Successful Advertising on Social Media.
As a rookie writer, I naively assumed the hard part was finishing the manuscript, followed by finding a way to get it published, but I was so, so wrong. The hardest part, BY FAR, is marketing your book to the world, and these days that means, “How do I effectively use social media?”
According to Eric Schmidt of Google, we now produce more data in two days than we created from the dawn of civilization to the year 2003. Dr. Mark Algee-Hewitt of Stanford Literary Lab says over 2.7 million books are published each year in English. Of these, over 227,000 (8.2%) are fiction novels—otherwise known as my competition for readership. Even if I am one of these books on the shelf, the odds of someone finding my book are ridiculously small.
Unless I advertise.
I am not Stephen King, JK Rowling, or Michael Crichton (yet!), so next to no one is going to pick up my book and take a chance on it, because I’m an unknown. I don’t have a reputation, good or bad, and there are so many excellent books being pumped out from known authors that readers know will be satisfying and fulfilling reads. So how do I get someone to learn about me, build trust in me, and thus take a chance on reading my first novel?
Being an engineer and a scientist, I decided to conduct some research and find out from people who read how they find their books. First, I read some books about how to market and publish creative works, one great one of which was “Sell Your Soul: How to Build Your Creative Career” by Russell Nohelty. This book was jam packed with excellent advice, had concrete advice with specific steps, and presented all the information in a well-organized manner that lived up to its jacket slogan of, “Discover how to build a prosperous creative business without feeling gross.”
One of the first things he learned was that he had no idea who was buying his books or why, and he went about figuring that out. I decided to take a different twist on this and find out how readers engage with social media and what would entice them to start engaging with me.
Let the interviews begin.
So, I conducted interviews. Since I am publishing my sci-fi thriller, APEX, on a unique platform called Inkshares.com, which uses a crowd funding model to determine which books to publish, I had a source of readers from which to do my poll. I wanted a variety of people—Millennials, Generation Xers, and Baby Boomers, both male and female who shared my tastes in books and movies. I asked for volunteers and ended up with eleven, three of whom were female. This was a nice representative sampling and included people who used no social media to those like Jacqui Castle, author of “The Seclusion”, who was able to build a Twitter following of over 11,500 and crowd funded her book over the 750 pre-order threshold in three months! More on her success story later…
In parallel, I did some internet research to find out how many people use the internet and social media for fun. I also wanted to learn which platforms they were using. The data I gleaned was incredibly interesting, and it is going to save a lot of wasted effort on things that my readers would not have liked. Here are the key takeaways on social media usage:
- A whopping 81% to 97% of English speaking adults use the internet for at least one reason, such as email, reading the news, or researching data.
- Of adults age 14+ that speak English, about 40% to 46% of them are “online” for some entertainment reason, meaning they use the internet for more than just email.
- Of these online adults, 79% of them use Facebook.
- Instagram is used by 32%, Pinterest 31%, LinkedIn 29%, and Twitter 24%.
- 76% of Facebook users are on the site daily, along with 51% of Instagram users and 42% of Twitter users. The other sites have less than 25% of daily users.
- Sites like Pinterest and LinkedIn seem to be used occasionally, once per week or less often.
- One interesting correlation I found on PewInternet.org was that if someone is on Twitter, they are on all other media platforms—93% on Facebook, 65% on Instagram, 54% on LinkedIn, and 48% on Pinterest. For someone on Instagram, 95% are on Facebook and 49% are on Twitter.
I’ll expand upon what I learned from my research in a series of future posts (it’s 23 pages of data, and I don’t want to overwhelm you). I’ll also be posting each of my interviews and the nuggets of wisdom I received from each of these avid readers.
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