It’s the turn of “S” in the #AtoZChallenge. As many of you may know, I went on a self publishing adventure last year and included some of my learning experiences in this post: Tips for Self Publishing Your Book.
One aspect that has become clear is the importance of your social media following when writing a book – not just for self publishing but also for traditional publishing as publishing houses will wish to see a following. Here’s some suggestions for how you can use social media to build that following:
Writing a blog has so many advantages for writers, not only does it get the fingers tapping and provide writing practice, you also receive feedback on your writing and learn what works and what doesn’t. Feedback comes in the form of website visits, bounce rate, comments and shares. My own book was inspired by the number of comments and shares enjoyed by a single blog post. Some authors use their blog for drafting out a book and use a tool such as Scrivener to combine all of the relevant blog posts into a book.
The blog can also be used to build awareness of your book. Reading Pat Fitzpatrick’s post the other day, he pointed out that his recent absence on his blog may have contributed to a recent decline in sales. I recently read that having a good blogging presence can be as effective as appearing on a TV show, I’m not sure of the truth of that but it certainly sounds impressive.
Blogging gives you a means to build relationships with other bloggers, some of whom may review your book on their blog too.
You can share your writing journey on twitter, share how your writing is progressing, raise awareness of your upcoming book – all by using the popular hashtag #amwriting. It also helps when you connect with other writers as you can support each other in your writing journeys.
Once you have self published your book, you can use a personal hashtag to promote it or just to build awareness. By using the Twitter search facility, you can connect with potential readers too.
Those who like your facebook page can be rewarded by feeling part of the journey if you share your writing process, your self publishing news and your successes. Sharing your reviews or even photos of your book in bookshops means that people share your excitement. However, don’t make your page all about you. Share information that is of interest to your audience, be it news within your topic area, articles and images that are entertaining, and encourage their interaction. Building a following on Facebook is a great way to create a loyal readership for future books too.
Pinterest can also be used in a variety of ways. Create a secret board for your novel’s inspiration using images of people to help you picture your characters, pins of spooky barns or windy days or beautiful beaches to help you plan your settings and describe atmosphere, and drafts of your front cover. You can then make the secret board public once the book is published so that others can share in this insight.
Boards for book reviews and book related products such as quotes and bookcases are very popular. Pinning your book reviews (for example, on other blogs) to your own ‘Book Review’ board for others to repin and read. You could also create a shared board for book reviews or other related topics and invite other readers to contribute.
Don’t forget about Linked In either – tell all your contacts that you are now an author! Social media also helps with getting publicity, journalists may have come across you or you can contact them directly.
A good book can enjoy huge successes even if self-published and as this post shows, some authors are turning down book deals in order to continue with self publishing. However, most books require the help of social media to build awareness and grow sales. It is never too late to start either so do get in contact if you would like some social media training.