Before we hand you over to Samantha Tonge and her guest post on social media, we’d like to say congratulations on her latest release MY BIG FAT CHRISTMAS WEDDING and wish Sam every success!
In my experience social media is a bit like Marmite – people… writers… either love it or hate it. I am lucky. Lucky, in the sense that these days I feel authors really need to embrace it, and I just happen to think it is ace.
Don’t get me wrong – some days I feel exhausted from writing, and then on top of that having to promote my books on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and occasionally Pinterest. One of my writing fantasies is, at some point in the future, to have my own publicist.
Plus a book launch is especially gruelling, scheduling tweets, doing a blog tour … I do nothing but promote my book for at least one month after publication day. This involves posting the purchasing link to it in various reader groups on Facebook, doing a blog tour, posting up relevant photos on Instagram, tweeting my heart out on Twitter and perhaps building a Pinterest board. And, then, of course, social media is a two way thing. If someone is kind enough to take an interest in your work, it is only good manners – and obvious business sense – to interact with them. This means lots of commenting and conversations on all social platforms.
Does that make it all sound very clinical? I hope not, because the main reason I love social media is all the wonderful, generous, sincere, funny people I have made friends with. Some I’ve even met up with in real life. That’s an added bonus and makes the relationship all the more richer when you meet each other again online. I’ve been bowled over by the generosity of time-giving bloggers and reviewers, who work for nothing and do their best to review your book as quick as they can.
The danger is – if you enjoy social media as much as I do – that it becomes something of a distraction. I can easily spend the first hour of my day catching up with news, posting on Facebook and setting my pinned daily tweet on Twitter. “But it’s for work” a very naughty voice says, when I’m having an in depth conversation with an online friend about what we watched on telly last night!
Joking aside, though, I take social media very seriously and spend probably as much time on it as I do writing. But then I am lucky as I work as a novelist every day, 9 til 5. Promoting your book is a time-consuming business, but in my view essential, to reach readers and spread word of your book, especially if, like me, your publisher is digital-first. You haven’t got the visibility of being in shops.
So my top tips, for making the most of social media?
First and foremost don’t be afraid. I am the biggest technophobe in the world (just ask my long-suffering computer consultant husband) but have managed to work out how to use almost all social platforms on my own.
If you haven’t much time, concentrate on the platform(s) you really enjoy. I have recently discovered Instagram which is HUGE fun (and great for photoshopping those wrinkles!), plus have made several sales from there.
Interact, interact, interact – thank everyone who comments on a post about your book. Be polite. Interested. And try to have fun with it.
Make use of the facilities on Facebook and Twitter which allow you to schedule posts – these are great time-savers. I use HootSuite for Twitter.
Take your camera everywhere and snap meals, bar drinks, scenery, animals… you never know when a photo is going to come in useful for a tweet, Facebook or Instagram post. A photo livens up whatever you are posting and draws more attention.
Don’t do solid promotion – try and intermingle other stuff in with the book-related posts. Having said that, don’t be apologetic about posting about your work. After a book launch I post at least one tweet an hour about the book, and then mix in other items. Followers’ feeds are filled with so many tweets per minute that they aren’t going to worry about one every sixty minutes from you.
Think about branding. Whilst I am more personal on Facebook, on Instagram I stick more to what I perceive as my chicklit brand, ie food, wine, fashion, cats… things I love and most romance readers enjoy.
Good luck with it all, especially those of you with time constraints. My last word would be try not to see social media as the enemy. It is there to help you reach a wider audience, boost sales – and to make writerly friends.
Thank you, Sam, for that great advice.
Here’s the blurb for My Big Fat Christmas Wedding …
As her Christmas wedding approaches, a trip back to snowy England for her ex’s engagement party makes her wonder if those are wedding bells she’s hearing in her mind, or warning bells. She longs for the excitement of her old London life – the glamour, the regular pedicures. Can she really give that all up to be…a fishwife?
There’s nothing for it but to throw herself into bringing a little Christmas magic to the struggling village in the form of a Christmas fair. Somewhere in amidst the sparkly bauble cakes and stollen scones, she’s sure she’ll come to the right decision about where she belongs…hopefully in time for the wedding…
Perfect for fans of Lindsey Kelk and Debbie Johnson. Don’t miss the Christmas Wedding of the year!
Samantha Tonge lives in Cheshire with her lovely family and a cat that thinks it’s a dog. When not writing, she spends her days cycling and willing cakes to rise. She has sold over 80 short stories to women’s magazines. Her bestselling debut novel, Doubting Abbey, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction best Ebook award in 2014. Her summer 2015 novel Game of Scones hit #5 in the UK Kindle chart.