Oh the horror… Many authors hate book marketing, and they aren’t that keen on social media either. Authors want to write, and leave everything else to others.

Would that we could. That would be the best of all worlds. Sadly, even if you have the money to pay a good publicist, you’re better off doing most of your marketing yourself. No one knows your novels (and nonfiction books) as well as you do.

You’ll learn a great deal from marketing too. This helps your writing.

So — is social media useful, or useless, for book marketing?

Social media marketing: slow growth, then a healthy, ongoing harvest

Important: be aware that NO form of marketing is an ATM machine.

I posted about visibility on the freelance writing blog:

… (some) writers think of marketing in terms of “launches”. That is, they believe that marketing is something that you do for a few weeks a year whenever you have something new to promote.

… It works for a lucky few. For the vast majority of writers however, launches produce a tiny number of sales or none at all.

Look at marketing in general, and social media in particular, as a cumulative process. Just because no one’s bought your book in a week, after you posted on Twitter FIVE times, it doesn’t mean that no one’s seeing your tweets. (Try posting something stupid, and the instant response will provide a quick reality check. :-))

A reader may need to see mention of your book several times before he clicks through to your book’s product page on Amazon or elsewhere.

Now let’s look at the tips.

1. Invest in assets: create or buy great images

Images sell — seriously.

I know we’re all about the words, but people can’t read your words if they’re not paying attention. You grab their attention via images.

2. Create a plan to build your audience, reader by reader

Social media is social. You attract readers individually.

When you’re just starting out (and afterward too) think in terms of small wins. One response to a tweet; a like on your Facebook page… two followers on Pinterest.

3. Leverage others’ audiences with great content

Guest posting on other authors’ blogs used to be super-effective. Now, not so much. However, it’s still valuable. Leverage others’ audiences to grow your own.

4. Write and promote: promote your books before publishing day

You publish your book, and then promote it, yes?

No — if you do that, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to build anticipation and readers before you publish.

I gave you a mini marketing campaign for social media on this post. Use that as a template to create your own publishing plan; start when you start writing your book.

5. The 80/ 20 rule: remember to promote your books on social media

Marketing on social media is a balance. If every post you make is promotional, you’ll never sell. On the other hand, if you’re too shy to sell, you’ll sell a lot fewer books than you could.

The 80/ 20 rule is popular in social media marketing. That is, for every four items you post, one is promotional. The other items provide information or entertainment.

You don’t have to adhere slavishly to the rule, but do remember that you’re marketing on social media to sell books.

Onward — book marketing on social media works if you do. 🙂

You can, when you discover the secrets of writing blurbs (book descriptions) which sell.

I developed the tactics and strategies in this book to help myself. My students have found them essential to producing both fiction and nonfiction almost effortlessly.

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Angela Booth is a top copywriter, multi-published author, and writing teacher. She offers many guides, courses and classes to help writers to enhance their skills on her websites. She also provides inspiration and motivation for writers on her writing blogs. Angela has been writing successfully since the late 1970s, and was online in the 1980s, long before the birth of the Web. Her business books have been widely published.

This content was originally published here.