Is Social Media The Magic Bullet To Promote Your Self Published Book?

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Social media is considered a powerful marketing tool across a wide range of industries. For authors, especially those who self-publish or use small publishers, promoting self published books with social media can be a great way to reach out to potential readers without all the added cost of advertising or in-person book tours.

promoting self published books

But recently, some have denounced the use of social media for self-published authors, saying that it doesn’t actually lead to book sales.

While social media on its own might not lead to best selling status, it can help authors build brand recognition and lead to sales as part of a larger marketing strategy.

Well, who better to ask for insight than those that have gone through the process themselves?

We’ve questioned several authors about their experiences using social media to promote their self-published books and we’ve provided their insights in the following slideshow.

And this is what they had to say. . .  Click the “Start Gallery” button to get started:

Bullet Photo via Shutterstock

D’vorah Lansky, M.Ed.

promoting self published books“While social media may not be “the magic bullet,” it is certainly a powerful modern day method for building relationships, sharing ideas, and doing business. Adding online social networking to one’s networking activities will open doors and provide access to many new audiences.

When it came time to promote my most recent book, as all authors, I had a decision to make as to how I would go about promoting my book. I could go the traditional route and purchase thousands of dollars worth of books or take out expensive ads promoting in-person book signings and events. Or, I could go with contemporary book marketing strategies and tap into the power of social networking.

I elected the latter and experienced great success doing so. By promoting my book launch via a virtual book tour along with announcements and discussions on the social networks, my book became an Amazon bestseller within two weeks of publication. By continuing to foster relationships and participate in conversations on the social networks I have been able to build a powerful network of fans, customers, and colleagues while developing a successful online business.”

D’vorah Lansky is the author of Book Marketing Made Easy: Simple Strategies for Selling Your Nonfiction Book Online.

Stephanie Chandler

promoting self published books“According to a report in the Washington Post, the average person reads just seven books per year. That means that we are highly selective about what we read, so authors need to work hard to demonstrate that their books are worth landing on someone’s limited reading list.

That’s where social media comes in because it helps authors build a loyal audience.

To provide value on social media means that you share content that meets the needs and interests of your target audience. If you’re a time management consultant, for example, then good content to share would be tips for managing email, projects, and other time challenges.

It’s all about appealing to your target audience so that they want to pay attention to everything you have to say on social media.

For me, that loyalty leads to book sales, registrations for events I host, investments in my publishing and marketing services, corporate sponsorships, and other opportunities.

Social media can also drive traffic to your website, help you build brand recognition, and be a great place to establish strategic relationships – all very valuable for business.”

Stephanie Chandler is the author of Own Your Niche.

Ken Thurber

promoting self published books“You have just published your tome. How do you sell it? One prominent strategy is social media. But remember that every sales strategy requires work.

When we recently published books with small publishers, our strategy was to use Twitter and Facebook at the launch. This worked quite successfully as it generated enough sales to put our books onto the Amazon best seller lists.

You must identify why your book is unique. You must make it stand out. You need to create a reason why people should buy your book. Unique viewpoints, style and/or content are some of the ways to create this uniqueness.

Take examples out of your book to make points that are designed to elicit strong reactions and engage potential readers.

If you are to be successful you will need a total marketing plan. Social media is just one part. If you can get your social media campaign to go viral, you can reach an astounding number of people at essentially zero cost. Then, you stand a chance of having successful book sales.”

Ken Thurber is the author of Big Wave Surfing.

Nancy O’Neill

promoting self published books“The two important things to recognize about self-publishing are that it is not a one-size-fits-all solution. What works for one author may not work for the next, but all authors should have one thing in common – to create the most professional book possible.

When it comes to marketing, there are also a lot of options. The strategies an author uses depends on why they wrote the book in the first place. Not every published author does it for the money or even the recognition but if selling is a factor, social media is just one of the options.

However, even if an author has a large following, it does not guarantee sales.

Social media is, in part, a numbers game. But to really make it work, you have to connect with people and give them a reason to support you, buy your book, or recommend you to others. Social media allows people to have conversations as you might in person, if you had the opportunity.

It’s important to let people see who you really are and not just be another small business person with a service to provide.”

Nancy O’Neill is the author of Guess What Is On Grandpa’s Farm.

Penny Sansevieri

promoting self published books“One of the elements people forget is that promoting online (social media, blogs, etc.) isn’t about sales – it’s about exposure. So, to try and correlate sales to, let’s say, a Facebook ad isn’t really productive.

People need more exposure to something, seven exposures according to most marketing experts, so how will you get these?

Yes, there are a lot of self-published books out there, and you bet there’s a ton of competition. But if you know what your audience wants and if you create a book and then a message that speaks to them, candidly the rest isn’t rocket science.

Now that you know what they want, where are they? If they aren’t on Pinterest, why bother? You might find a better home on LinkedIn, for example.

Market and message, two of the biggest and brightest elements to any marketing endeavor. Once you have those it’s about exposure, exposure, exposure. Get in front of enough of the right people and yes, it is sort of a Field of Dreams.

They will come.”

Penny Sansevieri is the founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc.

Bruce Brown

promoting self published books“Social media was a major promotional tool for my books winning awards in the 2010 and 2012 Small Business Trends Small Business Book Awards. I used Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and YouTube every day during the campaigns to contact friends and followers and ask for their votes.

I also combined media.  For example, I posted YouTube videos about my books and asked for votes on each of the other social media channels.

I made a point of personally “liking” and responding to every comment on Facebook that people made in response to my posts and thanked them for their comment and asked again for them to vote each day and spread the word.

Clearly it worked as 31 Days to Greeting Card Marketing Mastery was a marketing category and overall winner in 2010 and 31 Days to Network Marketing Mastery was a marketing category winner (and a near miss as an overall winner) in 2012!”

Bruce Brown is the author of 31 Days to Greeting Card Marketing Mastery and 31 Days to Network Marketing Mastery.

Marge Brown

promoting self published books“Social media helps me sell books. I used Facebook several times a week to promote 31 Days to Improve Your Vocabulary. As a lifelong word-lover, it’s daily practice for me to note new words for my posts. My only promotion is a vocab “word of the day” posting on my Facebook profile with a link to the book on Amazon.

I mix my Facebook posts about 50/50 with promotion and lifestyle/social content. Each “word of the day” post is usually shared several times by other Facebook users and “liked” by 6-12 people. Those aren’t big numbers and it’s not a mega-selling book, however the sales keep growing with more than 60 sold during July 2012.

If I were making a living only through selling books I’d promote more actively and diversely, but using Facebook is quick, easy, and even fun, and I can see the results in my monthly royalty check.”

Marge Brown is the author of 31 Days to Improve Your Vocabulary.

Denise O’Berry

promoting self published books“Social media has added a new marketing channel full of opportunity for book authors. No longer is it required for authors to slog across the continent, meeting people face-to-face just to sell a book or two.

Now you can build relationships with thousands of people with the touch of your keyboard through Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Google+.

Here are three tips that will help make your social media strategy work for you:

1) Build a hub:  Create a website for your book so you have a central location for it to live. Make sure you have a way for people to sign up and get on your email list.

2) Establish your social media presence: Set up corresponding social profiles on the big networks and develop a plan for regular social sharing.

3) Remember it’s about relationships: Use your social channels to build your credibility and develop a following of raving fans.”

Denise O’Berry is the author of Small Business Cash Flow: Strategies for Making Your Business a Financial Success.

Jeretta Horn Nord

promoting self published books“Social media has proven to be a great way to promote my book series “A Cup of Cappuccino for the Entrepreneur’s Spirit.” Eighty percent of social media posts should provide value to your readers rather than just directly promoting book sales.

Since my books include successful entrepreneurs’ stories, I have featured ‘Entrepreneurs of the Week’ on Facebook and inspirational quotes from the book on Facebook and Twitter. Each time these posts are followed by a link to the book or website.

Facebook ads and wall posts have proved to be beneficial in promoting book events in which a panel of entrepreneurs spoke and gift bags were given to all attendees. The idea is to create loyal fans who share this information with others.

Finally, remember to spend time every day doing something to promote your book(s).”

Jeretta Horn Nord is the author of the A Cup of Cappuccino for the Entrepreneur’s Spirit book series.

John Spence

promoting self published books“Social media has been the cornerstone of my book marketing efforts. Tweets, blogs and Facebook mentions from respected authors and bloggers were the major factors in driving sales.

It would have been impossible to get the Small Business Trends Reader’s Choice Award and sell more than 60,000 copies of my two books without a strong social media platform.

I typically invest at least an hour a day posting the best content I can find or create on Twitter and Facebook in an effort to bring the most value I can to my audience and I have been rewarded with loyal followers who have promoted my books and blog enthusiastically.

To me, the key is to only post things that you feel would truly help your readers, and in return they will trust you, continue to follow you, and recommend you to their followers…a true win-win for all.”

John Spence is the author of Awesomely Simple and Excellence by Design – Leadership.

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Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

9 Reactions
  1. I don’t think that promoting self published books with social is the “magical bullet,” but it could be an important ingredients to get feedback from your readers, sharing the book to new potential readers and get reviews of the book in broader sense, compared with traditional promotional activities.

    The gallery feature had a nice touch to the post! 🙂

  2. I think is a great idea to market and advertise your book through social media. Like you mentioned, its a fantastic way to build brand recognition very quickly with low costs.

    Authors can also cut costs by actually starting off with a ebook version of their book first and sell it for a cheaper price. This will give the authors a chance to build up capital to publish a hard copy of their book. And, by them having their readers to optin to their mailing list to purchase their ebook, they already have a solid customer base to promote to once their hard copy is published.

    Thanks for sharing this piece with our community. I appreciate it.


  3. Hi, I’m Lonnie from Ganxy. I think the previous two commenters hit the nail on the head. Having a direct connection with potential readers through social media can provide valuable feedback for your book before you put it into wide release, and in general it’s a channel for you to promote your future work to people who are familiar with you. Self promotion alert: we make it easier for self-published authors to promote their books and sell the eBook version directly to their audiences. Check us out at

  4. Hi friend!
    I am a middle aged,married man, who has recently become a published author. The title of my POD book is,”THE LUPINE EFFECT”.It is a story of a young man ,son of a rancher,who when on a hunting trip with some friends awakens in the wilderness and finds that he is no longer human but can think like his old self . It is a story of what he goes through on his journey to that goal.

  5. I have started a blog and I am on Twitter & Facebook while my publisher team are busy working on my book, “Why Every Black Woman Should Marry A Jewish Man- A Book for All Women Looking for the Perfect Alpha Male” I am quite new to social media in terms of using it for Book Promotion. Does anyone have advice for someone with a book of my genre- Its a Dating/Relationship Advice book, full of funny date stories as well as our love story

  6. Tweet me @NazHinesStarr or blog
    Book Debut- Aug 2013 “Why Every Black Woman Should Marry A Jewish Man- A Book for All Women Looking for the Perfect Alpha Male” I am quite new to social media in terms of using it for Book Promotion. Does anyone have advice for someone with a book of my genre- Its a Dating/Relationship Advice book, full of funny date stories as well as our love story

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