Tips for Using Social Media to Promote Your eBook

This post comes courtesy of Marcela De Vivo, who approached me with interest in providing this blog's audience with some great new content. I'm glad she did, and hope she'll come back in the near future. In this article, she writes about using social media to help promote your eBook.

Social media is an ideal way to find readers and engage existing fans of your work, and as a writer, you should have at least a few of the skills necessary to catch your reader’s eye; however, many writers struggle with using social media since it can feel somewhat different that writing in a traditional sense. Many writers also struggle with knowing where to start as social media and marketing really aren’t their realms of expertise.

Taking the time to learn how to market and promote your eBook using social media sites can generate significant results and you could even find a fan base that you never would have connected with otherwise.

Use Multiple Social Media Outlets

The major social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter, are no-brainers for authors looking to promote their eBooks; however, there are more than two big social sites, and utilizing them all can give you access to more followers and potential readers.

Social sites, like Tumblr, Instagram and even LinkedIn, can help boost your readership base and help you make beneficial contacts in the publishing industry.

Start a Blog

You might not see a personal blog as a great way to showcase your writing, but it really can be an incredible tool to help expose readers to your work and message. Of course, you don’t want to put all of your writing on your blog – just samples and teasers to entice people to continue following you and to buy your eBook.

For the maximum benefit, consider writing pieces similar to your eBook for your blog. You can even use the same information and package it differently. Believe it or not, many authors already do this, and it can be an incredibly effective way to sell eBooks when combined with other efforts.

If you do start a blog, it’s important to link to your social media pages regularly-- those are what you really want followers to tap into so that you can let them know about future work.

Track Your Social Media Activity

So, you’re using Facebook, Twitter and every other social media site under the sun and you’ve setup your personal blog. You’re posting every day on your social sites and regularly contributing content to your blog.

Are your efforts helping and really getting people to buy your eBook?

To find out, you need to use tracking tools that can give you some idea. Certain tracking tools can be particularly helpful for this since they can actually monitor visitors, leads and real sales of your eBook all on one convenient, easy-to-understand dashboard.

Using tracking tools, like Cyfe, can also help you find out if your social media efforts aren’t really working much at all – or at least not enough for the amount of time you spend on them. With this information, you can work on revising your social strategy until you get the results you want and need.

Social media is important for all businesses in 2013, but it’s particularly important for independent businesses, like authors looking to sell eBooks without major backers and partners. While selling your eBook can seem like a very difficult task, especially if you don’t have a lot of money to spend on marketing, you should know that social media can really help.

In fact, it’s one of the only tools that every business, big or small, uses to promote their product-- because it actually works!

Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer in Southern California whose writing specializes in web analytics, green website hosting, tech and marketing. As the owner of Gryffin Media, she uses a variety of social media platforms to reach a broader audience.

Why You're Probably Not Following Me Back On Twitter

About a month ago I wrote a post on why I'm probably not following you back on Twitter. The major reasons were these:

  1. You're an egg
  2. Your bio is incomplete or full of a bunch of hashtag or shortened link nonsense
  3. Your Twitter stream is chock full of sell, sell, sell
  4. You are a retweeting machine
  5. You are a "social media expert"
  6. You're having a multi-way conversation with your buds
  7. Don't try to sell me something or direct me to your blog, web site, or eBook via an auto-DM
  8. You've got a zillion followers but you're only following back a hundred people

I thought I'd turn that around and make the opposite conjecture: Why you're not following me back on Twitter. Here goes.

1. I don’t only tweet about one thing.

I know some people maintain a singular focus on Twitter. Their “thing” might be sports, writing, tech, or finance. I actually tweet about all of those things and occasionally more. If you’re someone following me because you’re a fellow writer or a reader of my novels and I suddenly barrage you with baseball tweets (like I did during the playoffs and World Series when my San Francisco Giants won it all), then you might have unfollowed me. I can’t help it if I’m representing myself as a real person. Real people have many interests, so that’s what you get when you follow me.

2. You don’t agree with my politics

By this I mean any of those generally “taboo in the workplace” sorts of subjects like politics, religion, social views, etc. While I generally do not tweet topics related to these, sometimes one slips out. For example, someone recently tweeted something about gun control. This is one of those hot button issues here in the United States. People are typically on one side or the other with not much in between. I imagine my response to this person put off some people and maybe I lost some followers because of it. I know I’m not following that person anymore.

3. You got tired of the “sell, sell, sell”

For a little while there my feed turned into one product sales announcement after another. I still tweet out these things or direct thousands of Twitter followers to new posts on my blog, but I try to keep it toned down and, at worst, at least interspersed amongst other information.

4. I tweet or retweet too much

I don’t think I actually tweet that much, though I’ve been on the service for a while now and so I’m at around 16,000 tweets total. I tend to hit people in the morning and late evening. In between I’m working and actually find Twitter to be too much of a distraction.

5. I don’t tweet or retweet enough

Now this I agree with. Why it would make people not follow me, I’ve no idea. Taken with the next one, though…

6. I don’t engage my followers

I’m very much of the tweet it and move on mentality. I don’t put questions or information out expecting replies or answers. I’m kind of this way on my blog as well. This is probably an area I could work on.

7. I don’t reciprocate enough

I’m trying to be a good Twitter citizen by returning the RT love and such but I think in the past maybe I wasn’t too good with this. In fact, now I actively keep track of certain individuals just so I can return the favor more because they’ve been nice enough to help me out with a RT of my own stuff here and there.

I’m sure there’s more reasons but why dwell on my failures? Let’s stay focused on the positive and sharing good information.

Why I'm Probably Not Following You Back on Twitter

When someone follows me on Twitter I want to follow them back. But I don't always do so. Here's a few reasons why.

1. You're an egg

When someone sets up a new Twitter account the default avatar is an egg. The egg isn't there for long on most (legitimate) accounts, so it's a pretty sure bet that when a follower's avatar is still eggified that account is a spam account. When I see the egg, I don't follow back. I like to know there's a real person behind the Twitter account. Having a non-egg avatar is a good first step in determining this.

2. Your bio is incomplete or full of a bunch of hashtag or shortened link nonsense

Again, I like to see that I'm following back a real person who is making an honest effort on Twitter. Your bio can be short, it can be long, but it should tell me something about yourself. A bio full of hashtags… why, why, why? You can't see me, but I'm shaking my head just thinking about it. Same goes for people who jam 4 different shortened links into their bio. Sorry, but I'm not going to click on something with a bunch of nonsense characters in it, especially when I don't know you.

3. Your Twitter stream is chock full of sell, sell, sell

A big part of Twitter is reciprocation. When I follow someone, it's because I've scanned their tweet stream and either been amused, entertained, or informed. If when I scan a tweet stream all I see are messages selling something—anything, really—you've just earned a no follow back from me. Indie writers are the worst about this. I sympathize with you all—I've got a couple of books to sell, too—but when my "All Friends" feed on TweetDeck is full of nothing but people selling, that starts to earn "no follow's".

4. You are a retweeting machine

Retweets are fine with me. But like many indulgences, moderation is important. When I see someone's stream is nothing but RT's, most of which are trying to sell something, I pass on following back.

5. You are a "social media expert"

Excuse me, but WTF is a 'social media expert'? That's a rhetorical question which I really don't want to know the answer to, by the way. Social media expert = go away, please.

6. You're having a multi-way conversation with your buds

I see this amongst the tech circles more so than elsewhere. Really, guys, get a (digital) room or pick up the phone. This doesn't usually garner an unfollow or 'no follow,' but it comes close sometimes.

7. Don't try to sell me something or direct me to your blog, web site, or eBook via an auto-DM

When I follow someone back I'm fine with someone thanking me via an auto direct message. But not when it exists solely to tell me about something I don't want to buy. Following someone is about initiating a relationship. Exercise some tact and don't try to jam something down my throat before we've even had a chance to exchange pleasantries.

8. You've got a zillion followers but you're only following back a hundred people

This is rude. People find you interesting enough to follow. Give at least some of them some consideration and follow them back. The other way this happens is someone will follow, follow, follow. Then when those people start following them back the person unfollows, unfollows, unfollows. I guess it makes people feel important when they have a ton of Twitter followers and only follow a few back. Whatever, loser.

You'll notice I didn't call out any individuals above. I'm not pointing fingers, especially since I know I've been guilty of a few of those points myself. But I've moved on from, say, making my Twitter feed all about selling my eBooks. I get a lot of useful information from my followers and try to reciprocate as best I can. The key to success on getting a follow back from me (and most people, I think) is that old adage: just be yourself.

Magic Appreciation Tour

The Five Elements is now part of the Magic Appreciation Tour site. Here's my listing:


The MA site serves two purposes: (1) it connects authors with other authors and (2) it gives fantasy readers a place to find some great, new reads. The proprietor of the site, Daniel Marvello, also organizes "reading tours" where authors help each other out with reviews and other promotional "stuff" (Twitter, etc.). This isn't an uncommon practice and there's no obligation to either read or, more importantly, review something, especially if as a reader/reviewer you find it's something that isn't working for you.

The Summer 2012 Tour approaches. There was a previous Tour in the Spring of which I did not participate because I wasn't aware of the site at that time, but I'll happily jump into this one. I'm not entirely certain how the Tour will take shape, but you may wind up seeing some related posts here once things get going.

Twitter: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

twitter_logoAs I write this, Twitter is dead. Not just down with the usual overusage whale or twittery bird, but completely dead as in their home page won't even come up.

This begs the question of how useful the service really is when it seems to spend so much time being down instead of up. Over on Men with Pens, there's a lengthy discussion going on about just that subject.

I've been using Twitter since my initial post about how I didn't get it. I like it well enough now. I don't use it all the time or even every day, but it was recently #2 on my list of driving traffic to my site (it only recently fell to #3 behind StumbleUpon), so in that respect it's been a boon. I also like the quick interaction it provides with others. However, when it's down, it's down, and not of much use to anyone.

One solution for when Twitter is down and you still want to twit is Twiddict. Think of Twiddict as an offline version of Twitter. Ahhh, maybe that's not the best way to describe it, but Twiddict queues your twits for you until the Twitter service comes back up. Then, when Twitter decides to come back up, it shoots them over. I've just tried using the service, so I can't attest to it's reliability, but it's a good idea and certainly interesting how niche apps crop up to fill gaps created by other applications or services.