I recently read an article about how social media isn’t a good way to promote books. Apparently there has been a recent spat of celebrities with large social media followings and poor book sales. But I question this conclusion. Is the idea that ‘any book written by a celebrity will sell like hot cakes’ always true?
The million dollar question
Take Billie Eilish, for example, who was reportedly paid a one million dollar advance for her book. It seems there was an expectation that any book written by someone with close to 100 million Instagram followers would sell itself. But any author will tell you – books don’t sell themselves. And this one was no exception.
To keep things in perspective, to a non-celebrity author like myself, the sales figures were big numbers. It’s just that they were expected to be huge.
Does this mean social media is the wrong way for authors to connect with their audience? Or that Instagram, in particular, isn’t a good platform for promoting books?
I think a better question would be – did anyone check how many of those music fans were also keen readers?
It’s about the audience
I’d like to think that just being a celebrity doesn’t guarantee a bestseller. In reality, it probably does. Still, knowing a book’s audience is key. And the first step is to understand that someone’s existing audience, and the audience for their book, are not necessarily the same.
This is something I’m thinking about at the moment. I have a small existing following for my travel mystery series. And I’m currently writing a scifi mystery. While they are all mysteries, there are some important differences. They may not appeal to the same readers. This presents a challenge which will require me to broaden my following.
As an author though, at least I know the majority of my social media followers are readers. That’s a good start!