Friday, November 13, 2015

Convention Highlights: Social Media for Western Authors

In case you missed the convention - or even if you didn't! - here are the highlights of the Social Media Panel (Part 1):

According to survey findings, e-book reading consumers aged 18-29 are two times more likely to use social media for book discovery than those aged 45-60, and over three times more likely as those aged over 60.

Alan Rinzler, consulting editor, says, "The New Author Platform requires a focus on developing an unobstructed back and forth between authors and their readers, with the authors — not the publishers — controlling the flow. Now it’s the author, not a publicist, who inspires readers to buy the book. The New Author Platform allows not only well-established authors, but unknown, first-time beginners to do an end run around the conservative gate-keepers and reach readers directly.

Successful authors today are designing websites filled with their work-in-progress, writing frequently updated blogs, tweeting, and shooting home-style, brief videos to post on their sites and on YouTube. They’re offering original content in samples and chunks, with invitations for feedback, and taking every opportunity to comment and join forums and other online venues on topics that relate to their own work."

Tim Grahl, book marketing specialist, gives us three myths about social media

MYTH #1: Growing your social media following will increase your fame.
Social media is a reflection of your fame, not a way to increase your fame.

MYTH #2: There's a way to use social media that works - you just haven't figured it out yet. Social media is the most public thing you see - but it just doesn't generate a lot of sales.

MYTH #3: If I get a big enough following, it'll turn into book sales.

TRUTH #1: It's a great way to connect with individuals. Social media is not a mass strategy: it's a one-to-one strategy.

TRUTH #2: It's easier to leverage other people's followings than to build your own. Retweet and share so that your name pops up in their followers' feeds.

50% of marketing works -- we just don't know which 50%

7 Ways Agents Measure Social Media:
  1. Facebook likes - how popular your author page is on Facebook
  2. Facebook engagement - "number of people talking about this"
  3. Number of Twitter followers
  4. Twitter engagement - retweets, click-throughs, replies, listings
  5. Number of blog comments
  6. Followers on other social media networks
  7. Klout score - a rating from 1 to 100 based on your social media presence

Give a Call to Action:
  • 3 Most Common Types - "Buy Now," "Learn More/Explore," "Subscribe/Register."
  • Start with a strong command verb - let them know exactly what to do and how to do it.
  • Use words that provoke strong emotion or enthusiasm - rip-roaring adventure, fantastic offer, amazing story
  • Use action-packed text - substitute action verbs for boring words like "submit" or "try."
  • Use first-person text - In one study, changing resulted in a 90% increase in clicks!
  • Give them a reason to take the desired action - "What's in it for me?"
  • Take advantage of Fear Of Missing Out - Last Chance, Sale Ends
  • Use numbers whenever possible - 20% off; 7 Ways Agents Measure Social Media

Authors And Others Who Are Doing It Right:
Paulo Coelho / Stephen Fry / Margaret Atwood / Neil Gaiman / Elizabeth Spann Craig
Sterling Editing / Joanna Penn / Rachelle Gardner / Jane Friedman
@GrammarGirl / @AuthorMedia / @MaryDeMuth / @GalleyCat / @BookMarketer
@StephenKing / @JoyceCarolOates / @AdviceToWriters / @WritersRelief / @MelvilleHouse

7 Ways Authors Waste Time "Building Platform"
  1. Racking up thousands of Twitter followers. 50 engaged > 1,000 lukewarm followers
  2. Madly promoting your "Like" page on Facebook. Promote sharing instead
  3. Amassing a huge list of email addresses for a newsletter. Newsletters are old hat.
  4. Participating in expensive, grueling blog tours. Guest blog once or twice a month instead; network with book bloggers in your genre and comment on their posts
  5. Blogging every day. You either burn out or start "babble-blogging"
  6. Blog hopping. Coordinate joint sales or promotions instead
  7. Worrying too much about your Klout, PeerIndex or other social media rating

5 Social Marketing Tool Tips from the Pros:
  • Create multiple images for more Pinterest shares - pick several for each post
  • Use ClickToTweet to increase interaction - this costs around 30 cents per click for authors, according to the company, and drives traffic wherever you wish
  • Engage fans with valuable landing content - make sure your initial page welcomes your readers and wows them by providing further value.
  • Batch your content for more productivity - create a week's worth of content and post it a little at a time instead of wasting time every day trying to think of something to post.
  • Ignite your content to increase social sharing - a "share" is different from a "like"

Whenever you create a piece of content (article, podcast or video) for your blog or website, come up with a list of 10 to 20 social media posts at the same time that can be used to promote that piece of content over a period of time.


  1. I make an effort to do this but it all takes a lot of time. I've spent 3 hours today on one graphic--making sure I have graphics that aren't copyrighted, creating the right tagline, etc. Takes time. And then there's that prep time for creating those 10 to 20 posts. Writing time? I guess that's why I stay up all night.

    1. The time factor (plus the fact that I'm an old fogey) is why I DON'T do the social media thing. I rely on people who know much more than I to do the marketing. My job, and my joy, is in the writing.

  2. As a customer, you would only like to try out a service people are interested in. Therefore pages on Facebook with fewer fans are not likely to attract more customers. Whereas the ones with quite a number of fans trigger curiosity among others as to what is so special about this page. Eventually, your page gets recognized and people start to look into your page and your fan count increases. This is how Facebook fans increase social fame for your business.

  3. Great info, JES. I do think the time factor makes a difference - and the BEST promo is always, ALWAYS your next book. And it better be *better* than the last one. ;-D

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