by Nikki Halliwell from ‘Help For Writers’
We’re always told that we should be using social media to promote ourselves and to promote our books; we hear it on almost a daily basis. But it can be hard enough finding the time, or the right frame of mind, to finish our writing without having to add self-promotion on top of it all.
The truth of the matter though is that we should be using social media not only to ‘get ourselves out there’ but also to create a better relationship with the very people we want to be selling our books to.
Twitter is one of my personal favourites, and can actually be used in a way that takes up a lot less time than you might imagine – especially with the addition of scheduling tools like Hootsuite or Buffer. This way, you can plan what you want to say ahead of time and schedule it in at the appropriate time and date. It pays to add the personal touch when you can and to interact with (talk to) the people that follow you, but this can be an effective way to dip your toe in the water.
Global conversations take place on Twitter every day, and being part of that can really help to get your books in front of the right people. Use relevant hashtags and look at the ‘Trending Topics’ to see if any of them apply to you or your book and use them to spark up a conversation of your own.
Think of Twitter as free promotion of your writing to the masses, and it may seem like less of a chore.
So what should we be posting? Ideally, a great tweet would include all 3 aspects of the triangle below. However, it is only possible to include 2 of the 3 in a single tweet (even with the benefit of Twitter’s media-friendly timelines that allow YouTube videos, photos and some other links to expand in the News Feed).
“My new book is out Monday” contains nothing special and can easily be overlooked in a busy News Feed. The good news is that there is plenty that can be done to entice current or potential fans with this piece of information.
We’ve all heard that ‘pictures tell a thousand words,’ so let’s all start using that notion as best as we can. Make your tweets more interactive and appealing to your followers. You could include a photo of your creative process, vlog or blog about your challenges, or simply include a relevant link to add some context. Being honest and open about your difficulties will also mean that your followers and even like-minded writers will be better able to connect with and relate to you.
Try to get fans excited about your book before its release too. Tweet about your writing journey from start to finish; include milestone moments in your writing and updates on your process including cover design, publishing, manufacturing, distribution, etc. Frequent reminders about important upcoming dates are good too, as are updates on your adventures as you promote the book.
It can be good to post about certain deals too or other achievements e.g. “Just sorted my ebook distribution with Help For Writers” or “Just reached 1000 downloads with Oodlebooks”.
Don’t forget to customise your profile by using profile pictures and cover photos. It’s useful to use a profile photo of your face rather than your book cover so that followers can ‘put a face to the name’. The cover photo is where you can sell yourself and add information about your books. You can even add calls-to-action directing people to buy your books at a particular store.
I know that privacy can be a concern for some, and it’s completely understandable to want to keep your personal life private and separate from your writing. At the end of the day, it is entirely up to you how much you want to share and where to draw the line.
Twitter can be a fantastic way of helping all of us to find new fans, keep in touch with existing fans and even open up opportunities for collaboration.
Try to plan some of your posts ahead of time and respond in real time when you can. Try to strike a balance between communication and promotion and you’ll be surprised by the amount of enjoyment, relationships, and benefits for you and your writing you’ll get out of it.
Guest post by Nikki Halliwell from Help For Writers.
Nikki Halliwell is the Digital Marketing Executive at Help For Writers, an eBook distribution and publisher services company that help authors to get their writing in front of wider audiences.
Authors can sign up to their chosen package, and even have a custom package built to suit their needs and start to earn a living from their books.