How Should You Market Your Book on Social Media?

gamalhennessy Community • Aug 3, 2020

Last week I introduced some ideas for engaging with your target market for your comic (See What Is an Example of Social Media Engagement?). This post (and the next one) will go into more detail in terms of tips you can use to improve your engagement and connection with your potential readers.

1.  Consider keeping your personal social media separate from your comic book social media: Because your friends and family might not be a part of your target market, they might not be interested in your antagonist character design survey. At the same time, your target market might not want to see your foodie posts or your vacation photos. Social media profiles are free, so it only costs you a bit of extra time to maintain different pages for your work and your life. Separating the two can be beneficial both for your book and for your privacy.

2. Post on a regular basis: You don’t have to post, comment, or share all day every day, but developing a regular schedule will give your market incentives to connect with you and provide a way for you to manage your time online.

3.  Be consistent across all platforms: Social media marketing is more effective if you maintain a consistent voice. The various aspects of your pages and posts, from the name of the page to the look and feel of the posts should be recognizable as coming from the same source. There should also be a recognizable relationship between your social media pages and your website to the extent that it’s possible.

4.  Build connections and relationships: This is social media. It’s not selling media. Your job here isn’t to constantly ask people to buy your book. Your job is to find, establish, and maintain connection to your target market. This means engaging with potential readers, potential retailers, other creators, and critics. In fact, you should attempt to connect with people from every aspect of independent publishing, from accountants to web designers. Try to interact with people from every discipline in the industry to broaden your network and get a better understanding of the whole process.

5.  Be courteous and professional: Comics is a small industry and your target market might be a small tribe. Reputations matter. So, no matter who you are dealing with, don’t sabotage your book or your career by creating a negative image. This is especially true, and harder to accomplish when dealing with criticism. If you put a lot of time, money, and effort into a story that you love, it’s not farfetched for you to feel defensive when someone attacks it. But you don’t win anything from a social media outburst. It’s more likely that you’re creating enemies and chasing ideal readers away.

6.  Think before you post: Most social media posts are forever. Even if you take down an embarrassing post, someone will almost always be able to find it. This means you need to consider what you post before pressing enter because you won’t be able to take it back. This is especially important when responding to someone online since your reactions to negative statements might be more emotional and heated than your planned professional messaging.

7.  Be open to legitimate critiques: Not everyone online is a troll. There will be instances when a reader, retailer, or other critics will point out areas of your work that could use improvement. In these cases, it is even more important to be thoughtful and courteous. No book is perfect. Different perspectives could make your story better. Never chase away or dismiss someone who is engaged enough with your project to give you sincere feedback. If someone goes so far as to publicly reject your work, let them know it's not for them and give them the name of one of your competitors. It probably won’t change the mind of your critic, but it shows your target market your generosity, your knowledge of the market, and your desire for people to enjoy comics.

8.  Be political: The great author Toni Morrison once said, “The best art is political and you ought to be able to make it unquestionably political and irrevocably beautiful at the same time. ” As an art form, comics have also promoted or rejected strong political positions. Just as in the imagery of Captain America, the anti-racist position Stan Lee fostered in the Soapbox, or the political foundations of Comicsgate, your book will have a political position simply because it will have a specific perspective and a specific focus. It makes no sense to shy away from that in your story or in your marketing. I’m not suggesting that you need to abuse, vilify or denigrate anyone to market your book, but part of the reason your ideal reader will identify with you will be based on the politics of your book, so it makes sense to lean into that.

In the next post, I’ll offer a few more tips on how to use social media before we focus on what activities to avoid.

Have fun with your comic.