Sunday, August 23, 2009

Promote Your Book with Social Media

My guest this week is Dana Lynn Smith,
author of The Savvy Book Marketer Guides. Welcome Back Dana!

Dana is here to talk about social media marketing and her book, “The Savvy Book Marketer's Guide to Successful Social Marketing.” Social marketing is a very effective way to meet and develop relationships with potential readers as well as other authors and experts. Everyone tells authors they need to take advantage of social marketing opportunities, but it can be confusing and overwhelming. Fiction writers, especially, need guidance.

First, tell me about The Savvy Book Marketer's Guide to Successful Social Marketing.
The book covers a number of different social marketing activities, including networking on sites like Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads; using social bookmarking and news sites such as Digg and StumbleUpon; blogging and participating in forums; sharing media on sites like YouTube; and posting content on expert sites such as Squidoo. Online networking is very popular now and about half of the book is devoted to networking. There’s an action plan at the end of each chapter.
I invite your readers to download the first chapter, “Introduction to Social Marketing.”

Social marketing can be time consuming. How can you avoid using too much of your writing time on it?
It’s important to develop a social marketing plan first, so you have a clear strategy. Then set aside a specific amount of time each day for social marketing and stick to it. And don’t do your networking first thing in the morning. It’s easy to get sucked into networking sites and spend way too much time there.

When should a new author begin working on social marketing?
Yesterday! It takes a long time to develop networks and relationships and build an online reputation. Aspiring authors should begin building their contacts and reputation as soon as they start writing a book. If you haven’t already embraced social marketing, get started today.

Should you use your book cover or your photo as your online networking image?
Networking is about building relationships. In general you should use your own photo and you should use the same photo consistently. You don’t have to have a professional photo shoot, but make sure your photo is a good quality headshot.

Keep in mind that on Facebook, you are required set up your Profile in your own name (rather than a product or fictional character name) and the profile photo really should be of you. People want to be friends with a person, not a book. But it’s okay to put up your book cover image temporarily, for instance during your book launch. If you create a Facebook Fan Page for your book, you could use your book cover as the image. For Facebook Groups, I recommend an image that matches the purpose of the group.
On Twitter most people use their own photo, but it’s not uncommon to see book covers, logos or other images. I think it’s more important to choose a Twitter user name that reflects your author status or expertise. Unless you are really well known, I advise a topical name such as BookMarketer (my user name) or RomanceWriter5.

You can have multiple accounts on Twitter, so a novelist might create a Twitter account in her own name and also create an account for her book or one of the characters in the book.

I'd like your opinion about people that keep their profiles private on Facebook. When I’m sending friend invitations, I sometimes have trouble telling by the name if it’s the person I’m looking for, and it’s hard to know anything about people who send me friend invitations. I understand security, but how do you balance that with promotion?

Many people set the privacy settings on Facebook so that only their friends can view their profile. This makes it difficult for people who don’t know them personally to invite them as a friend or decide whether to accept their friend invitation. If you’re using Facebook for business, you should set your privacy settings so that everyone can see your profile, and you should refrain from putting very personal information on your profile.

It’s a challenge to maintain a mixed personal and business profile on Facebook. You don’t necessarily want business colleagues or potential customers to see your personal details and conversations with personal friends and family. Facebook’s rules prohibit multiple profiles. One solution is to use two different networks (MySpace for friends/family and Facebook for business, or Facebook for friends/family and LinkedIn for business). Another is to reserve your Facebook Profile for personal friends/family and use a Facebook Page for business. Or just don’t put personal data on your profile.

A related issue is that the vast majority of Facebook users send blank friend requests, with no introductory message letting the other person know who they are and why they want to be friends. If you receive a blank friend request from someone who won’t allow you to see their profile, you can send them a message politely inquiring why they are inviting you to join their circle of friends. There’s a Send Message button on the page where your friend requests appear. Or you can accept the friend request and then remove that person from your friends if something in their profile makes you uncomfortable.

When you send a friend invitation, always include a personal message of introduction. If you’re unsure whether you’ve got the right person, you can ask in your introductory message: Are you the Jane Smith who’s a romance author?

Facebook was originally designed for social networking, but it can also be a powerful professional networking tool if you keep your business objectives in mind and take advantage of Facebook’s business-oriented features.

What other advice can you offer to fiction authors?
You may need to think creatively to apply some of the tactics that work well for nonfiction authors, but I definitely encourage you to use online networking, blogging and other social marketing tactics.
For example, there are a number of social sites for readers, such as Goodreads, that are a great fit for novelists. I wrote an article on that topic.

And remember that online networking isn’t just about meeting potential customers. The contacts you make with other authors, reviewers, bloggers, and publishing professionals can be very valuable.

You've convinced me. I definitely need your book. So Dana, what’s next for you?
My newest book, Texas Book Marketing Handbook has just been published and I’m offering a $10 introductory discount through the end of August. This book has contact information for Texas bookstores, libraries and media, as well as marketing tips. I’m also working on several new resources to help authors promote their books.

Thanks, Dana, for visiting WordShaping!

Dana Lynn Smith has a degree in marketing and 15 years of publishing experience. Her blog is packed with marketing tips for authors. You’ll get a copy of her Top Book Marketing Tips ebook when you sign up for her free ezine.

For more information about the Savvy Book Marketer Guides visit

Don’t forget to download your free chapter
from The Savvy Book Marketer’s Guide to
Successful Social Marketing


  1. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  2. I love whateve Dana Lynn does. She always has a fresh look at things, something helpful for authors. And thank you, Amber, for all you do, too.

    Carolyn Howard-Johnson
    Blogging at Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites pick,

    Carolyn Howard-Johnson

  3. Very interesting post. I am going to Facebook. I've neglected it for too long.

  4. I just posted links to Dana Lynn's books, blog, etc. on my blog yesterday, so this interview was a real treat!

  5. If I didn't hate my pic so much I'd probably use it more. Yep, that's me the book jacket queen.
    Great blog Amber.

  6. Very interesting. I'm still in the beginning stages of learning about marketing so this looks like just what I need.

  7. Thanks for all of these tips. Social media and how to effectively use it can be so overwhemling. It helps to break it down into small steps and suggestions.

  8. Wow, I've learned some things I didn't know that I didn't know. Thanks. I *must* get this book.

  9. This was an informative read. Especially the picture thing. I know a lot of people who use their book covers. I'm just now working on a facebook, but I have a different picutre on myspace than I do on my website. Guess I'll have to rethink my picture-plan. :) Thanks for the great blog!

  10. Wonderful post. Just subscribed to your newsletter, Dana. I had no idea Facebook doesn't allow multiple profiles--do you mean by the same name? Because I have two profiles--one under my author name and one under my real name, for family and friends. Hopefully, this is okay.

    About using photos--I write under a pen name and don't want certain friends/family to know, so I use an illustration from my website as my picture. At least it's memorable.


  11. Thanks for this wonderful interview. I really needed to hear some of these tips. I've book marked your blog for future reference and plan to visit as often as I can.

    Have a great weekend.