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How to Promote Your Novel on Social Media

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Once upon a time, writers wrote. These days, writers write and market. Whether you’re self-publishing or working with a traditional publisher, this is for sure: You’ve got to get out there and promote your own work. You cannot wait for someone else to do it.

Fortunately, we live in the age of social media. Thanks to Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram (and more), we writers can market our works while also building engaged fan communities for free.

It’s a marvelous time to be alive.

But, you’re an author, not a social media marketer, so how do you use these platforms to spread the word about your latest novel?

In this post, we’re sharing simple tips that you can implement right away to market your book as an author. Let’s jump right in.

When Should You Promote Your Novel on Social Media?

Right now.

It doesn’t matter if your novel is published yet. If you haven’t already started to build an intentional presence on social media, get started today.

What do I mean by intentional presence?

This means that you’re on each social media platform in your author capacity, not as a lurker or anonymous snarky commentator. Shift the way that you use social media. Instead of using it keep up with friends and family, use it as a way of building your author brand, connecting with fellow authors, networking with influential book bloggers, and increasing exposure for your latest book with readers.

By making this shift, there’s no need to wait until your book is here. You can start laying the groundwork right now before your book is available. Then, when it’s time to celebrate the book launch, you can do so with your community on social media.

Which Social Media Platforms Should You Use for Novel Promotion?

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe… With which platform should you go?

There’s no wrong answer here. Here’s an easy formula to help you figure it out:

If you’re comfortable on a specific platform + If your prospective audience uses this same platform = The right platform for you

Not sure if your audience is on the platform? Another option is to target a popular platform like Facebook. You can be effective on any of the big-name platforms as long as you do two things: Post frequently and post consistently. Because your goal is to build a community of people to buy your book, you need to post regularly to establish and nurture that community. The more you post and the more people engage with those posts, the more likely you’ll be to pop up in feeds organically.

Here’s a general guide for post frequency: On update platforms like Facebook and Twitter, post twice a day. On visual platforms like Pinterest and Instagram, 3-5 times a week. On YouTube, post once a week.

Social media isn't just for keeping up with friends and family. You can use social media to market your novel. Here’s how:

Now, let’s get into how to use each of the big platforms for book promotion.

How to Use Instagram to Promote Your Novel

Promote your novel on social media

Instagram is a platform for photo and video sharing, so why should you use it to promote a novel? There are at least one billion reasons why— Instagram has over a billion monthly users. With the right strategy, you can reach at least some of your readers through this platform. Here’s how:

Use Hashtags

Hashtags reign supreme on Instagram. Hashtags are keywords or phrases (preceded by the hashtag symbol #) that allow users to find your posts on Instagram. Relevant hashtags to use include: #amwriting, #fictionwriter, #scifi (or other genre), #teasertues, #mustread, and #authorsofinstagram. In addition to those hashtags, you can also create your own branded hashtag, such as your name or your book’s title. You can have up to 30 hashtags on Instagram, and you should definitely use all relevant hashtags so that your post pops up in more searches.

Reach Out to Influencers

Influencer marketing on Instagram can be a cheap and effective way to reach your intended audience. Reach out to book bloggers on this platform and build a relationship with them. Ask if they’d be willing to promote your book for free if you give them an advanced copy.

Post About Your Upcoming Book

Generate excitement about your upcoming book before it hits the presses. Pull your favorite quotes, dialogues, and short passages from your book and turn them into images. You can use Instagram’s own tools, but I suggest using a separate graphic design tool like WordSwag.

How to Use Pinterest to Promote Your Novel

Promote your novel on social media

Similar to Instagram, Pinterest may seem like an odd choice for book promotion. However, because over 70% of its users are women, Pinterest is a perfect option for reaching a female demographic. If your target audience is female, as is the case with genres like romance or other heroine-centered stories, Pinterest is the place to promote. Here’s how:

Create a Board to Specifically Promote Your Novel

Examples of what to include in this board:

  • Images of quotes taken from your book
  • Images of linkbacks to your blog where you document your behind-the-scenes creative process
  • A round-up of other books in the same genre, i.e. “Books About WWII” or “Favorite/ New YA Must-Read Books” (Be sure to link to your book, too.)

Create Multiple Boards

While you can always promote the heck out of your upcoming book on Pinterest, don’t forgo the chance to build a community, there, too. By creating multiple boards, you can give your audience insight into who you are as an author, as well as how you envision your characters and their stories. Create boards about the locations in your book so that readers can get a glimpse into what you see when you write. Or go another way and reveal your motivations and muses, such as your favorite authors or books.

Use Tailwind to Automate Your Pinterest Activity

Use Tailwind to schedule your pins (a.k.a. your posts). You can schedule up to a week’s worth of pins in one session. Tailwind then posts your content at the best times each day for user engagement. Plus, it gives you insight into which pins and boards are the most popular. You can use this to build an informed marketing strategy for your book. (Btw, Tailwind also works with Instagram.)

How to Use YouTube to Promote Your Novel

Promote your novel on social media

Did you know that YouTube is actually a social media platform? It’s also the second largest search engine on the Internet (with its parent company Google being number one). Get found by prospective readers via video marketing. Here’s how:

Start a Channel

The first step is the easiest one: Simply start your own YouTube channel. It’s free, and if you have a Google account, you’re halfway there.

Next, come up with 5 to 10 topics that can become short videos. YouTube is all about video, so it’s hard to succeed on this platform without actually adding video content. Popular marketing videos include book trailers, author introductions for the book, and book readings. However, you’re not limited to the book that you’re promoting. Your videos could be about your creative process, the genre, or the subject matter.

The goal of your videos is to attract prospective readers with your personality and point of view. Then, when it's time to promote your book, they'll be excited and ready to go out and buy it.

Create, Edit, and Upload Videos

After you’ve come up with solid video topics, start the next step and record them. YouTube videos don’t have to be fancy to be effective. They don’t have to be too long, either. Best performing videos are under five minutes, especially if you’re just sitting there and talking to your audience. If you’re not ready to buy an expensive, professional camera, you can create with the one on your smartphone. Editing can be done simply within the YouTube app— for free.

Take Advantage of the Description Box

Be sure to take advantage of the video description. Link to your book's sales page, to relevant blog posts, to your email list landing page, and to your social media page. The goal is to collect as many new, prospective readers as possible, and you'll do that by giving them other ways to reach you if they're so inclined.

How to Use Facebook to Promote Your Novel

Promote your novel on social media

Ah, Facebook. There’s no way to write a guide on social media marketing without tackling the giant known as Facebook. It’s the most popular social media platform. More than 60% of Internet users have an account on Facebook. This platform not only allows you to interact with your target audience, but it also gives you the tools to find and market them. Here’s how:

Run a Contest

Everyone loves a contest, especially on Facebook. After publishing your book, you can generate buzz for it by running a giveaway contest. As a prize, offer free, autographed copies of your book. People can earn entries into your contest by liking your page, signing up for your email address, or making a post about your previous/ upcoming book.

Host an Online Book Launch

Use Facebook to host a virtual book launch. Remember that your book launch and publish dates don’t always happen at the same time.

Create an event page for your launch on Facebook. Then, invite your social circle, but also your email list, and those book bloggers and other influencers that you'd like to spread the word about your new book. Advertise your launch on Facebook through a series of posts ahead of the launch. You may even opt to pay for promotion (it's increasingly more difficult to get found organically on Facebook). Then plan activities for the virtual launch party, including a Q&A session about the book or your creative process and several giveaways.

Create Your Own Author Fan Club

A fan page may seem vain, but it's actually a useful tool for growing a supportive community. A fan group gives your readers a place where they can gather together and interact with you and each other. They can ask questions, discuss their favorite characters, and be the first to know when you have an upcoming book release. They can also act as a mini focus group when you need help figuring out a creative direction. Author, you need this in your life.

Final Thoughts

Social media is a great platform for promoting your latest book. But book promotion shouldn’t just be a one-and-done campaign. Don’t overlook the other benefits of being on social media, such as the opportunity to create a community, build your brand, and network with others. Together, all of these benefits will help you perpetually promote your book.

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