Social media for authors – is it worth it?

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When you publish a book for the first time, you will want to shout it from the rooftops. That’s only natural. You’ve done something that others only ever dream of. Writing a book is no small thing. 

So you will instinctively turn to Facebook, Twitter, or other social media network of choice, and announce your new creation. When you realise you’re not going to get any engagement with your post, you may be tempted to get out the credit card and do a paid ad to target your readers.

I would stop and hesitate for a moment if I were you.


Social media ads are on the way out

facebook ad social media for authors

Despite many successful indie authors advising you that paid social media ads are the way to go, I would disagree. Social media is going through a turbulent period at the moment (just look at Twitter’s shocking decline, thanks to Elon Musk’s antics). Apple’s new privacy restrictions on their iOS devices have greatly reduced the effectiveness of social media ads, and people have proven to be generally more reluctant to click on ads.

This means places like Facebook will gladly take your money, but you are likely to see very little return on your investment.

Use someone else’s field and you have to play by their rules

social media for authors

There is a well-known saying amongst entrepreneurs and small business owners – don’t plant crops on someone else’s field. In other words, if you invest your money on social media platforms, you have to play by their rules. They dictate how many people will see your ad (which, as I’ve said, is declining).

Places like Facebook will never reveal to you the identities of your followers either, in terms of their email addresses. So if you get kicked off the platform one day for a minor infraction, you’ve lost everything in terms of marketing because you went all-in with Facebook.

Don’t misunderstand me – there’s nothing wrong with posting on social media about your books. I do it still (although to a lesser extent than before). But paying for advertising? No, I would not recommend that anymore.

Plant on your field, not on someone else’s

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You should instead focus on getting your readers onto your field – your author website. Start a mailing list and generate a fan community. Launch giveaways if your fans refer you to others. Hand out free copies of your books with requests to review it (regardless of whether it’s a positive review or negative review).

Do all you can to get people on your site. Social media is a nice secondary form of advertising but adjust your expectations accordingly. And if you must pay? Keep the budget as low as possible.

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