Monday, January 15, 2018

Social Media Marketing for Your Self-Published Books | Practical Strategies

Social media is one of the most powerful tools that you can use to market your self-published books for free. You can pay for advertising on social media, which can be very effective, but it’s also possible to get your books out to a wider audience using purely organic methods.

If you’ve not built a social media presence as an indie author yet, or you have tried, but were disappointed with the results then read on for some top tips on how you can market your self-published books for free.

What should you post?

Post updates on your writing process, your upcoming books, general writing advice and tips, reviews of books you love, and anything you think your target audience will enjoy. If you know your target reader loves animals, and you have dogs or cats, include some pictures of your pets and funny anecdotes about them. If your target audience enjoys shopping and fashion, you can also share a little content about those topics occasionally.

Look at the social media accounts of your favourite authors and see what they post about. Which posts get the most engagement, and can you identify why and then emulate it? The key things are that you should be getting your own personality across while keeping your audience interested and entertained.

Video is an increasingly popular medium on social media, so think of ways you can use video creatively as well as static images and text-only posts.

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Choose your platforms wisely

It’s easy to get overexcited and create accounts on every social media site available, but it’s better to make a concentrated effort on one or two platforms than to spread yourself too thinly across them all. You need to make regular posts to keep the accounts active and exciting, and to reach as many potential readers as possible.

So, which platforms should you concentrate on?


Facebook: one of the first sites people think of when you say ‘social media,’ Facebook can be a powerful marketing tool; but they change the rules and their algorithms regularly, meaning it can be challenging to get the organic reach you need.

If you have a budget for paid ads, or already have a large enough following, Facebook is a brilliant place to be marketing your books as it has the most users of any social media platform by a mile. If you don’t have either of those things, then you’ll need to put in extra effort to build a Facebook following.

You may have noticed that you see fewer ‘page’ posts in your Facebook newsfeed recently. That’s because Facebook has been separating them out, and putting most page posts in a separate ‘Explore’ feed for users. Yet many people haven’t realised the Explore feed is there, and pages have seen their organic reach drop dramatically.

What you probably have been seeing in your regular newsfeed are ‘sponsored’ posts from pages and businesses – which are paid ads. You also sometimes still see page posts that your Facebook friends have liked.

These changes mean it’s harder than ever before to gain momentum on Facebook, especially for new indie authors. Creating effective, engaging content is crucial to being noticed, and you’ll also possibly need to enlist the help of family and friends to share your posts to reach a wider audience.

On top of that, you can join reader groups on Facebook and participate in those to help build your audience. Pay attention to the rules for each group though, self-promotion is often against group rules. Once you’ve built a presence in the group as a reader, contact the page admin and politely ask if you could share your author page in the group. Don’t do this without frequently participating first.

If you don’t have the time or money to devote to participating in groups, posting on your page regularly and monitoring what’s working, your effort is probably better focused elsewhere.


Which leads us to Instagram. It’s growing rapidly, and it is not very difficult to gain followers and build your audience on Instagram. It does take work, but with a few hours a week you could cultivate an impressive audience. Building a following on Instagram can seem tricky, but there are two techniques that are quick and easy to use.

The first is hashtags. You can use up to 30 hashtags on an Instagram post, and I’d recommend at least 15-20 per post. It’s tempting to think you should pick the most popular hashtags, but unless you have a huge following and lots of engagement already, your posts will get lost very quickly.

Look for hashtags with 20-50,000 posts and make these the bulk of your hashtags, with only a couple of larger ones. This way, they stay visible for longer to people searching them, and you’re more likely to hit the coveted ‘top posts’ spot for those hashtags.

The second, very effective way of gaining followers is to run a ‘follow/unfollow’ cycle. Follow accounts of authors who write similar genres, or bloggers who review your genres. Then begin to follow the accounts that are following them. This way you are targeting people who are most likely to want to read your books.

After a reasonable amount of time, you can unfollow any that are not following you back. I usually spend a week adding people a few per day and interacting with them on my Instagram feed. This consists of liking and commenting positively on as many posts as I can. Then the next week I start removing non-followers, a few per day, then repeat. You can get to thousands of targeted followers in a few months doing this, and by interacting with them via your feed, you are building rapport and also the added chance their friends will see your comments and visit your bio.

Your Instagram bio should have a link to your Amazon author page, your own website, or your Goodreads author profile. Basically, anywhere that they can purchase your books from.


Twitter is another platform where it easier to reach people, even if they don’t follow you. Using hashtags like on Instagram, jumping on relevant ‘trending’ hashtags, and responding to other people’s tweets are all good ways to increase your reach.

Debates are often lively on Twitter, and while courting a little controversy can help boost your publicity and followers, be careful what you put out there. You don’t want to get carried away and lose credibility. It’s especially important not to respond badly to any negative reviews of your work, as it rarely ends well.

Twitter also works best with higher post volumes. While you can build audiences on Facebook and Instagram with 1 post per day, you’ll want somewhere between 3 and 5 posts per day on Twitter.

Like Instagram, your bio should include a link to somewhere the reader can purchase your books.

Schedule your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter posts to save time

To make it a little easier there are numerous scheduling apps that you can use to automate your posts to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can write all your posts at the beginning of the week, and the scheduling app will release them on the time and date you specify—meaning you don’t have to worry about it other than to respond to any readers who comment on your posts.

There are lots of scheduling apps available, and most of them are free to use for a couple of accounts, so play around until you find one you like best.


Goodreads isn’t necessarily a true social media site, but it has a lot of the characteristics of one and has the undeniable advantage that Goodreads members are actual readers, often voracious ones. Plus, you can see what kind of books people have read, are reading, and want to read. It’s a great place for self-published authors to connect with readers and keep an eye on emerging reader trends and up and coming genres.

If you don’t have a Goodreads author profile, I highly recommend you create one. Join Goodreads reading groups in your genres, and participate without pushing your books at first. Over time, you’ll build a network of readers that you have developed a relationship with. When you’ve built that relationship, then you can suggest your own book for them to read and they will be more likely to actually read and review it.

Social media for selling books in foreign languages

Social media is growing massively in non-English speaking countries too and is perfect for selling books in foreign languages. If you have your book translated and are selling books in multiple languages, (and why wouldn’t you?), your translators may be able to do some of the social media marketing in those countries for you. If you’re using Babelcube’s free book translation service, promoting the book will be in the freelance translator’s interests too, as the royalties are split, and there’s no upfront fee for the author.


All of the social media platforms have their own charms and are effective ways of marketing your books. However, if you can only choose one or two platforms to promote your self-published books, I recommend Goodreads and Instagram. They are both thriving platforms, and you can get a lot of exposure for your books for free.
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Written by Lisa Flynn. Lisa is a freelance writer, content marketer, and social media manager who developed a love of reading and writing from an early age. She has self-published over eleven racy novels under several top-secret pen names and also ghostwrites in the romance and erotica genres.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Self Publishing Your Book This Year: Tips and Trends

Self-publishing has exploded over recent years, and thousands of people are making additional income or a full-time living from self-publishing their work with major online books retailers. Here’s a handy guide for everything you need to know if you plan on self-publishing this year – whether you’re a seasoned indie author or a first-time self-publisher.

Industry Trends

Ebooks are still dominating the market, but there’s a rise in the number of people bucking the trend and reverting to paperbacks. Make sure you’re not left in the cold by not having paperback versions of your book available by using one of the many print-on-demand services. Amazon now offers the ability to publish your books as ebooks and in paperback right from the KDP platform.

Self-published books are often criticised for low-quality editing and covers. With more books on the market than ever before, make sure your books stand out for the right reasons. If you have the skills to do so, make sure you invest the time needed to self-edit your books to a high standard. Otherwise, try and budget for paying an editor to polish your final manuscript.

Audiobooks are increasing in popularity, and are the fastest-growing sector in publishing; so, if you have the budget to have your book turned into audio then it’s definitely one option to consider. More people than ever before are listening to audiobooks, so give them the chance to listen to yours.
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When you list your books on any of the major distributor’s websites, you need to make sure you are choosing strong keywords to list your book under. Your title or book blurb should also include some keywords to make sure that readers can find your books. Looking at what people search on Google will give you a good idea of which words to concentrate on.

Moz’s keyword tool is the one I use the most as a self-published author, as it’s straightforward to use and also suggests alternative keywords for you along with their search volumes- making your job much easier. Look for keywords related to your genres where there are more than 50 searches a month as these are the ones where you will be most likely to achieve excellent visibility.

Social Media

Social Media is still a popular way to market books for indie authors, but with constant changes to Facebook feeds and rules for business pages, make sure you are up to date with how to get the best reach on the various social media channels.

If you have a budget for ads, use it. Facebook ads can be a very cost-effective way of getting your books in front of your target readers. If not, focus on creating engaging content to draw more readers to your page. Consider Facebook Live videos to boost your reach and engagement, and to let your readers get to know you not only as a self-published author but as a person too.

If you don’t have a social media account to promote your books, make this the year you set one up. You don’t have to be active on every platform -- you can just choose one platform, and post regularly. Over time, you’ll build an audience of people that are engaged with your books and want to buy your new book releases.

International Markets

Growth across non-English speaking markets is set to rise. Get ahead of the game in this year by making sure your books have translations available in as many languages as possible.

The book translation service Babelcube offers authors a way to do this without having to pay any upfront fees for translations. Babelcube also takes care of distributing your self-published books -- meaning that your translated books will get in front of international audiences quickly and easily without you needing to set up and manage lots of different accounts.

Most Importantly

All of these tips will help drive you towards success as an indie author, but the real key to success in self-publishing is the same now as it has been since the beginning. Publish as many high-quality books as you can manage this year, and you will increase your chances of success drastically.

Wishing you a successful and fun adventure self-publishing your books in many languages. 
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Written by Lisa Flynn. Lisa is a freelance writer, content marketer, and social media manager who developed a love of reading and writing from an early age. She has self published over eleven racy novels under several top-secret pen names and also ghostwrites in the romance and erotica genres.