Using Social Media to Promote Your Book

For the past three months’ worth of Wednesdays, we’ve been fortunate to have Trish Romanchuk, Book Manager at Blitzprint, answering some of the most frequently asked printing questions posed by first-time self-publishers. You can access Trish’s Tidbits anytime by clicking on the self-publishing category on the right hand side of the page.

While I’m no self-publishing maven, I’d like to continue dedicating Wednesdays to the self-publishing process. I’ll pass on to you everything I learn in the process of getting my first book to print. And please feel free to add your own opinions and experiences in the comment box. If you would like to share your story, consider writing a guest post. We’ll include your photo if you like and, of course, a picture (and description) of your book!

Two nights ago, my friend Laura and I made the trek into Calgary to attend a meeting of the Calgary Authors‘ group. I was hoping to kibbutz with other self-published authors and Laura was wanting to make them aware of her editing services. As it turned out, we got way more out of that meeting than we ever could have hoped for.

The Calgary Authors brought in a guest speaker for their meeting – Lisa Francis of Bright Lights Marketing. Lisa gave a very informative session on using social media to promote your business (read ‘book’).

She began with an overview of social media, then focused on the big three: Facebook, Twitter and Linked In (which is very popular in Calgary). Then, after a discussion of blogging, she tied everything together by telling us about an amazing tool called Hoot Suite which, among other things, enables bloggers to schedule their posts so that when they are away on vacation the posts can continue uninterrupted.

The only downside to that is that I would need to write those posts ahead of time so they are ready before I took off to exotic locales (like maybe Greece for a writing retreat).

Hmmmm . . . maybe I’ll just put up a ‘gone fishin’ sign instead.

Anyway, Lisa’s presentation was very timely. I am not a social media buff. I was dragged kicking and screaming into Facebookland, and while I am grateful to my friend, Yvonne (who needs to get a website going so I can make her name clickable in my post), for being so gently persistent, I’m still not sold.

For one thing, I tend to get caught up in semantics. Why would I want to be friends with someone I don’t even know? Also, my life is fairly boring and I don’t really see the need to let everyone know that I’m hanging out my laundry or sitting on my deck enjoying the sun or scraping the cat’s lunch from the carpet.

And  then there’s the whole “lurking” thing, peeping in on everybody else’s life without actually participating in the conversation. (Yeah, that’ll be me – guilty as charged – but it doesn’t make it any less creepy.)

I also find it kind of strange that a person would interrupt what they are doing in order to report on what they are doing. It’s like the person running the video camera at a birthday party. She is one step removed from the celebration, an observer instead of a participant. It’s impossible to fully experience the party when you are documenting the party.

As you can see, I’m mired in a fair bit of ambivalence about the whole social media thing. And, after Lisa’s talk I clearly see that I need to get over myself.

I won’t have a publishing house or a major distributor promoting my book so I better figure out how to “like” social media otherwise my enchanting little story will do nothing more than provide colorful fire starter for many years to come.

So yesterday I sent Lisa an email to set up a consultation. After I sent off my call for help, I took a few minutes to scan her website and what should I read in her latest blog post but “6 reasons why social media might not be for you.”


1) A struggling business needs all of your focus. My business isn’t struggling, but that’s only because I don’t have a business. Guess I need to get a little more business-like.

2) Little experience on the Web. That’ll be me.

3)  No marketing plan. I guess when I do the business thing I better get a marketing plan, too.

4)  No Ongoing Commitment. Well . . . I do seem to have commitment issues.

5)  Your customers or prospects are not using Social Media. I have no idea. I guess that would come under market research which would be part of a marketing plan . . . I assume.

6) You just don’t want to do Social Media. Hmmm . . . that’s a distinct possibility. (See rant above.)

There you have it. Six compelling reasons for me to let social media pass me by.

But I can’t. Leaf won’t let me. As I write this, Elsie is finishing up the illustrations, Doug is firing up the scanner, Lori is penciling me into her book design schedule, Inez, at the library, is waiting for my book launch plan.

When I think about all the people involved in this project, all the creative energy that’s been poured into it, all the children (and adults) who will benefit from reading this book, I know I need to do everything in my power to get Leaf into as many hands as possible.

And if social media will help to make that happen, I will become it’s very best friend.


Here’s Lisa’s March 2 post. I would strongly suggest that you take in one of her workshops. You will not be disappointed!

6 Reasons Social Media may not be right for you

The truth about Social Media is that it is not for everyone – or for every business.   Social Media is not  magical pixie dust that when sprinkled will turn around a struggling business.   Investing time and effort into Social Media means that there is less time for other important initiatives.  Below are 6 reasons that Social Media may not be right for you.

1)  A struggling business needs all of your focus. Social media is a luxury you can’t afford until the basics of your business are taken care of. Do you have the right staff, the right accountant, a strong balance sheet?   Do you have strong supplier, good products, refined service?  You need to be sure you have all of your ducks in a row and ready to provide great service BEFORE you initiate a social media strategy.

2) Little experience on the Web.  Internet marketing know-how is a foundation that Social Media builds upon.  Traditionally, websites are more broadcast mode, while Social Media, by definition, is social (many-to-many).  The complexity of managing this is far easier if you have some experience and confidence navigating online. If this is a weakness for you, I suggest that you leverage from industry experts and learn the ropes, perhaps participate in some training.

3)  No marketing plan.  You want to make sure that your Social Media plan is not driving your marketing strategy; it should be the other way around.   Often in the excitement to “do” Social Media, the lack of a marketing plan is overlooked.

4)  No Ongoing Commitment. Like all worthwhile initiatives, there must be time and budget allocated to ongoing monitoring, development and participation.  If there isn’t, then it is better to not even start; otherwise you will the proud owner of a Social Media ghost town.

5)  Your customers or prospects are not using Social Media. The old expression, “Fish where the fish are” rings true for Social Media as well.   If the audience that you are targeting simply do not use Social Media then you are likely wasting your time .  You may be better off using other channels (in person, trade shows, phone, etc). Know where your target market is.

6)  You just don’t want to do Social Media. For many people socializing online with friends and customers can be fun – but if you don’t enjoy it and find that this is uncomfortable or not fun – your attitude will become apparent to those you are networking with.   Even online, your attitude must be genuine and upbeat.

After considering these 6 points, you decide that Social Media IS a good fit for your business, I invite you to check out my upcoming training on “Social Media for Business Owners”.  Although currently, these are local events, I am also working on an online version allowing business owners located anywhere to tap into.

For more information on these training events, I invite you to visit my website at

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