Social Media and Promoting Your Book

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Yes, authors can use social media to promote their books (although maybe not as much as you'd think initially), and there are dos and don'ts to doing it. Experts in book promotion services have established ground rules and the most successful authors follow them. You can go free form and try new ideas, but some may backfire and set you back. The fundamental principles are being helpful, informational, entertaining, and never using the hard sell. If you push too hard or overpromote on social media, you'll either lose followers or turn people off about your book. When you get it right, you may sell copies.

Authenticity is crucial, and you want to begin building your following long before you write your first book. When you're a natural and well-liked presence who happens to mention she has published a book, it goes over much better than activating a profile at the last minute. When you're overly promotional, it never makes as good an impression as a faithful participant who actively engages with her followers, and people learn to like and follow. It's less straightforward for fiction writers because posts cannot be directly about the book topic. For nonfiction writers who are experts in a field, the path is more apparent.

When it comes to posting content, some can be about your topic, and the rest can be about things you naturally have an interest in. Unless you're a political writer, avoid controversial topics like politics to avoid turning off some potential readers and book buyers. The goal is to engage with followers and develop rapport to the extent you can through online communications. People like to read books by authors they know, and when you engage with fans, it helps the process. Make sure your posts are easy to read and enjoyable, and compelling without being overdone. As you post more, you'll become better.

The optimal frequency of posts is not more than daily and perhaps only several times a week. You want people to look forward to what you say and not feel overwhelmed. Posting too often can give a poor impression, and on the flip side, you don't want to let your account be dormant. Strike a balance between consistent visibility and spacing them out enough that people are happy to read them. Successful people on social media are often extroverts with outgoing personalities, but not always. Some quieter people with friendly senses of humor or the ability to chime in at the right time do well.