whitefox: helping brands, thought leaders and writers create beautiful bespoke books
Publishing your book is one journey, selling it is another. Even with the right publicity team on your side, as a 21st-century author it’s vital that you’re familiar with social media in order to build your brand and interact directly with your audience. Of course, it takes time and (a lot of) effort to become an expert on every platform, so we’re going to lend a hand by offering some insight into each main channel, what kind of author it caters towards and the best ways to start building your following. To make it as easy as possible, we’ve structured this article by genre, so all you have to do is scroll down to your book’s genre to discover the most suitable social platform to help you market your book.
When it comes to telling your own story, you have two key audiences: people who may be familiar with you, your history and the tales you have to tell, and people who may have similar experiences that they can relate to yours. Obviously this rule varies according to subgenre: if you’re writing a memoir about your years as a rock star your book will attract a completely different audience to that of a tell-all celeb biography, but the same methods of attraction apply. To draw in the first audience, you want to focus on the platform where you already have a standing and can speak to an existing audience that is familiar with your work. To attract the second audience, take a look at the other genres we’ve explored; if you’re a chef, Instagram may be for you, if you’re writing about your career in business, LinkedIn is the place to be. If your story is well-known, attract your audience by sharing unknown facts or your opinion on key events. If less well-known, think about what your book can offer your audience and emphasise this when posting on social media.
Since Rupi Kaur broke the literary internet with her bite-sized poems on Instagram, the image-based social channel has become the undisputed primary platform for poets. Time spent reading may be going up, but so is time spent on social media. Combine the two by designing attractive graphics of your poems, and you’ve cracked the book marketing code. Don’t forget, hashtags were created for Instagram! Use this helpful tool to format your caption attractively, sign up to linktr.ee (or an alternative) to direct your followers towards your Amazon page, website and other social platforms, and include as many (relevant) hashtags as possible, and you will start to see your list of followers gradually increase.
When marketing a self-help book, it’s important to take into account your subgenre. If your book offers life coaching or professional development you’ll find your network on LinkedIn, but if it’s more personal development, you might find it easier to connect directly with individuals via Facebook. Many self-help writers simultaneously create video content which condenses key information into short, choppy videos that are easily consumable via Facebook and LinkedIn. If you haven’t yet built a following, you should consider investing a daily budget into targeted adverts which will offer a shortcut to finding your readers.
While Facebook used to be the go-to platform for finding a fiction following, the #writingcommunity has gradually moved over to Twitter, where there is a keen audience of readers, and a huge and engaged community of writers and authors to support, amplify and enjoy your work! If you’ve set up your Twitter profile but are struggling to grow your list of followers, prioritise sharing imagery (rather than just text), using the right hashtags, asking questions and, most importantly of all, engaging with similar authors and promoting their work alongside your own. Here is some more info on finding your writing community on Twitter.
Whether you’re connecting with an expert in your industry, publishing a recent article or (you guessed it) marketing your book, there’s only one place for business: LinkedIn. While not a social platform in the traditional sense, if you want to assert your expertise, engage with aspiring professionals and promote your business, LinkedIn provides plenty of opportunities. You’d be wise to take a soft sell approach, rather than consistently posting and encouraging people to buy your book. The best way to boost sales is to demonstrate your knowledge on the subject of your book by publishing short LinkedIn articles on trending topics, engaging with the content of similar thought leaders and growing your network by connecting with relevant people in your field. Once your following sees you regularly speaking with confidence and knowledge on their timeline, they’ll be more likely to trust the insight your book can offer when they discover it.
You’re probably sensing a theme for the more visual genres… if you’ve got beautiful pictures of mouthwatering food you can share, you should focus your efforts on Instagram. Apart from pictures of baby animals, food is the one thing everyone loves to see on their timeline. Instagram hosts a huge community of people who love to cook, and people who love to eat. #instafood, #foodporn, #foodie – use the right hashtags and you’ll end up on the right timelines. We don’t need to say it, but a picture is worth a thousand words, maybe even a thousand sales…
While illustrated books do well on image-based platforms such as Instagram, the best platform for children’s titles is hard to pin down as the target audience and content can vary dramatically. Serena Hassan, whitefox author of The Tap-Dancing Pigeon of Covent Garden, has found huge success on Twitter by engaging with the writing community, while many authors find that the large number of parents who use Facebook can be engaged via Facebook groups and targeted adverts. While you’ll mainly be marketing to parents, speaking in fun and accessible language will give them a taste of what your book can offer to their children. If your book is illustrated, why not create some simple graphics using a tool like canva to share on social media and catch children’s eyes.
Marketing any book is tricky, but working out where to find your audience is the first step to seeing those sales figures rise. We hope this has given you a better idea of social media channels and the right one for you and your book. We look forward to seeing you on our timeline!