When it comes to writing, there are two primary things – social media and query letters. Social media and digital platforms are great for authors so as to get their work published eventually. And, it’s not just about selling books; a lot of work is done even before the beginning of the book sale even though you’d have heard on the contrary.
When it comes to social media, there are some authors or writers who face a writer’s block. Yes! You can write a full novel of say around 80,000 words but you don’t know a thing about writing on various social media tools. You look for help when you want to type a 140-character tweet. Imagine! And, then you just end up posting about your day or dinner, which gets you no following or listeners. If this is you, then read on!
I’m writing this article so as to enlighten all the authors out there about how they can make use of social media. This article lists 10 tips on how you can use social media tools as an author and grab the limelight.
1. Give preference to the writing community over your book sales
You might be using social media, like Twitter, to tell people about your book but there are chances you might be doing it all wrong. If you’re just tweeting or posting the Amazon link of your book repeatedly, then you’re not doing it right. This will not lead to your book sales. In fact, this is an incorrect way of getting sales or using social media in order to connect with the book world.
Rather, you should use social media for:
- Involving yourself in the writing community: Here, you can get introduced to other writers, converse with industry people, and meet librarians and booksellers. Even if you don’t have a deal or book at the moment, this will help you to lay the foundation for your future sales and support as well as for finding like-minded people in the publishing world.
- Connecting with your readers: You can use social media to communicate with your readers and community and, thus, develop an emotional bond with them. Reply to their emails and tweets, ask their opinions, and maybe sometimes you can run AMA (Ask Me Anything).
I’ve got a lot of books, amongst which there are some that I never give away or lent to other people. These books are written by authors I love and with whom I’ve connected on social media. These are the authors I love to talk about. I’ve become close to these authors via social media interactions.
You can only get this type of personal and emotional connection through social media; no advertisement or publisher can purchase this for you. This close tie with your readers will eventually make them your devoted supporters.
2. Share, don’t just talk about yourself
When you begin to connect with the community, you need to share. Don’t just push material at your audience without really engaging with them. Take time and do more than just replying to the comments.
Be proactive, ask questions and leave your feedback. This way you can get book groups interested in you, your books, and your talks. A little goodwill can help you a lot in building loyalty and interest of your audience.
You shouldn’t just talk about yourself. Imagine you’re at an office party where a person just talks about themselves. Will you want to interact with them? No.
Thus, you should share your blog posts, give advice to other people, tell about whatever you’re reading, give recommendations, tweet interesting articles, cheer up other people, etc. If you only talk about yourself, all the time, then you’ll not be able to get many followers.
You say you don’t have time to read Twitter or tweet all day since you’re writing. However, you have to take out time for social media. Readers anticipate updates from their favorite authors on the internet.
And, if you don’t know when to share your stuff with your readers and you’ve time limitations, then you can take help of tools that can help you out with this. There are many great Twitter tools that allow you to schedule your stuff.
Just make sure you’re consistent while posting your content. Manage your social media calendar in a better way by giving priority to your best posts and still leaving some room for unplanned opportunities.
In my case, I schedule my tweets one week earlier, including links to blogs and articles that I find interesting. I generally do this on Sunday evenings. This way my Twitter account is active throughout the week, even when I’ve to work all day.
4. Make use of tools you’re most comfortable with
I know it’s hard work to manage numerous social media channels, such as Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, etc. However, all social media channels might not be for you.
You should figure out which social media tool is the best for you out of so many. If you can’t use any one organically, it’s better to lay it off. For instance, I’ve made an account on Snapchat a lot of times, which is much more than I’ve stopped going to the gym.
Thus, you must focus on your core areas, which includes your writing as well as your preferred digital platform tools.
5. Appreciate your readers
Conversing with your readers is one thing and showing how grateful you are to them is a different thing altogether. You can treat your readers in different ways on social media. You can offer selected content to your readers on your social media accounts. This comes in very handy when you’re promoting yourself.
Rather than just sharing Amazon links of your work, you can do this. You can share a sneak peek or an extract of your upcoming cover art or repost fan art that your readers send you. Make sure you thank your readers via small, non-promotional ways.
No one likes pleas or advertisements from a salesperson to purchase a product even if it’s a book. Your tone is everything. Don’t be too assuming or forceful, otherwise, people will take it as pushiness. You can follow the 80/20 rule, wherein 80% of your content can be about your writing industry, genre, or content created by or about other people and 20% of your content can be about you. Just ensure that you give value to your audience instead of just pushing ads at them.
Social media helps a lot with such things as it aids you to reach out to fans with just the click of a button and in a few seconds. You can express your gratitude to a zealous fan. This way you can show your fans that you highly value them, which in turn can aid you in getting new fans since readers talk.
6. Follow #MSWL
You must follow #MSWL (Manuscript Wishlist hashtag). Editors and agents frequently list what they want by using #MSWL, either randomly or on a particular day. This is a simple method to know the tastes of an agent. And, even though you don’t want to pitch your work right now, you can use this way to know about the upcoming and trending traditional publishing world.
However, this doesn’t mean you write something only because an agent tweeted a wishlist item in this hashtag. I’ve seen some people reaching out to literary agents with their ongoing ideas just because the agent put it on #MSWL and so they considered writing on it. You should write something you’re passionate about, whatever is in your heart and not because of some random request. Your readers can definitely recognize your passion or its lack in your writing.
7. Know that social media takes time
So, now you’ve started using social media. You’re following the writing community people, tweeting great pieces, suggesting good books, and taking part in a lot of discussions. However, the one thing that you’re looking for, you’ve not yet achieved that – a good amount of followers.
Keep in mind that social media takes time. Whether it is about building your audience or about creating more and more followers. Understand you’re in this for a long time and its fine if you still have only a few people following you.
After all, it’s just the beginning. My experience tells me a few followers who really care about what you say and properly interact with you are far better than dozens of followers who don’t contribute in any way and are just a number on your social media account.
8. Go for platforms other than social media
If you’re a nonfiction writer, you probably would have heard of something like “platform talk” from a speaker in a conference or read in an online article.
So, if you can’t master social media tools even after trying, it’s okay not to use them. You can go for other platforms apart from social media. These include speaking meetings, writing and publishing essays, freelance articles, suggesting books on discovery websites, etc. These all are significant platforms just like getting a blue checkmark on Twitter.
Just relax! Remember that you can prove yourself an expert through other ways and not only via the numbers on your social media channels.
9. Pay attention to pitch events
Pitch events are great when it comes to publishing folks on social media. If you don’t know what pitch events are, these are pitches tweeted by authors about their books occasionally throughout the year. These events are organized by industry experts and published authors.
This way you can probably attract the attention of an editor or agent. Moreover, pitch events have been quite successful with authors securing great deals and catching agents for their work. This is a great and easy way to make some publishing professionals notice your work and you.
However, when you enter such an event, you must ensure that it’s run by an industry professional or a published author. If it’s not, don’t bother to visit it. Go to pitch events where editors and real agents come. This is because quite recently, a few fake profiles were made in order to troll writers. Make sure you research the person who requests for your manuscript.
10. Host really great bargains
You have two choices, either you can host the usual giveaways or you can give out something epic. Fans love posters, bookmarks, signed bookplates, signed postcards, etc. But, you can do much more for your fans.
Social media lets you reach out to a lot of people and, hence, offers you the opportunity to do something outside the box. You can give your fans more exciting and bigger items, for instance, an annotated copy or a limited edition of your book.
I give away extra books to teachers and librarians on social media. I get loads of advance review book copies of my friends. However, I can’t keep all of them. This is why I give them away on Twitter to people, particularly, librarians and teachers.
This trick can help you in a lot of ways. It boosts your sales as these people will share or retweet about your book. Moreover, it lets people notice you, who will probably be advocates of your books in the future, which is very crucial for you.
Such epic giveaways make your readers excited as well as help you lure potential new readers who will follow you and heed whatever you’re publishing. And, even though not all people will care about your work (since some are just there for the prizes), all those who care will get updates directly from the source, that is, You!
So, Good luck to all the authors out there!
Take these tips and use social media to your advantage from today itself. However, make sure you also turn off or unplug from social media for a few hours a day.