Authors: Get Past Your Facebook and Blogging Challenge With One Strategic Move

Dec 02

"What's the least amount of time I can get away with spending if I want to connect with my book community through social networking? On Facebook? On LinkedIn? Do I really have to blog? I'm not inclined to take the time to learn a whole new 'language.' I'd rather spend my time writing!"

Many authors hate the Facebook/blogging hurdle. Since there is no guarantee social media will help sell your book and no way to measure whether it does, embracing a Facebook presence and/or starting a blog can seem like a time-wasting commitment. We all know the charming stories about how old friends, high school classmates, and past colleagues can find each other online and delight in the reconnection. Creative and lucrative benefits can result from these new relationships. But hanging out on social media sites can be a huge time drain unless you set boundaries for yourself.

Establish a social presence

If you're new to promoting your book through social networking, the goal should be to establish yourself with fellow travelers in your niche community. For example, let's say your book is in the Irish-American historical fiction sub-genre. You are a newbie, this is your first book, and you are a complete unknown outside your family and friends. Your goal is to seek other Irish-American history buffs who are really looking forward to your book—except that they don't know it yet because they haven't met you.

Here's one self-contained activity that just requires a setup and not a whole lot of time. You want to connect with writers and readers who blog about topics related to your niche. One way to do so is to join their discussions. The goal is ultimately to let them know about your book, but first you have to become a genuine member of their community.

First, try putting yourself in their shoes: Come up with keywords or key phrases others in this online community would use when Googling topics they’re interested in—for instance, staying with the same example, Irish-American history, Irish/Boston population clashes, the 1919 Boston police strike—varying the specificity of your subject in your search. Also, try using the free Google Keyword Tool.

Form relationships

The goal is to connect with these bloggers and form mutually inspiring relationships. One way to do so is to leave positive comments on their blog posts. After your presence is established, open and friendly bloggers will be interested to hear that you have a book coming out on a similar subject. At this point, it's hardly a stretch to suggest they might want to read galleys. And if they admire your book, they may go on to endorse or review it. You may even receive an invitation to write a guest blog post, or you can take the initiative and offer one. This all paves the way for your building the gumption—getting over that hurdle—to begin writing your own blog.

Social networking for book promotion is all about forming relationships. If you key into your niche subject area, all your new friends will look forward to your book. You now have established a significant online market. Acting on this opportunity will not be a waste of your time!

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  1. Great suggestions, Maggie. The wonderful by-product most authors don't recognize right away is that social networking activities contribute to building the platform that publishers look for when considering a proposal. So, not only are you making new connections with like-minded people who may potentially want to purchase your book; you're also creating more visibility for yourself online.

    • Maggie Lichtenberg /

      Tara, yes I agree. Being what I like to call "a tireless self-promoter" is what raises our public visibility, and our social networking is foundational for that.