How Authors Can Rock 2018 Using Social Media For Book Marketing

It's a new year and what better time to think about how you can do things differently when it comes to marketing your book online. These eighteen tips will help you put your best foot forward, right from the beginning. 

  1. Converse more with your audience. Too many authors push material at their audience without any real engagement. Take time to do more than just respond to people's comments. Be proactive! Leave feedback and ask questions of your fans. A little goodwill can go a long way when it comes to building interest and loyalty. 

  2. Be Thoughtful. No one likes a salesperson bombarding them with advertisements or pleas to buy a product. Your tone makes a difference — when you're too forceful or assuming, people take it for pushiness. Consider the 80/20 rule: Eighty percent of your content should be about your industry, genre, or content about or created by other people. Only twenty percent of your content should be about you, and even then, you should strive to provide value to your customer, not just push ads at them.

  3. Spend less time creating better content. I wrote a whole post on all sorts of ways that you can create better content, here. Focus your energy on spending more time creating quality content vs. creating a greater quantity of content. Software firm HubSpot breaks down how often and the best times to post in this article. But don’t just rely on the advice in the article. Dig into tip #6, too. And if you are stuck trying to figure out what type of content to create, here are 30 ideas.

  4. Be consistent.  Just because you've resolved to create better content doesn’t mean you can get sloppy with how often you post it. Let 2018 be the year when you resolve to be better at managing your social media calendar, prioritizing your best posts, and making sure you leave room for more spontaneous possibilities.

  5. Shell out a little for advertising. Social media is definitely not free these days, particularly on Facebook where organic reach is nearly zilch. The good news is that you can do a lot with a little. Even spending as little as $50 a month can help propel your reach (and potentially your sales), if you are savvy and target your ads to your audience. Consider taking advertising through Facebook, Amazon or Google AdWords. And see #6.

  6. A/B test your advertising and your content. A/B testing, sometimes called split testing, is a method of comparing two versions of an item (ad, blog post, webpage, app) against each other to determine which one performs better. You can set up A/B advertising directly in Facebook, running two different ads simultaneously to see which one performs better, but you can also do this manually on any platform. Pick two pieces of content that are nearly the same but perhaps have different headlines or imagery. Run them under similar conditions to determine the best performing item. This will help you determine which content may resonate best with your audience to help optimize ad spend, but also to know which types of content you should consider creating more of. 

  7. Champion other books and authors. It's a small book world out there, and it's ruthless. Publishers are spending less on fewer authors which means that it behooves authors to stick together and help each other out, to amplify each other's voices. Tell the world about other authors' books. Let them know about their events. When you take care of other people, that comes back to you tenfold, I really believe.

  8. Collaborate online with other authors. This goes hand in hand with #7. When authors band together they can have greater reach and noise than a single voice lost on the Net. Join Facebook groups, write articles that include a variety of authors (and when it's published everyone shares it out), do giveaways, tweet chats or even live video.

  9. Consider live streaming. It's all the rage. You can live stream from places where you are doing research, from book events or literary festivals. You can create short live videos on specific topics. Here are some tips and tricks on live streaming for book promotion.

  10. Learn something new. Writing alone isn't enough to hone your craft. Stay curious and interested in how other people are working and writing. Check out this list of great YouTube channels for writers.

  11. Understand the new Facebook changes and how they will impact you. Facebook recently announced big changes to their newsfeed which will impact the views of your author pages. Find out how it might affect you (and utilize some of these other tips to propel other social options ahead).

  12. Think about Twitter all over again. With the change to 280 characters, there are more content possibilities than before (and it's easier to craft your messaging). There is a renewed focus on video on the platform, and a shift to filter out bots and spam to make the network more viable and trustworthy. Plus, with reach on Facebook going down and ad prices going up, Twitter may hold interesting new options for authors looking to build their network. 

  13. Don't rule out LinkedIn. LinkedIn isn't the first network you might think about for marketing your books but used carefully and strategically, it can be a good way to keep your bigger network in the loop on your key announcements. It has the best organic reach of all the platforms. 

  14. Mix up the tools you are using to be more productive. Jane Friedman has a great list of tools she finds helpful. I would also add BufferAutoCrit and  ManageFlitter to this list.

  15. Have fun with bookish holidays. Create content that aligns to the dates on the calendar...usually there is an author birthday or a holiday hashtag you can tag along with. And here's Twitter's list of holidays too.

  16. Create more video. Video should play a bigger and bigger role in your marketing this year, so time to learn how to make it work for you. Here are also 20 ways that authors can use video to market books.

  17. Play around with Instagram and Facebook stories. 2018 is the year for ephemeral content--content that disappears after 24 hours. Find out how you can get in on this trend. And here are some Instagram Story templates and some more templates to take your ideas to the next level.

  18. Learn to Turn Off or Unplug.  2017 was a tough year for many people who couldn't easily avoid the overwhelming news from all fronts.Choose the hours in which you work on social. Don’t read Twitter before going to sleep. Turn off your personal Facebook for a spell. Leave your phone far away from the dinner table. Whatever turning off or unplugging might mean to you, resolve to give yourself some peace from the little electronic box that we carry around with us everywhere we go. Learn to live in the moment sometimes, without recording it, and without relying on virtual validation.

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About the Author

Crystal King is a 25-year marketing, social media and communications veteran, freelance writer and Pushcart-nominated poet. She is the author of the FEAST OF SORROW, about the ancient Roman gourmand, Apicius, and the forthcoming THE CHEF'S SECRET (February 12, 2019, Touchstone Books) about the famous Renaissance chef Bartolomeo Scappi. Currently Crystal works as a social media professor for HubSpot, a leading provider of Inbound marketing software. Crystal has taught classes in writing, creativity, and social media at Harvard Extension School, Boston University, Mass College of Art, UMass Boston and GrubStreet writing center. A former co-editor of the online literary arts journal Plum Ruby Review, Crystal received her MA in Critical and Creative Thinking from UMass Boston, where she developed a series of exercises and writing prompts to help fiction writers in media res. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or at her website:

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by Crystal King