Every Author’s Four-Letter Word #Mktg

Hi, SE’ers. It’s Jan Sikes here with you today.

You can ask any author anywhere and most likely, you’re going to get a grimace when you mention the word marketing. We are writers. Writing is a solitary profession. So, it is not easy to step out of our comfort zones and launch into marketing our books once they are published.

Photo courtesy of JMExclusives via Pixabay

Over the next few months, I am going to take in-depth looks into the marketing avenues, we as authors, have available to us. Some are common and well-known and some not so much.

The #1 rule in using social media to promote your work, is to choose no more than three to focus on and fully utilize. If you try to spread yourself too thin, you won’t get the results you want and will run yourself into a frazzle in the process.

The #2 rule is consistency. (I know. I heard you groan and I get it.)

Here are the platforms I will be covering.

  1. Facebook
  2. Twitter
  3. YouTube
  4. Pinterest
  5. Instagram
  6. Blog
  7. Newsletter
  8. Book Festivals
  9. Amazon
  10. BookBub
  11. Goodreads
  12. TikTok (Yes, I said that)

Together, we’ll learn what works best for each of us. I can’t promise I will go in the order of the list, but I will cover them all.

Since Facebook is the most common and the biggest platform, I will start with it.

Image courtesy geralt via Pixabay

Nicolas Rossis recently posted some interesting social media stats on one of his blog posts. If you missed it, here is the link.

As you can see from this graph, Facebook (love it or hate it) is still the biggest platform out there.

I think we all have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. I originally joined to keep up with family and friends. That was way before I started my writing journey.

But once I had published my first book, the next natural step was to create an author page. I personally think every author should have one, and I think we should all follow and support each other as much as possible. An author page is set up as a business page and gives you access to many different aspects of FB that you do not get on your personal page.

Here are some reasons to have an Author business page:

  • Facebook has 1.66 BILLION USERS! Where else will you find that platform potential?
  • Getting rolling with a page costs you nothing until you start paying for ads to get Page Likes, boosting posts, and running sponsored stories — all of which you should be doing with your page.
  • Facebook ads are relatively inexpensive when compared to traditional print, radio, or TV ads — and are 1,000x more targeted. Learn about your Target Audience before you spend any money on FB ads. Then use that information to target the best groups so you can get the most for your $$.
  • You have the capability of sharing posts simultaneously to Instagram through your FB author page.
  • You can offer your followers bargains and giveaways that others don’t see.

  • And did you know that with a FB business page, you can schedule your posts? That can be a great timesaver!

Know what your customers value, how they communicate, when they’re online, how you can best serve them, then use that information to your advantage. Otherwise, you end up in the spaghetti syndrome (throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks.)

You can get these valuable pieces of information on your FB Author Page Insights. From my insights, I can see that my biggest audience is women between the ages of 45 and 54. It also shows my followers are mostly from the United States. So, knowing that helps me choose my target audience when I run an ad.

I realize this sounds like a lot of work, but it’s nothing you need to do all at once. Do small pieces over time and build your fanbase with a solid foundation.

Getting followers for your Author Page is not easy. I participated in a Follow Friday for a couple of years and that helped tremendously. But still, I cannot say my author page is overflowing with followers at around 1,700. In the scope of things, that is nothing.

An author page is just one facet of utilizing Facebook. Think of it as like your landing page on your website. It is where you can share your blog posts automatically from your blog site, post giveaways and anything else related to your books and writing.

At some point, I got my personal FB page and my author page mixed and now I am trying to get the reader/writer followers on my personal page to join my author page. If you have an inclination to follow me there, you can go to http://www.facebook.com/AuthorJanSikesBooks

While you’re there, visit the Story Empire page too! 🙂 We’d be forever grateful.

Having an author page on FB is the starting point.

In my next post, I am going to share some posting tips plus an exciting new facet of FB that I recently discovered. I think it can be a total game-changer. Between now and then, I am going to be experimenting with this new opportunity so I can have some firsthand knowledge to share with you.

In the meantime, thank you for joining me as I trudge through this dreaded topic! I’d love it if you’d share your experiences and/or thoughts on FB.

102 thoughts on “Every Author’s Four-Letter Word #Mktg

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  15. This is a great post, Jan. So informative. Like you, I started a personal friend-and-family FB account and then slowly it became a mixed account with readers and writers following too. I didn’t want to post book stuff that my family didn’t care about, and I didn’t want to post personal stuff that someone I don’t know would read. I ended up posted Nothing at All. This article made me think about opening a “business” account and starting all over again. Something to think about. Thanks so much. I’m looking forward to the series. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s hard to keep the two separate, Diana. I think followers like to see some personal things now and then, but not on the same level as family. I am trying to get the people who have friended me on my personal page who are from the author community to switch over and follow my author page. So far, only about one hundred have done it. 🙂 Anyway, it’s all a chore and it’s all time-consuming. One feature on the business page that I am finding helpful is the ability to schedule posts. So, I can sit down and schedule a week’s worth of posts all at once, then only have to visit to respond to comments. If you do set up a new author page, let me know and I’ll help blast it out! Thank you for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Thanks for the tips. I’ve mainly been focusing on FB, instagram and my blog. I share other’s posts on twitter to keep it active and to promote other peoples works. It is the most difficult part of being an author, as I’m a pretty private person, going on social media is completely out of my comfort zone, yet something that has to be done. Look forward to reading more of your tips. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • You echo the sentiments of most of us, Sharlene. It is out of our comfort zone, and yet necessary if we want anyone to discover our books. I need to find you on FB and follow you. I hope you enjoy the rest of the series as I explore ways to help us stand out in the crowd. Thank you for stopping by!


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  18. This is a very helpful post, Jan! I’ve read the post by Nicolas Rossis. BookBub also has a post recently on Authors on Social Media: Choosing Platforms & Avoiding Burnout. I think this is on the mind of many authors. We don’t have time to do it all, that’s for sure. Choosing the platforms that work the best for us and the time management is essential.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Marketing… ugh! Lol! I cringe every time I think of promoting my own work. I’m looking forward to learning more about these different tools. I have a Facebook author page, but I know I don’t utilize it enough. I’m saving this post until I can spend some time exploring its options. Thanks, Jan! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep, Yvette, we are all in that cringing boat with you. We are writers, not salesmen. 🙂 It’s so much easier to promote others’ work than our own. And that is truly an integral part of the whole process. Cross-promoting is a great way to gain new readers and after all, that’s the end goal. Thank you for stopping by and I hope you enjoy the series. Hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Great post, Jan! I guess I need to focus more on FB. Twitter and Instagram have been hogging up my social media time. Although, I have to say that IG and Twitter have worked well for me so far. Thanks for the tips! 😀 xo

    Liked by 1 person

      • You can add the link to your Amazon Author Page to your bio and write ‘Link in Bio’ whenever you want to direct readers to one of your books. I promote my books and other authors’ books in the IG stories too.

        Liked by 1 person

  21. This is going to be an awesome series, Jan! I’m so excited to see what you have to share.

    Like Harmony, I don’t use Facebook. I opened an account way back when because my publisher expected it. I was dragged kicking and screaming onto FB, and for several years we tolerated each other. I even had decent success with ads and regularly checked my audience stats for target marketing my paid advertising. Then I hit a road bump with something they did and we parted ways about 3 years ago. For me, I’ll be looking for insight into several other platforms which I do use, but will be curious to see what you have to say about FB. I know many readers love the platform and will benefit from advice on how to use it better.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s a familiar story, Mae. FB can be difficult, to say the least. Over the past couple of years, I came close to ditching it because of all the political ranting that went on. Thankfully, that has slowed down, or else I’m following the people who, like me, don’t focus on politics. 🙂 Thank you so much for leaving a comment! I look forward to sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Thank you, Jan, for sharing the information on Facebook. I’ve tried to warm up to Facebook but find their platform cumbersome to use. I set up an author page on Facebook but mistakenly titled it after my first book, Apollo’s Raven. I requested that Facebook change it to my author name, but they refused to do so. Since then, I was reluctant to use Facebook as much. However, I do find Facebook is effective when I coordinate with other authors who are skilled at running live Giveaway events. Right now, I rely more on Twitter, Linked-in, and my own websites. Perhaps this is a mistake on my part after reading this post, but I just can’t bring myself to do more with Facebook.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a common mistake, Linnea. When you get your first book, that’s so exciting and what you want to focus on. However, FB has made it easy to change a page name at this point, so you might want to revisit. I agree that FB is effective for coordinating with other authors. I personally love Twitter, but it has advantages and disadvantages like every other platform. I say go with what works best for you! Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Jan–I tried to change the name about two years ago with a social media expert. We couldn’t change it so we e-mailed Facebook directly to have the title changed but even then they came up with a reason why I couldn’t change the name. However, I could revisit and see if I can change it now. Thanks for the advice.


  23. I originally spent a lot of time developing a FB page. My WP posts went there every day, and my followers began rising. Then FB killed that, and I have never recovered. I should put more time into FB, but I am now at a point where I don’t have that kind of time. I’m looking forward to your series, Jan.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. HI Jan, I use 7 of the social medias you have listed. WordPress is my favourite, followed by Twitter and than FB. I am starting to enjoy YT but it is not easy building a following there. An Amazon author page is a must and so is Goodreads. I enjoy Instagram for sharing pictures and Printrest for looking for information and pictures. A great post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love what you’ve been doing on YouTube, Robbie! Think about connecting one of your other accounts to your YT account and see if that helps gain more followers there. Handling 7 SM platforms is a LOT! You always amaze me with everything you juggle. I totally agree about WP. That is such a great platform. The only drawback I see to it is you pretty much stay in the same circle of people so it’s seldom anyone new shows up. Thank you so much for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Jan, WordPress wouldn’t post my comment earlier 😡 so here goes again. This was so helpful and promises to be a must-read for me. I am so bad at marketing it is embarrassing! Didn’t even know all the things the author Page could do. Thanks for this, Jan!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sorry WordPress wouldn’t cooperate with you, Maura Beth. It can be contrary at times. I’m glad you found the post helpful. I hope you pick up some helpful tidbits along the way with this series. Thank you for making the extra effort to leave a comment! Hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I think you touched on something important, Alethea, and that is staying authentic. Marketing is the last thing we want to do. I always think of car salesmen, when I think of marketing and I want to stay worlds away from that kind of high-pressure sales scenario. Readers want to know more about the authors they follow, so sharing little personal tidbits along the way is great. Like D.L. Finn mentioned, her FB followers love her animal posts. Thank you for stopping by and I’m thrilled you are set to follow this series! Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Great post, Jan 🙂 I put a lot of effort into my Facebook page a while back and built it up but then, didn’t do much with it for a long while. I’m actively trying to get back into the Facebook habit. My animals post certainly draw a lot of attention:) It’s going to take some experimenting to find what works, and as things always change to adjust that.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. I’m looking forward to your thoughts on marketing. I feel like I’m all thumbs on Facebook. I have an author page that my blog feeds to, and I’ve tried Facebook ads but never get any results from them. I get frustrated trying to target my audience. I’m no good with Amazon ads either. I know I need to step up my game, so thanks for being brave enough to give us all a push.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Judi, you express what many of us have experienced and feel. I do hope I can help bring a little clarity into the game. I am learning right along with all of you. I will make sure I am following your author page on FB. Have a great weekend and thank you for leaving a comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  28. What a great post, Jan. I know I’m going to learn a lot through your series — and maybe, just maybe I’ll step into the mix and do better with marketing. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Yes, that “marketing” issue. But it is necessary and good marketing makes your business even more exciting. Still, I could impossibly handle all the platforms you are on. I have my author page on Facebook and on Twitter. But I cannot visit both regularly to keep up with those I started following once. My blog is my home and I try my best to keep it vivid and up-to-date.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love what you said, Erika. Your blog is such a powerful piece of real estate and I love your blog space! It is impossible to be everywhere at once. So you find what works best for you and utilize it, which you are doing. Thank you for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are absolutely right, Jan. It always works best when people do what works best for them. However, I admire you for keeping up at so many ends 👌


  30. Great post, Jan! Facebook really can be an amazing tool for writers. Also, I’ve never heard the term spaghetti syndrome but it makes total sense. Thanks so much for sharing. I look forward to your next marketing post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  31. All my writer-friends – and they are becoming more and more numerous (hmm, is that a sign I should join?) have the same dislike of marketing themselves. It is a necessary evil and not easy to put ourselves out there…

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Hi Jan,
    To be honest, many of the things that you’ve said about Facebook Fan Page and what it can do for you, was a surprise for me. I tend to go more on my personal Facebook than on my author site. I will slowly began to turn that around. Thank you for the information. This has been a good class for me. I’ll see you for the new episode.
    Shalom aleichem

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Pat! I’m so glad that you gained some tidbit of insight from the post. I will go find you on FB and follow you. In fact, we should all be following each other. I hope as the series progresses, you will enjoy each post. Thank you for joining in!

      Liked by 1 person

  33. Jan, I can’t wait to see your next posts. Like all the other authors, I hate marketing. I too have an author page, but don’t do nearly what needs to be done to be successful.

    Like so many, I have several irons in the fire. Works, house, freelance work, personal life, the list goes on. If Staci figures out how to clone herself, I hope she shares.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly, Michele. We are all in your same boat. Life can certainly interfere with our creative writing time and marketing most certainly can. It’s a two-edged sword. I hope you will glean some tidbit of information from these posts that will help ease the burden. I agree about Staci! If she figures out how to clone herself, she must share!! Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment!


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  35. It IS the topic I dread most! Thanks for this, Jan. I know I ought to be doing more – well, I ought to be doing SOMETHING! – but I struggle so much with this and even short forays into social media have the power to sap my writing energy and leave me feeling hopeless. Looking forward to reading your other posts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I totally understand, Alex. It is the worst! But if we want anyone to find and read our books, it’s necessary. Hopefully, somewhere in this series, you will find a social media platform that resonates with you and won’t leave you feeling hopeless. There are lots of options! Thanks for joining in!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Teri. It’s my least favorite thing and I cringed at myself when I decided to tackle it. I hope I can share some things that might resonate with authors. I appreciate you stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  36. Pingback: I am at @StoryEmpire today with a post about every author’s four-letter word #MKTG! – Writing and Music

  37. I’m very excited about your new series, Jan. Three years running I’ve made my New Year’s Resolution about learning to do a better job of marketing, but have utterly failed. I haven’t done diddly! This post reminds me it is something I have to improve on. I’m great at building a local readership and meeting readers in person. I’m awful at the rest. Your post today makes me want to rejoin Facebook again. I’m not a big fan of FB and deleted my personal page when I got hacked a couple of years ago. I’ve been afraid to go back, but maybe an Author Page is where I should start. I’m taking heed of all your suggestions, and will be eager to hear the rest of your thoughts on FB and the other platforms in your list. Great post, Jan! Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lol, Marcia. Your comment about the New Year’s Resolutions made me giggle. Marketing is definitely the hardest part of what we do. I agree with you about local readership and getting to talk to potential readers in person. There is nothing that can replace that. But that is a very small spectrum. If you decide to go back to FB and create an author page, hopefully, I can give you some tips to make it a little easier and more manageable. Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a comment today!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve made up my mind (mostly) that I need to have an FB presence again, so I may take you up on that, Jan. I’m already saving this post for reference, too. You’ve inspired me! Of course, I still only have so many hours in the day, and have a LOT of heavy work going on around here to the point I’ve only had one writing session in the last three weeks. 😥 Time Management goes along with Marketing as one of my big time four-letter words. (Yeah, I know it’s two words, but you get my drift, I suspect. 😁 ) Thanks again for this series. You may be saving this writer’s life. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  38. I’m like you. I started on Facebook to keep up with family and friends. I have an author page, but the only thing I do with it is an auto-feed from my blog. Like Staci, I started a group but I archived that a year or so back. I just don’t have the time to keep up. As you said, I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. Guess I need to look at my page more and see about improving things there.

    I’m looking forward to this series, Jan.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am a member of several groups. They come. They go. I never tried to start one. Again, it can all be time-consuming. I hope I can give you some good ideas to revive your page and gain new followers. Thank you for your comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  39. I’m so excited for this series, Jan. Particularly your next post. I have a FB profile, page, and group, and I under-utilize all of them. Then again, I avoid all my social media platforms, with the exception of my blog, and even that I don’t get to as often as a lot of people do. (I need a clone. Or twelve.) can’t wait to see what you have in store for us!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I totally relate to the “clone” idea, Staci. We could all benefit from a couple of different robots programmed to do all the stuff we need to. 🙂 Then we could just write. I hope I can give everyone an idea or two that they can apply to their platform and gain a few new followers. Thank you for leaving a comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  40. Great idea, Jan. I know I need help with marketing. I hate FB, though, and haven’t used that platform for years. I guess I’ll just have to miss out on this particular one, lols. I’ll be reading your next posts avidly (of course, I always do, ahem!) Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s okay, Harmony. FB is not for everyone and it can be like slogging through mud to make it work. The main thing is to find the platform that does appeal to you and use every aspect of it. I’m glad you will be looking forward to more posts, even though it’s on a subject we all love to avoid. 🙂 Thank you for leaving a comment!

      Liked by 2 people

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