No matter what you write or how you choose to publish, the majority of authors can agree on one thing: social media has redefined the way books are promoted.
You no longer need to rely on the traditional press system for a successful book launch—you’re not at the mercy of a publisher that chooses to promote your book to a certain group of bookstores, and you don’t need a million dollars in marketing money to reach your goals. With a well-thought-out social media plan and a bit of creativity and effort, you can promote your book to millions of potential readers.
But what’s the best way to get started with social media?
Social Media Marketing for Authors
You don’t need to spend thousands of hours online to start using social media to promote your books effectively. Here, we go in-depth on 7 proven ways to sell more books with social media marketing.
1. Create a Facebook Community around the Theme of Your Book
One of the best ways to promote your book online is to create a Facebook community around the theme of your book. By creating a Facebook Group for your book’s topic, you can easily bring together individuals who share a common interest.
Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean creating a Group for your book itself—although you can do that! It’s a great technique for fiction writers, and especially those who write series.
But remember that you can also create a Group that’s about the theme of your book—whether that’s entrepreneurship, natural wellness, sweet romance, or epic fantasy. These types of groups can attract more fans, but you’ll need to post content that isn’t directly related to your specific book—it’s more about building community than about promoting a title.
To keep your group’s members engaged, you need to actively share posts and stories, host author cover reveals, start discussions around your book’s theme, and have fun conversations with like-minded readers and authors. Beyond creating a buzz for your book, such activities also help in networking, establishing relationships and productive connections that may later turn into sales.
You can also take part in other Facebook communities to build these relationships. You can find many Facebook book groups where readers actively take part in discussions and share their thoughts.
2. Create an Author Website
No amount of social media exposure can substitute for a well-designed author website. Your author website is absolutely necessary to tie together all your branding or social media activities and give you maximum exposure.
Don’t think you have what it takes to create a website? Don’t worry! You can hire a designer to create a targeted website for a very affordable price—some even offer designs that specifically highlight your social media. You can also use Squarespace or WordPress to quickly design a great website for yourself—often in an hour or less!
When it comes to their website, some authors prefer a clean, minimal site that simply provides some basic information about the author, his or work, book summaries, contact info, an author bio page, purchase links for buying books, and social sharing buttons.
Other authors prefer creating an elaborate website with an active blog that covers various topics related to book writing. Your blog can highlight the genres or subjects that you write about, sharing the inspiration behind your upcoming book and your passion as a storyteller.
Regular blogging also helps you engage with your readers, bringing more people to your site and introducing them to your work.
You can also add a section for subscribing to your newsletter or encourage email signups to let you share regular updates with your readers.
People love feeling that they have a personal connection with an author. For this, you can add a comment section or contact form on your website. Be sure to always acknowledge your readers’ feedback and views (assuming everyone is being polite and it’s not a trolling situation).
Jonathan Fields (an award-winning author) created an author website to promote his book How to Live a Good Life. The website design is simple yet attention grabbing and clearly defines essence of the book.
3. Create an Author Fan Club
Another proven strategy to promote your books is creating an author fan club on Facebook . This gives fans a dedicated community space where they feel more connected to the book and the author.
With an author fan club, all your members get an opportunity to chat and ask questions in a closed setting. Many authors have successfully used this strategy to promote their book and actively connect with their fans.
Megan Erickson, a USA-based contemporary romance author, created a group on Facebook called “Meg’s Mob.” One perk of being a member of this group is that you get to connect and interact with Megan on a personal level.
She often holds live video chats to answer fans’ questions, in addition to sharing promotional posts regarding upcoming book releases. Moreover, she often hosts giveaways such as #FreebieFriday, where she offers free gifts or book downloads to keep her audience engaged.
4. Launch a Twitter Campaign
Twitter is a powerful marketing tool for promoting your book, and when used effectively, it can help you drive sales and reach the bestseller lists.
Here are few tips to keep in mind to get maximum results from your Twitter campaign.
Keep the Book Title Short
Twitter is a tricky medium to master, as it gives you only 140 characters to promote your book. Short titles are perfect to tweet, so keep it brief and catchy.
Create a Unique #Hashtag
Creating a unique hashtag around your book title is a good idea, as it allows you to mark keywords or topics within your tweets—and it lets other people create tweets that help promote your book and spread the word even more.
When choosing a hashtag, it’s best to use a shortened form of your book title so that it’s recognizable and relevant, helping build buzz about your book.
Decide on a Landing Page
You need to decide on a landing page where you want to direct your followers for more information. It can be your author website or a product page on a retail site like Amazon.
Identify a Series of Tweetable Quotes from Your Book
Pick some short, insightful, and intriguing statements that make interesting tweets for promoting your book. However, don’t flood your followers with tweets—share one or, at most, two promotional tweets in a day.
Keep the rest of your tweets conversational—don’t promote all the time, but rather engage with your readers about relevant topics, interesting news stories, tips and tricks, behind-the-scenes looks at your writing, and more.
To promote her book The 8-Minute Writing Habit, renowned novelist Monica Leonelle started a campaign on Twitter using hashtag #8minutewritinghabit.
The campaign encouraged readers to share their strategies for building a consistent writing habit like the one she describes in her book. The campaign received an overwhelming response and helped her in spreading the word.
5. Get Bloggers to Promote Your Book
Getting book bloggers to promote your book can greatly increase your success rate. Renowned book bloggers enjoy tens of thousands of followers and your book can get a fairly good exposure through blogging appearances.
Asking influential book bloggers to do a book review for you and actively sharing that review on their social networking channels, like their Facebook page and Twitter account, can give your book a lot of traction. Many authors have joined hands with popular book bloggers to get a book review and enjoyed a great response. Here are few things you can do to make the most of blogging opportunities:
Share Permalinks on Social Media
To spread the word, share the permalinks of bloggers’ reviews and posts on your social media accounts. For instance, when mentioning a new review, add “Read full blog” with the permalink leading back to the original blog post.
Use Short Snippets
Use short snippets from the blogs or reviews as tweets to generate more interest.
Share with Blog Communities
You can promote new reviews and blog posts mentioning your book in several blog communities to get the word out. Think about sharing in Goodreads communities or in your Facebook Groups.
Adding a short 30-second video to your blog post mention can do wonders for you. Consider adding a quick reaction video that shows you reading the blogger’s review and shares your excitement at their response to your book.
6. Create Shareable Content
To promote your book extensively on all social media platforms, you need to create a constant stream of content to keep your fans and followers hooked. The most popular content strategies used by authors are:
Visual marketing is more popular than ever, so try to use a lot of images with your content to grab the attention of your audience. Using an image of book cover is also a good idea—everyone loves a great book cover, and it’s an easy way to spread your book’s branding..
Using snippets or samples from your book or quotes from characters layered on catchy, Instagram-ready images is another good idea to attract your fans.
We all know Amazon book reviews are important to give any new book more exposure. Share these reviews on all your social channels to create interest among your audience.
Do the same with your Goodreads reviews for even more opportunities.
When it comes to social media, as mentioned above, videos are a huge hit with audiences. Create short video clips, like an author interview, a fun video that showcases behind-the scenes footage about the making of the book, etc.
You can also create video blog posts, book trailers, and much more.
Gary Vaynerchuk (four-time New York Times bestselling author) got a seven-figure, 10-book deal with HarperCollins on the basis of his video blog and online platform alone—without even asking for it.
Besides these ideas, you can launch exciting contests around your book on Facebook and Twitter and give winners an autographed copy of your book.
Don’t just share content—instead, engage with your audience by asking for their opinions, or answering their questions via live videos or online chats.
Build your fanbase by asking some avid readers to offer an honest review of the book or even becoming beta readers for your upcoming work.
7. Try Out Instagram
Last, but certainly not least, Instagram offers a great platform to market your book! So many authors are successfully killing their book marketing on Instagram.
Let’s dive how you can do it, too:
Create an Awesome Profile
To get started, your profile bio needs to be nothing less than awesome. Add a headshot picture to your profile and an interesting bio that shows your caliber as a writer. You can also add a URL in the profile bio section that takes your followers to your book’s website or to a chosen landing page for more details or easy purchasing.
Use Quotes as Images
Instagram is all about images, so you need to have an attractive social media design for all your Instagram posts.
You might think that a writer would be at a disadvantage here, but that’s not so! You can use quotes around writing in general or about books, or you can hand-pick some of the best quotes, phrases, or even dialogue exchanges from your book. Place them over stunning images and keep sharing consistently.
You can also use quotes over images representing characters from your book to create curiosity among your audience. It is good to keep the background minimal and follow a theme to drive engagement.
Consistency is key to success with any social media platform, and Instagram is no different. Authors may struggle with this aspect of Instagram marketing since you may not always find time to share new quotes for your followers. Thankfully, there are several automation tools out there for Instagram that let users schedule submissions into the future. It is a good idea to build a library of various quotes and phrases that you want to share and schedule them using these tools. This is an efficient way to be consistent on Instagram and thus maximize your reach.
Use Hashtags Wisely
To successfully promote your book, using the right hashtags is important. When you use great hashtags, you reach the right audience. You can also create unique hashtags around your book title to create a buzz.
Check out what hashtags successful authors are using and see what hashtags ideal members of your audience use, then start creating appropriate posts and tagging them to match.
Hold Fun Contests
People just love contests! But to make them a success, you need to be creative.
Instagram book promotion without a selfie just sounds incomplete. So you can launch an Instagram selfie contest around your book to make it fun and addictive. When you launch your book, ask your followers to take a selfie of them with your book and share it on their Instagram account with the unique hashtag you’ve created for your book (ask them to tag you, as well).
You will be amazed to see the response you get!
To boost response, offer winners a signed copy of the book or a gift voucher—or even offer to meet the winner at a coffee shop or hold a video chat one-on-one with them if you’re comfortable doing that.
You can also introduce two book covers on your Instagram account and launch a poll contest in which your followers will get a chance to share their opinion about both book covers, helping you decide which one to use. Such campaigns have the chance to go viral because they let your audience feel like they’re getting some real input.
Social media has limitless potential, whether you’re using it to promote your latest book, build a dedicated fan base, or strengthen ties with your audience.
However, to gain maximum response, you need to understand that social media and content marketing go hand in hand. So you need to optimize your social media efforts for each platform to gain momentum organically.
Don’t make it all about selling—just make sure you are out there communicating with the people who love reading books and sales will naturally follow.
For more on using social media to build your author platform, check out these articles:
- How to Use LinkedIn to Improve Your Career, Grow Your Network, and Become a Social Media Master
- How To Build Your Email List Using YouTube
- Networking for Writers: Why You Absolutely Need To Be Easy To Find Online
Alice Jackson is a business consultant, blogger, social media enthusiast, online market analyst, amateur designer, and an avid author at Designhill. She has written on several topics including social media marketing, SEO, content marketing, startup strategies, and e-commerce. When she’s not writing, she loves spending her time reading romantic novels. Connect with her across social media: @jackson_alice1