Using Social Media to Boost Self-publishing Sales

At the suggestion of a good friend, I’m writing about surpassing expectations today.

That Was Then…

Almost a year ago, Masks was published. (By the way, I’ll be celebrating my one-year anniversary next month with a free download of Masks: A Novella on August 1st. Watch for the post and tweets!) There was a lot going on in my life: a new condo, a separation agreement, a job search, a new man, and the publication of Masks. This was a period of new beginnings.

I wanted my book to succeed but I didn’t have a clue what that entailed. Other than the books I sold personally to friends, co-workers, members of my author associations, and book fair patrons, my sales were non-existent although the book was available on major online retail sites. I became discouraged when I realized I would have to do things I wasn’t interested in. Namely, the social media bit. To describe my attitude about social media as poor would be like saying a funeral during a thunderstorm is cheerful.

This Is Now

After reading countless experts supporting social media marketing, I finally stopped trying to use it and just used it. I bought a book on social media and followed the step-by-step instructions on setting up accounts and how to use the sites. I read expert suggestions and applied them. I worked hard. I bitched a little instead of whining a lot. I didn’t give up. My new attitude made a huge difference. None of it was easy, but it was easier than in previous months. It was already the end of the year by then. I’d lost months of sales.


By the time, I revised my book and launched it as Masks: A Novella (You can read about my reasons for the re-write here.), I had a good social media base. However, my sales expectations were low because I still didn’t understand the impact social media would have.  In the first month, I sold over a dozen books. It’s nothing really, but I hadn’t expected more than a couple of sales so it was a lovely surprise. For May, I set a sales goal of April sales plus one. I surpassed that by two. Woot! In June, I set a sales goal of May sales plus one. I surpassed that by selling almost three times as many books. Total number of books sold in three months: over a hundred. It’s not much when you consider that some authors are selling that many in half a day. But I’m positive that in their first year of publication, they would have been happy with selling one book a day. And so am I.

I certainly can’t quit my job but it’s evidence that I’m on the right track. I’m blogging, I’m tweeting, I’m Facebook-ing, I’m MySpace-ing, I’m putting my book on every internet site I can. In other words, I’m getting exposure. Social media marketing sucks if you think of it as being apart from writing. Once I started thinking of it as a part of writing, I started surpassing my expectations. Check out the great posts from authors and social media experts on my Learn More About… page.

Do you have any tips to share about social media marketing? Are you happy with your results? Have your sales improved since you’ve embraced it? Have you discovered something that has boosted your sales? I love to hear from you. Leave a comment. I also love to write posts you want to read. Suggest a topic. 


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  1. #1 by Elisa Michelle on July 5, 2011 - 11:42 PM

    So far, social media has been my best friend when it comes to gaining people who care about me as a writer and are curious about my stories. Since my work isn’t published (and I don’t plan on self publishing until the beginning of next year), many blogs have said to start social media now, so you have something to work on when the book does come out. I hope it’s true, to say the least.

    • #2 by Patricia Caviglia on July 10, 2011 - 11:36 PM

      I completely agree with connecting through social media long before publishing. It gives a writer the time to build contacts as you have done. You will have more than just your friends and family to announce your book to when it is published and that’s important!

      • #3 by Elisa Michelle on July 12, 2011 - 6:27 PM

        That’s the plan, and I truly hope it works, you know? So far my blog has a limited following, but because I started posting three times a week I’ve gotten more subscribers. Guess more is better in this case. We’ll see.

  1. What Should An Author Blog About? « Masks' Blog

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