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Large publishing houses have many resources they can utilize to market a book through national book store chains, large magazines, and even television ads. As a self-published author, your options may be much more limited but that doesn’t mean you can’t still get the word out effectively and inexpensively. The internet is one of your greatest resources as it can be used for a very low cost, and often for free, to help you market your book, connect with other authors, and communicate with your fans and potential readers.
Despite the title for this section, social media should not be treated as a form of advertising. When you advertise, you have one specific goal: showcase your product in an appealing way in an attempt to get people to buy it. Ask anyone and most people will tell you they dislike advertising. So what should you use social media for? Building relationships with your readers, showcasing your knowledge, and engaging your audience.
Social media marketing takes TIME. It can take months before you feel like you’re getting anywhere with it. Don’t give up! Everyone who starts a new blog or Facebook page goes through the same thing. Stick with it and you WILL reap the benefits!
Below are three of the most useful sites to get started with. Each one requires a slightly different strategy and used together can create a powerful network. From the following information, you can choose to do parts of it or all of it, according to the amount of time you can devote to social media and your needs.
A blog is one of your most powerful resources as a self-publisher. If you ignore all the other marketing suggestions on this site, I strongly suggest you don’t ignore this one. A blog can be one of your most effective tools.
When you begin blogging, a good place to start is to figure out a goal. As a self-published author, your goal may be to gain more visibility for your book, to become recognized as an expert in your field, or to get your name out there as an author. Figuring out your goals will give you a direction for your blog and help keep you motivated to continue blogging.
One major benefit to having a blog is that customers can find you even if they don’t know who you are, or that you wrote a book! For instance, if you’re authored a cookbook, you might post a few of your recipes to your blog. Someone who Googles “red velvet brownie recipe” could end up on your blog, and then you have a potential new reader! Blogs are also great ways to connect with current readers, other self-published authors, and potential readers.
No matter what the subject of your book, with a little creativity you can create a relevant and engaging blog. Say you’ve written a diet and exercise book. A blog is a great way to illustrate to your customers that what you’ve written about works. Share your journey to becoming a fit person. Post healthy recipes, workouts, interviews with people who have completed your program or who have successfully changed their lives, your thoughts on current weight loss trends, or anything else you can think of. A blog allows you to create trust and credibility between you and your reader and they will be more likely to buy a book from you as they know they will be getting quality content. Even if you’re not writing non-fiction, a blog can still be one of your most important assets. You can start a blog to help others on their self-publishing journey, a personal blog chronicling your life experiences or interests, a self-help blog, or a cooking blog. The content of your blog doesn’t necessarily need to correlate to the books you’re writing; you could focus on selling yourself. The point is to help the reader feel connected to who you are as a person and want to help support you in your endeavors.
With millions of users and growing, Facebook is a great way to connect with potential readers and help spread the word about your book.
The first step is to set up a Fan Page. It’s important to separate your personal Facebook page from your fan page. People who “like” your page are expecting to see some content relating to your book and by liking your page, they are essentially saying they’re ok with that. That doesn’t mean you should spam people who like your page with links to buy your book. That’s a quick way to get someone to unlike your page. Always keep in mind that social media is about creating relationships with people who have similar interests as you. Be sure to like other pages that are relevant to your topic and participate in those with thoughtful discussion as well.
Getting people to like your page requires some creativity. You can offer an incentive—such as a free copy of your eBook for liking your page, suggest your page to friends, promote your page in more traditional ways (put a link on business cards and other promotional material), and cross promote your Facebook page with your twitter page and blog. There are many ways to get people engaged, so long as you’re friendly, offer excellent and relevant content, and use a bit of time and effort.
Twitter is an important tool for connecting with your audience and getting your name out there. Would you knock on your neighbor’s door and ask them to buy your book? Of course you wouldn’t! But it might come up in natural conversation that you’ve written a book and are selling it. If you’re on good terms with your neighbor, he might be inclined to check it out.
Twitter is no different. People use twitter to connect with interesting people and talk about their day. Think of all the users on twitter as new neighbors that you haven’t met yet. You’re goal is to meet them, get to know them, and let them get to know you. Twitter should be used more as a way of getting your name out there. That’s not to say that you can never ever mention your book. You just need to be creative about it. Give people a reason to check it out.
Be sure to spend some time building your content before you begin following other Twitter users. To other users, it can look bad when you are following a large number of people, but have few followers. If you spend some time adding relevant and interesting content, some of those people you follow will gladly follow you as well!
Here is a great resource to using Twitter for social media marketing. I suggest you read the entire thing before you begin. It will be very worth your time. http://www.copyblogger.com/ultimate-twitter/
Goodreads.com is a place where readers get together to discover and discuss books and is an excellent community to get involved in. You can create discussions about books, create a virtual book club, and even share your own writing. You can also set up your profile with a link to your website, blog or Facebook page. Goodreads is made up of people who are passionate about books; many users blog about books, write lengthy reviews, and love to spend time discussing books with other people.
Once you join, a good approach would be to spend some time writing well thought-out reviews on some books in the genre of books that you’re hoping to sell. This will help you gain some credibility with potential readers and help you connect with people who may be interested in the book you wrote.
Goodreads is far more community-oriented than the other suggestions on this page and definitely not a place to try to push your book on people. As with all social media, the point is to get to know people, get your name out there, and make connections.
Everyday more and more social media sites pop up. Below are some other suggestions that you may think about incorporating. A word of warning: don’t try to do them all! Figure out how much time you can devote to social media and which sites you feel are best for you and focus just on those. You might also consider searching for niche communities related to your genre (for instance, if you write about travel, there are many travel sites you can get involved in).