Introduction to Social Media Marketing for Authors

Social media. Love it or hate it, in today’s publishing world, it’s pretty much taken for granted that you’ll participate (regardless of whether you’re traditionally published, self-published, or with a small press). Your editor expects it, your publisher expects it, your agent expects it, and increasingly, your fans expect it.

But while it’s one thing to know you need to be “out there” — building relationships with your fans and potential readers, getting the word out about who you are and what you write, and just plain being seen — it’s quite another to put the idea into practice. Where do you even start? How can you promote yourself without spamming your audience? What works and what doesn’t? (Hint: continuously hitting your online followers over the head with “buy my book” posts doesn’t work!) And how can you be sure social media is even worth your time?

If you feel as I did when I started out, the whole social media thing can seem pretty overwhelming. There are many, many, many platforms to choose from: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+…and the list goes on. If you try to put yourself out on too many of them, chances are you’ll run into one (or more) of these four issues:

  1. You’ll be spread too thin and you won’t be effective on any of the platforms.
  2. You’ll spend all your time on social media with no time to write.
  3. You’ll overdo the promotion and drive away your audience.
  4. Because all of the above leave you feeling stressed and you’re not seeing any benefit, you’ll give up.

The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that way. Done right, social media can be a highly effective way to interact with your readers, build a supportive community, and boost your online profile—all of which translates into improved book sales. It can also be a great deal of fun as you become more comfortable with it.

I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but after spending thousands of hours figuring out the “best practices,” I’ve learned a lot. And because I remember how frustrating it was to stumble around the vast Internet on my own in the beginning (and I don’t see the point in you repeating my thousands of hours of research), I’ve written a number of articles to help you make social media work for you as well. From Facebook to Twitter to Wattpad and beyond, I’ll share whatever tips I’ve gleaned that might make your online life easier…and more rewarding.

Ready to get started? Excellent. Here’s a list of all my Social Media articles to date, roughly separated as to topic (though you’ll find quite a bit of crossover between them). I’ll add more to the list as I publish them, so I suggest you bookmark this page to come back to later. All of the articles are actually blog posts — part of a Social Media Monday series that I run, so if you’d like to receive email notification of new articles, you can also subscribe to updates in the right hand sidebar.

Remember, Social Media Monday is about making your life easier. I’ll tell you what I’ve tried, what I’ve liked, what’s worked for me, and what hasn’t — and if you have any questions or suggestions along the way, you can ask/share using the comments below the article or by emailing me through my contact page (top menu bar).

Now, go forth and make your online presence known (in the best possible way, of course)!

Thoughts? Please share them with me!