Writing a book and growing your audience are not separate jobs anymore. Your book is your social media content plan! Isn’t that great?
Rather than pumping out 30 random ideas a month, you’re engaging people in a journey that culminates in a fully functioning book launch.
The shifting terrain of publishing has created fabulous bubbles of opportunity as unknown authors become Instagram famous when an Influencer features them, or a publishing start-up signs your book offering to cover your publishing and marketing costs while giving you awesome royalties.
Whether you’re writing fiction or nonfiction, I’m going to show you how you can use social media to grow your audience while you’re still working on the book.
1. Create an Outline for the Book
Mapping the outline is one of my favorite things to coach on. I’m an oddity, but I love it. A quick tip in outlining is to think about your person is at the beginning of the book compared to the end. In fiction, that’s the protagonist, and it’s the ideal reader for self-help. Then just fill in the steps or obstacles that happen in between.
Once you can break the book into parts, you have your content calendar! Let me be clear, you don’t have to write it in order, but get out your calendar and assign chapters to weeks.
2. Make Micro Content
One of the best ways to get people to listen to you (or read your stuff) is to listen to them. Start your week with quick posts, especially questions, so you can interact and gather responses.
Let me explain. Once you have your book outlined you can create posts for Facebook and Instagram (or anything else you’re into), that ask questions. Then use the responses to help you write the chapters for nonfiction. The survey feature is wonderful for this!
For us fiction writers, you need to be a bit more creative, but we love that. Think about your genre and the people who read it. What fascinates them? What is their world view? It’s wonderful when you can use an original quote or make a joke about your process. Invite them in!
The most important thing is to have fun with this. If you know of a GIF that relates to a chapter, post it! Get people interested and draw them in.
3. Write a Blog Post
I know how difficult it is to write a book. After coaching everybody on their books, I’ve gotta sit myself down in front of the blank page and coach myself on my own! However, the process becomes easier when you do it blog by blog.
You’ve already attracted people with the micro content, now give them something to sink their teeth into. Each blog becomes a taste of a chapter or scene (not the whole thing) and publishing every week keeps you accountable.
Fiction writers, this can work for you too, if you want to work it. Think about series that used to be published in magazines. Just like the nonfiction authors, you hook readers with tidbits and then go deeper.
4. Finalize the Chapter
Blogs provide the draft of the chapter, not the final piece. To give you an idea, I try to keep my blogs under a thousand words, but my book chapters are at least twice that. Then you fit the blog in the outline. You can complete the chapter afterward or wait until you flesh out the book as a whole. No matter what, you’re moving ahead on your manuscript and you already have your audience along for the ride!
Don’t worry about giving too much away ahead of time, because your social media is a taste of the book, rather than all the content. If people are engaged in your samples, they’ll be interested in the main course.
Most people don’t use these strategies. I’ve been developing them with my own books and courses over the past year. But it’s so effective!
Now, more than ever, there’s an excellent opportunity to make your mark as an author, while you’re still ahead of the crowd. Five years ago, self-publishing was considered unconventional, and there was a bit of a stigma around it. Right now, entrepreneurs and “authorpreneurs” (such as myself) are seizing the opportunity of faster publication times and a direct connection with their audience. However, change happens fast, and the advantage goes to people with a head start.