These days even with a traditional publisher, you probably need to be your own marketing department. Which means you have to learn how to make friends with social media or be able to afford to pay an expert to do it for you. Trying to sell books without an online presence is less like an uphill battle, and more like an underground war, who even knows you exist? If social media is not your forte, only set up the platforms where your ideal readers will be, that saves a lot of times setting up and maintaining accounts where the people likely to read your book won’t see your work.
Set up a new profile for each platform even if you already have one – this one is for professional use only, set privacy to public so that prospective readers and followers can find you. On all of the above use the same profile picture, you need to be instantly recognisable. Make sure you look smiley and approachable – if you write horror or sci fi you can afford to look serious, but still approachable. No cleavage, pouting or provocative poses please – we know sex sells but we are marketing your book, not your personal wares.
Invite people you know who read and ask these people to invite their friends who read. Don’t just randomly add people.
Use these pages to talk positively about your book, your writing process, your inspiration, good books you have read – absolutely no negativity allowed on this page. If someone is unkind or abusive, block them, do not get into arguments, that just makes you look unprofessional. Remember this isn’t the page to share private photos or air dirty laundry, keep your private life just that.
Join every professional writer and reader group that you can find, this is where you connect, and let likeminded people know that you exist (no bombarding anyone with links or information on the book). Apply to join the groups where your readers are likely to hang out. Introduce yourself with a question to engage interest, ‘Hi, thanks for welcoming me into the group, I am writer what do you do?’ ‘Hi, I love history/travel/music it inspires me to write, what does it inspire you to do? You get the picture – do not add your book information unless someone asks for it.Follow authors who are write in your genre, and make pleasant comments on their posts – don’t mention your book unless asked, just be an interesting person.
To begin to build on this, you need to be like healthy bowels (nice and regular); mark on your calendar exactly when each week to update your social media. Give yourself an hour to post and respond to messages.
If you are stocked in shops, ask to be featured on their social media, and ask to add their links to yours. When they agree write positive posts on all your platforms sharing helpful, and positive information about the shop, and how great the staff are, or how they serve the best coffee, or how they are super child friendly.
Let me know how your social media is getting on, and don’t forget to check out my posts.