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This blog was featured on 01/05/2018
Why Authors Still Aren’t Taking Social Media Seriously Enough
Written by
She Writes
January 2018
Written by
She Writes
January 2018

There is no shortage of author advice out there, encouraging writers of all varieties to be present on social media.

“You have to be on Twitter!”

“You have to have an active following!”

“You need to be selling books with Facebook advertising!”

Again and again the importance of social media is pushed, but authors still emerge with books and very little presence on social media. Some bestsellers are virtual ghosts and smash-hit debut authors burst onto the scene, vastly underprepared to receive a flood of new fans.

So why then, with all the encouragement in the world, are authors still not taking social media seriously? It's not because they don't care. It's because social media has become a tangled mess of platforms and paid ads and profiles. 

Here, we’ll explore the hurdles that may be keeping you offline and discuss why you can’t afford to let these obstacles stand in the way anymore.

There are too many options.

Agreed. There is definitely some analysis paralysis when it comes to choosing how, when and where to be on social media.

Some people dive into every platform they can find and get burnt out trying to maintain it all. Others start building on a social media platform only to feel discouraged when [new social media platform] is described as the best tool for authors. Even choosey authors who go with just one or two platforms can get bogged down in all the potential features.

In Social Media Bootcamp, we will talk about how Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are the social media pillars any author can use to grow their online presence. Regardless of genre or audience, fans can be found and fostered on these sites and authors can stop the endless pursuit of “the perfect platform.”

There’s not enough time.

No doubt. Social media takes some time and effort. Posting content and gaining followers is a long-term play that requires regular attention. But whether you’re a full-time author or writing is your part-time passion, deliberate use of social media can fit into any schedule.

Authors often think that social media is only worth doing if they can go “all in.”

Whatever that means.

The reality is, even if you only have 30 minutes a week to give to scheduling posts and checking inbound messages, being “findable” is a far better option than being invisible. If you have just five avid readers desperate to reach you, give them a way to do so. Those five readers, when fed properly, could create five more. And then five more. Happy readers recommend your books. So it is worth your time, even if you only have a little to spare.

Building an audience is too hard.

Yep! It’s difficult. No one says it has to happen overnight though. Linking to your Twitter account in your first book may only result in ten new followers. But those are ten followers that loved your book enough to want more from you. In the next book, you could get twenty.

Again, most authors are looking at the difficulty as a reason not to join. When really, your platform only needs to be there to support those who are interested. If at some point, you want to grow your platforms more aggressively, there are ways to do so using paid and organic strategies. There is no way to grow an audience on a platform that doesn’t exist though. You have to take the step to open a door for fans.

Nobody cares what I have to say.

Perhaps. Maybe no one cares what you had for breakfast or if your cat got a birthday present, but if your book has an audience, that audience can be found on social media.

Social media done well delivers desired content to hungry fans. If your specialty is interior design and you’ve written a book on the subject, fans all over social media would anxiously eat up visual content on interior design. If you write historical fiction about the 1920’s there’s an audience excited to discuss that roaring decade of literature.

The point of social media isn’t to make a celebrity of yourself. It’s to take the content within your work and deliver delightful bites of that genre to the social media world. Using proper ad targeting, hashtags and networking, you can lure the exact right readers to your front door in a way that’s valuable and entertaining.

I should be writing. Not tweeting.

True! Social media can be a huge distraction from writing and if you find yourself getting sucked into a Twitter feud instead of hitting your word count, you may want to consider an app that helps keep writers focused.

However, social media shouldn’t be considered a distraction for writers, but rather a tool in a large toolbox of necessary items for a successful author career.

Authors need to be marketers, creators, business people, educators and students. If you want to write well and earn a living doing so, you have to be ready to wear many hats. And sometimes that means taking off your writer cap to get some marketing done.

Social media doesn’t sell books.

False! Social media can sell books, but most authors need training to make that happen. You will likely not sell much by posting your Amazon link to your Facebook page 153 times, but there are ways to use social media to reach buyers who want your book. Just because you haven’t sold books yet, doesn’t mean there isn’t a way to do it.

There is also a strong argument for using social media even if it never sells a copy. Social media can be proof to publishers that you have an active audience. Social media can be a place to connect your readers to each other and grow the love of your books. Social media can be a place where organizers find you for speaking events. Not everything has to be an engine for sales. Sometimes social media serves less quantifiable purposes.

My book is too [literary/niche/erotic] to work on social media.

Balderdash. Facebook alone has over 2 billion users. Whatever platform you’re on, there are surely readers to be found. The more niche and genre-specific your book is, the easier it can sometimes be to find an audience. You may have to be very intentional about finding your audience, but the more granular you can get, the less competition there will be.

Someone trying to find “women’s fiction” readers, could struggle because that market is so vast. But someone looking for fans of “urban Chinese vampire fiction” might just find a few core thousand readers that make their whole career. Don’t underestimate or overestimate your fans. All kinds of people are using social media to find products and entertainment, even the most upscale and unique readers use Facebook.

I hate social media and I don’t wanna.

Granted. Some people just don’t like social media. They can’t justify spending time doing something they hate and just want to focus on the positive. But in any career, there are aspects of the business that are unpleasant, but nonetheless vital. Even travel bloggers chasing the sunset have financial records to keep.

Like going to the gym or eating vegetables, social media is just a part of a healthy author career.

Developing skills that optimize your social media time and get the biggest bang for your buck is possible. If you want to spend as little time on social media as possible, you can still be effective without being engrossed. It just takes some sharpening and focus to do.

Check out Social Media Bootcamp

If you’re ready to take social media seriously and use it to propel your career as an author, consider signing up for Social Media Bootcamp. This 3-webinar series:

  • Teaches authors how to choose and use the proper platforms
  • How to properly promote an upcoming book release
  • And how to maintain social media presence in a way that serves your writing and your fans in between releases

Learn more and register here!

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