Social Media for Authors: Your Platform, Pt 2

In part 1, I talked about cultivating a core group of cheerleaders for your books. Today I’ll talk about directly reaching your target audience.

Lets face it, not everyone is going to love your book. Even “To Kill a Mockingbird” has 92 1 star reviews on Amazon. So figure out who your target audience is, and find ways to connect with them. Notice, I said “connect with” not “sell to.”

If you write about what you know, you already have some connections with your target audience. Write down everything you can think of. My books have murders, mystery, romance, dogs, a dog park, a female amateur sleuth, and Cincinnati locations. My main audience is dog people who read mysteries. It behooves me to find ways to connect with dog parks, rescue groups and book clubs that cater to mysteries. Imight also be able to capitalize on the Cincinnati connection.

Next figure out what books your audience is already reading. If you can’t fit yourself cleanly into a genre, start with books YOU like to read. Presumably some of what you like has rubbed off on your writing. (I’ll talk more about connecting with these folks in a future post.)

In real life, connecting in all those places will leave you with no time to write. While face to face contacts have more value, internet contacts can be made at home, in your pajamas, in much less time. And it’s much easier for introverts.

I know, you’d much rather write. Self-publishing magnate Russell Blake advises spending 20% of your writing time in promotion. Bite the bullet. Find places on the internet where your audience is congregating and join in. Places to start are Facebook, Reddit, Pintrest, Twitter, Goodreads and thousands of special interest forums.

Pick one or two internet venues and invest time in them as a participant. Spend a little time there every day. Let people get to know you. Do NOT bring up your book unless someone asks, and if they do, keep it brief. Exercise good internet manners. Stay out of arguments, don’t feed the trolls, and don’t discuss religion or politics unless those topics are key to you as a writer. If you choose to discuss hot topics, make sure you are being calm, rational and respectful about it.

The only time to approach a group cold is if you are offering something special (not your book) that would interest them. For example, I ran a cover-dog contest on this blog, offering the prize of the cover painting to the winner. So I posted that in a variety of dog park pages, where people who own dogs would see it.

Does this sound like a pain? It can be, and if it is, it’s not going to work. Pick groups you are compatible with and make it fun. Forget about your book and focus on the group. Respond to posts, ask questions, engage. It’s more important that you invest quality time in a few places than spreading yourself all over the web.

Next, I’ll talk about some popular Social Media venues on the web.

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