Social Media: What Do Authors Say About its Usefulness?

By Jennifer Hallmark

Authors, do you ever wonder if Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other modes of social media really make a difference in the marketing of your book?

I do. With the June 2019 release of my debut novel, Jessie’s Hope, only a year away, I’m asking this question and many more. So I thought I’d take a few minutes and go to one of my favorite sources, Facebook, to see what others would say. The question I asked was “Which, in your own experience, sells more books. (1) Email newsletter (2) word of mouth or (3) social media? Or something else?” Here’s some answers by authors and readers…

Author Mary Watson Hamilton: At this point in my experience, online ads (Amazon, Bookbub, etc) have shown the biggest sales. Next to that, probably word of mouth.

Author Steve Watkins:  Felt need and discoverability sell books. It’s all about what happens on Amazon search engines. Social media will sell a few hundred books at best only if you’ve worked very hard and very smart with your marketing in the months leading to your launch. Sales over the long haul are all about what people are looking for in their searches. Speaking events will sell books if you’re with the right audience. Everything, of course, begins with solid, compelling text that has a voice.

Reader Rose Zemit: Word of mouth. When some one tell you about a book, I remember it and will likely buy it.

Reader Alaina Bryant Bowers: I’m not a writer but personally I buy more books if I hear someone talking about them, but also from social media.

Author Sandra Backstrom Godfrey: Blitz. All of the above as opportunity comes across your path. Prayer for guidance.  I have a marketing coach. He believes strongly in attending conferences and conventions.

Author Bonita McCoy: Word of mouth. I’ve bought more books because they were recommended by a friend.

Author Shirley Crowder: Recommendation from a friend by either word of mouth, email, newsletter, or social media.

Author and Publisher Tracy Ruckman: Has to be—must be—a combination. One without the others isn’t as effective. But 2, 1, 3 in order of most effective.

Author Kathy Terry Houser: Word of mouth, social media, advertising. Go to local paper and get them to do a article on you and your book.

And the kicker is, as mentioned by Cathe Swanson, most word of mouth IS social media.

I believe social media is here to stay and as authors, we should make use of it in whatever way we see fit. Whether a little or a lot, it can make a difference in getting your name and book in front of a lot of people at once.

So get social!

Click to tweet: The question I asked was “Which, in your own experience, sells more books. (1) Email newsletter (2) word of mouth or (3) social media? Or something else?” Here’s some answers by authors and readers. #amwriting #socialmedia

Writing Prompt: It’s your turn. Tell us in the comments what sells books to you personally. Is it one of the ways mentioned above? Or do you have another answer? We want to know…

9 thoughts on “Social Media: What Do Authors Say About its Usefulness?

  1. I agree with Cathe Swanson. I think most word of mouth comes through social media—the “social” in social media. I have, maybe, one or two people I talk books with and share recommendations, but in a social media setting with like-minded people, word can spread.

  2. By far, a recommendation from someone who shares my interest/taste in reading material influences whether I purchase a book. My method is to get their recommendation, check out the sample and reviews on Amazon, and then decide whether or not to purchase.

  3. I rarely, if ever, read a book due to social media. In fact, if an author “friends” me and then does nothing but post either blatant or even insinuative posts about their book, I make a point not to read it. Now if a friend shared, via fb or Instagram, that they’ve read a great book, I’ll probably check it out. I don’t think I’m alone in saying that many readers are tired of their newsfeed being clogged with ads, even ads disguised as a post by a “friend”.

  4. I don’t buy easily, so the stronger personal connection I have to the author the more likely I am to buy. I wouldn’t buy from an add on social media, but if I’ve conversed with the author on wordpress or facebook etc, when the budget allows I am going to think of them. (And if they’re running a sale, you bet I’m going to be right there! :D)

  5. I agree, Patti. A lot of social media gets clogged down. But I can also understand the excitement of a book release, especially if it’s a debut. I try really hard to post mostly “life” stuff, and I hope when my first book comes out next year, I can control my “Snoopy dancing.” 🙂

  6. Personal connection is the key. The only ads I would buy from would be authors I already know or if the book blurb knocked me over. And like you, especially if it’s a sale…

  7. Reblogged this on luna's on line and commented:
    Interesting article and well worth a look, including the comments. My take on this is that you personally have to get out there, not just hide behind the computer (not that I’ve actually taken that important step…yet).

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