Because no one taught them anything better, many writers go on social media, posting their book’s cover and a link and typing something like “Clarisse waits for love to find her on the cruise ship of her dreams. Buy Now! Romance On the High Seas!”
Believing that you need to SELL your book is a common mistake most self-published authors make. While SUVs and houses need to be sold by sales people, books are a totally different animal. Books are bought by readers who refuse to be pushed to buy by a sales person, even an online salesperson.
Social media sites like Twitter and Facebook cannot help you directly sell books.
Social media works best for building an interested following for you as the author. But you need to position yourself as an interesting or informative person in order to gain followers and friends.
Readers want interaction, entertainment or information on social media, not book covers and Amazon links. Not only does this approach not work, it marks you as an amateur.
Direct selling does not work at all.
With my experience on the Internet, which dates back to its beginning (1989), I can honestly tell you that sending out hundreds of messages with an Amazon buy link to your book is a complete waste of time. In fact, it’s a guaranteed way to create a negative image of yourself, which results in annoying people and losing followers.
What does work is the methodical process of building your own name recognition and your reputation for relevant, useful and entertaining information. The logical means to do this is a well-written blog.
What also works is to use your book’s theme (mystery, science fiction, fantasy or romance) or the actual topic (in the case of a nonfiction book) as the foundation for attracting interest from potential readers. Follow blogs related to the theme of your book, and comment, interact and inform people of your knowledge and build an audience, but don’t mention your book.
If you interest people, they will discover your book, and discovery is by far the most powerful book selling tool in your bag of tricks. Readers often buy books that they have heard about. As an author, you need to make your book known to potentially interested readers but not through direct selling.
I do believe a Facebook Page is a necessity. The power of the ‘Like’ button and nearly 970 million users, means there is unlimited potential. It is slow at first to build an audience on Facebook, but it can be worth the effort.
However, Facebook does not work for trying to directly sell your book.