“There’s a very simple rule:
90% of your content should not be about yourself or your book.
You should be sharing other people’s posts, researching and finding useful information online, helping out people solve problems, and making positive relationships by providing value.” — Derek Murphy, Creative Indie
The problem that most authors have is “soap-boxing” their work. They feel the more they throw their book into the faces of people the greater the chance of success. The truth is: establish a trusting relationship with your target audience, and they will buy from you. That is impossible when you continually bombard them with “buy my book, buy my book, buy my book.” Authors continually saturate their social media with how great their book is, and then wonder their sales are lacking.
One problem is “authors” have numerous author followers/peeps. Useful if you are seeking “author advice,” but not if you are looking for sales. Authors are not your target audience. So what can you do?
- Seek out your target audience: A friend of mine took my advice and devoted herself to finding people interested in her upcoming book, a murder mystery where the lead character is a court reporter. As a court reporter herself, she sought out groups, followed people who followed hashtags (#courtreporting), and found an entire community of like-minded, potential readers. Within a few months, she more than doubled her following on Facebook with 90% of her new followers not authors, but part of her target audience. She did this in the midst of still writing her first draft of the novel.
- Interact: Yes, you must engage with your audience on a personal, one-on-one level—having a dialog on topics they are interested in. You do not promote; you interact. Find out what your target audience is interested in, join the conversation, and starting building trust.
In Derek Murphy’s post “How authors and author marketing services are ruining social media” to build that trust you can:
- Build a Platform: You build a platform by being awesome, being nice to people, helping them out, giving away free stuff. After you have a big platform – ideally at least 1000 people on your list or network who genuinely know and like you – you can talk about your book a little more (but there’s still no need to break the 90/10% rule).
- Get someone else to promote you: A lot of author marketing services or networks have a huge following, but keep in mind those are most likely other authors also interested in book promotion tips. So when they are promoting your book, they are promoting it to a ton of other authors who have their own books to market. It may lead to sales, but it isn’t a finely honed group of potential readers that you’ve carefully selected as your target reader group.
The key is to be out there, actively engaging with your “fans” and building trust. Otherwise, your chances of success are as likely as a snowstorm in the Sahara—possible, but highly unlikely.