In my experience, I’ve learned there are many reasons why authors don’t want to be on social media. Some think it’s too complicated, some tell me they’re too old (which always makes me laugh), and some just literally don’t have the time to manage their social channels.
So how do you sell your books without it? Well, from what I’ve seen, the magic does happen from time to time. For example, Seth Godin, whom I adore, never subscribed to social media and has still enjoyed immense success. But social media is a crucial component in your overall branding strategy—so if you’re going to do without it, you’ll need to sharpen the other tools in your kit to pick up the slack.
Fine-Tune Your Author Website
You do have an author website, right? If you’re stepping away from social media, your website is your résumé. Think of it as the centralized location where readers can find everything they’d ever want to know about you, including news, reviews and accolades, upcoming releases, and your blog.
Beef Up That Blog
Your blog is the “getting to know you” part of your website, and a fantastic way to communicate with your readers. For fiction authors, it’s an opportunity to grow your fan base by having an ongoing conversation to keep followers updated on what you’re doing. But it also serves as a great tool for creating a multidimensional brand with insider info, deep dives into characters, and other creative elements that can expand on your book’s storyline or the world you’ve created.
And if you’re a non-fiction author, your blog shows you’re staying on top of current topics and the news cycle. Your blog then becomes a key piece of your portfolio for when you pitch other platforms for guest pieces, interviews—all the endeavors that support your becoming a thought leader.
Don't Forget the Newsletter
If you’re going the non-social route, you need to have a newsletter. It’s absolutely key. And when you have a newsletter, you also need a really strong reader magnet—a reason readers will want to sign up for your newsletter. By creating a solid newsletter, you’re setting yourself up for potential cross-promotions with other authors in your genre. It gives you some leverage to use in collaborations.
And if you’re worried you’re not “interesting” enough to have a newsletter, I can guarantee that’s not true. You have to shake off that feeling and just get started to realize how truly doable it really is!
Look Out for Local Media
Another avenue to pursue is local media—which many authors seem to overlook. Authors love pitching to influencers and local media and local bookstores are all considered influencers. I absolutely love local media, and really any kind of local outreach. Also consider pitching to your local library, too!
Invest in Solid Influencers
I know what you’re thinking, and yes—you can use influencers for book promotion even if you’re not on social media yourself. And the more you build your platform off social media, the more robust a potential influencer partner may see you. Because gone are the days when big social media numbers feel influential; now it’s all about engagement, and that’s harder and harder to come by. It’s important to remember, though, that even if you’re not using social, you should still claim your social profiles so they’re at least under your umbrella and not taken by someone else. This is especially critical to keep in mind when pitching your influencer list.
Consider a Patreon Page
This is a fun little way to generate some revenue and build a fan base. I’ve spoken to several authors who are starting up Patreon pages and building goodies for fans. Access to special content for members with different member levels and rewards. It takes a bit of thoughtful effort to set this up (figuring out the membership levels and goodies) but it’s a really fun way to capture readers and bonus them for being a part of your “club”!
Should You Skip Social
At this point, you may be thinking, “Well, skipping social sounds like an awful lot of work.” And yes, it is a lot of moving parts, but every choice you make for your brand, what you do and don’t do, leads you down a path—and no path is entirely clear of hard work.
The reality is, most of it will really benefit you…and why wouldn’t you want to go all out anyway? Find a couple of ideas you feel like you can start with and do them well. Create a checklist you can work through as you get the hang of anything new you take on.
If you have a robust following and lots of engagement on social, I wouldn’t recommend ditching it. But if you haven’t had much luck, consider giving the other players a shot. I guarantee you’ll be surprised at how much you can accomplish!