Thank you so much to the Middle Grade Mafia for hosting me on your site today! For those that don’t know me, I’m Erin Rhew <waves>. I am the author of the The Prophecy and The Outlanders (Books 1 and 2 in The Fulfillment series), the social media/marketing director at BookFish Books, and the wife of the supremely talented author, Deek Rhew.
Today, I’d like to spend a little time talking about book marketing and social media. The biggest, most important place to start: know your audience. If you write for adults, what kind of adults will read your novel? Narrow down your demographic so you can more easily target it. If you write young adult novels, you need to stay on top of the latest platforms where teens (and adults who read young adult novels) hang out. If you write for middle grade, as I assume many reading this site do, you must ask yourself how to read the middle grade market. You most likely will not reach the children themselves online (though there are a few ways), so you will need to market to their parents and grandparents, as well as to children’s librarians. First and foremost: know your audience.
Okay, so you know your audience, but where do they hang out? There are social media outlets popping up all the time, so you have to research where to find the people in your demographic. If you write for young adults, don’t market to them on Facebook. They think it’s where “the old people hang out.” But if you’re a middle grade author trying to reach parents and grandparents, it might be just the place. I highly recommend you spend a few hours looking into the different social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Google +, Pinterest, etc) and find out their main demographic. Once you know, you can decide where to invest the majority of your marketing time.
Blogging is another great outlet to attract attention to you and your books. I recommend blogging about yourself and your thoughts rather than topics about writing. If you write about writing, the only people who will read them are other writers. You’re trying to attract readers, and readers want to know about the lives and thoughts of their favorite authors. Be sure to use your blog to promote your fellow authors as well through cover reveals, blog tours, and guest blogs. They will often reciprocate, which will help get your name out to a whole new set of people.
Memes have recently become very popular. Check out George Takei on Facebook and Twitter pages if you want examples. You can create your own memes through site like PicMonkey and Canvas. Try putting those out on social media outlets and see if you can get them shared to the broader public.
As authors, we have to balance the amount of time we spend marketing with the amount of time we spend writing, so you want to be sure to use your time wisely. Social media can become a black hole (or an “infinite loop” as my friend and editor Katie L. Carroll calls it) and suck the time right out of our day. So, try to allot a certain amount of time each day to marketing on the 1-3 sites you’ve selected that will provide the maximum amount of exposure and then move on to writing. The absolute best form of advertising has and always will be word-of-mouth, and the more books you write, the more people will have to talk about.