10 Reasons For First Time Authors to Use Social Media
by Sean Smith
It's an incredible feeling when a first time author holds their finished product in their hand. But the personal investment by the author is for nothing if the book is not in the hands of others, and everywhere the first time author turns, the odds are stacked against them.
In an industry going through significant upheaval, publishers are finding it harder to turn a dollar selling books. Existing success stories are a safe investment, whilst first time authors are an unknown gamble. A quick look at the 'New Release' section makes the situation abundantly clear - it should really be called 'New Releases By Proven Authors Who We Know Sell Lots of Books'. Your book will most likely be sitting on a shelf in the back half of the store.
So what can a first time author do to help increase the distribution of their book? Traditional advertising is an option, but marketers in the book game will tell you it's pointless for a first time author. Sure, if your book is the next Harry Potter installment then advertising will work, but otherwise advertising investment will be a waste of time, money and effort.
Instead, the first time author should concentrate on building grass-roots awareness of their book via Word of Mouth, so that news will filter through to their target markets and generate demand. Traditional marketers would achieve this by finding key influencers and seeding them with product, but Social Media has emerged as 'Word of Mouth on Steroids'. With social media, a campaign can be built and run with minimal spend, allowing not only the creation of the campaign, but the opportunity to engage more and do far better than a traditional campaign.
Here are ten reasons why it pays for first time authors to utilise Social:
1. Social Media is labour intensive but low cost
Building out profiles and a steady stream of interesting and engaging content means posting regularly and often. However, that can be handled with as little as 30 minutes a day and doesn't cost the author a cent!
2. Social Media allows your new fan base to interact with you
The fan base for my book loves to write to me and ask questions. I make sure I answer every question posed and that I have left each person feeling like they know me a little bit better. This increases the engagement and helps turn fans into evangelists.
3. Social Media creates multiple distribution channels for little effort
My blog has an RSS feed of content that many people subscribe to, pushing my updates to them directly. It also doubles as a feed to my LinkedIn profile page as well as my LinkedIn Group news feed. My Facebook page automatically posts to my Twitter account, as well as reposting content back to my blog.
|Sean Smith |
4. Using Social to add your book to personal profiles
I have a Facebook Page for my blog that has a good following, but I chose against using it for my book of the same name. The reason was that I could create a new Facebook page type (ie 'Book') that, when Liked by fans, adds my book to their own profiles under their 'Favourite Books' section.
5. Social allows Sharing by fans of your book
Whenever I paste a link to an article or review of my book on Facebook or Twitter, my fans invariably repost that link to their own networks, increasing the potential reach of my own social efforts.
6. Social Share functionality on your blog or website
Adding 'Share' functions to the pages of your website allows visitors to re-post pages they like to their own social stream, further increasing reach and driving traffic back to your site.
7. Social generates SEO traffic to your site or blog
Search engine algorithms are placing more emphasis on links and interaction found on social channels. Increasing social discussion about your book and website ultimately leads to search engines assigning higher ranking and more traffic to your website.
8. Social allows engagement via use of external content
First time authors should build an image of being an expert in their field. Posting other content on the book's topic shows that the author is knowledgeable and worthy of engaging with.
9. Social allows you to post rich media content
Your book is only one part of your offering. If you can support it with rich media, such as videos, photos or music, then your overall product becomes even more engaging and more likely to be shared. Social platforms offer a myriad of built-in options for sharing rich media content.
10. Social puts the power back in the hands of the Author
The best reason for using social in your book campaign is that ultimately you control the amount of investment that goes into it. A first time author can't control the marketing efforts of their publisher, or how retailers will market the book at the point of sale, but building a grass-roots following and an undercurrent of demand is tied to the amount of effort the author is prepared to put in. It may turn out to be a long, slow process, but ultimately success can be driven by sustained personal effort.
Sean Smith is a senior global marketer with expertise in digital and social media marketing. He recently published his first book The Fat Paddler, supported by a growing social fan base and a substantial global following via his blog http://FatPaddler.com, his Facebook pages Facebook.com/FatPaddler and Facebook.com/TheFatPaddlerBook, and his Twitter account @FatPaddler.