Friday, October 17, 2014
Using Social Media to Market Books
I first published DEAD SERIOUS in 1987 with the paper back edition out the following year. (Yikes! That does date me.) The book had a good run with excellent reviews, awards, and actual sales that made me some money.
I don't know when both versions of the book went out of print, but they did. Unless a book lingered on library shelves, potential readers were out of luck.
Earlier this year, I decided to reissue DEAD SERIOUS as an eBook. I had a new cover designed, revised the statistics, and wrote a new introduction. Initially, I issued the eBook as an Amazon Kindle. Later, I expanded to several other eBook sites.
Heck, the book cost under $10. A deal!
But no matter how inexpensive a book is or how well it did lo these many years ago, authors must do their share of marketing to get the title back out into the book-o-sphere. With no publisher support (as if they did much to begin with), books rarely get into the hands of readers save for a savvy marketing campaign.
And, boy, how things have changed since the end of the 1980s. Then, there were only big, bulky desk top computers, and social media hadn't yet been born.
Now with Twitter, Facebook, email, and a plethora of web sites, the trick is to get the word out over and over again in new ways that continue to grab potential readers' attention.
I read somewhere that Twitter was the best place for authors to promote their wares. I had had a Twitter account back in the day but didn't know how to use it and, for whatever reason, was bombarded with photos from men who used Twitter as a dating site.
So, I changed my handle and started tweeting. I also signed up for Bublish.com, a marketing site for eBooks. Oh, and I revised my web site with links to Bublish, a built-in tracking system, a new cover photo, links to the eBook, and a radio player for listeners to hear my first radio documentary, "What A Difference Differences Make" that profiles three adults with intellectual disabilities.
And wham! In only four weeks, 500 people had viewed either Bublish or Twitter, more than 200 folks had gone to my web site, and I actually received my first royalty check from Amazon. (I can't tout my horn on this last one because the check wouldn't even buy a lunch at a local health food restaurant.) Still, it was money in the bank.
I check my views daily. I tweet regularly with new information and new visuals. I have contacted suicide prevention/education groups and several have put a link to my web site on theirs. I've been interviewed for one of the sites whose director will be distributing it to organizations nationally.
I don't know whether all this marketing will translate into sales. But it's been a blast and kept me out of trouble.