How to talk about your new book on social media

Whether you have a new book hitting stores, or are just starting on your manuscript, social media is the best way to get the word out there.

There’s a lot of advice out there on how to promote your book on social media. The advice I found is

  • Contradictory
  • Outdated
  • For accounts with already big followings (they already have an audience of readers)

Most of your audience probably isn’t looking to buy your book. It’s why a lot of people are anxious or unsure how to approach it.

Even though some of your audience doesn’t want to read your book, they still want to hear about it. Those same people can still care about it, celebrate with you, and spread the word to potential readers.

Social media is about real connections.

If you’re not talking about your book on social media, you’re missing out. And so are your potential readers.

Devony Looser says, “Publishers care deeply about audience, impact, and sales, because most are run like businesses, whether or not they are for-profit operations…But publishers are increasingly seeking authors who are not only ideas-smart but marketplace-of-ideas smart.”

Let’s talk about what you need before you share your new book on social media. Because the time to start talking is now.

At the manuscript stage? Perfect. You’re ahead of the game.

Check out this tweet from Caroline Barron, who just sent off their proposal.

I’m Jennifer van Alstyne. Welcome to The Social Academic, my blog about managing your online presence for professors and researchers. I write about social media and websites for academics.

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Your social media audience and your book audience

A woman sits and reads a book

The 1rst step to sharing your new book on social media is figuring out who you’re connected with on social media already. For some of you, you may want to think about who your audience should be.

You might be saying: “My book is on this obscure topic that only specialists in my field want to read,” and that’s OK. There are ways to engage your social media audience, and let them know about your book in a meaningful way.

It’s important to recognize that your book audience, and your social media audience are different. Your social media audiences are likely made up of different people depending on the platform. For instance, LinkedIn is often professional network, while Facebook tends to be where people connect with family and friends.

You probably determined the best audience(s) for your book when submitting your proposal, or by talking with your editor.

Before writing a bunch of posts about your book, take time to consider your social media audiences.

Need help thinking this through? Set up a 1:1 consultation with me to talk about your book and your online presence.

Ask yourself these questions before planning posts about your book

  • What social media platforms am I on?
  • Who tends to encounter my posts on each platform?
  • Where is my most dedicated audience?
  • Who is already inclined to share my book? i.e. colleagues, family, and friends

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Describing your book for social media

An open book against a yellow background

You need to be able to share what your book is about with a general audience. Aside from your audiences, it’s important to consider the best ways to talk about your book.

Describing your book on social media isn’t necessarily about ‘hooking’ your readers with witty copy. Clarity is more important than a good hook. Readers need to understand what your book is about. Write a description of your book in language a general audience can understand. It can share

  • The general premise of the book
  • A specific point with enough detail an unfamiliar reader can hold onto

Always assume your social media audience doesn’t know a whole lot about your book or book topic. Assume your audience hasn’t seen the last however many posts you’ve written about your book.

You can write a post that helps people learn about your book. It can direct potential readers to buy it.

Because people tend to miss these vital steps

  1. Define your audience
  2. Describe your book

they tend to miss the information your social media audience needs to connect.

Caroline Barron will be tweeting about her new book, which is awesome.

It’s important to remember to include the information people need about the book itself too. This post is great. It would benefit more from including the subject, or even working title of the book. That way, more people know what you’re working on.

It always helps to have a personal website where you can host more info and build an email list of potential readers.

Want to take control of your social media life?

Join my online social media course for faculty and researchers like you.

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Jennifer van Alstyne View All →

Jennifer van Alstyne is a Peruvian-American poet and communications consultant. She founded The Academic Designer LLC to help professors build a strong online presence for their research, teaching, and leadership. Jennifer’s goal is to help people feel confident sharing their work with the world.

Jennifer’s personal website

The Academic Designer LLC