Does Social Media Sell Books?

by DiAnn Mills

When I speak to writers about the value of social media, I hear moans, groans, and complaints swirling around the room. Too many writers are not willing to get past the learning curve needed to develop a solid brand. A writers life requires flexibility to develop the craft, marketing, publishing, and branding. If a new technique in the writing world emerged, wed find a way to master the skill. An open mind and a great attitude will help us acquire the skills needed to develop and maintain our online presence.

Does social media sell books? I think were asking the wrong question.

The basic question is why are we writing?

Most of us want to reach others through our books. We have a message in fiction or nonfiction that we are passionate about and want to share. Just ask a writer about her latest project and be prepared to listen. The writers eyes will dance, and her excitement is contagious.

How do we find readers?

  • Family, friends, and extensions of those

  • Book signings

  • Community organizations and clubs

  • Speaking events

  • Print advertising

  • Radio and TV

  • An online presence

Let’s unpack what it means to have an online presence. Every person in the world who is connected to a Wi-Fi network has access to us and what we write. As of June 2017, nearly four billion people are using the Internet. http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm

Can we reach that many people through ads, book signings, speaking events, radio, and TV? Dont think so. But through social media, we can form relationships to people we may never meet face-to-face. A very remarkable advantage of using the internet technologys reach.

How does a writer choose a social media platform?

We see why social media is important, even critical to the writers life. But there are so many platforms which are determined by the writers genre and the readersage, culture, interests, occupation, and a host of other characteristics that define who is reading our books. A professional writer delves into her readership to discover where they are hanging out and joins in.

Which platforms do I need?

Basically, a writer needs a website, a presence on Facebook, Twitter, and a blog. A blog doesnt have to be one the writer hosts; posting regularly on a blog that receives a lot of hits works well. Other platforms are important if our readers are there.

I still dont get it. How does a platform sell books?

Weve talked about why a social media presence, the importance of target audience, and the various platforms, but how does all that effort sell books?

This is accomplished through posting content that is relevant to our readersinterests. Our posts should not be about us but about meeting the needs of our readers. Writers don’t post “Buy my bookbut useful information designed to better the readers life. Each one of us has unique skills and gifts that are purposed to help others. Therein lies our content. Even when we want our readers to be aware of a new book release, the marketing and promotion must show how the content will benefit them.

When a writer learns what attracts her readers, she can weave other content or post from another site those things which are important to her target audience. The key is to know our readers and sincerely decide to provide valuable content. The reader is sent a subtle message, This person cares about me.

Does social media sell books? What do you think? If given the choice between two otherwise equal authors, one who has no online presence and another who posts information that helps and appeals to you, who do you want to read?

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels.

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational ReadersChoice, and Carol award contests. Firewall, the first book in her Houston: FBI series, was listed by Library Journal as one of the best Christian Fiction books of 2014.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She is co-director of The Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference and The Mountainside Marketing Conference with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.

DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on Facebook: www.facebook.com/diannmills, Twitter: https://twitter.com/diannmills or any of the social media platforms listed at www.diannmills.com.

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2 thoughts on “Does Social Media Sell Books?”

  1. I disagree. This article left me with an empty satisfaction about your social media explanation. As an author, and deep in this every day. This conclusion…”If given the choice between two otherwise equal authors, one who has no online presence and another who posts information that helps and appeals to you, who do you want to read?”…. makes no reference to the quality of the writer. If you are exposed to a bunch of advertising to bring a writers name to your attention….it does not make I any more desirable to read. And… how can you want to read a writer that you don’t know about ? I wish articles posted could accept “likes” like facebook. This article left me a little short or satisfied based on the title. Sorry, but true

  2. Kevin, I get what you mean here. For me, quality of writing is a HUGE factor.

    Unfortunately, in this social media saturated world we live in,it is now expected that an author have a web presence so readers can “check them out” before slapping down $15 on a printed book, or $8.99 on an ebook. Supposedly, the psychology in being accessible to readers sells more books. I don’t know… I’m from the old school and come from a time waaaaaay before cell phones, computers, and color TVs.

    I still choose my books first according to author and second according to content/topic of the story only if I know/read the author. In other words, if I have a choice between Dean Koontz or another author that I have not read before, I’ll choose Dean every time because I enjoy his books every time.

    The reality is traditional publishing houses won’t give an unknown author without a platform even a glance. AND trying to claw her way to the top of the heap of published authors these days is basically impossible for an unknown who has no social media platform.

    Sad, but true.

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