My one dream in life was to become a published author. As a child, my head was always buried in a book somewhere–anywhere I could find a book, I was there, reading it voraciously. I have never stopped reading, and even enjoy listening to audio books while traveling. A few years ago I remember hearing that paper and print books were on the way out. That fact alone almost sent me into a downward spiral. Something about cuddling with your loved one in front of a flickering fireplace and taking turns reading favorite passages not out of well-worn books but instead reading the electronic type off a tablet didn’t set well with me. Besides, I still had the idea of one day becoming a published author.
According to the Pew Research Center the number of book readers has dipped yet again in recent years. This fact alarmed me at first, because of the reasons I stated above, then I took a closer look at the study results. It said Americans were reading fewer books, but did NOT say books are taking a backseat to digital versions, only that Americans are reading fewer books overall. This means digital, print, and audio books are all taking a hit. This fact saddens me for no other reason than fear for the future generations in our society. I love books and am surrounded by them daily.
My books line bookshelves, tabletops, dressers, and nightstands in my home, and if I were asked to pick my favorites, I may just explode! I have quite a collection of genres in my home, from fiction, nonfiction, romance, scholarly, theological, humorous, to fantasy, science fiction, and yes, even mythology and biography /autobiographies! I even enjoy a good poem every now and then (Genres of Literature). So you might imagine my view of a world without books appears quite dismal. However, while perusing the vast content of the Internet, I found the following study from the Pew Research Center to be somewhat heartening. It encourages me to read that people in our society today still read books.
At least people still read books, and I can now call myself an author. I have written my first book, edited it, and it is waiting at the publisher for a few things in final editing, and my final go-ahead. It has taken me four years since I first began at my computer in a corner of our den. The actual writing was the easiest part. Much more difficult, I am finding that editing the work, often eliminating pages at a time as I wrestle with myself, “Do I really need this particular word/phrase/paragraph in here?” and so on, until the words seem to fall off my computer monitor to settle in a heap on the floor.
What comes next?
After writing my book, I decided to self-publish because apparently the major publishing houses only are interested in books that will sale lots and lots of copies. But now that I’ve written the book, found a way to publish the book, and yes, paid a not-so-nominal sum of money to have it published, what do I do now?
The answer is Social Media, but Why? How? and tons of other questions rattling around my head. The Why of Social Media is probably the simplest to answer, and that answer would be “To make my book known to the public.” In searching for the answers to my many questions, I discovered this:
11 Reasons Every Author Needs Social Media
- It drives traffic to your website landing page for your books and Amazon.
- There is a large community of indie authors who are willing to help you promote your book and form supportive alliances.
- You’ll find new readers on social media.
- Social media helps you to market your books.
- You can get to know professionals who can show you how to improve your book marketing efforts, write better blog posts, tune up your author website, and more efficiently use social media. You’ll can also meet editors, designers, book reviewers and bloggers, and publicists.
- Over time, social media will help you to build your community.
- You’ll meet readers who can become your “Super Fans” or belong to your “Street Team.”
- When you host giveaways and contests, you’ll need social media to spread the word.
- With social media, you can inform your followers and readers about new blog posts you write.
- Social media will allow you to build relationships with your readers.
- Social media allows you to sell to a worldwide audience (Cabello).
Are you convinced that you need social media yet? If so, I suggest that you read on:
Are You An Author? Begin Social Media NOW!
1. Develop an author biography on any social media channel you choose. In your bio, you should establish yourself as an author. Your user ID should be the name under which you publish and not something cute, quirky, or “spammy”. These channels should include a blog, a Facebook page, a LinkedIn profile, a landing page to your book, and a Twitter account. You don’t have to dive in and do all these things in one day, but I would suggest you get started yesterday. The sooner you have a presence in Social Media, the better(Cabello).
2. Next, have your photo taken professionally. This is the picture you will use as your “author” photo, as an avatar on all the above-mentioned SM sites, your book cover, promotional announcements, book signings, etc. Believe me when I tell you they are necessary. An advantage: You may have some left to send with your Christmas cards!
3. Who are you looking to reach on social media? There are millions of people on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, but you have to narrow down your target audience (readers) to know where your focus will be. Identifying your audience plays a large role in determining on which SM sites you should be active (Honeysett).
Once you’ve discovered your target audience, get to know what their challenges are, how they use social media and what other brands they engage with on social media. Looking at how your audience interacts with other brands they follow will give you an idea of what resonates the most with them. Then it’s just a matter of mixing in those elements with your own style. (Cabello)
4. Be Human. You aren’t expected to give your readers your social security number and home address, but you can come across as a personable individual who has daily faults and celebrations. There is a fine line between baring everything and developing relationships online.
5. Build on your relationships with readers. Instead of focusing on getting as many followers as possible, focus on getting engaged followers. The difference is that engaged followers with whom you have established relationships with are more likely to Retweet, Like and +1 your content than someone who only followed you because you followed them first. (Jackson)
Here are four easy-to-follow suggestions to get you started:
Always @mention people you reference in your social media posts.
Answer questions people ask.
Reply when people @mention you or share your content.
Don’t just Retweet and Like other people’s content; reply with a comment to start a conversation (Cabello).
6. Make the Most of your Social Media Accounts. Use social media optimization to help you stand out and be found by new people who aren’t already connected with you. When people are searching Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest for keywords related to your industry, you want to make sure your account shows up. You can do that by:
Adding relevant keywords in your profile i.e. not just author, but add writer of your specific genre, and maybe a few hobbies (do you build sandcastles or bake the best Banana Nut Bread?)
Sharing content related to your industry—include relevant keywords in your posts
Connect with popular accounts in your industry (Cabello).
7. Get Visual Social media and visuals go together extremely well. In fact, images were rated as the most important tactic for optimizing content for social media. They also get more engagement. So if you want to make a big impact on social media, start posting more images. Stock images are fine to begin with, but eventually you will need to upgrade the quality of the photos/images (Jackson).
This article may seem overwhelming to many of you. I didn’t make these lists for you to follow as a must-do compilation of things, but rather as a list of suggestions for you to begin your venture into the world of Social Media. I can’t promise that following my suggestions will bring you fame and fortune as an author, but I can assure you that it will help you on your way to finding your name atop the bestseller list someday!
Which of these suggestions are you most likely to follow? Let me know in your comments below.
Cabello, Frances. The Book Designer. 14 March 2016. Electronic. 12 September 2016.
Genres of Literature. n.d. n.d. 2016. Electronic. 21 September 2016.
Honeysett, Alex. Inc. . 29 January 2015. Electronic. 13 September 2016.
Jackson, Dominique. SproutSocial. 30 July 2015. Electronic. 11 September 2016.
PewResearchCenter. 16 October 2015. Electronic. 16 September 2016.
Category: Small Biz, Social Media Marketing 201