By Frances Caballo
Every writer’s dream is to publish a book that soars in popularity and sells oodles of copies.
And perhaps every writer’s nightmare is learning how to market a book and then doing the marketing.
What’s a writer to do?
It’s like the chicken and the egg quandary – which came first? Well, in the world of publishing, the marketing starts before the book is finished. The idea for the book comes first, followed by the simultaneous acts of marketing and writing, and finally the book appears on virtual shelves, followed by even more marketing.
Whew! Is that a collective groan that I hear?
If all you want to do is write and publish books, cool. Go for it! But if you’d also like to sell books, the inevitable question is when will you commit yourself to learning how to market your book and doing the marketing?
We all know that marketing takes time. Too much time, some might say. I insist that it needn’t take time away from your writing. Not if you adhere to some productivity tips. Let’s break them down.
First Tip: Don’t Be Everywhere
The first mistake that authors often make is that they think they need to be everywhere. There’s:
- Instagram, etc.
Am I making your head spin?
You don’t need to learn all of those platforms. You do need to look at your Google Analytics and determine the demographics of your audience. Then go to Pew Research Center to determine where online you need to be.
For example, you’ll see that Instagram users are primarily women between the ages of 18 and 49 (but Millenials reign). On Facebook, whereas women dominate, the ages are spread slightly more evenly between 18 and 64 years of age. LinkedIn has slightly more men than women and here the 18 to 49-year-olds dominate.
So the first step to saving time is determining where your reader demographic hangs out online and restricting your marketing to those two or three platforms.
Second Tip: Curate Your content
Joel Friedlander wrote an excellent post on curation that I recommend you read. In short, what you post on social media will be comprised of 80% of content from other sources and 20% of content coming from you in the form of images, blog posts, and information about your books.
To find the 80% of content that you’ll need, go to outside sources. Once source that Joel doesn’t mention in his post that I like is Alltop.com. Here you’ll find topics in every niche from writing to philosophy to science fiction. Everything is there.
Third Tip: Schedule
Once you’ve decided on the platforms and you’ve generated or discovered the content you want to post, you’ll need a scheduling application to schedule your curated content for the day or the week.
Sign up for Hootsuite or Buffer – they are the best scheduling applications – and start scheduling your posts and images. There’s a caveat: Don’t schedule status updates for your Facebook author page. Facebook doesn’t like third-party apps and will downgrade your post in its newsfeed. Instead, use Facebook’s native scheduling feature.
This is what the native scheduling app looks like:
Then select a month, date, and time. Note: You can schedule your post six months out.
Fourth Tip: Socialize
The fun step has arrived. Social media, at its essence, is social. So socialize with your colleagues, readers, and prospective readers. Ask questions and answer queries. Thank people for sharing your content. Comment on posts and tweets. Get to know people.
Another way to socialize is to share someone’s content. Can you think of a more endearing act online?
In my July 12th post here, I posted examples of how to have conversations on Twitter. Replicate those examples wherever you hang out online. Also, join:
- communities on Google+
- groups on LinkedIn and Facebook
- chats on Twitter
- and share boards on Pinterest
Check your newsfeeds daily and keep in touch with your readers every day.
Can you imagine having more fun than hanging out with your readers online?
Photo: Bigstock Photo