Today’s post is by Sydney Scrogham. She answered my call for guest posts from authors who have a uniquely interesting book/social media marketing story to share. If you’re interested in writing a guest post for my blog, send me a guest post of at least 1,000 words. And please explain your unique strategy in using social media to publicize your book. (Just send me a note via my Contact Me page.)
I will never forget the first conversation I had with my publisher.
I was told a debut author needs two out of three things.
- An awesome, flawless manuscript
- An agent
- A platform (also known as an audience, a following, people who are invested in what you have to say)
The immediate response inside my head— “crap.” I don’t have an agent or a platform.”
As an emerging author with no platform, it was a Godsend for me to go to a writer’s conference called Re: Write, The Ragged Edge. I heard a talk on Twitter that led to me getting an account. The only social media I’d used at that point was Facebook.
Using what I learned about Twitter at the conference, I gained 2,500 followers in 6 months without paying a penny.
It’s hard to promote a book through Twitter without spamming your followers. In fact, I feel BAD for the few times I do tweet about Chase (my book).
My personal rules for tweeting about Chase:
- Shoot for one tweet a day or less about your book
- NEVER tweet book promo more than 3x a day
- Tweet quotes, especially for #1linewed
- Quote positive reviews
- Tweet news, accomplishments, goals—anything in life-related to Chase—without bragging
- Use images as much as possible since they have a higher engagement rate
- Attach different hashtags to tweets that are similar so feeds don’t get clogged with redundant tweets
- Be sure to use meaningful hashtags like target age, genre, and reader characteristics
- Don’t begin a tweet with a weak word like “a, the, and, but, yet”—always have a strong first word
How I built my following is by spreading information that interests me. Tips about writing, book marketing research, ways to build an e-mail list, how to have a better plot, characters, imagery—if you can ask the question, Google can find you an answer.
By spreading useful information, you’re presenting yourself not only as an author, but as someone who’s credible, active in learning, and eager to promote good content.
With a dashboard like Tweetdeck (to write and schedule tweets ahead of time), I had my total Twitter time at an hour. That time could’ve been 15 minutes, but I usually became enthralled in the information I researched to share.
Be A Good Human Being
What Twitter has really brought me are connections.
The best advice I’ve ever seen is from a blog I follow called Leaving Work Behind.
There, I read something similar to, “Being a good blogger is about being a good human being.”
The same has been true for me using Twitter for book promotion.
By spreading useful information and retweeting appealing content, I’ve gained a few loyal influencers. I’ve never met these people face to face.
In fact, if it weren’t for Twitter, I’d have never met them. But I could tell you who they are because they’re actively promoting my content. In return, I promote theirs.
What you give away will eventually come back to you.
For example, I adore interviewing authors about their dreams. I promote them as a person and their product (if they have one). Many times in return, I gain cross promotion. More people come to my website and social media when I have fresh interviews. Sometimes I get an interview in return.
By no means do you have to do this, but I’ve found this works for me. I enjoy it. And your cross promotion should also be something you enjoy.
Be a good human being. Do for someone else what you’d like done for you. You’ll build connections that will open doors for you and the people around you.
Creative people aren’t your competition—they’re your friends.Creative people aren’t your competition—they’re your friendsClick To Tweet
Don’t Force Your Platform
If you’re trying to use Twitter to promote your book, and you don’t like Twitter, then I have a crazy suggestion for you.
Stop trying to use Twitter.
Sure, check it once a week, update it occasionally—it’s good to be in as many places as you can—but why force yourself to do something you hate? Not only is life too short for that, but your followers can tell.
There is a book marketing platform open for you. Pinterest, Facebook, Tumblr, your blog, email marketing—whatever it is, you’ve got a niche. Find what works for you and do it.
For me, that was encouraging other people to chase their dreams. Reminding them why they took this creative journey. Daring them to press on when the going gets tough.Don't force your author platform via @sydney_writerClick To Tweet
Slow and Steady
Whatever you do, don’t give up.
There are days when book promotion sucks. You’re tired, and you don’t want to do this anymore. That’s also how it feels about halfway through a marathon.
That’s also the point where it’s critical that you do not stop.
Especially if you’re a debut author.
Getting published isn’t impossible. Getting your book seen isn’t impossible.
But you’re going to have to step out of your comfort zone.
Are you going to start giving out the promotion you’d like to receive?
About Sydney Scrogham, the author of today’s post: Your dreams matter! It’s time to fight for them. I’m the author of Chase (YA fantasy and romance), I love my horse, and I #amwriting happy endings. Learn more about Sydney on her website.
About the Author of this blog: I’m Frances Caballo, an author, podcaster and social media strategist and manager for writers. Download a free copy of my list of favorite marketing books. Don’t forget to check out my Social Media for Authors podcast on iTunes too.