago, that kind of thing would have been next to impossible. Sites like Facebook and Goodreads can make a huge difference to an author’s marketing.

This doesn’t mean that having no social media platform means your book won’t sell. However, there’s no doubt that pages on social media sites can made a huge difference, so even if you’re not computer literate, it’s a good idea to try it. Other authors are usually able to offer advice as to the best sites to use, and there are professionals out there who can help you set things up if you’re unable to do it yourself.

Most authors recommend having a Facebook author page and a Twitter account. Some may also be active on sites like Pinterest, Tumblr, YouTube and Instagram. Also, being involved in a book-specific site like Goodreads can be a great help too. I have a Facebook author page and a Facebook editor page, a Twitter account, a YouTube channel and a Pinterest account. I am also active on Goodreads, and have found all these sites, particularly Facebook and Goodreads, useful in reaching people who might not have otherwise heard about my books.

As with all these kinds of things, whether they be websites, personal appearances or social media pages, you need to devote time to them. There’s no point in setting them up and then doing nothing with them. It’s a good idea to try and find new content or a way to be involved daily, if possible, or certainly on a weekly basis. I put content on my Facebook pages every day. I make sure I post two tweets a day, as well. On my Pinterest account, I have a board where I post the covers of every book I read and review, and I am a member of a number of different groups on Goodreads, and try and post on different group pages there regularly.

This might seem like a lot of work, and it is. The trick is to try and find sites you like visiting. Goodreads is great for authors, as it’s all about books, so commenting on things can be something we want to do anyway. Most books, especially popular ones, have numerous discussions going on with them on Goodreads, which anyone can comment on. You can find them by searching for the book and scrolling down to the bottom of the page. Also, Goodreads has many different groups of which you can become a member. They cover subjects such as YA books, science fiction, clean romances … virtually anything. In fact, you can start a group yourself if you can’t find the one you want. And if you start one or become a member of one that has something in common with your books, it can be a great springboard to talking about them with someone.

However, a word of warning. Do not post on these sites, or even on your own pages, if all you’re going to do is post sales pitches all day. There’s nothing worse than an author who never posts anything except continual requests for people to buy their books. This is one reason why I find Twitter so frustrating. I try to follow any author who follows me, and frequently many of them will post as often as several times an hour with a quote from the latest great review of their book and a request for you to buy it.

If you’re going to use these social media accounts to their best and see results, you need to establish relationships. This is why it takes so much time, and why favouring sites you enjoy is important. That means it’s (hopefully) not going to be a chore and you will enjoy simply discussing your favourite books with others who also like YA books (or whichever genre you’re discussing). Sometimes they will ask a question that you can answer as an author, and this may lead to questions about your own books, or they may ask for some suggestions of good new reads. If I’m answering this question, while I might include my books, I will also mention some other books in that genre I have enjoyed, so it’s not just all about me.

Whether any of these things bear fruit or not is probably difficult to tell, but I do know I get sales from overseas, and I can’t think of another way people over there could have heard about me except via social media, so I think it works. How much it works probably depends on how much time you devote to it, but even if you can only do a little, it could increase your reach considerably.

If you would like me to write more on any specific site above and how I use them, let me know in the comments below. Have you had any success with a particular site? Let me know in the comments also.