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4 Steps to Selling More Books with Less Social Media

30 November 2016

From Digital Book World:

When I ask new email subscribers to tell me their number one book marketing challenge, the answer is overwhelmingly the conundrum that is social media: it takes too much time, and the results are difficult to measure. I agree.

Without a solid understanding of how social media does and doesn’t work, authors resort to the splatter method. But trying to hit every social media channel is a poor marketing strategy. On the contrary—you can successfully sell more books with less social media in four steps:

1. Find, build and target your proprietary audience.
2. Choose a primary social media channel for engagement and selling based on five specific criteria.
3. Designate social media outpost channels to direct potential fans to your primary social media channel.
4. Create a content system designed to foster engagement first and sell books second based on authentic author interaction with fans.

. . . .

Finding your readers shouldn’t be like playing Where’s Waldo. Here are a few tactics to find out where your readers are on social media.

• Survey your own readers. If you don’t know the social media preferences of your readers, ask them. You can send out a free survey on Survey Monkey or Google Forms to all your readers via email and social media posts. Find out who they are (demographics), where they spend their time on social media, and what other authors they read.
• Check free general use statistics on Pew Internet and other free data sites. Pew Internet provides the most reliable and extensive data on social media use worldwide. There are reputable marketing sites like HubSpot, Buffer, Marketo, Nielsen, Social Bakers and others that also publish free periodic data reports on social media use.
• Check your social media channel data. Most major social media channels will give you data about your followers.
• Check with your professional associations. Some writer organizations, such as Romance Writers of America, offer data about the genre’s readers to members.

Link to the rest at Digital Book World

Advertising-Promotion-Marketing, Social Media

28 Comments to “4 Steps to Selling More Books with Less Social Media”

  1. Watch out for that first step.
    It’s a doozy.

    In fact, once you do the first, the rest won’t matter much.

  2. For how long has “media” been a singular noun? I never got the memo.

  3. I may be off, but isn’t social media how you do #1?

  4. Please, please, please, let’s get the basics straight: social media is not a marketing channel but a communications channel. That’s marketing 101.

    • ^This!

      There’s a reason I seldom use Twitter anymore. All I see most of the time I check it is a constant bombardment of “Buy my books!” from all the authors who follow me there.

      • I learned awhile ago now that following authors, writing for authors, or in any way trying to pander to them is not what I should be doing.

        They’re not my audience. I don’t think they’re anyone’s audience.

      • Yep. Very few writers build a following of potential readers, and they do so by posting so often it has to cut into their book-writing time. And I don’t know how many of those followers actually buy their books rather than just enjoy the free content they provide via tweets, blogs, etc.

    • Social media is actually both: you have to sell where you engage in order to earn the right to sell. If you see it as one dimensional, you’re missing some opportunities. But people that prefer to use it just for chatting are certainly using it to realize their goals.

  5. Am I the only reader on the planet that doesn’t want to chat with my favorite authors? I just want them to write faster.

    • +1

    • If they wrote faster, they might not be your favorite authors any more.

    • No, you are not, Alice. I have little care for their personal lives (beyond the basic human feeling that it is happy and healthy), don’t really want to learn about their political, religious or sexual beliefs, and care more about how many grains of sand are on any beach you can name than what they had for dinner or where they prefer to shop.

      It’s going against the grain, I know, but there it is. I have to remind myself constantly to notify my few subscribers that I have something new out, or tell them about a cross-promo I’ve joined. I need to make a big sticky note and tape it on the computer screen every night so I won’t forget.

  6. “4 … and sell books second based on authentic author interaction with fans.”

    I thought this was:

    “4 Steps to Selling More Books with [Less] Social Media”


    • The theory of the four steps in to counteract the message that authors have to be on every social media channel, not that they shouldn’t use it. I guess it’s about optimizing if that makes sense.

  7. In my case, #1 has revolved around building a mailing list. I put a line at the end of each book asking people who want to know when my next book is out to subscribe to it. I use MailChimp, which is free until you hit 2,000 subscribers. It’s grown slowly but surely and it guarantees some decent Day One sales and a nice bump on AZ ranks. I make it a point not to spam the list, limiting my messages to new book releases only.

    I get more results from those New Release e-mails than from anything else. Facebook only produces results if I put $$ into it. Twitter has been utterly useless; it’s pretty much writers following each other. Social media has been a dud as far as I’m concerned.

    With regards to #4, for the most part fans don’t want to interact with me beyond reading my books. I get maybe 3-5 e-mails or FB messages a month, which represents a ratio of 1/500 or worse vis a vis sales.

    • Building my mailing list is my main base-building goal. I think this is more likely to work for me, since I am horrible at social media. I feel comfortable asking people to sign up to the occasional email, rather than blathering on about something on FB or Twitter or wherever the cool kids are now.

  8. As someone who writes a blog, I’ve also found social media a mixed blessing. Weirdly enough, I get way more blog traffic now that I only post a couple times a month than I got when I struggled to post a couple times a week. I also stopped using twitter more than once a week or so, and put my Facebook on lockdown to keep it private (for work related reasons). It seems Google rewarded me for some reason? Perhaps all that tweeting irritated the great Gods of Google? Or did I pass some kind of blog post threshold that puts me high enough in the page ranks to get more traffic? Who knows?

  9. I only use Twitter to -cough- rant. Or give things away. Then again, I’m terrible at marketing. 🙁

  10. All of the above advice is circular. I’m trying to introduce my work to new readers. If I’m contacting them on social media I already know where they are. What’s the use of sending out a survey if I already know their email addresses and where they are on social media?

    The dilemma is introducing myself and my work to people who don’t already follow me. With tens or hundreds of thousands of new books out there each year, it’s a difficult task.

    And yes, I’m trying to hold the line on “media” as a plural, but I’ve given up expecting others to do so. I always wonder where that leaves the word “medium,” though. And don’t get me started if I see the word “mediums,” unless you’re talking about people who claim they see the future.

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