My argument is honestly: Why not?
No one is going to sell your books better than you can. The key is knowing what sells you the best. For me, I know I stink at the sales pitch. I’m not going to be able to give you a smooth line, a glossy sheet and win you over. With me, it’s my sparkling personality. Okay, seriously it’s my gift of gab and social tendencies. For a person like me, social media is like crack. It means I can talk to All The People and say All The Things! But how do you use social media if you aren’t like me?
I’m going to run down the big social media platforms and talk about how you can use them a few different ways.
I feel like everyone, their mother and dog are on this site. It’s the place to be, the mall foodcourt, the happening grill, you name it, that’s what Facebook is right now. Will it go the way of MySpace? Maybe, but for now Facebook is here to stay. I’ll freely admit that Facebook is one of my least favorite venues simply because it’s lack of intuitive design and how much it wants to share your information. I’m somewhat of a control freak so that rubs me the wrong way, but I still use Facebook.
People who routinely use the site are looking for quick, bite sized news blurbs like, "Hey, the new book is out, read more info here (insert link)", interesting or funny bits and something to kill time with. It’s not hard to have an active Facebook life without trying. I won’t get into the profile vs page debate, that’s really your preference and how you want to use Facebook. But! It is easy to drop in once or twice a day to say something witty or post a funny picture or link to something.
I admit, Twitter is my crack. I cannot live without it.
I liken it to a cocktail party, as have many others. You can talk about anything and everything — and it’s okay! You can even talk to others in semi-real time. If you don’t want to spend a lot of time on Twitter, you can always use a service like HootSuite to schedule tweets ahead of time. I’m guilty of doing this, especially when I’m busy. While I do a lot of promo tweets, I’ll even schedule crazy, conversational tweets between the promotion so I keep my Tweets from being 100% promo spam. It’s incredibly easy to make Twitter work for you if you’re social. Admitedly, if you aren’t social it might be something of a stretch, but if you say intelligent or funny stuff, people will follow you.
These sites are honestly better left to readers. We’re all aquainted with the way interactions between authors and reviewers/readers can go sour on this site. But what you can do is keep your information and books updated. Goodreads also offers the oportunity to do giveaways and participate with groups. If you’re not the social kind, just keep your information up to date, sit back and ignore your ratings/reviews. (it makes life easier)
There are loads of email loops out there depending on what your interests are. One of my publishers offers an email loop for readers and authors to mingle and chat about things. There are still yet other email loops hosted by well known review sites where you can chat with readers and reviewers about your latest book. If your publisher organizes a daily "loop party" that’s all about their authors, participate! I’ve had a lot of fun doing these, and really look forward to doing them again. This does require a certain amount of interaction. It’s easy to post to the loop with a, "Hi guys, here’s my blurb and excerpt!" it’s what comes after, hopefully the interaction, where you need to put on your promotional hat. Still, this can be a lot of fun!
I seriously underestimated the worth of a newsletter. I think everyone needs to determine when is the right time for them to rev up to doing a newsletter. In the beginning I really did not need one. But when a reader asked me for one, I figured it was time. I’ve now done two newsletters, and I think it’s worth it. If you make use of a free service like MailChimp, you can do a really professional looking newsletter easy-peasy. This is great for everyone if you’re at that level.
This is the newest cool thing. I think it’s fun, but I don’t make use of it anywhere near as well as some other authors. For me, I’ll repin things I find are funny, things I want to buy and books I like. I’m experimenting with doing a board per book, but I don’t work on it simply because I haven’t seen a huge use in it. Check out someone like Rachel Caine, who makes great use of it for her Morganville Vampire series.
I can hear you now… YouTube? Um, yes, I am serious. You might not post more than book trailers on your YouTube chanel, which you can use making powerpoint or an internet based service, but it’s still another way to be out and about. I will warn you before you check out mine, I have videos from a strip club trip, so view at your own risk! There are other authors who do video blogs, or vlogs, and they can be quite popular and funny if you’re up to it.
I by no means think everyone needs a toe in all the social media pools, but you do need to be out there. How else are people going to know to buy your book?