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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