Sunday, April 14, 2024

Why Social Media Is Important

By Terry Whalin

When writers begin to submit to book publishers, they are often surprised with the questions about social media and their specific numbers on various platforms. Isnt social media a waste of time? I often hear this waste of time push back from writers about social media. In addition, Ive read other articles from those inside publishing who say social media does not sell books. In this article, I want to give a series of reasons and insights why every writer needs to be on social media yet also control their time on it so it is productive and not wasted.

At first glance, social media looks like a huge time waster for writers. If you use it well, it can yield great connections and even book sales. Like a lot of publishing, the results for you as an author are buried in the details. 

Choose Your Platform

There are dozens of social media platforms. You want to choose the ones where your target audience is active and using. You can't be on every platform and its unproductive if you are trying to be on everything. Instead select two or three of these websites. Recently I noticed one of my author friends had dropped off Twitter/ X. When I asked her about it, she confirmed that her audience was not on this website and she had deleted her account and instead was emphasizing some other sites. I could see the wisdom in such a decision.

Complete Your Profile and Plan

After you select the sites, fill out all of the details on the profile such as photo, bio and other fields. Each one is different so look at others on the platform and learn from their actions. 

The next step is creating a consistent plan for posting on the selected platforms. Your posts should be interesting, contain an image (for visibility and to increase readability) and diverse. Have you been on radio or podcasts? Do you save those recordings on your own website? If you control them, they will not disappear. Then use those live recordings over and over to promote your book and yourself. 

Create A System and Use Tools

For years, Ive posted thousands of times on three social media sites. On average, I post 12-15 times a day. Ive created a system for myself, a plan and a pattern. As Ive mentioned in these articles I use a scheduling program called Hootsuite. The other common program is Buffer. My encouragement is to create a system which will work for you to be consistent and regular yet effective. You may decide to post three times a day or five times a week or some other schedule. Whatever number of posts that you select, be consistent and do it over and over. 

Sometimes I do not get a lot of response or engagement. It makes me wonder if anyone is reading my posts--yet I continue in my same pattern of posting. Then out of the blue, someone will reach out to me or respond to a post. Your consistency pays off.

Heres the key reason you need to share the benefits of your book over and over. Its been proven in the marketing world that someone needs to hear about your book at least seven or eight times before they purchase your book. The exposure and highlight of the benefits of your book are a part of the promotion process for your book. Heres another key fact, your publisher may place the book inside a brick and mortar bookstore (which is excellent) but if you dont encourage or drive a reader to go to the bookstore and buy your book, then eventually the book gets removed from the store and returned to the publisher. 

The average return rate for a traditional publisher is 40%. At Morgan James Publishing, most of our books are running around 15%. Last week I checked on the sales from one of my authors who is pitching a second completed novel and synopsis. Admittedly, it took a lot of this author's writing time and effort to produce a second novel manuscript. His return rate from the bookstores for the first novel was 73%! This author needs to make some radical changes in his actions to sell that first novel. If he doesnt take action, he is unlikely to get a second book contract to publish with Morgan James. Authors forget each published book is producing a sales track record. The author is the one who drives this track record through their continued promotion to readers.

Emphasize Benefits for Continued Exposure

As you create your plans to promote your book, look at your different resources. Use live radio and podcast recordings along with other resources to emphasize the benefits of your book to your readers. Also create and use different images with your books and social media posts. In these articles, Ive mentioned using Mock-up Shots for this effort. Follow the link to get lifetime access and use it for your books. Almost every day I use this tool.

Take 100% of Your Responsibility

Some of you reading these words wonder if you have to do it yourself. Couldnt you hire someone or some organization to handle your social media? There are virtual assistants and social media consultants and companies which you could handle your social media. Ive met a number of these people through the years yet Ive chosen to continue to handle it myself. Ive often written in these articles about the first principle of success: I will take 100% responsibility for my own success. The process takes regular and focused effort but is important to reach your readers and attract publishers to your work. The first step is to get the insight, wisdom and knowledge from others. For example, read my 10 Publishing Myths book and see the special offer at the end of this article. After reading it, you must take action for your own writing life. From my experience knowledge without action doesnt give any results. 

I hope Ive helped you understand why social media is important and some action steps to take for your books. What am I missing that you could add? Let me know in the comments.

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