How to network online to promote your book
I chose this topic for two reasons:
• It is perhaps the biggest problem facing all authors today,
regardless of whether they are published by traditional houses, or
• It is the single most difficult problem for me. It’s like facing my
own worst fear, so perhaps writing about it will help me as well as
This is not a “how to” for social media. I’m not qualified to do
that. This is more of a sharing of my stumbles and mistakes. Maybe it
will help someone else.
I have no problem writing. I’m fortunate in that I never get writer’s
block. I don’t run out of stories to tell, or plots to work on. My
‘blogs to write’ list is endless…but…I have a terrible time with self
This has been a rude awakening for me. I’ve been in sales of some
sort all my life. For the past thirty years I’ve been a headhunter,
and when you run your own business you are always a salesman, always
promoting yourself. But when it came time to promote myself online, as
an author, I froze up. I waited until the last minute to even get a
Twitter account. My Facebook page consisted of a few relatives and
friends. And I had never even heard of Pinterest. I still don’t know
how to use Google + or Tumblr.
So why was I uncomfortable selling my book? I was confident of the
writing. I knew it was a good book. It got great reviews,
but…selling the book was like selling me. It was too personal, too
close to me. And it felt too much like bragging.
A few weeks into the launch I ran across the World Literary Cafe, a
group run by Melissa Foster. They have several wonderful programs that
help authors learn, and get comfortable with, social media. I have to
say, it was a lifesaver. They have Tweet teams that allow an author to
market other people, while the other people market you.
This fit my style perfectly. I don’t mind marketing the heck out of
someone else; I just don’t like doing it for myself. So while I’m
touting these other authors, they are telling their followers about me
or my book.
They also have programs to help with Facebook and Goodreads, and many
So right now, here’s what my social media strategy looks like:
Twitter: I use “Tweet teams” to help get the word out. I dedicate 20
minutes in the morning to adding new followers and tweeting, and
another ten in the afternoon or evening to sending tweets.
Facebook: I spend ten minutes each day, interacting with people on
Facebook and liking other pages. Most ‘like’ back.
Pinterest: I’m just building this network, but I am mostly posting
pics about the animals from our sanctuary.
Google +: I haven’t done much here yet, but it’s on my list.
Goodreads & Library Thing: I believe these two have the most
potential. I think reviews are the single biggest issue (after
visibility) facing authors. Every author needs to have a substantial
number of reviews if they are to be taken seriously. Reviews are
difficult to get, but places like Goodreads and Library Thing make it
easier. Authors can sponsor giveaways in exchange for (hopefully)
Being sociable: This is perhaps the most important, and one that
might take the most time. I believe you have to truly interact with
others over an extended period of time, and develop relationships.
Once you have a network of true relationships, you can start helping
each other. That’s when things will click.
Other things: Blog, Linked in, Tumblr, etc…
After three weeks of using Twitter, when I never thought I’d ever use
Twitter, I am slowly getting more comfortable with it. I still look to
retweet other authors’ tweets more than I do my own content, but
that’s okay. The way I look at it, it all comes back to you in the
On my blog I do the same kind of thing. I’m not comfortable talking
about writing, or telling others what they should be doing. Who’s to
say that what works for me is right? Not me. So I talk mostly about
the animals on our sanctuary. And I try to tie the stories into
writing, or reading. Mostly though, I just tell stories in hopes that
someone will enjoy them. Not much different than writing a book.
Does this strategy work? It’s far too early to tell if what I’m doing
will have any benefit. Ask me next year and we’ll see.
~Giacomo Giammatteo, author of Murder Takes Time