There's always that question in the minds of self-published authors about using social media to sell books. On the one hand, it feels like a time-waster to peddle books in cyberspace when you're not really sure if anyone out there is paying attention. But on the other hand, you can't help but wonder, "As authors are we missing out on a good marketing opportunity if we DON'T get in line with social media?" Even though embracing social media sort of feels like cueing up at the end of a very long and cheesy Conga line at a debutant's wedding.
To get some conclusive answers I sat down with social media maven, Sue Ann Kern, founder of Face-it Social Media and author of the Facebook "how-to" book, Facebook for Smart People for an exclusive interview for Offbeat Authors Guild members. Sue Ann teaches social media workshops and coaches people in all walks of business on how to best use social media for their particular industries, including publishing. In my 28-minute chat with her, I specifically asked if social media is worth the effort in terms of return on investment of your time devoted to it. In other words, will it help self-published authors sell books?
"I don't believe that social media is a step that any business person can skip any longer," confirms Sue Ann. "Social media is so prolific and ubiquitous around the world that you need to have a presence. People are looking for you. And if they can't find you, you won't sell your products or services." And that includes self-published authors and their books.
How Authors Get Noticed
Sue Ann explains that social media is the long term, slow burn that gets your name out there so people figure who you are (and what you offer) and THEN they buy your book. It's all about building trust between you as an author and the people who buy your books. Gone are the days in which a book sells just because it's been published. This is true even if your book is published by well-known traditional publishers such as Random House or HarperCollins. People are more inclined to buy your book if they can research, and even sample, it online first. This means you need to not only have your own website, but also have a Facebook page for your book (or you as an author), an Amazon book page and author page, a Twitter account, a Youtube channel and more.
Basically, creating a book marketing plan that includes social media is the difference between simply crossing your fingers in hopes that your self-published book sells, and making sure it sells by letting people know it's there.
A Small Sound Bite
I know you're busy, so here is a 2.5-minute sample from my 28-minute podcast interview with Sue Ann Kern of Face-it Social Media, in which Sue Ann shares how self-published authors can use social media to market and sell books books.
Stacy Dymalski is an author and independent self-publishing consultant, who teaches self-publishing through the Life Long Learning program at the University of Utah. Her latest book, "The Memoir Midwife, Nine Steps to Self-Publishing Your Book" is a primer that walks authors through the self-publishing process.
She's also an award-winning speaker and comedian who pens the popular humor blog "Nonsense to Mom's Sense of Humor, How my life as a stand-up comic prepared me for motherhood." She lives in Park City, UT, with her two teenage sons, who provide a constant source of comedic material. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.