Thursday, December 22, 2011

Book Marketing Makeover: Using Social Networks and Facebook Contests to Sell Books

Guest post by Omar Luqmaan-Harris

1. How large is your platform or network? Did you use your platform or network in marketing your book? If so, how?

The platform for The Pantheon Collective (an independent publishing venture) is currently over 11,000 strong. Social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Slideshare, Flickr, and Goodreads) is essential to our marketing strategy.

Growing this network and engaging them has been essential to the success of our three published books: Sellout by James W. Lewis, When Love Isn't Enough by Stephanie Casher, A Hard Man is Good to Find by James W. Lewis, and our soon to be published fourth novel: One Blood by Qwantu Amaru.

One Blood Novel2. Are you involved in any social networks? Have you used them in marketing your book? Again, if so, how?

Currently we have 7 Facebook pages, 4 Twitter accounts, 4 websites, a Slideshare page, 4 YouTube channels, a LinkedIn page, and 3 Goodreads pages.

One of the keys to leveraging social media into sales and marketing is to clearly define the target audience for our books. We have created several Facebook pages branded specifically to the book we are promoting and we engage each page's audience very differently depending on the profile of that audience.

For example, on our oneblood Fanpage (, which is a horror/supernatural suspense novel, we engage the audience via posting horror related content every day with a few calls to action sprinkled in between. On Scribd and Slideshare, we have posted profiles of the characters of One Blood, as well as a free 30-chapter preview of the novel. Then we link back to these properties on Facebook, Twitter, and our websites.

3. Have you created and posted any online videos? Did any of them go viral? How many people viewed them?

Video has been a part of our engagement strategy from the beginning of our publishing venture. The book teaser for our first novel Sellout by James W. Lewis has received over 2,000 views and has won several book teaser awards. Our latest book teaser for One Blood by Qwantu Amaru has been viewed nearly 3,000 times.

4. What Internet marketing technique produced the best sales results for your book? Did you do anything interesting to boost the effectiveness of the technique?

Figuring out how to make the normally passive and voyeuristic Facebook audience active and engaged in promoting our books has been a key marketing tactic we've used to sell nearly 10,000 copies of 3 books (91% via Amazon kindle) in less than two years.

We found a social contest site, Wildfire interactive, and integrated this with our Facebook pages. The contest was simple: We encouraged existing fans of the Facebook page to share the page with five of their friends. Once they did this, they sent us an email with the subject I Shared and we would send them a free PDF copy of the book. They needed to read their free book and post a review on Once the book reached the requisite number of reviews on Amazon, one lucky person would receive a $150 Amazon gift card and free signed copies of all of our books. We have used this promotion twice in the past year to significantly boost the fan page numbers, Amazon reviews, and our opt-in e-mail database.

Final Prediction

Here’s a prediction for you that’s already partially come true. First, ebooks will reach and then exceed trade paperbacks in unit sales. Trade paperbacks are the bread and butter of bookstore chains so they will crumble under the weight of all that stagnating inventory on their shelves.

Big Publishing will respond by jacking up the prices of their own ebooks without upping their author’s royalties, causing a mass exodus of authors from their ranks. The best literary agents will broker phenomenal deals for the superstar authors making the bottom line ache even more for the Big Guys. To hide their wounds, The Big 6 will become the Big 2 or 3 as inevitable consolidation becomes all the rage.

Meanwhile, indie publishers and authors will become savvier and the complexion of top lists like the New York Times Bestseller list will change permanently when there are as many indie authors represented as traditionally published authors. It is at this moment that Big Publishing will give up the ghost and start a massive round of layoffs.

This is the worst thing they could ever do, as some of the world’s best editors, book marketers, and sales people will now be free agents and thus competitors to the very companies that fired them. Consolidation will continue until there are only two Big Guys left who have finally found a niche to make money: hardcovers for the die-hard collectors and textbooks.

About the Author

Omar Luqmaan-Harris, aka Qwantu Amaru, is author of One Blood and a co-founder of The Pantheon Collective.

The Pantheon Collective

The mission of The Pantheon Collective is to empower and inspire authors to take control of their publishing dreams. Follow us on our website at to get free information on publishing, book marketing, and other useful tips.
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