Is Social Media Right For Your Book?

by Irene Watson

I’m inundated with e-mails, newsletters, and tweets telling me “they” can help me climb the social media ladder and get high rankings, increased sales, and who knows what else.  Let’s face it, social media is over-hyped and many are attempting to make bucks for themselves as experts without concrete results for the authors. I also see many authors state they have launched a social media campaign because they have a Facebook page or are using Twitter. Unfortunately this isn’t a social media campaign.

To have a social media campaign you must:

  • set  a goal
  • develop  a plan
  • identify tactics
  • execute the plan.

Deciding whether or not social media is right for selling your book is simple:

1.  Accept that social media is over-hyped and it’s not the silver lining that will get your book to the NYT Best Sellers List.  It’s very possible it will not make the list so accept it, or buy into it.

2.  Recognize  social media is only  one marketing tool in  sea of others. I’ve listed only a few examples below.

3.  Decide whether or not your book is right for a social media campaign.  It could be all your “friends” on your Facebook list already have the book or aren’t interested in it. Or maybe your book isn’t relevant at this time.  As well, avoid spamming your friends.  If they want the book, they will buy it after one or two invitations to do so.

4.  Acknowledge that your book may not have social media appeal because you are an unknown author.  You’re not Dan Browne so you’ll have to work 100 times harder on your campaign than his publicist would.

5.  Understand  that for social media you have to use the same  business models as you would for any business: branding, research, reader retention, e-commerce, and generating leads. (See article on landing pages.)  If you have a product for sale (your book) you have a business. Treat it like a business.

6. Realize social media isn’t free.  What?  It’s free to sign up on Facebook and Twitter.  But, that’s not what I’m talking about.  I’m talking about top-notch website/landing page and your time.  Yes, you need to get paid for the work you do. Oh gosh, I almost forgot;  Your Book Must Be Top-Notch.  That means professionally edited, good character development and plot,  is relevant and you must have credibility.

7.  Be aware it takes more than 10 minutes a day to execute  a successful social media campaign.  Many experts tell you all you need to do is spend a few minutes and post on Twitter and Facebook daily or several times a day. Wrong.  If you do that, that’s all you’re doing -posting on Twitter and Facebook and it’s not moving the dial on the who-gives-a-crap meter.

Examples of social media tools:

Remember, there are many  social media tools available so you aren’t bound by just using Facebook or Twitter.  Some others are:

MySpace – great for targeting the younger crowd.
Linkedin – more professional and business like than Facebook
Flickr – it’s a good  place for uploading photos of your book launch
Podcasting – needs to be relevant to your book but not a blatant advertisement for your book
YouTube – a place to upload your book video to.  It’s the second highest search engine.
HowCast – great place to post your “how-to” video
TubeMogul – upload your book video once and they distribute to other video sharing sites
Google Alerts – plug in key words pertaining to your book and you’ll be alerted what blogs are commenting on that topic.  You can then post a response leading back to your landing page.  (However, don’t spam your book!)
Blog – Have one.  But, only if you are willing to post an article three or four times per week.
Articles – Write articles and post them on article sites. 

These are just a few tactics that can be used effectively in your social media campaign.  If you Google “Social Media Tools” you’ll become exposed to hundreds of them.  Do research and decide for yourself whether or not social media will actually bring sales of your book.  One more reminder (I know, I keep harping on this!!) anything you do to market your book has to move the dial on the who-gives-a-crap meter of the potential reader. (And, that doesn’t mean Mom, cuz Joe, or Aunt Mae – it means someone that doesn’t know you.)

I’m looking for responses.  What has worked for you?

Irene Watson is the Managing Editor of Reader Views, where avid readers can find reviews of recently published books as well as read interviews with authors. Her team also provides author publicity and a variety of other services specific to writing and publishing books.


Posted on July 26, 2010, in Publicity & Writing, Social Media, Writing & Publishing. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I really stepped up my social marketing in January of 2010 to see if it would help me to sell more books. I can now (in July) answer that with a YES! Some of the things that have happened for me due to using social networks as a marketing tool:I have sold books to contacts I met on social networksI have been asked to speak at eventsI have had journalists find me & interview me for national media exposureI have been asked to be on radio showsI have been asked to contribute to other booksI was asked to write a foreword for a book for a major publisherI have been asked to write guest blog postsPeople have asked to "re-print" or blog my answers to questions and/or article I wroteThere are more but these are the top things that have happened due to my participating in and learning how to utilize social media in my marketing plan for my books.

  2. Agreed! Social media is but just a tool, one of many. What really ounts is how much time you put into promoting your book each day and how widely you spread the word about your book in a convincing voice.

  3. I have definitely seen a positive impact from social networking – it seems to be the only way to go in this fickle market. There are so many sites out there and it is so difficult to know which site to choose. I have found great success on, and I noticed that it is not on your list. I highly recommend it for all authors!

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