I’m always a little amazed by the sheer amount of authors who tell me they have no time for social media, yet when I check Facebook to manage my client accounts, there are those same authors pontificating with other authors on politics, cat videos, random whining or constant book spamming.
So, what’s that about? Who are they talking to, and why?
If you’re going to take this book thing seriously, then be serious about it. Sure, you can be on Facebook talking cat videos and commiserating about how your books aren’t selling – building relationships with other authors can be crucial to visibility. But it’s not going to garner you much in the way of book sales because you’re not talking with your readers.
WHO IS YOUR IDEAL READER?
Most authors have absolutely no idea. I was in the same boat when someone asked me that question five books ago. I’m sure I stammered something like, “Um, women?”
Okay, that was a start. Here are some further tips I’ve found useful, gleaned from research and my own experience:
* What genre do you write?
* What are similar genres of books already out? (Check their Amazon categories.)
* Where do readers find books you write? (I’m quite active on social media, so I tend to use keywords to search on Twitter, Facebook, G+, Pinterest, and Goodreads). More on that below.
* Book Clubs
* Book Bloggers (Check out http://bookbloggerlist.com)
* Book Reviewers
* Google search – awesome tool!
* Free Keyword Tool – even better (and did I mention free?)
Exercise: Write out who you believe your ideal reader is. Everything about them: gender, age, what they eat, where they live, whether they read eBooks or print, everything you imagine (you’re a writer – you got this).
Put yourself in the mind of the reader. Do keyword searches on terms that you think your reader would look up. If you were going to search for your book, how would you find it? What kind of person would be looking for it?
Spend some time on this. Ten to thirty minutes. This is important, because this leads us to our next step…
WHO ARE YOU FOLLOWING?
The biggest complaint authors have about Twitter and Facebook, as to why they aren’t ‘bothering’ with it, is that they’re constantly bombarded with authors spamming them with ‘buy my book!’ tweets.
I agree, it’s a problem, but not so much for me anymore. Am I all that special? No. I just got smart, and stopped following every author under the sun. Why?
Because authors are not my demographic. Readers are! I use ManageFlitter to enter keywords that fit my author brand: nonfiction, memoir, sexual abuse, women, relationships, and Tip: I also search on my Twitter handle @RachelintheOC as well. Sure, I discuss other topics, but those are my main keywords.
Exercise: Go to ManageFlitter – they have a free version for unfollowing; I prefer the paid version that also allows me to also follow people. Isn’t the point to grow your reader base? Clean up your Twitter following (unfollow eggs, non-followbacks, inactives, etc.).
(Plus, nobody is ever stuck at following 2,000 followers on Twitter. What happens at 2,000 is the 10% ratio limit kicks in. If I see one more person tell me they can’t follow someone back because they’re stuck, I may have to throw Nutella at them.)
WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT ON SOCIAL?
If you are on social media, do you have a social media plan? Because here’s the thing: social media is a wonderful way to connect with your readers and build relationships however, it’s a pretty low ROI way to sell books. So if you’re blasting “buy my books!” tweets every day, how’s that working out for you?
A plan is great because you want to decide a few things:
* Am I sending readers to my book? (i.e., to Amazon)
* Do I want them to head to my site?
* Do I want readers to see my latest article or guest post?
* Maybe I don’t have a link at all…maybe I share a short teaser quote and send them to the link I’ve conveniently placed on my bio. How/when to share?
Plus, think about this: there’s a person at the other end of the keyboard, not a robot. Treat them like a person. Talk with them, not at them.
Talk about what?
My ‘formula,’ if you will, for social media, is to share visual quotes (from my books and others), text quotes, videos, curate articles, and occasional promotion, yes – all based on the 1) keywords I mentioned above, as well as 2) keeping in mind my ideal reader and 3) my branding.
That’s a lot to juggle, but it works because I have a plan. Also, I’m a strong believer in the concept of relationship marketing – “a strategy designed to foster customer loyalty, interaction and long-term engagement. It is designed to develop strong connections with customers by providing them with information directly suited to their needs and interests and by promoting open communication.” Even without the fancy term, you’re likely already doing this without realizing it!
HOW TO FIT IT ALL IN?
I schedule in blog posts and curate content with Hootsuite. I prefer their easy to use format, curation options, and that fact that I can still interact live – it’s my perfect trifecta. My author assistant prefers Buffer, which is strictly for scheduling (though they are awesome, and their blog is second to none).
They both offer free options and it’s easy enough to import your Twitter, Facebook and Google+ accounts, so give each a shot. And remember, I know who my ideal reader is, so I’m sending out this info to them.
MY FINAL WORD
Selling is a strange, unnatural dynamic. Whether you accept it or not, you and your book are now a product. With relationship marketing, and identifying your ideal reader, you remove that weirdness to a certain extent by connecting and creating discussion around your topics of interest with people who also share those interests. It’s easier to share information about your book, but it’s not ‘all about your book.’ Be authentically, beautifully you.
See the difference? But make no mistake: you want to sell books.
Listen, if you’re not sure where to draw the line on how personal to get, here’s my rule– you want people to read your books, not ask you out.
Do you know who your ideal reader is now? Do you know how to find them? Do you know what your keywords are? How to share your keyworded info?
Now you do!