By Jason Kong
I “met” Jason on Jane Friedman’s blog, where he wrote an interesting post on book marketing. I asked him for his thoughts on how fiction authors can use social media for their own book marketing efforts, and this is his response.
When J.K. Rowling announced her latest book on Twitter, thousands of people forwarded the message on to thousands more.
That’s what you can do with a powerful platform. Marketing becomes easy once you’re connected to people who want your stories.
Becoming a bestselling author is one way to earn the attention of a massive and loyal audience, but it’s hardly a blueprint for the aspiring novelist. Since you should cultivate a following as soon as possible, why not leverage the tools you’re already using?
Like social media.
Whether you’re using Facebook, Google+ or blogs (or all of them), you have the means to attract and keep in touch with those interested in what you do. If you’re a fiction author, here are some ideas to consider.
Showcase your best writing for free
I know what you’re thinking.
You’re already putting most of your time and creative energy into your stories. What’s the return for giving away something good enough to be paid for?
Answer: earning attention and trust. If your books aren’t suffering from a quality problem, then perhaps not enough of the right people know about your work.
So write a short story in an ebook format and share the link. Weave an entertaining anecdote in a blog post. Take advantage that most social media is a text-based medium, and you’re a motivated writer.
Come up with different ways to share your perspective, style, or storytelling skills. You want people to fall in love with your writing, and share that passion with someone else. When your words are free, they can spread faster and farther.
Good writing is aligned with good marketing. So keep releasing quality stuff without charge.
Seek those interested in your work
The internet is a very big place. It’s impossible for everyone to like what you offer.
Your easiest (and most rewarding) path is to identify those likely to be passionate about your stories. Instead of creating desire, find where the desire may already exist.
Social media is a great venue for doing just that.
- Connect with authors in the same genre as you. If you respect each other’s writing, then you’ll mutually benefit from being exposed to a new audience. It’s good for the readers too.
- Learn how to better utilize Goodreads, the social network designed for people who love books.
- Show appreciation to your current following. By focusing on your fans they’ll draw in others to your circle.
You don’t have to wait for people to find you. By being strategically proactive, you can really help your cause.
What action will you take?
It’s your right to treat social media as your internet hangout or a break from your book writing. Good fortune can still be in your future.
Nothing says you won’t get discovered or an opportunity falls into your lap. One of your tweets or posts may simply go viral. Maybe you’ll attract the audience you want simply by being you.
Awesome if it happens. But not something you can count on.
The alternative is to be more deliberate about developing your platform. Writing is your product, but it’s also your brand, marketing, and sales pitch. Use social media to put it on display, in front of people that will more likely care.
What strategies or tactics have you used to building your audience with social media?
Jason Kong is a Contributing Writer for The Book Designer. He also runs Storyrally, an email-based subscription that helps fiction writers with their online marketing.