I know it isn’t what you want to hear, but I won’t lie to you: Whether you self-publish or traditionally publish, you will have to promote your book, and most of that promotion will be done on social media.
I’m used to seeing crushed faces when I announce this at my writing retreats. Hey, look at it this way–It’s way better than traveling around the country taking 5 am flights to morning shows in Nowheresville, signing books at Waldenbooks when no one is there, etc. Social media is relatively quick and painless and free. Just don’t let it replace your writing time.
I also get wide-eyed expressions when I run through the gamut of social media options: Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Google Circles, etc. But the truth is, you don’t have to do all of them. Choose your battles. Here’s your guideline:
Facebook is king.
See the chart at the top of the page? Note the age group (though it would be no different in the 18-35 class). Facebook annihilates the competition. It is the best for meaningfully engaging an audience in a way that might lead to readers. Facebook has more people spending more time than any other platform. And it isn’t just kids. It’s the primary book-buying demographic.
Here are some rules for useful Facebooking:
- Start with your “Friends” account. Start a Fan page when that hits the 5000 limit. (People want to be your friend, not your fan.) On average, Americans have about 300 real social contacts. So the other 4700 will be fans masquerading at friends. Let them. I love my readers and I bet you will too.
- Switch the default setting to “Public” so everyone can see everything you post. Why not?
- Use video. Facebook now delivers more videos than YouTube. Take advantage. People love to see your smiling face. As long as it’s saying something of interest.
- Don’t talk about your books all the time. The hard-sell gets old. Do it maybe once a week. The rest of the time, chat. Engage in subjects of interest to others. Show your friend/fans what you’re really like. You can join up to 6000 fan groups. Is there any reason not to?
- Make Facebook your hub. Use Hootsuite or similar programs to post to Facebook, but send copies everywhere else, so you can effortlessly focus on Facebook but engage the other media.