When to Start Marketing Your Book on Social Media

It can be challenging to know when you should start promoting your book on social media. Should you wait until you have your book ready to launch? Should you begin with your launch or a character reveal? I wrote this blog to explain why you should start marketing your book as early as possible. 

Start BEFORE You Are Ready

This phrase has run rampant across most business/entrepreneurial social media groups because it is true. 

Here’s the thing about marketing your book… it takes time. And if you wait until after you publish your novel, you will be pushing it into a cold audience that does not care about you or your book. This type of marketing will result in few to no sales. 

Social Media Requires Community & Credibility 

One of the reasons that social media marketing can be so frustrating for authors and other business owners is that it takes time and a lot of effort to establish credibility in the space and build up a community. If you don’t have these elements, you have a cold audience that does not want to receive a sales pitch. But we pitch anyways, and it falls on deaf ears. Maybe you even lose some of the followers you do have?

So how do you overcome this? You start BEFORE your book is ready with the goal of building an engaged community. 

Unfortunately, self-published authors have to work harder to establish credibility and community than traditionally published authors because they do not have the backing of a large and trusted publishing house to transfer that trust onto the author. 

This difference means it is extra important to start intentionally building your audience early.

How early is early?

There is no exact math on how fast your social media presence will grow. If I were marketing my book, I would start six months to a year before I wanted to “launch” the book. 

Here’s why: 

  1. It will take some time to figure out how to use the app effectively from a purely logical side. Unless you hire a social media manager to do it for you, there is a learning curve when aiming to use social media to promote your book rather than share fun photos and engage with other people’s content. And even if you do, you are likely still going to be responsible for creating (guided & scripted) photo and video content for the social media manager to use. 
  2. You will need to develop a workflow for your social media content creation. And this is easier said than done, but it is absolutely essential to prevent burnout. Processes created in this stage will make it feasible for you to remain consistent over the long term. 
  3. Your strategy will need tweaking. Although there are best practices for creating and implementing a social media strategy, one of the most important components will be listening to feedback and reiterating your strategy to make it better. A book needs multiple rounds of edits. So does a social media strategy.
  4. 3-6 months of consistency are needed to establish credibility in your area. This is also true for your content’s discoverability. Most “overnight” successes were built over months to create the context for that virality to be helpful for sales.
  5. Once you start establishing credibility, you need to network within your community. This takes time and practice, and you will likely revisit the same collaborations more than once for them to be helpful.

Set Your Expectations & Define Success

All of this preparation does NOT guarantee you a huge audience, but the good news is that you do not need one to sell your book down the line successfully. You need a core group of advocates who care about you and your book. These people will share your content, amplify your sales posts, and provide reviews that help you create the social proof necessary to make sales.

My Book is Already Published & I Have Not Cultivated an Audience. What Now?

Don’t worry! Your book sales are not a race, and you can get started later. It just won’t be a part of your launch, most likely. 

To start generating book sales, you need to build a community and reach those who can become your super-fans. 

4 Ways You Can Promote Your Book On Instagram

Engage with the book community on Instagram. The book community on Instagram is filled with people who love reading, buying, and sharing about books. Start looking for profiles that talk about books similar to yours. What types of content do they produce? Can you create new relationships with them? Make sure you approach this with a give and not take mentality, or you will be ignored.

Share reviews of your book and tag the reviewer on Instagram if you can.
 Don’t spam people, but if you can show some appreciation to the readers you do have, it will make people want to engage with you and will show off the best parts of your books from a consumer perspective at the same time. 

Create reels that relate to the reader and writer communities.
 You would be absolutely astounded at how these communities overlap. Or – at least I was! Try creating reels that you would have enjoyed as an aspiring author. 

Direct people to the link in your bio so they can buy your book.
 I know this sounds like a no brainer, but you need to actually tell people where, when, and how to support you. They are not going to try to figure it out for themselves. The link in your bio should be clear and easy, and you need a call to action like “buy my book [arrow pointing down]” so there is no guesswork involved. 

Social Media for Book Marketing is a Long Game

Please be wary of strategists and social media managers who try to guarantee you a certain number of sales in a specific time frame. That’s not how this works, as much as I wish it were. Buying followers will not generate sales. Joining follow loops can be a fun way to learn about new accounts, but it will most likely not positively impact your sales numbers because everyone joined for the same reason you did. Buying likes is not helpful and will mess with your reporting on your strategy, which hurts your ability to develop content that actually resonates with your audience.

At Wildflower Social Media, we think it is absolutely crucial to develop an organic social media strategy before attempting advertising because you need to know what resonates before throwing money behind it. 

We want you to feel confident in your content and your ability to market your book online, be informed about your outcomes, and not be taken advantage of through scams and other predatory tactics. Your story deserves to be heard. Let’s get it in front of the readers who need to read it. 

If you are ready to take the next step in developing a plan to cultivate your community online and grow your audience, I want to talk to you. 

Email me at liz@wildflowersocialmedia.com or book a consulting call with me today.

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Goodreads Giveaways: Pros & Cons

3 TikTok Trends You Can Use for Book Marketing