social media to advertise

logan_run

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What are some techniques you can use for social media to publish your work.
 

tinkerdan

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I'd first worry about how well it is written.
I'd work on edits of grammar, continuity, and prose style and voice and do any necessary cuts and tightening.

No matter where you advertise, all of the above is going to help sell more than anything because there is no guarantee beyond writing your best.

The product advertises itself.
 

Dozmonic

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At the same time, it'd be remiss to deny the power of social media. It's my understanding that the fault in our stars owed a lot of its success to the socials. Various members of the so-called authortube have used social media effectively to drive awareness, or talk about the advertising that they do use. Someone like Gary Vaynerchuck has a lot to say on the matter and is worth checking out.

The best written book that nobody knows about remains a best kept secret. The worst written book can earn you a living if it reaches enough people. Different paths and different goals for different folk :)
 

StilLearning

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I've run a sideline in art, various mediums, for years, and I've been self employed as a maths tutor, and I would have to disagree that the product advertises itself, however good it is. You have to think at least a bit like a businessman, and that means looking at how you'll market to people. It very definitely also means having a good product to start with (or at least one that will appeal to some people - 'good' is probably too strong a term for some things that sell really well).

I know what Tinkerdan probably means: If your product is solid you should get business via word of mouth, people impressed with your product will sell it to others for you. But even if that's your main marketing strategy you need to convince those first few to try, and that means advertising, even if it's highly targeted. My experience of social media was that the effectiveness depends on how well you're able to target your message, and how open your market is. For example I targeted local parents facebook groups and local facebook pages as a tutor - many were actively looking for tutors, others were open to letting me talk about what I did. Be upfront with what you're doing. I got clients that way, and got the ball rolling on word of mouth. But selling artwork has taught me that you need to build a social media following, a fanbase so to speak, because for that product you will get a lower percentage of people who come to look that will actually decide to buy (art is not so vital to most as their children's future). Sometimes sales have been of pieces I didn't expect to go at all, or came from entirely unexpected directions - spreading a wider net seems to be the way to go, though you still need to build a relationship with your prospective clients. I suspect selling a book, assuming it is well done, is much more like the latter unless the subject matter is something very pressing on a lot of people's minds.

On a related note... has anyone here tried using Patreon, or a similar site, to support their writing?
 

Jo Zebedee

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I’m on Patreon and have no interest whatsoever. Which is grand - most of my income from writing these days comes from commissions and funded projects, which I prefer to asking for support :)

In terms of social media - I’m not convinced it sells a heap of books. One hit from the Guardian sold more than months of SM.
 

StilLearning

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I don't know that SM isn't worth having a go with at all, but I'd absolutely agree it's horrifically inefficient.
 

Stephen Palmer

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Social media is perhaps more about networking, which you could argue is a long-term form of interest and marketing.
You have to look at this from the long term. Years. A decade +.
 

Dave

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The effectiveness of social media depends on your influence there. Unless you are already popular in real life, you are very unlikely to get noticed on social media.

I have a Twitter account with a large number of followers (not book related) and so my Tweets can actually gain some traction, but most Twitter accounts have a small <1000 number of followers. If you Tweet about your latest book (or whatever else you are selling) that's only 1,000 people it goes out to, and most of those aren't likely to read it either. If you Tweet the same thing several times in a short period of time then that will be considered spam and you'll lose some of that small number of followers you already have. If you can produce a funny, clever and interesting Tweet that then goes viral, then you can attract more attention. That happens very rarely, and even more rarely does it happen more than once. I've had one Tweet that went very viral and I cannot actually tell you the reason why. It was the second time I had used it and it wasn't even retweeted once the first time.

Getting yourself a reputation, known for producing funny, clever and interesting Tweets will take you a very, very long time. The timing and day of the week you send those Tweets is important too, but you can be doing all the right things and still never get noticed. Facebook is slightly different in that people tend to scroll through, and skim read everything, but essentially it has the same problem: that in order to build up a larger following takes you many years and much hard work. A little easier if it is tied to a popular Blog. I think a Blog and Twitter seem to work well together, but that is a lot of Blogging! While I do see some popular authors who work that way (i.e. John Scalzi) ask yourself, do you really want to write books, or do you want to have a popular blog and be popular on social media?

Social media is a communications channel, not a marketing channel - unless you have a time-limited deal to communicate.

Brian is correct and this is how I see most authors using it, in the same way as the authors who have forums on Chronicles; not to advertise, but to communicate, to answer fan questions, to win friends and appear as a friendly human face (or not as the case may be.)
 

Jo Zebedee

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Ironically I find social media more useful on a local basis than worldwide - which seems counterintuitive. But my Irish network is much bigger than anything else and this is where I get most of my work - and anticipate doing so more in the future. I sell very few books and don’t actively chase book sales anymore because, for me, the side projects are more lucrative (per word) with fewer costs and more doable as they’re shorter.

So, for me, SM is about enhancing connections, keeping in touch with mates (I’m currently on twitter chatting with one mate who has her first poetry collection out, and two sff writing mates about Cats. That’s a normal mix for me), and also a bit of news when I have it. Appearances, convention stuff, updates (I am writing, I swear I am. I hope you have something new out this year. That’s the level of updates normally).

But it’s not about selling books. That’s a really chronic and soul destroying way to spend time online. But, of course - some of my books have sold because the buyer came across me on line and thought they’d like the books. That’s different again.
 

StilLearning

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I think there's truth in the idea that SM use to build contacts and relationships is marketing, but of a long term kind: In a way you are marketing you, and from there sales of books (or other work) may (or not) follow. I think it's better for building the foundation of a relationship with a customer, which is really an approach more suited to bespoke services than shifting lots of units of something fast.
 

Stephen Palmer

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This is the most difficult of all the tightropes to walk.
These days, you have to use yourself as a brand, but without "success" that task is all but impossible.
I feel sorry for talented writers who, post-internet, find themselves forced to go through all this. It is, as Jo says, soul destroying (if you believe in the concept of a soul that is! heh heh! :) )
I know a singer related to a very famous singer, who in years past used that familial connection to promote herself. I advised her not to, because she would never be able to use herself as a brand - and she could have, she was massively talented - and could only describe herself in relation to somebody else. Being your own brand takes a lot of courage and the kind of luck very people experience.
 

The Big Peat

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What people have said about Social Media being best a way to network than directly advertise.

I'd also add that while it does have some advertising potential, the best way to use it for that is to have a fairly high ratio of just interesting chat about the world to marketing, as people don't pay much attention to just pure advertising stuff. Which also fits in best with the networking stuff.
 

Mark Turnbull

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Building a strong social media following is definitely hard work - especially reaching the right type of people who want to read your work. I would like my Instagram account to have enough followers to drive some interest in my novel, but really I'm using it to communicate with people about the things that are important and exciting to me, and that's more fun.
 

Laura R Hepworth

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On a related note... has anyone here tried using Patreon, or a similar site, to support their writing?

I'm on Patreon. Have only 1 patron so far. My page isn't just writing though. I combined it with my jewellery and digital painting also so I didn't have to manage separate accounts for each.

I've seen a lot of other writers using Patreon as well with mixed results. Some are doing great, but there are a lot that are struggling or are somewhere in the middle.
 

JohnM

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I work in book publishing and watched the transition to the internet. A lack of research and sober, balanced decision-making is what's lacking today. Step one: Set a goal. What is your goal? Just get my book out there or quit my day job? I have seen posts by ebook authors and the number of copies sold and profits showed that none could quit their day job.

Then I see nonsense like this: "The worst written book can earn you a living if it reaches enough people." Not true. Never was. In pre-internet days, such books ended up in the trash or were never published or published by a vanity press.

I think the most important thing that needs to be stated right now is that if you want your book(s) to earn you a living then you have to find out how to sell them or who to sell your manuscript to. Nothing has changed. There is no other way.

The company I work for is using social media but it has a fan base that was gradually built up over many years. I stumbled across a new fiction author who had a fine website but some of the most bland book covers.

Let's forget the words "social media" for a moment. In my view, the vast majority of it is a great waste of a time. As far as book marketing, the goal appears to be to get free advice from someone who no one, aside from a small group, has ever heard of. There is site ranking information available and other resources, but again, a decision needs to be made: Do I want quick and easy or do I find out where book authors who sell similar books to mine post on "it"? I know one very niche author who published a highly specialized book. He did everything he had to do: He set up his own website, he located websites with people who would be interested in such a book, he set up a Facebook page and has a less useful, but used skillfully Twitter account. He knew, like a military planner, how and when to use each outlet. It was very effective. As an author, he had also done everything right.

Set the bar for yourself: What does "doing great" mean in terms of copies sold? Or a dollar/Pound amount?
 
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autodidact

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I know one very niche author who published a highly specialized book. He did everything he had to do: He set up his own website, he located websites with people who would be interested in such a book, he set up a Facebook page and has a less useful, but used skillfully Twitter account. He knew, like a military planner, how and when to use each outlet. It was very effective. As an author, he had also done everything right.

Who was this author? A successful example could be very instructive.
 

JohnM

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The author in question wrote a technical book about a historical subject. I touched upon the key points regarding how he used social media, found his audience and engaged with them. Each social media campaign has to be specific. There is no road map or one size fits all. In other words, your book, its genre and who already reads books like yours. Any campaign takes a long time and brief mentions can appear and be quickly forgotten. At the company where I work, news is posted on a weekly basis and I pass it on to other sites where I know there is interest. In any type of advertising, repetition is key. For books, new announcements followed by updates in progress followed by the actual release and further reminders after.
 

autodidact

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The author in question wrote a technical book about a historical subject. I touched upon the key points regarding how he used social media, found his audience and engaged with them. Each social media campaign has to be specific. There is no road map or one size fits all. In other words, your book, its genre and who already reads books like yours. Any campaign takes a long time and brief mentions can appear and be quickly forgotten. At the company where I work, news is posted on a weekly basis and I pass it on to other sites where I know there is interest. In any type of advertising, repetition is key. For books, new announcements followed by updates in progress followed by the actual release and further reminders after.

Yes, sure, but who is this author in question? What is his or her name?
 

Phyrebrat

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Yes, sure, but who is this author in question? What is his or her name?

I suspect that’s privileged information and unless you’re writing historical non-fiction on the same time period the name would be little use.

I think the point being made is you have to custom make your own publicity campaigns. This takes a great deal of preparation and comprehensive knowledge of your audiences.
 

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