5 ways online content can help your author marketing

One of the key elements of author marketing is creating a presence online. By that I mean having a website. Being on social media. Sending out a newsletter more than once a year. Maybe even having a blog or video series.

But in the 12 years I’ve been working with authors, I’ve heard a lot of reasons about why authors don’t prioritise this element of their marketing.

They don’t have time, because all of their time needs to be spent writing.
It’s boring – don’t people just promote themselves all the time? They put the time in, but sales aren’t going up. Building a mailing list is slow – why send out a newsletter when there are only 10 people on the list?

It can all seem like a lot of work without much return.

But I really believe that, apart from writing amazing books, connecting with people online is one of the most important things an author can do for their book marketing.

There are lots of reasons why I think this is important. The top five that come to mind as I write this are:

1) You can network with your peers.

Need a break from writing? You can easily connect with other authors that you like and admire, and you can connect with authors you’ve never heard of, but who share similar goals to you. There are also endless book people on social media – reviewers, freelance writers, publishing types, booksellers – so you can make useful connections there, too. And apart from being “useful”, for many authors, Twitter in particular is like a giant water cooler, with endless chat to dip in and out of.

2) You can build friendships.

This might feel crazy when you start out. But it’s so possible and so worthwhile. If you do it right, people will follow your story and you’ll start to follow theirs. I have made quite a lot of real, actual friends thanks to social media. People who I meet up with regularly in real life. While your readers might not end up being your best friends, you may well find yourself having a genuine connection with some of them that go beyond ‘thanks for reviewing my book’.

3) It can build advocates.

If I love a book and the author has been lovely to me and shares really great stuff on Instagram stories or sends a really brilliant email each month, you can guarantee I’m going to recommend that book and that author. I’ll probably also pre-order their next book and help spread the word about that one, too.

4) It can deliver real sales.

I can think of at least four books I’ve bought in the last six months as a direct result of the author’s interactions with me online. And I say that as someone who works in publishing and gets free books every day. I resonate so much with these people, that I’ve bought or pre-ordered their books off the back of our conversations. When you work at building up an audience of readers, it makes driving pre-orders and early sales just that little bit easier. If you share the story of your life and your writing, you are marketing your book without having to push a heavy sales message.

5) You might have fun!

Yes, when you start off, it might be hard work. But as you get to know people within your community, you may find that you enjoy thinking of things to share with them. That you are following their stories as closely (possibly closer, since they’re more visible!) as some of your friends and family.

Yes, it is can take time to build, and almost every platform rewards consistency. You do need to dedicate some time to it each day or week. But it doesn’t have to be all-consuming if figure out where you need to focus your time and create a realistic plan of action.

This is an element of your author marketing that you have real control over. I haven’t even talked about how blog posts can help people to discover you or how emails are still the tool that shows the highest sales conversion rate, time after time. There are just so many brilliant reasons to justify spending the time it takes to build up a strong online presence.

What are you waiting for? Get stuck in!


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