I had the pleasure of interviewing Susan Daffron, an award-winning author and publisher, about how authors can benefit from using social media to attract readers in their niche market. From addressing challenges authors are up against when promoting their books to recommending metrics to gauge whether their social media efforts are paying off, Susan intelligently answers my questions and speaks from experience.
1. What are some unique challenges authors face when promoting their books?
Many new authors try to market their book to “everyone”. When asked who would read their book, rather than being specific and targeting a small easily identified niche group of people, many authors say, “everyone would like my book”.
Unfortunately, that’s almost never the case. You can’t sell a book to “everyone”. It’s impossible to even figure out where to begin, so many authors get frustrated and give up. No matter how popular a book is, “everyone” is never the target reader.
Successful authors are strategic in their marketing efforts. They figure out where members of their specific niche hang out and focus their marketing efforts there. The specific places are unique to every niche, but once you can determine how to find and connect with potential readers, marketing a book becomes a lot easier.
2. What are some effective ways authors can use social media to generate consumer awareness?
* Sign up for personal accounts on Facebook, Linked In and Twitter.
* Post status updates to your accounts related to content in the book.
* Write blog posts related to the book (then post links to the blog posts in social media.
* Create a Facebook fan page for your book or a group about your book’s topic.
* Join groups related to your book’s topic on Facebook and Linked in.
* Participate in Twitter Chats related to your book’s topic.
* Link your blog’s feed into your various social media accounts/pages.
* Create book trailer videos and post them on YouTube and your blog.
* If your book is on a how-to topic, create video demonstrations and post them.
* Keep your Amazon author page current and add your Twitter URL, RSS feed, and videos to your author page.
3. What tools can help authors promote their book?
* To manage social media, many authors use tools such as Tweet Deck, Hoot Suite, or Ping.fm that let you post to multiple sites at the same time. You also can use tools like Social Oomph or Hoot Suite to schedule future tweets/status updates.
* Use Amazon Author Central to pull content in from your blog into the Amazon site.
* Sign up for services like HelpaReporter.com that are looking for expert sources. As an author, you are an expert. Follow HARO and reporters on Twitter.
4. What should authors be measuring to know which of their social media efforts are paying off?
* If you have a Facebook page you can check your stats there. You can use Google Analytics on your blog to see if people are responding to your social media status updates and reading your posts.
* You can use URL shorteners that include click tracking to see if people are clicking your links.
* You can keep track of the number of times your posts are retweeted or shared.
* Use coupon codes in your shopping cart, so you can track which offers result in sales.
Bio: Susan Daffron, aka The Book Consultant owns a book and software publishing company. She spends most of her time writing, laying out books in InDesign, or taking her five dogs out for romps in the forest. She also teaches people how to write and publish profitable client-attracting books and puts on the annual Self-Publishers Online conference, which will be May 10-12 this year.