Thank you to Giacomo Giammatteo author of the great thriller Murder Takes Time
How to network online to promote your book
I chose this topic for two reasons:
• It is the single most difficult problem for me. It’s like facing my own worst fear, so perhaps writing about it will help me as well as others.
This is not a “how to” for social media. I’m not qualified to do that. This is more of a sharing of my stumbles and mistakes. Maybe it will help someone else.
I have no problem writing. I’m fortunate in that I never get writer’s block. I don’t run out of stories to tell, or plots to work on. My ‘blogs to write’ list is endless…but…I have a terrible time with self promotion.
This has been a rude awakening for me. I’ve been in sales of some sort all my life. For the past thirty years I’ve been a headhunter, and when you run your own business you are always a salesman, always promoting yourself. But when it came time to promote myself online, as an author, I froze up. I waited until the last minute to even get a Twitter account. My Facebook page consisted of a few relatives and friends. And I had never even heard of Pinterest. I still don’t know how to use Google + or Tumblr.
So why was I uncomfortable selling my book? I was confident of the writing. I knew it was a good book. It got great reviews, but…selling the book was like selling me. It was too personal, too close to me. And it felt too much like bragging.
A few weeks into the launch I ran across the World Literary Cafe, a group run by Melissa Foster. They have several wonderful programs that help authors learn, and get comfortable with, social media. I have to say, it was a lifesaver. They have Tweet teams that allow an author to market other people, while the other people market you.
This fit my style perfectly. I don’t mind marketing the heck out of someone else; I just don’t like doing it for myself. So while I’m touting these other authors, they are telling their followers about me or my book.
They also have programs to help with Facebook and Goodreads, and many other areas.
So right now, here’s what my social media strategy looks like:
Twitter: I use “Tweet teams” to help get the word out. I dedicate 20 minutes in the morning to adding new followers and tweeting, and another ten in the afternoon or evening to sending tweets.
Pinterest: I’m just building this network, but I am mostly posting pics about the animals from our sanctuary.
Google +: I haven’t done much here yet, but it’s on my list.
Goodreads & Library Thing: I believe these two have the most potential. I think reviews are the single biggest issue (after visibility) facing authors. Every author needs to have a substantial number of reviews if they are to be taken seriously. Reviews are difficult to get, but places like Goodreads and Library Thing make it easier. Authors can sponsor giveaways in exchange for (hopefully) reviews.
Being sociable: This is perhaps the most important, and one that might take the most time. I believe you have to truly interact with others over an extended period of time, and develop relationships. Once you have a network of true relationships, you can start helping each other. That’s when things will click.
Other things: Blog, Linked in, Tumblr, etc…
After three weeks of using Twitter, when I never thought I’d ever use Twitter, I am slowly getting more comfortable with it. I still look to retweet other authors’ tweets more than I do my own content, but that’s okay. The way I look at it, it all comes back to you in the long run.
On my blog I do the same kind of thing. I’m not comfortable talking about writing, or telling others what they should be doing. Who’s to say that what works for me is right? Not me. So I talk mostly about the animals on our sanctuary. And I try to tie the stories into writing, or reading. Mostly though, I just tell stories in hopes that someone will enjoy them. Not much different than writing a book.
Does this strategy work? It’s far too early to tell if what I’m doing will have any benefit. Ask me next year and we’ll see.