By Catherine Lenderi
Catherine has had a good deal of success working with social media to promote her works. She kindly shares her experiences and advice with us here, and starts with the basics (Ed).
- 140 Characters: Twitter allows you only 140 characters, including spaces, so try to make your tweets effective. Post your book link by copy-pasting and of course the title of your book. You can also add your cover. How to do that? Once you click on the tweet box, you will see a camera icon saying 'add picture'. Click on that and chose a picture from your documents on your PC.
- Retweeting (RT): Cool! You've managed your tweets. How do you retweet now? Click on that little icon that looks like two arrows forming a square. You can also click on your notifications tab and find the tweets other people have sent you and retweet them or look at your home page and do the same with the tweets you like.
- Make it Fun: Don't post only your book links. Try to share fun stuff with your followers as well. Otherwise they will get bored checking your page. BUT do not be afraid to post others' book links. RTing is good and increases your visibility. Readers don't mind seeing you promote other people's stuff. They do it too, believe me! But they don't like it when you say BUY MY BOOK too much.
How does RT Work?: First of all, it's courtesy. Someone just shared your work with their followers, so do the same for them.
It only takes a second and it makes you visible on the Twitterland.
Let's see some stats now, shall we? (Click your profile picture, select analytics from the dropdown, and then the 'Turn analytics On' button.) Over the last 28 days, I've posted 34 tweets. For me, that’s quite a lazy month on Twitter. However, that brought 345 visits to my page. 345 people checked my name then, BUT 11,6K people viewed my tweets overall. That means the more active you are there, the more chances you have to make people see you and eventually buy your book. It's all part of building your author's platform. On each tweet, you can view the stats using the small graph icon.
Visibility: Next, make sure that all the important things you want your visitors to know are visible.
In the description box from your profile, identify yourself and your book. Say your genre in detail. Don't just say 'author'. You are an author of what? If you want readers of that particular genre to find you, then state that first. For example, do you write romance, say contemporary, historical or whatever. Just give more details for people to find you. And then name your book as well. Title and if you like, use the link there as well, but I will suggest something else for that. Also, name another page where readers can see more of you. Most of you have a website. Use that as your base for more things for readers to discover.
- Book Links: Now about your book links. Always have something pinned. Do you have a sales coming on? Pin it! Do you have a new book out in a while? Pin it way beforehand. Give people the chance to discover it long before the due day. If you do it just then, it will not work. It will be too late and only a few will notice.
Connectivity: Make sure all your other pages are connected to your twitter. Did you just post a blog on your website? Tweet it.
Did you add a new chapter on your Wattpad? Tweet it. Did you pin a new picture on Pinterest? Tweet it. You can also connect Facebook to Twitter or vice versa,
so all posts are redirected.
This is building your platform again. Everything has to be connected and leading back to your base: either your book page or your website where all your books are.
- Increasing Follower Count: How to get more followers? Start by pushing the limits every day and follow 100. As a fellow writer once told me, "Follow 100 people a day on your account (some people have more than one). They won't all follow back, but they will check to see who followed them. New eyes on your profile page is better than any tweet." She's a twitter queen, she knows. I will add this, though. Try not to follow them consecutively or else Twitter will block you. Do about 20, close the page and then go back and do some more. Give them a week. If they don't follow back, go to your page and delete them and try others. That will increase your numbers.
- Finding Readers: Let's see how you will find readers for your genre, though. Top of the page you will see a search box. Type keywords there. First, click general keywords on the search box like #readers, #bookbloggers, #reviewers. That will give you a few to start. You have to keep changing the words and do it again and again to get more results. Secondly, search by genre. Use keywords for your particular genre (type romance, fantasy, crime, etc. or even be more specific, like contemporary, dystopian and so on) and see which readers refer to this. Thirdly, search by bestselling authors of your genre. The people who are reading them, will want to read you as well.
- Don't Push: Once you spot them and they follow you back, don't push your book to them. That's the first mistake authors do and you will just get ignored. I know I ignore those who do it to me ‘cause yes, I do get a lot of authors following me as well. But by doing what I've just said above, most of my followers are readers now. So, what you do instead? First of all, thank them for following you. Say hi to them! When they reply, I politely ask them if they would like to subscribe to my newsletter. (You might have a mailing list as well.) If they say yes, I give them the link, but only then. I don't push it. For the ones that have followed me but not yet replied to my direct message, I will wait and try to engage them via tweets first. They followed me back knowing I am an author and they are still there on my page, so it's just a matter of time to make them look for my book. I have discovered a lot of reviewers like that and all it took to get them to review my book was sending them a direct message asking if they would like a free copy in exchange for an honest review. Once you get their email, that’s it. You have a permanent reviewer. You can email them every time you publish something new. It has certainly worked for me.
- Every World...: AND that's the most important advice there. The people following you (at least most of them) are your audience. Twitter is your stage. Give them a good performance then. If you keep offering the same line "BUY MY BOOK" over and over again, your theatre will empty after a while and no new people will show up. Do post your book but do it among other things too. Entertain your audience, share their tweets to show them that you are paying attention to them too. Don't expect them to do that only for you. No matter how much we want to believe it, we are not there yet. They owe us nothing! They will do nothing for us unless we ask and that's what RTing does for you.
- Hashtags: Final piece of advice, to entertain your audience, use hashtags. They start with # and help visibility and RTing as well. You will find plenty around twitter. They change all the time. There are also a lot of hashtags games going on and those can be a subtle way to promote your book links. You start with a catchy line for the game and add your universal book link at the end. Simple as that and millions of users play those games and can see you.
If you are determined to market your book, the advice here will help you use Twitter to achieve that end. It will take time, and you will have to dedicate a set period each day to make sure you check the tweets and keep up to date. Success usually doesn't come without hard work and dedication, and as authors, we all know this. Throw the same effort into marketing your book as you did when writing it, and success is almost guaranteed. (Of course, make sure your book is put together properly and worth reading. See the guidelines on this site and if you need help, mail the Inca editors in order to make sure your work is written and presented to its best advantage - Ed)
Cat Nicolaou - January 2017