Social Media Marketing for Indie Authors

Indie Publishing Austin

Minutes for Meetup #5: Social Media Marketing for Indie Authors

15 people discussed the various social media marketing channels, the difference between marketing and sales for an indie author, and discussed different strategies taken by authors present.


  • Group intros
  • Short intro to social media. Read and speechify about the topic.
  • Platforms we’ll cover are:
    • Blogging
    • Twitter
    • Facebook
    • Google+
    • YouTube
    • Pinterest
    • Goodreads
    • Forums
    • Instagram
  • We only have a limited amount of time, so I’ll keep us moving forward by watching the clock. Apologies ahead of time if I have to interrupt someone!

What’s the difference between marketing and sales for an indie author?

For an indie author, Marketing is everything you do to get people to a place where they’re in a position to buy your book. Blogging, promoting, advertising, optimizing keywords, and—yes—using social media.

For an indie author, Sales is everything you do to close the deal, to get them to click the buy button, once you’re on the page. Cover design, product description, etc.

What we’re talking about today is marketing, not sales.


  • How authors can use it:
  • Video blog, posting videos to blogging
  • Blogging about world building – magic systems.
  • L.A. Y.A. forum — there has been a big discussion about blogging and whether it’s effective or not.
  • Don’t let your blogging time take away from your book-writing time!
  • If you blog about writers you’re going to reach other writers
  • If you write fiction, you should write blogs targeted to your fiction audience.
  • Put short fiction or fan fiction on your blog!
  • Writing about your life (with the more well-known authors)
  • Be aware of your social presence, and how you’re coming across. As an author you’re a public persona.
  • Have a strategy that is aimed at targeted at your readers.

Famous author examples to check out:

Publisher/Nonfiction blogs:


  • How authors can use it: Have a public profile, the same as anyone else. Build a following by engaging with people. Use hashtags to get involved with ongoing discussions (i.e. #ASMSG, #IAN1 #IndiePubAustin, etc.), post to it.
  • Twitter curates the top tweets
  • The biggest mistake you can make on twitter is tweeting too much
  • You only see tweets from people you follow
  • You can get involved in a conversation by following certain hashtags, like #SciFiChat, #amwriting, #writing,#MyWANA
  • Use it for research — people and books
  • You can schedule tweets ahead of time using some tools like BufferApp and HootSuite
  • Curate your old twitter feed, because when someone likes you they and finds you new, they’ll go back and look through all your old tweets
  • Go find what you’re interested in, follow them; and then journey down the rabbit hole.
  • Use the list feature to cut down the noise in your feed.
  • Twitter management tools: manageflitter,
  • TweetDeck – for scheduling ahead and for following hashtags
  • 2pm is a good time to count on people’s attention
  • Put something out there to be engaging, to offer support, to be a beacon of light.

Famous author examples to check out:


  • How authors can use it: create a page, have a profile (public v private), be involved in groups (public and private), create and administrate groups, post to it, and advertise.
  • People aren’t coming to Facebook posts in buy mode or in commit mode. It’s not a sales platform, it’s a marketing tool.
  • You can post in groups when you have a book launch (there are thousands of Facebook groups that want to promote cheap or free books)
  • Once you have a following, you can create a community space where fans can contribute to the community (via fan fiction, fan art, conversation/discussion, etc.)

Famous author examples to check out:


  • How authors can use it: create a page, have a profile (public v private), be involved in groups (public and private), create and administrate groups, post to it.
  • There are a lot of groups that can be effective.
  • There are rumblings that Google will be shutting Google+ down as a social network in the near future, though some features may be maintained as a separate app.


  • How authors can use it: post videos, book trailers,
  • Can’t tell how videos translate to sales
  • Weekly video logs
  • This goes some way to building your public persona as an author, because you can really get to know someone better if you see them on camera.
  • Videos for podcasts can be posted on YouTube.


  • How authors can use it: as research for their books; put together collections for their books;
  • cast your characters on pinterest using actors and famous people
  • use a collection as a slideshow for a presentation
  • use it as a visual inspiration, or a visual inspiration


  • How authors can use it:
  • You can post your books up there
  • Goodreads alternative: Library Thing
  • Discussion groups/forums
  • Goodreads giveaways
  • You can group books into bookshelves (collections)
  • Review other books


  • Behind the scenes content (here’s my writing desk, here’s this new character I’m working on).
  • A younger audience is on Instagram
  • Post inspiration

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