Panning for Gold in the Social Media Stream

SweeteSunflowerHow can Indie authors use social media to boost their book sales?

The theory is “Build it and they will come.”

And, then there is the fine print . . .

The first question to ask yourself when you’re thinking about building your social media gold mine is:

Are you trying to connect with people or paper (money)?

begging for money

The second question is:

How do you react to other people on social media who are more interested in selling something to you than they are in getting to know you personally?

The third question is:

Who will be more likely to buy your book—people who find you fascinating or people who are trying to find a place to hide from your relentless pursuit of sales?

Every new article about how authors can count on social media to be a moneymaking machine makes me wither. “How” is usually just another sales pitch to get you to sign up for yet another email list, another expensive webinar (or a free webinar that teaches you little more than how to sign up for the more expensive webinar), or to get you to buy the ‘How To’ book—on sale “only today!”

If you find the whole system to be frustrating at best, you can relax now. Who ever became a best-selling author based solely on their social media “friends”—most of whom they will never meet offline? However, if you pay close attention, you will notice that practically ALL best-selling authors have a plentiful social media presence. Hmmm . . .

So what’s up? If social media networking sites won’t necessarily make you a best-selling author, why use them at all?

The list of sound and profitable reasons is long!

Social sites like Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and YouTube—and too many others to name—are, in this era, necessary for you to get to know your internet surroundings, your target audience (you may be surprised!) and your fellow authors. AND for them to get to know you!

thumbs upYou can also ‘Follow’ and ‘Like’ literary agents and publishers, editors and proofreaders, illustrators and graphic artists, and SEO and marketing specialists to see what services and specials they offer. Just like a job interview, you want to put your best foot forward and show them the “you” they will want to work with. Not a fake you, but the best you.

Literary agents and publishers often use social marketing websites to follow authors like you who are serious about their books and future writing projects. Think of your social marketing platform as your endlessly unfolding resume. You can use these social sites to make yourself known, available, and easy to contact, while steadily building followers and making new friends—eventually it does come down to the numbers.

Did you know there are Twitter and Facebook groups for authors and writers where you can find peers who will support you by “Liking” and “Following” your fan pages and posts? It’s amazing how quickly your fan base will increase when you get this ball rolling! Reciprocation, though not mandatory, is good business practice where appropriate.

ticker tapeThe main pitfall to social media is “Weary Wandering Wonderer” syndrome.” Working social media to connect with experts in your field and potential customers, means that you need to create interesting content to share with them. This can be time and energy-consuming. You have to focus, which is made challenging by the very nature of social media. Try not to get sucked into the “FEED” hypnosis! Reading hundreds upon hundreds of social posts could make you crazy. Oh, wait, if you’re an author, you’re already crazy! 😉 Good to go.

For your entertainment, social marketing websites can be fun to work on developing. The constant feed of humor and epiphanies can be uplifting while you work. A laugh a day keeps the marketing blues away. “RT” and “Share” are your magic wands for opening doors to new friends! It’s almost always the love and laughter that attracts the best quality people to us, and vice versa.

When you tailor your Twitter connections to include 90% like-minded people in your mission field, 5% in your hobbies field, and 5% “other,” you can expect 10% to 40% (or more) to flow over to your Facebook page. You can then flow them over to your Goodreads page, Google+, LinkedIn, and Instagram, etc.

Ultimately, a good percentage of the people you meet on social media should eventually land in your email list, for they are the mighty ones who recognize your beauty and magnificence! They are the ones who care about you and who have something wonderful to share with you—their own beauty and magnificence!


Be proactive! Be constantly learning more about writing, publishing, and marketing. It’s vital to subscribe to the blogs and vlogs available in your mission field. Choose the Top 12 you find interesting and start receiving and reading the information as it flows into your inbox. You can delete any you don’t want to read, save any you do want to hang onto, and “Share” on social media the ones you think would be informative for others. Just don’t procrastinate. Clutter happens on the internet full of people as much as in a house full of people, so read the interesting-looking ones and make sure to clean up on a daily or weekly basis so the process doesn’t lean into chaos.

Don’t overwhelm yourself. Easy to say, harder to do.

glitch in overwhelm

Don’t subscribe to so many mailing lists that you can’t keep up with reading the emails you get.

Do invest in a timer, or use the timer app on your phone or tablet to limit your social media time each day. One can get completely lost in the haze of the FEED.

Don’t get stuck on one particular social site. Duplicate your posts onto all your social sites. Vary them a bit if you like, but get your main message out across the board.

Do buy ads and post-boosters when beneficial. When you’re running a contest or giveaway, or have a new release or newsletter signup special, or when you have an upcoming public appearance or a new video release—these are excellent times to invest a little in a focused marketing campaign.

When you see what it requires to run a smooth social marketing ship and keep it afloat, you’ll have a new appreciation for others who are doing the same. The next time you receive an e-newsletter or blog notification, hit the “Reply” button and say hello, and/or forward it to some friends who might appreciate it.

I often hit the “Reply” button to send a note of “Thanks” to those who take the time to put e-newsletters together for the world’s consumption. No easy task to be undertaken when wondering what to share that is of significance to both the sender and receiver. To do it every week (a schedule for the young and energetic), monthly (a little more my speed), or quarterly (too much time lapse to keep your readers’ attention, btw) is a work of love. So I like to take a moment to reach out and thank the people whose e-newsletters I receive on a regular basis. Imagine the smile just a few words of appreciation can bring. We all appreciate appreciation, eh?

Most people inherently want to share what they are learning, with others who are sharing what they are learning, etc. We can use social media outlets to put our message out into the world, but social media’s real value is in the gathering of people from all over the globe and sifting through to find those who are genuinely interested in you and want to be a part of your mission field. Like panning for gold!

And, what better way to celebrate than with . . . Chocolate!

with love chocolate

© Jennifer Sweete, February 2018

Look for my future Jennifer Sweete blog posts right here!

Need help editing your written work? I edit with you! Yes, with you!

How effective is your Indie Author marketing strategy? Ask me about my Author Assist program to help you market your book(s).

Books I have enjoyed reading this New Year:

God’s Debris: A Thought Experiment by Scott Adams – Interesting twists and turns.

The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale – Thoughts are Things, true.

Write Like the Masters by William Cane – Every writer should read this book three times.

Any of the Writing Prompt books written by Knatia Parson – A writer’s delight!

Until we meet again, keep reading, keep writing, keep dreaming!

SweeteSunflowerJennifer Sweete is the author of Dear Sandy: The letter that wrote itself into a Book (2015) and The Poet & The Widow (2016). She is a Certified Massage Therapist and Usui/Holy Fire Karuna Reiki® Master and teacher, a small business and writer’s consultant, self-mastery coach, musician, poet, and author. And they all fit snugly into the same hat! She’s currently serving her 3rd term as President of the Chaffee County Writers Exchange while assisting other authors through the processes of editing, self-publishing and marketing their books. She resides with her husband and furry astral friend in sunny Colorado. For more info, contact her at

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