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How to Sell your Book on Social Media

3 steps to promoting your book with charm and confidence!

Cheesy. Pushy. Self-centred. Awkward. That’s how a lot of us really feel when it comes to ‘selling’. Because there’s this myth that in order to sell your book on social media, you need to completely change the way you speak and behave. You need to leave behind the excited, creative artist… and transform yourself into some kind of slick, smooth salesperson.

If that does not sit comfortably with you, you’re not alone! But (like I said) the good news is that it’s a total myth.

People follow you on social media for all your charm and spark and various quirks. They want connection. They want conversation. Your readers do not want endless commercials. They do not want to feel pressured into buying something. And they really don’t want to be bored – which is exactly what happens when an author transforms into a salesperson and starts pushing nothing but promo messaging.

But… what happens if you avoid self-promotion entirely?

There will be no rush to ‘add to cart’. There will be no uptick in your bank balance. No readers will get to experience the joy your story could bring them.

This hurts you AND it hurts your readers. So what’s the solution?

At Lemon Friday, we specialize in helping authors overcome these exact obstacles. And we do it for a very selfish reason: if we don’t hear about your books, we miss out on reading them! So with that goal in mind, I want to share our three steps to selling your book on social media.

Get to know your ideal reader

The biggest mistake you can make when selling your book is to try and appeal to e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e.

Real talk? Not everyone is going to like your book. But that’s ok! Because some people are going to LOVE it, and those are the people you want to attract. You do this by focusing on your ‘ideal reader’. (And no, that is not a typo; we do mean ‘reader’ as in one person.)

Our #1, must-follow tip is to keep a vivid image in your mind of one specific person you can picture talking to every time you write a post or show up on camera.

First, think about the kind of person who will love your book, and then bring them to life by getting super detailed. Pretend you're creating a character. Give them a name, a job, hobbies, a home life. Decide how old they are, where they live and what their hopes and dreams are! You can even grab our free ideal reader template to start profiling today!

It may feel silly and you may wonder how talking to an imaginary person could possibly help to connect you to real readers but it’s about making you feel more comfortable. Comfortable enough to let your natural passion, excitement and sincerity shine through. Think of it this way: talking to a large crowd can be intimidating. But sitting down for a chat with one person – one friend who is just as excited about your book as you are – that’s so much easier, right? And here’s the big secret: that’s what your readers want too! They don’t want to be part of a crowd; they want to feel special and important and understood by you. They want to feel like you are talking just to them.

That is how you build genuine connections with your readers… connections that will eventually lead to sales.

Talk about your book… early

So many authors put off even mentioning their book unless it’s actually published. But if you plan to sell your book, you need to start much earlier than that.

When you release your book into the world, you want a queue of people already lined up to buy it! Not only will this increase the ‘buzz’ around your book launch but high early sales figures are so important for those coveted ‘best seller’ lists.

Social media is perfect for this, but it can be tricky to talk about something that’s still evolving. If you find it hard to think of new and interesting conversation topics, our six social media ‘caption categories’ for authors will solve that struggle. In fact, two of our caption categories are specifically designed to help you talk about your book in fun, intriguing and engaging ways:

  • Behind the scenes

  • WIP (work in progress)

By sharing ‘behind the scenes’ glimpses with your readers, you can give them peeks into your life as a writer – which is basically like pulling back the curtain of a magic show! Plus, talking about your creative process, breakthroughs and inspirations is the perfect way to naturally weave your book into conversations that never feel salesy.

When you give updates on your ‘Work in progress’ you can draw your readers into your story with little clues and tiny tastes so that they just have to know how it all ends! So feel free to share enticing details about the story itself: the plot, characters and world. By getting creative with character profiles, quotes, maps and artwork, mood boards and playlists (for example), you can catch your readers’ attention, pique their curiosity and get them excited before publication.

Build a community of superfans

Finally… remember what I said about a queue of people ready and eager to buy your book? That only happens when they feel personally invested in your story. They already know enough to be sure they need this book in their lives – and their excitement cannot be contained! These are readers who will post photos on bookstagram, leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, tell all their friends and buy extra copies as gifts. These people are the aces up your sleeve.

So how do you win these superfans over?

Again, make it crystal clear who your book is for… as well as who it’s not for. Exclusivity makes us all feel special – as long as we’re the ones included. Don’t shy aware from making declarations like:

  • “This book is for anyone who feels ***”

  • “If you like [x title], you’re going to fall in love with [your book]

  • “If you like your books with x, y and z… this is NOT the book for you!”

Include your readers in your book’s creation! Need a name for a pet or supporting character? Ask for suggestions. Can’t decide between two options of hair color, or hobby, or favorite food? Put up a poll on Instagram or Twitter! Your readers’ involvement can be as big or small as you want but being part of your book’s development means they’ll be more interested in the end result.

Let them see themselves in your story. Perhaps there are characters they can relate to. Maybe it’s a world they’d want to be part of. Maybe there’s a central theme or cause they’d happily rally around. You could even create an online quiz to ‘sort’ your readers into groups or abilities or personalities relating to your story!

When people are this excited about a book, they don’t want to keep it to themselves, which means they’ll be doing the selling for you! Their genuine excitement is so valuable because what others say about your book carries so much more weight than anything that comes from you. And you never have to worry about being cheesy, pushy or self-centered if other people are doing your promo for you – after all, it’s not bragging if someone else says it!

If you want even more ways to start conversations with your readers and get them excited about your book so that you don’t have to resort to awkward ‘sales talk’, get your free Lemon Friday social media toolkit for authors right now!

And don’t forget to follow us on Instagram for more tips and tricks. Feel free to DM us if you have any questions.

Meet Lara Ferrari

Lara is the Co-Owner of Lemon Friday, a monthly social media toolkits for authors.

After a career in marketing led to freelance fiction editing, Lara now combines both her passions to help authors like you connect with readers using social media to step boldly toward your dreams.

Follow them on Instagram @lemon.friday and visit their website

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