Top Ten Tips for Selling Books on Social Media

As an author, you want to get the word out about your latest book. After all, people can’t buy it if they don’t know it exists. But how do you make your work stand out from all the online clamour?

You can’t throw a metaphorical rock on Twitter without hitting half a dozen authors. There are a lot of us there, both traditionally published and self published, and we all want to attract readers. But simply posting endless entreaties to buy your book doesn’t work. Nobody wants to follow an account that constantly harangues them.

So, what can you do?

Speaking from my own experience, it seems the best way to interest people in your writing is to first interest them in yourself. Put the ‘social’ back into social media.

I never set out with a marketing plan. As far as I’m concerned, I’ve always been myself on Twitter and Instagram. And that authenticity is important, I think. Over the past decade on Twitter, I’ve built up an engaged following, and that has had a definite impact on my visibility as an author, and consequently on the sales of my books.

But the social part came first. I made friends with other writers and people in the bookselling, publishing, and reading communities. I engaged in conversations that weren’t about me or my work. I tried to help people by sharing what I’d learned as a fledgeling writer.

And the most important thing I learned was that people don’t buy books on Twitter; they buy authors.

I hate the term ‘brand,’ but in this context YOU are your brand as much (and perhaps even more so) than your books. If you’re likeable and add value, people will trust you and want to check out your work.

I didn’t plan my strategy or anything. I was just being me. But for those of you just starting out, perhaps you might find it helpful if I present the benefits of my experience in bullet form. And so, here are my top 10 tips for book marketing on social media:

  1. Find your audience
  2. Be interested in other people
  3. Build relationships
  4. Treat authors as colleagues rather than competition
  5. Post interesting and useful content
  6. Try to be helpful
  7. Don’t be a jerk
  8. Act professionally and respectfully
  9. Be the kind of person people want to follow
  10. Share some of the lows as well as the highs – be human!

Finding an audience wasn’t hard for me, because I was already a SF fan and reader, and knew several others, so I had a place from which to build. Being a huge fan of the genre in which you write makes it easier to relate to the audience – because you’re already one of them – and you can celebrate your shared enthusiasms together.

Don’t try to copy my online voice (or anyone else’s) but find your own. Be the best version of yourself. Radiate positivity and helpfulness, and you will find most people will respond positively in return.

Do you have any tips of your own? Something that’s worked for you? Drop a comment below and share it with us.

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Good luck!

Author: Gareth L Powell


One thought on “Top Ten Tips for Selling Books on Social Media”

  1. Thanks for that Gareth. Most helpful. As both a new author and new to social media I don’t have your experience to be able to add anything regarding media, but on selling in general I’ve found outing free bookmarks in book and coffee shops helpful. Another tip (command!) from my publisher is if you know someone, whether another writer or not, is reading your book and might do a review, do not hassle them in the least , not even in a joshing hows it going sort of way. Let them take their time and if in the end they don’t review you, so be it.

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