Writer Working welcomes James Tendedro, stopping by on his journey to spread the news about the release of his The Consistency of Parchment. At the end of the following discourse on the care and feeding of social media in marketing your writing, you’ll find links to The Consistency of Parchment as well as other interesting and relevant info. So, James, step right up:
Many thanks to Carl for hosting this latest stop on my Blog Tour! I’m very happy to be here today to share some thoughts on the use of social media for book promotion by authors.
So by now we all know how important it is to effectively use the various social media sites at our disposal to market our books. Authors – especially self-published authors such as myself – have a wealth of tools available to help in getting the word out about our writing. Using Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and the like for the purposes of promotion is a straightforward, low-cost means of reaching potential readers around the world. Of course, because it’s become so easy to access and use these tools, differentiating yourself (in a positive way) has become that much more difficult. Based on my own experience, I can offer some general tips that may yield a good payoff for the time and effort that you’ll be investing in social media.
The first thing to note is that it’s best not to view this task in purely instrumental terms – that is, as a means to the end of driving book sales. Sure, you could tweet ad infinitum about the fact that your new novel is now available for purchase; indeed, I’m admittedly impressed by the creative lengths that some people go to in order to do just that. While there are certainly times when this strategy is warranted (say, when your book has just been published or when your free promotion period on Amazon has started), I’ve found that it very quickly loses its effectiveness. Better to communicate with a few authors whom you find particularly interesting, Liking them on Facebook and occasionally re-tweeting their tweets, thus slowly building up a dense network of reciprocally supportive peers.
Of course your overall network will expand as you become a more active user, but if you’re not maintaining any meaningful interactions within this cohort it hardly seems to be worth the effort. Take an interest in authors writing in the same genre as you; join author events on Goodreads; post (honest) reviews on Amazon. In short, consider how you plan to contribute value to – rather than merely extract value from – your social media community.
In a related vein, look at the possibility of participating in a blog tour. When my novel The Consistency of Parchment first came out, I began casting around for ways to link up with fellow authors, bloggers, and book reviewers. The idea of a blog tour seemed like an ideal way to do so. For those who may be less acquainted with this phenomenon, a blog tour is essentially the online equivalent of a physical book tour: instead of moving from city to city over a certain period of time, though, you go from blog to blog. In my case, I posted a notice on Goodreads mentioning that I was looking for bloggers who would be interested in hosting a stop on the tour. I was fortunate enough to receive several responses; after agreeing upon the dates and intended content, I had arranged a total of 11 stops covering the month of August.
The blog tour is a particularly useful social media strategy because it involves a nice exchange of value between the author and his or her host. The author receives publicity in the form of an interview, guest post, podcast, or other book-related communication, while the host gets interesting new content for the blog.
I have no hesitation in recommending a blog tour for this purpose. The interactions I’ve had with the bloggers who signed up for my tour have been uniformly pleasant, positive in tone, and professional in nature.
Finally, it’s worth noting that when it comes to social media, there can definitely be too much of a good thing. The urge to tweet can be especially pernicious, since it offers the type of instant gratification that most of us crave – and that most writers tend to do without. Thinking again of my own experience, I can see how the time I’ve spent on Twitter or Facebook could perhaps have been more productively allocated to my actual book writing. Like anything else, then, the use of social media for book promotion can be hugely effective if done properly. Ultimately, though, our primary concern as writers is to create a body of prose that will be worth talking about.
Social media can help us to get the word out, but it doesn’t replace the hard slogging that goes into creating that masterpiece that the world will soon be tweeting and retweeting about.
Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B008ABY1CY
Amazon page for The Consistency of Parchment: http://www.amazon.com/The-Consistency-of-Parchment-ebook/dp/B008A2FV40/ref=la_B008ABY1CY_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1340337325&sr=1-1