Thursday, January 15, 2015

#MFRWorg Newbie's World: Does Social Media Help to Sell Books?

And by work, I mean, does it actually sell books?

There are many different theories out there about what actually sells books in terms of social media, but as far as I can determine, there is no direct correlation between numbers of social media followers and book sales.  For instance, even if you spent time to amass 20,000 Twitter followers, how many of those will actually buy your book? Perhaps 1%?
We tend to look at the followings of best-selling authors and think "wow, they have a lot of followers, they must sell a lot of books that way." But really, when do we usually follow other authors? After we have already read (and liked) their books.
There are always exceptions, of course, but pinning our energy (and hopes) onto gaining a large following will probably not get us where we want to be.

There are few who will  stand up and say:  don’t waste your time on social media. And far be it from me, either, to say that it is a waste of time. Social media is a good way to make ourselves available to our fans, to communicate with other authors, and to find like-minded individuals. As a social tool, it is invaluable.

But as a book marketing tool, we would be better off applying ourselves to the tried and true methods of marketing.

Find Your Mavens:

Find influencers to promote your work for you. If you’ve ever read the Tipping Point, or heard about how Stephen King’s tweets sent asldjf onto the best-seller lists, then you know what I mean. Use (in the nicest possible meaning of the word) other people’s networks to promote your work.

How to do it? Well, by being social, of course. The first approach is always email, of course, and should consist of the following:

1.      A reason you are writing – what does this person mean in your world – do they write the same genre, share an affinity for hat-wearing cats or gnomes, let them know whatever it is that connects you.

2.      Brief (incredibly brief) intro of you and your work

3.      Call to Action (what would you like the influencer to do? Review? Tweet about the work?)

If you don’t get anywhere with email, though, try social media. Reach out via Twitter or Facebook and be relevant.

Making your book(s) as awesome as possible:

Of course, the other part of marketing is having a product that people really, really want. Your book, in all of its facets, has to be as awesome as possible (writing, cover, and editing.)

Another thing to consider here is the power of a series, and the power of free. Putting out a series in rapid succession, including a free novella, can be a great way to garner sales.

What do you think? What ways have you used social media to garner sales (or not)? What do you think has helped you to sell the most books?

Erin writes sensuous paranormal romances set in exotic locales. Her latest book is a sexy minotaur shifter story set in Crete.  A regular blogger for Marketing for Romance Writers as well as Heroes and Heartbreakers, Erin lives in Atlanta with her two little paranormal beings and one unruly husband.

Erin also now offers editing services, including help with bios and queries, on her website.  She's giving away a critique of a first chapter with a subscription to her newsletter

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