The Author’s Club | Part Two| The Myth of Social Media to Market Your Book

By Author's Club

In Part One of this series we spoke about the differences between traditional publishing and self-publishing. In this article we are going to talk about the myth of using social media to market your book.

*Throughout this series I’m going to link to people who served as a source, to provide you with more information. I highly suggest that you follow those links, if my blog only serves one purpose, then I hope it serves as a place where you can come to find the best articles on a given subject. You can sign up at the top to receive my own personal list of the best articles.

There is so much that we need to learn as independent authors. In the digital age, all of this information is at our fingertips, all one needs to do is to simply ask the Oracle (Google). Unfortunately, it’s like being a man dying from dehydration trying to drink from a fire hose. You’re going to get water, but you might drown too.

I have read countless blogs about self-publishing and marketing and they all have good information in them, but they also generally speak in generalities. I’m not going to do this. I have to lay a foundation, but we are going to go deep into this industry. If at any point something doesn’t make sense, please shoot me an email. At the very least I will send you a link that answers your question.

But before we talk about what you should be doing, we need to make sure that you aren’t already wasting your time.

First, there is a huge difference between a marketing plan and a marketing tool. One of the tools that authors often mistake as a plan is social media. Don’t misunderstand me, social media IS an important tool, but that’s all it is. Deciding that you’re going to use social media as your marketing plan is only going to lead you to frustration.

In the next article we are going to talk about what Marketing really is: the building of relationships for the purpose of selling a product. Social Media is designed to share information with a lot of people at one time…its distracting, and not the best way to build one on one relationships. And remember from the defining marketing article, its all about building that one on one relationship.

Myths About Using Social Media to Market a Book

The Authors Club by Jake Parrick. Marketing your book. Conversion rates of Social Media Platforms.

There is so much information floating around about using social media to sell books. The simple truth is that social media does not sell books. When we focus on the tool, instead of on the author platform, we’re just going to get frustrated.

“However, with tools like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn and others, we often lose sight of that. We decide we need to use them to sell books then run around trying to figure out the best way to do it. This is the same thing as picking up a hammer from your toolbox and then running around trying to figure out what to build with it”. –Tim Grahl

As a pipefitter I know this statement to be true, you don’t pick up the tool until you have a plan on how to use the tool. Tool choice is extremely important, you don’t pick up a level when you should be using a square; if you do, everything is going to be out of place.

This subject is vast and will flow into multiple things, like time management. How much time do you waste on Facebook? While you are on Facebook are you telling yourself that you are working? Think about that for a minute.

Myth One: That growing your social media will grow your fame.

Social Media is not a way to grow your fame, it is a place where your fame is reflected. The positive side of that sad fact, is that your following on social media will grow as your fame grows. But how do you make your fame grow? That question will be answered later, the important fact that you need to know, is that Social Media is not going to solve Problem One.

Problem One

Your obscurity is the problem and you fix that problem not through social media, but with outreach. This flows into your website, blog, SEO, and web traffic.

Myth Two: That there is a way to use social media to sell books, you just haven’t figured it out yet.

This myth is so destructive to us, as self-publishing authors, that it needs to be met and crushed. Our job is incredibly difficult as it is. We have to be the writer, do a lot of our own editing work, create the perfect book cover, get our books narrated, we become our own marketing team, publicity team, we have to find people to review our books, this list just keeps going and going.

To waste our time trying to prove that the myth is true, that it can be used to sell more books, is akin to shooting yourself in the foot because the shoes you want don’t fit.

This info is from Tim Grahl

“I’ve gotten the chance to pull the curtain back several times, and the truth is always much more mundane than you think. Here’s the common things I’ve seen in “successful” social media campaigns:
  1. It wasn’t actually successful. This is the most common. We see something bouncing around the social mediaverse and assume it must be selling like hotcakes. Once you get a look behind the scenes though, it’s not usually the case.
  2. There was something else going on. For the successful campaigns, there was usually something else going on that wasn’t as public. In the book launch examples I give later in this article, I was questioned after the fact by several people who assumed our social media campaign was a big hit. The truth is, most of the book sales came from everything but social media. Social media was just the most public thing so people made assumptions about it’s effectiveness.
  3. The scale was enormous. Again, I’ll address this a little further down, but the successes I’ve seen selling things via social media is because the scale was enormous. Your 5k, 10k or 50k followers/fans aren’t going to generate many sales for you. Especially when you look at what’s happening with Facebook and their fan pages – bottom line, you’re going to have to pay for that marketing.”


Myth Three: That if my following is big enough it will generate sales.

In multiple tests across many social media accounts, it’s a normal thing to get well under 1% – more like 0.25% – of your followers or fans to take action on a given update. This is just clicking on a link, much less converting to a sale.

*Later in the series we are going to talk about benchmarks and how to track your traffic. This is extremely important. Knowing what is working and what doesn’t work will save you a great deal of time and money.

Conversion rates are a part of marketing. You have to know the conversion rates so you can judge where to place your marketing money. Facebook has changed the organic growth of posts, if your planning on using Facebook as a part of your marketing strategy, then I suggest you read this.


The Benefits of Social Media

It is an excellent way to connect with people one on one. Later in this series we are going to talk about reaching upward, towards the influencers that we want attention from. These people have gatekeepers on their emails, it’s the gatekeepers that decide whether the influencer needs to see your email. Most people though, even the big people, still manage their own Facebook or Twitter account. If you think of social media as way to reach out to people one on one you are going to be more successful.

Social media is also useful because you can leverage other people’s following. So make it easy to share your content. SumoMe is one of the apps that we are going to talk about later, I bring it up now because it makes it easy for people to share your content and I want you to be aware of it.

OK, we had to talk about that. In the next article, What is Marketing? We are going to redefine marketing and talk about the perspective we should have as authors and how this perspective will shape your success.


Social Media is a Terrible Ecommerce Tactic – or is it? I think this article makes an interesting point, the numbers that are provided would seem to back up my own opinion on the matter, even if the author isn’t quite sure. I list this article both for the numbers provided in it, and to show how desperate so many of us are to prove that Social Media can be a viable marketing tactic.

This article was written by Jake Parrick.