Writer Wednesdays #5: Tips and Tops for Self Promotion
Tips and Tops for Self Promotion: A Series
Happy hump day writers! Welcome to another round of Writer Wednesdays. We are talking about some tips and tops for Self Promotion. Why tops and not tricks? Easy, there are no tricks or gimmicks. Self promotion is the trick itself; it’s a fine line for authors to walk. You want to be a warm and welcoming genuine article, but you also want to shout to the world you wrote a book. Pushing your book child into the world is a bit of a terror, to be honest, and all the work that went into production, the writing, the editing, the quiet nights staring into the judgmental abyss, are all small change, because now that you actually have to sell this book.
Marketing and self promotion are a huge part of a book’s success. There are numerous strategies and plans an author can try when it comes to doing this. Ideally you want to begin marketing and promotion before the book launches, and your publishing team will help set you up for success, BUT a large chunk of promotion still falls on the author; this holds true if you are published with a larger or smaller house. Today, let’s narrow the focus to one of the trickier aspects of self promotion to manage→ Building a Social Media Presence.
Social Media- Promoting You
Real talk: posting links to books on any social media platform doesn’t have a ton of follow through.
Social Media is a tool to engage, to create a community of authors and readers, and to flesh out a persona of you as an author. Depending on the social media platform most your posts will center around creating yourself as a brand. This does not mean you must share all the intimate details of your personal life, but you could share a few of your interests; if you are secretly a huge gamer, or have an artistic hobbies. If you share silly pictures of your pet, or the trials and triumphs of being a parent, if you squeal about the latest release from your favorite author, these little details humanize you beyond your book. You engage people on another level.
If you hop on a platform and start posting buy links willy nilly, you are likely to see poor follow through, however, if you have put in the time to engage people, and build an audience, posting a new release will have more of a word of mouth effect than screaming into the void.
Pick it and Stick with it
Social Media is great for boosting yourself as an author brand, but it can also be a trap. There are several large platforms, with others edging up into the limelight all the time, but each creates a pull on an author’s time and resources. You want to have a presence on all of them! Or do you? To use a platform to its full effect means building an audience on that platform which requires time and effort. The best strategy is to pick two (or three if you are feeling ambitious) and focus on your growth for those platforms.
The Siren Song of Builders
These platforms often have author lifts or follow loops, which can gain you a chunk of followers in a short amount of time. These followers are usually other authors, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Authors often boost each other. Forming a small community group of authors can help you find footing in the vast noise of a social media platform but you need to find a mutual share group who will boost you as you boost them.
There are also plenty of social media building services an author can use; groups that use giveaways to boost followers on certain platforms. These can be an effective tool for an established author to increase their readership, but they can hinder more than help an author just starting out. If you don’t have any audience roots, what are you building on?
You need to put down roots first. The key factors in platform growth are still time and effort. What you give to a platform is what you will get out of a platform. If you devote a huge chunk of effort and time in a given day to a platform, you could see a boom in your growth, but it may be incredibly difficult to sustain that kind of growth. For the sake of sanity, it is good to pace yourself.
If the Shoe Fits
Organically building your audience feels like a monumental effort when starting out. Whether you already have a book out, or your book is still a middling twinkle in your eye, everyone kinda starts from scratch on a new platform. It’s all about engagement, and each platform comes with its own strategy for doing so. You may find it easier to engage on a heavily visual platform like Instagram, which relies on a combination of eye catching aesthetic, personal storytelling, and hashtags, or you may excel at twitter where author chats, games, and community hashtags require not only an economy of words but a quick wit during chats. Instagram requires getting a feel for algorithms and consistent production of content. Twitter can suck you in as you fall down the hashtag rabbit hole and twitter events will require you to be present at certain times for best engagement. When building your author brand, it’s just as important to find a form of engagement that best suits you as it is to engage and to find a balance to your other responsibilities and writing time. This comes back to pacing yourself. If you take the time to organically build your audience, you will likely see a higher engagement from those followers than you would see if you used builders to boost your numbers.
Rooted, Now What?
What are the benefits of all this time and effort? Well, as stated above, if you build an audience on a social media platform, it’s not the same as shouting into a void. Your posts and links will have a sounding board of engagement. The good news, the successes, new releases and things you share will have a network of support and word of mouth that boosts you as a brand. And you are part of that vast network of support for other authors as well. Building your platform boosts the effectiveness of author events, virtual book release parties, and giveaways. This is utilizing social media as a tool, taking what you’ve built up to increase your visibility.
There is more (so much more) that can be said about Social Media platforms, but the general rule of thumb, everyone needs to start somewhere, and it is never too late to begin building your author brand. If you, the author, have trouble gaining ground before a release, it is not the end or a sign of failure. You may find your audience after your release, over time, and through various means. Look for more tips and tops to come!