I bet as an author you thought the hard work was done after you wrote your book. You poured your heart and soul into it, writing and revising for hours on end. The final proof finally came in the mail, and you held it in your hands for the first time, sighing a great sigh of relief, maybe even crying a tear as you held the amazing product of your labor. That’s awesome! But I hate to break it to you—the hard work has only just begun.
Now that you’ve completed your book, the next stage of selling it through book marketing will challenge you even further, especially in the middle of a pandemic. As brick-and-mortar bookstores close worldwide, other small businesses reduce hours, and people stay home, the methods of gaining exposure for your book must evolve and begin to concentrate on virtual methods.
As an indie author, I have posted infographics and links to my books for years on Facebook, even ran a few ads, with little results. Recently, with church once again going completely online (at least where I live), I knew I needed to begin doing book marketing through talking about my book and teaching some material from it in live webinars to spark some interest. I jumped right into the deep end and developed a plan to give a series of five live webinars during the first week of February 2021. My purpose was two-fold: first, to raise awareness of my books and their content, and second, to challenge and stretch myself by doing something new. I recently finished up that series on Instagram, and even though it did not go perfectly, I feel great about it. I am much more comfortable doing live webinars now; I seem to have broken through a barrier. I struggled on the third day to write a talk to deliver for that night; I wanted to give up, but I pushed myself and got it done. Allow me to share with you some details I learned
Social Media Platform Based on Audience
First, make sure you are using the right social media platform depending on your audience’s age (Facebook is for the older crowd). I have always used Facebook because that was what I knew. However, I noticed I was no longer getting engagement on my Facebook page, so I jumped over to Instagram. Well, I was shocked at what I found there—a whole community of young women dealing with the very issue my books addresses—infertility. Shockingly as I scrolled through the feed, I found them to be completely transparent about their lives and struggle. I searched for my audience using hashtags and began to follow and engage with them. Within days I had two hundred followers—two hundred young women who were exactly my targeted audience. As an independent author you should know where your audience hangs out and engage with them there.
My first plan was to simulcast live to Facebook and Instagram using a streaming platform called Streamyard. However, this plan did not work out well because of one primary reason: Instagram does not support simulcasting. Streamyard is a simulcasting tool that can be used online at streamyard.com without downloading anything; all that is required is creating an account. There is a free version that meets basic needs, and there are also upgraded plans (for a fee) that offer customization. Streamyard connects to almost any social media platform, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Periscope, and Twitch and allows you to broadcast to all at the same time. You can find a great tutorial on how to use Streamyard here. A few of my favorite features of Streamyard is the countdown video that can be added onto the front of your broadcast, which gives your audience a heads up before you’re on live. As soon as you’re done broadcasting, the video will automatically post to each social media platform.
As mentioned, Instagram does not support simulcasting directly, however, if you dig around, you may find a workaround using an app called Yellowduck.tv. Please note, this is NOT recommended as Yellowduck is a “hack,” and using it could get your Instagram account banned.
In a last-ditch effort, I tried to broadcast through my computer using Streamyard AND stream to Instagram using my phone simultaneously. However, it was impossible to look at both webcams simultaneously. As a result, I was looking back and forth into each device, and it didn’t come across well; for most of the Facebook video, I was looking off to the side. I think it’s imperative to look directly at the audience when talking to them, so the best solution was to stream twice—once to Facebook and once to Instagram. After streaming to Instagram, make sure to download the video to your phone AND post it to IGTV (in Instagram) right after, so users can view the replay (these options pop up once you stop your live video). The replay video is full screen and is on your IGTV feed for good.
One other important detail regarding live streaming is lighting, especially if you wear glasses. I found a great little video on YouTube (here) about how to avoid the glare of light in my glasses and would highly recommend seeking out such information in your planning stage. Extra light is essential for your audience to see you well. I believe your audience will connect with you better if they can see your eyes without shadows and glare. Using a Ring Light that can clip on your laptop or phone helps.
Live video is one of the best ways to market your book and connect with new readers who don’t know you. It is the closest to meeting someone face to face in a virtual world. Pulling out two or three mini teachings from your book that may potentially address a problem for your viewer creates value and could cause them to purchase your book. A great goal would be to create an experience for your viewer that makes them feel as though they’ve come away with a gold nugget in their hand. Nothing is worse than taking time to view a video and feel like you‘ve got nothing to show for it. Make it count for them, and they will want more.
Get on a live video to connect with readers. Everyone is missing human contact, and the more we can relate to others the better. Begin when your audience is small, and when your audience is larger, you’ll be more confident in your delivery. The more you do it, the easier it will get.
About the Author
This article was written by Barbara De Simon, Indie Author of Key to Fertility, Barren No More,
Sweet Sorrow: Releasing Your Son to His Bride and Slaying the Giant of Self-Publishing (coming soon). Connect with her on Facebook at barbaradesimon.author and rootedpublishing, Instagram at prayerful_fertility or authorbarbaradesimon. Read her blog at www.barbaradesimon.com and check out her self-publishing services at www.rootedpublishing.com.