How Book Marketing Uses Social Media

Blogworld Expo Meets Book Expo America

Chock full of sample chapters, uncorrected proofs and author signings and co-located with BlogWorld Expo at New York City’s Javitis Center, Book Expo America (aka BEA), book marketing’s biggest U.S. event, is where publishers take their books for the coming year to meet and persuade booksellers to promote and sell them. To show how book marketing uses social media, here are three examples from BEA and BlogWorld Expo.

  1. Gary Vaynerchuk, author of New York Times Bestseller, Crush It and The Thank You Economy. From his office in New Jersey, Gary used social media videos to create Wine Library TV to build his influence and his family’s wine business. After 1,000 episodes, Gary moved to a daily version called Daily Grape that offers an enhanced version via iTunes at $3.99 per month. In Gary’s words, communications has been disrupted. For Gary, a deal to write old-fashioned print books for an established publisher was important. Gary used his social media influence, built over time with his Wine Library, email responses and forum engagements, to sell Crush It without a penny of marketing investment. Anyone looking to build their social media content into a revenue generating machine wants to listen to Gary.
  2. HP Mallory. Unable to get a publisher for her books, HP decided to take the digital plunge and self-published several urban fantasy and paranormal romances including Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble and To Kill A Warlock. To-date, HP has sold over 200,000 e-books proving to publishers that she can deliver readers. HP built her following by entering forums and answering questions to create conversations. HP spends about two hours a day on social media. She understands the importance of supporting her fans. HP has created Facebook pages for each of her main characters. Most recently, HP ran a contest to allow one of her fans to become part of her next book. Talk about socializing book publishing! It’s not about pitching your product but rather it’s about talking to your audience. As a by-product, HP created an online writing club for authors.
  3. Storey’s Knitting Books. Nestled in the Berkshires, Storey uses social media to reach out to their social media active target market. To promote their soon to be published Knitter’s Life List at BEA, Storey created The Knitter’s Life List BEA Sweepstakes targeting knitters, with a trip for two to the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival. To complement the sweepstakes, Storey gave away skeins of yarn wrapped with ball bands containing the book information. Storey threw a party for the centerpiece of Storey’s knitting offering, The Fleece and Fiber Source Book, at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. Author Deborah Robson uses her fiber passion to engage prospective readers with her blog, The Independent Stitch, on Knitty, an online knitting ezine and yarn related events. In addition, Storey is hosting a blogging tour (and knitters are avid bloggers), a Facebook page and Ravelry discussions.

In Gary Vaynerchuk’s words, “Why would a publisher want a writer who doesn’t work their ass off?” For authors and book publishers, it gets down to writing great books and building an audience one reader at a time.

Do you have any other suggestions for how to use social media to sell books? If so, please include your recommendations in the comment section.

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen


Photo credit: © 2011 Heidi Cohen

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  • http://www.theauthorsedge.com Chris Simeral

    Nice examples here, Heidi.

    Gary Vaynerchuk is of course the poster boy for this kind of thing, and he does seem to have that special something about him, but any author and/or publisher who isn’t taking advantage of social media is really missing the boat here.

    I talk about this kind of thing extensively (and how to market a book topics in general) on my blog, but one really simple thing EVERY author should be doing is to at least start building a community/fan base via a Facebook Fan Page — NOT their personal Facebook page.

    I think one thing that authors tend to get caught up in is the “paralysis by analysis” trap. I’ve personally seen some authors put off launching ebooks in Amazon’s Kindle store because they couldn’t decide on a price point of $1.99 or $2.99. It’s a shame.

    Bottom line, of course, is to get out there and try new things and TAKE ACTION. Stop waiting for the time to be perfect. It never is. Authors need to start getting their hands dirty and just do it.

    • http://riversidemarketingstrategies.com/ Heidi Cohen

      Chris–Thank you for contributing to the conversation. I think that authors are so focused on writing their book that they don’t realize the need to test new options and market it. Marketing is a challenge for authors since it’s another speciality that publishers used to take care of. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

  • http://www.socialmediahelp4u.com Carol

    Taking action is great advice!
    Get out there on the worldwide web and build your online presence long before your book is available. Sign up for groups on Facebook and Linkedin that fit your niche, join in live author chats, create a virtual book tour, plan your book around a world wide launch, find bloggers to review your book, created a video book trailer, host a twitter or G+ chat. There are lot’s you can do as an author to create your online presence and use social media to help sell your book. The first thing to do is get started, take action, begin building relationships. Let the world know you exist. Build your online profiles or hire someone to get you started. It’s never to late to take action.