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My Writing Journey Part 3: Social Media and Marketing

Happy Wednesday!

If you haven't been around here in a little while, I'm doing a three part series on my writing journey and what I learned throughout each part of my journey. If you need to catch up check out Part One and Part Two. Part one is all about building a strong foundation for future years of writing and part two is all about self-publishing.

One of the things I messed up when I published Weapon Icean was the thought that once I hit publish that's it. That's all I have to do. No other work involved. Well... that's completely not true. I think a lot of authors would agree that the real work starts after you publish your book. Now you have to market. You have to get people to buy your book. And social media can be a huge part of that. When I published Weapon Icean I was barely on Instagram. I didn't have a real following, I didn't have any following on this blog and I didn't have a Facebook page or Twitter account. I was pretty much a ghost on social media... I didn't know anything about ads or newsletters or promoting my work before it was even published let alone marketing a book after its published. Overall, I was pretty clueless.

By the time I published Project Hellion I was a little more in the know, but in 2019... I knew that if I wanted to get anything published traditionally or otherwise, I had to do marketing and I had to start learning how to use social media to my advantage. Katie's branding challenged helped with that too along with all the research I was doing. All the authors were saying to pick one or two social media outlets and focus on those. Don't over extend yourself.  So I picked Instagram (because Instagram is the literal best) and sorta, kinda Facebook too. Mostly though, I focused all my energy on Instagram. 2019 was the year that I got really involved in the bookstagram community. The bookstagram community is fantastic you guys! You meet so many other readers and so many super talented, super sweet writers. I'm so glad I decided to explore this whole community on Instagram. I wouldn't have met some of my awesome writer friends if I hadn't.

But back to the whole choosing one or two social media outlets. I highly recommend that as well... If you're trying to juggle Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter (amongst others) it gets super overwhelming. Heck even just trying to keep up with Instagram, this blog, my newsletter and Facebook is overwhelming sometimes. I couldn't imagine doing all that, plus trying to build a community on five other social media sites. That's just way too much. There's something to be said about sustainability. I've been thinking about that a lot lately. Kierstin Oliphant did a podcast on sustainability about two weeks ago and she really made me think about what is sustainable for me. I have classes to do, along with editing and writing and lots of other stuff outside of writing that I need to do too. Having a life is sort of important as well... And doing all that plus normal every day stuff on a day to day basis can get exhausting. It's important to really sit down and hash out the things that are most important to you and to figure out what marketing strategies work best for you and your book and that won't burn you out.

When I released Wayward I did all the things. Unlike with Weapon Icean, I was fully prepared for Wayward. It was the first book that I officially, for real launched. I did a cover reveal, I started a newsletter, I did lots of marketing things with my newsletter and Instagram and Facebook. I sent out ARCs and got reviews and did all the things. It was such a fun process and I think as I continue to put out more books my publishing process will start to come together just like my writing and editing process has. It just takes time and practice to figure out what works for you and what doesn't.

Releasing Wayward and, as I get ready to release Cursed in March, I've learned quite a few things. No one is going to buy your book unless you're actively selling it. You have to be pro-active. A lot of authors hate marketing and I am one of them. I'd rather just write my books and then have them magically sell themselves. Why can't that be a thing? Because marketing takes time and is hard and kind of annoying sometimes. It's a lot of work! It's plugging your books on social media platforms, it's networking, it's learning how to use ads effectively (which I am still trying to figure out because so far... my ads are getting me nowhere, or at least that's what it feels like). It's trying to grow your newsletter while also figuring out a happy balance on your newsletter of what's too much marketing and not enough. Marketing is constant research and assessment and moving pieces around to figure out what works and what doesn't. Man... marketing is hard. It's easy to write a book and hit publish... the hard part is getting people to buy it.

You didn't click on this post to hear me complain though. I don't want to sound like a total downer and like nothing will ever work and all marketing is doomed to fail. So, here are a few things that have worked for me and a few things that I'm still figuring out:

  • Newsletters are so, so important. If you have nothing else, no social media, no blog, no nothing, get. A. Newsletter! It is the first thing any aspiring author should do. I didn't realize that until last year. After listening to the Create If Writing podcast long enough, you start to believe how very important a newsletter is. Not in just reaching fans and building a community, but also with marketing as a whole. 
  • Use something like StoryOrigin. StoryOrigin is absolutely amazing. I don't know what I would have done last year without it. It's helped me to utilize my newsletter and to get my books into more reader's hands by signing up for group promos and newsletter swaps. It's super easy to use and beyond helpful. 
  • Plan out at least one day a week on your social media to plug your book. I usually have one post a week that has something to do with Wayward or Weapon Icean, just reminding old followers that I have books out and inviting new followers to check them out. 
  • Ads... are important. I think. I'm still figuring that one out. 2020 is the year I learn how to make my ads profitable. I've taken Bryan Cohen's five day ad challenge twice already. I took it last year and am taking it again to get a refresher. He claims that Amazon Ads can be super profitable and make you lots of money... So far I've had a whole lot of impressions and a handful of clicks but as far as I can tell, no sales or Kindle Unlimited pages read. That is an area I am still working on. I'll let you guys know how its going in a few months. Ads are definitely the long game. It takes a while to learn how to utilize them and to see if they're actually working or not. 
  • Most of all though, the most important thing about marketing is reaching readers. Don't be smarmy (a word I learned about on Create If Writing haha). Marketing, to me, is all about building community, being authentically yourself and giving to others. It's not about you. It's about your readers. I'm still working on that and figuring out how best to do this, but at the moment I think I have a pretty good handle on it? Maybe. Hence why I'm going to be listening to the Content Creative podcast. I need to learn what is content marketing and how to do it properly haha. 
I hope that those have been helpful! Actually, I hope that all three of my blog posts this month have been helpful to you in some way, shape or form. I'm going to try and do better in my posts, my newsletter and everywhere on the internet that I am on to not just make it about and for me, but to make it about and for my readers and writer friends too!

So yeah! That's... my writing journey from the past decade. I can't believe I summed that all up into three blog posts. Three fairly long blog posts, but still. I think we're all caught up. 

What I love about the writing journey is that it never ends. It's always growing, always changing. I'm always learning new things about myself and my writing. In 2020 I want to get a better handle on marketing, I want to learn how to reach readers and build community effectively and I want to learn how to write more heart stories. You know those stories that are so full of the author's heart and soul and rich in themes that make you really think about things and just fall in love with the whole story? Those are the kinds of stories I want to write more of this year. 


What's your favorite social media network? 


Melody Personette is a YA author, book dragon and follower of Jesus. She's been writing since she can remember and now tells stories about the magic of hope, light in the darkness and love conquering all and is passionate about inspiring teens and young adults with her novels. Melody lives in the home she shares with her family in Indiana where she is a college student working toward her Bachelors in general studies, is an avid reader and tea lover. You can find her on her website at www.melodypersonette.com or connect with her on her blog at www.melodypersonetteauthor.blogspot.com where she talks about everything from writing, to faith, to her latest readers. You can also connect with her on instagram @_melody_author_

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