So, it's a beautiful Tuesday morning here in West Virginia. The sun is shining, the grass is green, the trees are thick with leaves, and there's not even the slightest breeze at 6:30 in the morning. It's the perfect time to write! But... I was looking in my author groups on Facebook (why do I do this so early?), and I keep seeing the same conversation occurring over and over and over...
"I don't have a marketing plan."
"Why would I market a book that isn't out yet."
"Social media doesn't work for authors."
Let me just start off by saying, none of this is magic... or rocket science... if you truly desire success as an author, you can have it if you're willing to invest the resources of time, energy and yes, even money, into yourself.
It's high time we address the all too popular misconception...
Here are the top three reasons why "social media doesn't work for authors." Perhaps for you it's just one reason, or maybe some combination of the three.
Reason 1: Your attitude sucks.
That's right, I dared to say it out loud. If everything sucks, everyone sucks, and you say that you're never going to be able to reach your dreams because of all the obstacles (that you're quick to enumerate) that are standing in your way, then guess what? You won't be a bestselling author.
You have a victim mentality, a lackluster work ethic, and a poor sense of sportsmanship. Those who suffer from this condition are quick to attack others personally rather than take the objective, analytical approach and examine their own thought patterns. If all you can list are all the reasons why the deck is stacked against you, then you're right - you'll never make it.
If, on the other hand, you're willing to see what you can do to improve your odds and you seek out solutions then you, my friend, have the attitude of someone who actually has a shot at making it.
Will it be easy? No, of course not. Nothing good ever is. JK Rowling sure as hell did't have it easy, nor did Stephen King. So why should you?
But those authors had resilience, even in their darkest hours of despair. They had great attitudes and worked to improve their writing, improve their queries, and find solutions to overcome the obstacles they faced.
Whether it's social media or anything else we're looking at in the writing community, if it has worked for other people then it can work for you too - provided you have a great attitude and an uncompromisable work ethic.
Reason 2: You're throwing spaghetti at the wall.
If you're on every social network, trying to run a blog (that you struggle to create content for), and putting your fingers in every single pie that someone tells you to, you're going to feel burned out very quickly if you're not burned out already.
Here's why the "throw shite and see what works" method doesn't actually work: you never have a chance to focus your energy and intelligence on mastering one thing at a time.
Here's a piece of advice you can implement right now: pick two platforms to focus on and stay there. For the major networks, post content once per day for Facebook Pages and Instagram, or post three times per day (no more, no less, Holy Hand Grenade style) on Twitter.
So pick your two platforms (Facebook Page and Twitter, Instagram and Twitter, Twitter and Pinterest, etc) and then start stalking "successful" authors who have large followings. What are they (or their social media managers) posting on their accounts? Look at their posts that have the highest engagement and consider why.
Study viral content and work to incorporate the common elements of that viral content into your own. You must study and you must practice, and you must be consistent on social media in order for it to work. Stop throwing spaghetti, start studying.
If you spent half as much time researching social media marketing as you spent studying exactly how to make Damascus steel, we wouldn't be having this conversation.
Research tip: limit your Google results to within the past year. Anything beyond that is going to be so out of date as to be purely BAD ADVICE.
Reason 3: You're afraid to invest in your own dreams.
You've busted your tail to write the best book you can write at this point, so why won't you give the marketing of this work the same time and attention? I get it. You're tired, you have a family, there's a day job to consider, and why should you invest time, energy, and money in learning a whole new skillset?
Well, do you have the money to hire a marketer to do all this work for you? Oh - no? You don't have $600-$1,500 per month to have someone else do it all? Most of us don't - and that's okay because there are alternatives!
Would you start a restaurant and say "well, I've got the recipe and I've even made the food, but I'm not going to buy tables and chairs, or even rent a building until this food starts making money."
No, my friend, no you wouldn't. If you want to set yourself up for success then you rent a building, furnish it, and then deliver the heart of the operation - the food - even before you've made a dime.
Thankfully, investing in your writing career is a lot less scary - and a lot less expensive - than investing in a new restaurant.
So, the heart of your operation is your book. Set up the structure, the environment, in which you can easily deliver that experience of enjoying the book to your readers--rather than "waiting on income" before you invest in the success of your book.
If you want to get started learning the ropes of effective social media marketing as an author without paying hundreds or thousands of dollars for courses, go HERE. It's less than a dollar a day, there's no long-term commitment, and we have a thriving community of driven authors who are working together to take the action that will lift them to success.
The most important thing you can do is invest the time to research and practice on ONE platform at a time and invest money where you can afford to in order to get REALLY good at this. Yes, invest money. Yes, you can afford to. Examine your finances for the past month. I bet there are at least a few frivolous comforts that you could forego.
Isn't giving up your daily Starbucks worth it to have a shot at becoming the successful author you've dreamed of being?
I'm cheering for your success. Don't be afraid, stop throwing spaghetti, and adjust your attitude if you need to. Just know that social media works for those who actually invest in figuring it out.
If you'd like some one-on-one help to get you rocketed onto the path with a clear, actionable plan and a crash course in social media, go HERE.