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 writer’s life requires flexibility to develop the craft, marketing, publishing, and branding. If a new technique in the writing world emerged, we’d 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 we’re 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 writer’s eyes will dance, and her excitement is contagious.
How do we find readers?
Family, friends, and extensions of those
Community organizations and clubs
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? Don’t 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 technology’s reach.
How does a writer choose a social media platform?
We see why social media is important, even critical to the writer’s life. But there are so many platforms which are determined by the writer’s genre and the readers’ age, 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 doesn’t 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 don’t get it. How does a platform sell books?
We’ve 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 readers’ interests. Our posts should not be about us but about meeting the needs of our readers. Writers don’t post “Buy my book” but useful information designed to better the reader’s 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 Readers’ Choice, 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.