All authors love their books, but some struggle with the idea of promoting them. Sometimes this is because they don’t like the idea of attention or feel self-promotion is arrogant. Other times, it’s because they feel confident in their writing ability, but not in their marketing and distribution abilities. The truth is that you must build your following if you want to be known as an author. Self-promotion is a reality in today’s writing world, and it is neither arrogant nor painful if it is done well.
Use Social Media
One of the best ways to build your following is through social media. Many authors hesitate to use social media, because they don’t like it, don’t know how to make themselves known in an arena where everyone has multiple accounts, or simply don’t know what to say. However, social media is necessary if you want your following to be more than a handful of people.
There are many ways authors can make social media work for them. First, seek out groups, classes, or conferences that talk about social media for authors. Managing social media as an author is different than managing your personal Facebook or Twitter account. It takes dedication and finesse. For example, it’s recommended that authors update social media accounts two to four times per week, and much of it shouldn’t be strictly self-promotional. For every two self-promotional posts you write, you should write five posts that are not about yourself or your books. They can, however, concern your platform, other authors’ books that are similar to yours, a local bookstore or library that has helped launched your career, current events, etc. You can and should use anything that will attract readers to your social media page and help build your overall author brand. Don’t post things that aren’t in line with who you are as an author and a public presence.
Know Your Platform
Another way to build your following through social media is to use a blog. Blogs are extremely popular in today’s world, partially because you don’t have to be a traditional author to get published and have people read and appreciate your thoughts. All you have to do is set up a blog with a service such as WordPress, and start writing. Additionally, because many blog services are free, this is one area in which you don’t have to invest money in order to promote your book and your brand.
You can use a blog for anything, including all types of free author promotion. Remember that you don’t have to talk about your book all the time, but you can discuss your author platform. Your author platform is composed of topics about which you are passionate and about which you write or try to raise awareness. For example, even if your book isn’t about adoption, but you are in the midst of the adoption process, this may be something you may want to share with your followers as part of your platform, why you wanted to make that commitment, and the challenges and rewards you have faced on your adoption journey. If you are a children’s author who wants to write about the environment, your platform could include green energy, recycling, and how kids can help improve the planet. Every time you write something related to your author platform, you are engaging in free author promotion without sending the message, “Buy my book because I’m a good writer.” Instead you’re saying, “Buy my book because I write about something you care about” and, “Buy my book because I’m a person you feel like you know, like, and trust.”
By discussing things that are important to you, you know you’ll reach the right audience, because people who follow you wouldn’t be following you if they didn’t care about the things you were talking about. Discussing things that are important to you help them get to know you, and one of the top reasons people buy books is because they know the author.
Know Your Audience
If you want to write about what people care about, you must know the people in your audience – single parents looking for a light read, college professors teaching freshmen how to analyze literature, someone mourning the loss of a loved one, or any other audience out there. As you find new readers, you connect with new people, building rapport and virtual relationships. Those readers may start out reading one book, but will be eager for your next one, and the one after that.