Immediately, starting right now.
I’m aware that this answer sounds dire and intimidating, so let me elaborate. Many writers consider themselves introverts. They’d much rather sit quietly on their own and hone their writing to the finest point that they can. They can figure out that scary, weird “marketing” stuff later, right? They hope, against all odds, that their story will attract readers later simply by being well-written.
This is not the case.
Nobody can show interest in your writing if they never see your writing in the first place. How can anyone beta read, get hyped for, or ever buy a book if they aren’t made aware that the book exists in the first place? They can’t. And thus, every author must forge themselves in the attention-attracting gauntlet that is social media.
Think about it this way. If you never sit down and actually write, then you’ll never learn how to write better, right?
Marketing works the same way. If you never practice marketing, you will never learn what does and doesn’t work. A failed campaign can be easily dropped. But a campaign that never starts has no chance of being successful at all. You’re going to have to face the mortification of obscurity and the awkwardness of feeling like a soulless self-marketing cyborg head-on in order to ever conquer it.
If your goal is publishing, then in order to be successful, you’re going to want to study the social environment of multiple social media platforms. Ask yourself; who is my audience? Where are they likely to spend their time online? And what content might interest them?
A few rules of thumb…
Firstly, the less clicking people have to do to get to where you want them to go, the better. All relevant social media platforms should have links to your authorsite. Once your books are published, see if you can add in links to where you can buy them too. You should also link your authorsite to your books, naturally, if you’re not selling your books straight through your site.
Secondly, in an internet era filled with clickbait and disguised ads, people have developed a sixth sense for sites that seem ingenuine, sketchy, or amateurish. You’re going to have to put a lot of effort into making your website as professional as possible.
Thirdly, a consistent upload schedule will make a world of difference. I can’t tell you how many content creators have gotten people interested in their work, only to lose most of their following when neglect their upload schedule for a few weeks. It’s even happened to me a few times! If you don’t have time to check your social media and make content every day, then working from websites with queue-based posting systems or low-energy methods of interacting with other people can be helpful.
Fourthly, you need to do a little marketing research. What audiences will your writing appeal to? Which book bloggers are taking reviews right now? And what on earth is SEO?
Finally, and most importantly; don’t get discouraged. It’s very easy to get wrapped up in numbers. Some days, you’ll have a ton of likes, retweets, reblogs, and so on. Other days, it’ll be radio silent.
It’s okay to be frustrated by this, but don’t consider yourself a failure whenever you have a quiet day, week, or even month. I’ve been that awkward, confused introvert writer before. I know that the indifference is terrifying to reckon with! Social media is a long game, and one of the most important lessons to learn before you get started is that your worth is not one and the same as the numbers you generate. You and your writing still have value even if you haven’t caught people’s attention yet. Be earnest, and keep trying.
And that’s it for social media advice today. If you find my advice helpful, then you can support my journey as a creator by buying me a Ko-fi. Thank you, and have a lovely day!