Saturday, July 30, 2011

Why Social Networking is a Must for Authors: Guest post by Dana Lynn Smith, The Savvy Book Marketer

Why Social Networking is a Must for Authors

by Dana Lynn Smith, The Savvy Book Marketer

Over the past couple of years, social networking has become an increasingly essential online book marketing strategy—one that you can't afford to overlook.

Reaching potential book buyers is the most obvious benefit of social networking, but not necessarily the most important one. For many nonfiction authors, developing relationships with peers and influencers is equally important. These contacts may review your book, recommend you to others, participate in your book launch, and publish your articles in their blog or ezine.

Social networking is ideal for generating word-of-mouth online book marketing, where your message gets passed along by others. For example, when people enjoy a book, article, blog, or video, they often recommend it to others online. This type of user endorsement is more effective than traditional marketing.

Here are some other benefits of social networking in your online book marketing plan:

*Building author platforms, expert status, and brand recognition
*Getting endorsements and recommendations for your books
*Driving traffic to websites and blogs
*Subtly promoting books, products, and services
*Learning from other authors in your genre or other experts in your field
*Increasing your opt-in subscriber list
*Getting speaking engagements or consulting customers
*Improving search engine optimization and search results ranking through back links from social sites.

Which social networks are most important for authors? For nonfiction authors, my top choices are Twitter, Facebook, and professional network LinkedIn.

For fiction authors, my top picks are Facebook and virtual reader communities such as GoodReads. Other sites may also be useful, depending on your target audience. For example, if you're writing for young adults, MySpace would be a good choice. Children’s book authors can network on JacketFlap. If your target audience is boomers, check out Eons. Also search and Google for networks that serve specific niche audiences.

Here are a few tips for getting the most from social networking:

Be selective about which networks you join and who you invite as a friend. Only invite people who appear to share common interests with you.
Send personalized friend requests, introducing yourself and stating why you want to befriend the other person.
Get involved in the community. Add value by helping others, answering questions, and sharing resources and knowledge. Don't forget to share a bit of personal information about yourself.
Be careful not to appear too promotional. It's okay to promote your products and services on occasion, but don't make that your main focus. Sending out an announcement of your book launch is fine; sending frequent promotional messages about your book is not.

While social networking is a terrific online book marketing tool, it's also great fun to meet people all over the world who share your interests. If you haven't already jumped onboard, get started today!

About the Author

Dana Lynn Smith is a book marketing coach and the author of several book marketing guides, including The Savvy Book Marketer's Guide to Successful Social Marketing . For more tips, visit her book marketing blog and get a copy of the Top Book Marketing Tips ebook when you sign up for her free book marketing newsletter.

Savvy Book Marketer Guide:
Book Marketing Blog:

Author Aaron Patterson: Blog: The Worst Book Ever.