This is a screen shot of my Hootsuite for a week.
So I’ve mentioned before that I hold an unpopular opinion about social media; that it’s okay to use certain forms of social media as a billboard, just blasting “Buy my shit” tweets out there. For me, that medium is Twitter. I don’t really look at Twitter. I don’t really have time to dig through the hundreds of people I follow to see if there’s anything interesting, and usually they’ve got their Twitter set up to cross-post to Facebook anyway, and I can be snarky in long form there. So I engage with people on Facebook, either on my personal page, my author page, the Falstaff Books page, or in my Facebook Author Group.
Yes, it was a pain in the ass to go back and turn all those into links. And yes, I totally stole the idea of having a Facebook group from Rick Gualtieri. If you haven’t read his Tome of Bill series, you should go buy the omnibus right now (yes, there is an affiliate link buried in this sentence).
But I mainly use Twitter as a billboard, and I use Hootsuite to make that happen. Some folks have asked how exactly I do that, and since I scheduled all my social media for the week today (I’m writing this on Sunday for a Tuesday pub date) I figured I’d just walk y’all through the process.
First I log into Hootsuite. I got the Hootsuite Pro account a long time ago, when it cost $5.99/month. It’s probably more than that now. It’s also worth it to me. The Pro account is what lets me schedule all these posts I’m going to talk to you about. So yeah, it’ll cost you a little money. And no, there is not an affiliate link in that sentence. I don’t have a code for HS.
Then I open my Word document with my pre-written tweets. I have 2-3 tweets written for each book I have out, and whenever I release something new, I write a new one. That way it’s not too much of a pain in the ass to keep on top of it. For example, I just set up the pre-order for Fireheart, so when I scheduled this week’s social media, I wrote a couple of tweets about teens, romance, and dragons. Mostly dragons. But I have a LOT of titles, so I have to prioritize what gets the social media love each week. I’ve guessed that most people spend the most time on Twitter and Facebook (and I have set up Hootsuite so it posts to 5 accounts all at once – my personal Twitter, the Falstaff Twitter, my personal FB, my author page, and the Falstaff FB page) during lunchtime, so the things that I want to push the most heavily I set to tweet from 11AM-2PM Eastern.
I have no metrics to back that up, it’s just when I remember fucking off the most back when I had a day job. But it makes sense. I’m sure I wasn’t the only person eating at my desk most days, so that’s when you feel less bad about trawling social media for interesting shit.
So this week I set up Fireheart posts for noon. That also means that I catch West Coast folks when they’re sitting down with their morning coffee and firing up the fuckoffery. So my newest releases go from 11-2, then I plop in tweets every hour on the hour from 9AM-6PM Eastern, Monday-Saturday. I don’t tweet on Sunday, because that’s the Lord’s day. Nah, I just figure fewer people will see it. I could probably cut Saturday without any ill effects, but I’d have to remember, and by now it’s habit. So I tweet about a John Hartness release ten times every day for six days.
Not all of these are book tweets. I also tweet for people to join my Patreon, sign up for my email list, sign up for my ARC team, and read this site or listen to my podcast. I also have started trying to do at least one tweet per day pimping other writers. I just have a list, and a bunch of people who I know are active on social media get some pimping every day. I rotate through people, and I try not to leave too many people out. But if I haven’t tweeted your name, it doesn’t mean I don’t love you, it just means I did a lot of drugs in the 90s and I can’t remember shit now.
But that’s what I do. I send out ten tweets per day. On average that’s 7-8 tweets about my books, and 2-3 tweets about other things (mailing lists or promoting other authors). That’s just my personal self-promo.
Then I move on to promoting the Falstaff stuff that we’ve published, and that list is getting looooooong. Every book we’ve published gets one tweet per day. The only exception is that if I’m tweeting about Book 2 of a series, I won’t also tweet Books 1&2. I may rotate through different books in the series, or I may just promote the most recent book, or the first one. It all depends on where we are in publishing/promotion cycle. Same deal there – new releases get the mid-day slots, then I plug in around them. This week, that was 16 tweets per day. So 26 messages per day, six days per week, smells like 162 social media messages going out to promote my stuff and the Falstaff stuff every week. All broadcast to five different social media networks, with a reach of around 6,000 people.
It takes me about 90 minutes per week to do this. By now, I know what I’m doing (kinda, I never have figured out their bulk message thingy, and I like to see it in the grid on the Scheduler tab anyway), and I have almost all my messages pre-written. When I think things are getting stale, I’ll add something new into the mix, and when I release a collection, I stop tweeting about the individual novellas. But otherwise, these messages stay evergreen.
Yeah, it’s completely in opposition to what everyone tells you to do on social media. It’s exactly what people say is the most annoying thing in the world (it’s not – that’s someone else’s child). But it also is responsible for 20-30 book sales per week for me. Because I see a decrease of about 10% in gross sales when I take a couple weeks off from social media broadcasting. And like I’ve said before, if junk mail didn’t work, no one would still send it out.
So that’s what I do, and how. if I missed anything, let me know in comments and I’ll try to address it. If there’s any other topic on selling books you’d like me to address, let me know and I’ll put it in the queue.