In the growing world of self-publishing and being an independent author, it can be easy to get overwhelmed by all the things you need to do to get your work out there. Marketing can be pretty time consuming, especially if you don’t have a plan or a goal. You can end up wasting a lot of precious time just staring at a screen wondering what you should say to your followers. Even worse, you could be posting a ton on Facebook or Twitter without any results whatsoever.
You’re not alone in this, a lot of authors struggle with what to say, when to say and why they’re saying it. I find it helps if you look at your social media as though you’re telling a story. As an author, you have the unique advantage of being exceptionally good at this. So what do I mean when I say you should look at your social media like a story? Let me explain.
You have a story to share
It’s sometimes hard to see the value that you can offer to followers when what you’re trying to do is sell them a book. What you need to realize is that anyone who is following you, is likely interested in reading stories and your writing journey can be a great story to tell them. A lot of readers, especially fiction readers, just want some entertainment.
If your goal is to sell your fantasy books, share sneak peeks at how you look, feel and think when you write. Give your fanbase some snippets of your writing before you’ve published so that they get psyched about you releasing that book.
Feeling like they’re on an adventure is what a lot of readers want the most from a fiction book. You can use social media as your platform to showcase your skill at writing which will make them more inclined to want to purchase a novel you’ve published.
Build Your Story
Just like you would plan what a story is going to be about, you need to plan what your social media end goal is going to be as well as having some supporting goals.
Your end goal is likely to be a relatively successful author. In doing this you need to define some smaller goals that will help you measure what success will look like for you specifically. You may aim to gain a certain number of followers each month or perhaps you want to sell a certain number of books by a specific date.
From there you need to start creating posts that will help you reach the conclusion to these goals. You’re building an online story that will have a certain result (think of it as the resolution to your personal plot). If your goal is to gain more followers, your post might be revolved around encouraging people to tag their friends on the post so that you gain more notice from potential readers. If your goal is to sell a certain number of books, you would want to create posts that give a taste of your writing and you’d want to remember to link to your books at least once a week in your posts.
Setting Yourself Apart
In order to be memorable, you’ll want to stand out from the crowd. This doesn’t necessarily mean that all your photos need to contain obnoxiously bright text for no reason. What you need are these three things:
Uniqueness – Whatever it is that makes you, you! There’s always something different about the way you approach things and this will help you stand out. Whatever little quirk, skill or approach comes out in your writing is something you should consider emphasizing and owning on your social media posts as well.
Authenticity – You know what can be just as difficult as not knowing what to say on social media? Trying to be like someone else while you’re posting on social media. It’s so much easier to write when you’re just doing what comes naturally to you and not forcing yourself to do what’s popular.
Consistency – In order to build a name for yourself, there needs to be instant recognition of who you are online. This recognition is spurred on when you use the same colours, same fonts, same tone of speaking with the same big picture goal in mind throughout your posts. It’s okay to grow and ease into a new look for yourself, I’m all for rebranding but when your brand is different on a daily basis, you may need to sit down and make some decisions on how you’re going to look online.
Write it Out and Follow Through
It can be tempting to delete posts you don’t think are working or to want to switch gears within the first week of trying out your plan but I encourage you to write out your plan and stick to it for a few weeks before you decide you need to readjust what you set out to do. You shouldn’t write off your whole plan based on a week of not seeing the results you want. Creating a fan base for yourself will take time.
One the best ways to stick to your plan is to grab some worksheets and actually flesh out a plan for yourself. From experience, this tends to work better than mind mapping as it’s a little more difficult to change on a whim but choose whatever works best for you.
During this time you’ll also probably want to gather any photos you intend to use in your posts and take advantage of the option to create drafts that some social media platforms have to offer. This will allow you to set aside some time to create a week’s worth of content without having to spend time doing it on a daily basis.
What are some stories from your writing process that might interest your intended readership?