The Big Book Marketing Question (or Opportunity): Social Media

Smith Publicity, Inc is the leading book marketing firm in the publishing industry, providing book promotion services, author promotion services and author publicity to published writers in the United States and Canada.

There continues to be a good amount of enthusiasm (and skepticism) about the ability of social media to sell books for all authors. Most veteran book publicists can confirm its value but caution that the promotional and sales results vary widely. Much also depends on a book's topic and an author's innate skills for posting in ways that spark interest. Some writers are instant virtuosos, while a longer learning curve exists for others. Therefore, a good social media plan is an asset, but many experts advise using one as the sole method to promote a book. It's also tough to build a following too quickly.

Good social media posts are engaging and often tell stories. Taking a storytelling approach to what you post helps as a way of thinking about how to write. Like any form of communication, posts are at their best when they are authentic, suit the moment, and aren't forced or fake. People can see through blatant promotion easily, and it's why taking a hard-sell approach rarely works well. Instead, try to engage with followers naturally and let things flow conversationally. Ideally, the goal is to build an authentic rapport and provide useful or entertaining information. When you do, you'll see your following start to grow.

Novelists are among those who can find social media posting the most beneficial. Getting publicity for fiction books can be more challenging, and fans love getting to know authors. You can chat with people about your book's characters and setting – and if the dialog is genuinely engaging, perhaps incorporate some of the comments for upcoming books. When fans are engaged, they are likelier to buy future books and consider you one of their favorite authors. The two-way design of social media, which allows for comments and feedback, makes it especially interesting to fans and followers.

If you're a nonfiction author or a fiction writer capable of getting traditional publicity, it is excellent fodder for social media posts. You can post links to interviews and articles but also give fans behind-the-scenes comments about your experiences talking with the media. With everyone starved for audience growth, letting shows know you're promoting your appearance on social media incentivizes them. There's a preference for interviewing authors with large fanbases who will want to watch or read coverage afterward. The same goes for podcasts which continue to grow in influence and stature.

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