Do You Ever Check Out A Book On Social Media?

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Check Out A Book On Social Media

No? So why ask readers to check out your book?

Self-published authors, who fill social media with ‘Check Out My Book!‘ posts, really do not understand a thing about book marketing.

Perhaps it’s laziness or the lack of inventiveness, but it is more likely to come from a failure to consider for a moment, how people react to such an imperative demand.

Or how the author would react. I doubt any would consider obeying and checking out any books, other than their own.

So why keep posting something that will never work?

Worse, than simply not working, it has the opposite effect. It is a surefire way to drive any potential book buyers away, in droves.

So what can authors do to promote their books on social media?

The starting point is to think about how a bookstore markets itself and its books, and about how and why book buyers buy books.

Do you see advertising by bookstores on billboards, bus stops or at railway stations?

Do you see advertising for books in newspapers or magazines?

Do you see advertising for books in local newspapers or at libraries? On television, radio or at the cinema?

Of course not, because advertising in all these forms would be a total failure. Advertising has never sold books.

Books are sold by recommendation, word of mouth, reviews and most importantly, by name recognition.

This last element is where social media fits extremely well into book marketing.

You may not be a celebrity or a household name, but by leveraging social media, you can build a following of people, who after a while, will start to know your name.

They will then be more likely to react positively, even if only out of curiosity, to your occasional post promoting your book.

It is vitally important to use your name, or perhaps pen name, and never use clever aliases or handles. Also, never hide behind locked accounts. You need to get your name out there, interact and build your audience.

Most importantly, though, you need to give people a good reason to follow you. The best way to do this is to be informative or entertaining, interact, and above all else, be sociable.

Building this online name recognition takes time, and a lot of hard work, and is probably the reason why so many self-published authors continue to blast out ‘Check out my book!’ posts. Because they are too lazy to do the hard yards, that is required.

But with a little effort, social media works very well at making your name known to a lot of people.

Don’t forget your bookstore!

However, by far the most common way books are sold is by book buyers browsing through a bookstore, until a book catches their interest and attention.

Most buy more than one book too, which is a good clue as to how to sell your books.

The same logic applies to book buyers browsing Amazon. So making sure that your book’s sales page on Amazon is informative, interesting, SEO friendly and attention-grabbing is vital in selling books.

Book browsing on Amazon works exactly the same as in a real bookstore.

The only difference is that book buyers use Search and linked books, so having all your book details accurately and fully completed, with a great book description and accurate metadata will help them browse to your book.

So instead of spending hours, days and weeks bashing social media with ‘Check out my book’ posts, a couple of hours spent improving your Amazon book page would be far, far more productive.

In life and business, isn’t it always true that the harder you work, the luckier you get?

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Derek Haines

Derek Haines is an Australian author, living in Switzerland.

7 thoughts on “Do You Ever Check Out A Book On Social Media?

  • This is nonsense – books are advertised in magazines, local and national newspapers, railway stations, on billboards, buses and bus stops etc all the time in the UK!

  • I think James Patterson has sold a few books using advertising, so never say never. Ditto for Danielle Steele. It’s a double-edged sword. You’re supposed to have a sizable platform and reach. But not use it? You’re supposed to relentlessly and shamelessly self-promote, but you shouldn’t do it on social media? Yes, tone is important. It probably sounds better to say “I’m so relieved to have finished this damn book! (link, pic)” Or “my book (link, pic) is now available on Amazon, for anyone interested in reading a free sample–or even buying it, should you find it intrigues you as much as it did me.” Either is a lot better than “hey, check out my book!” Nothing in excess, as they say, and there’s a logical spread between relentless and shameless. Don’t miss an opportunity, but don’t waste it either. I don’t think most self-published people will be taking out ads on billboards and in papers, but anything they can do to market their book effectively and professional, even through an agency or service, is worth the time and price. IF it’s a good work, well thought out and well written, incorporating feedback fought for along the way. That’s the most important part, long before the marketing comes. As to the comment about whether how many authors check out a book based on another author’s “check this out” post? At least one–me. Now, did I buy those books? Hardly ever. Their marketing worked. Their worksmanship didn’t. But it was worth checking them out, to learn from someone else’s mistakes, if nothing else. Is there a correlation between their ad approach and their poor writing? Possibly. Style is important in all things.

    • Scratch “whether” and go with professionally vs. professional. Such are the perils of writing and copy editing on a 3″ screen..

  • Agree to disagree! Depending on your flogging technique and not too much of it. I recently remembered an Author who flogged his book trailer before the book actually came out. The trailer was so good his name and book trailer stuck in my brain. I believe his sales are doing quite well and also his followers have increased from 10 – 10,000k in just a few months. A variation of marketing and promotional content can work, as long as your feed is not full of ‘buy my book’.

  • I really appreciate your insights, Derek. They’ve been most helpful. Thank you.

  • There are two kinds of successful marketing plans:
    -Do what worked before

    -Do something nobody else is doing

    I think all Derek is saying is that “Check out my book” has been tried before and doesn’t appear to work.

  • Thank you. All very interesting, but it’s codswallop about advertising – of course books are advertised. All over the place.
    The technically minded, and public speakers among us, are better placed to sell their books; also videos, photographs and interviews. can pave the way and give writers the exposure they need, All seasoned authors know the value of eye-catching covers and well-.written back blurb and it’s worth taking on board.Via the media, it takes a lot longer and writers need to belong to several sites and have a web-site. And we all need a lot of patience and good luck!


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