Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Does Social Media Sell Books?

by DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

Whenever I speak about the value of social media, writers groan, frown, and complain. Too many writers are not willing to get past the learning curve needed to develop their brand. My response is always a focus on a writer’s life requiring flexibility to learn craft, marketing, publishing, and branding. If a new technique in the writing world emerged, we’d find a way to master it. So an open mind and a great attitude will help us acquire the skills needed to develop our online presence.

I think we’re asking the wrong question.

The basic question is why are we writing? 

Most of us want to reach others through our books. We have a message in fiction or nonfiction that we are passionate about and want to share. Just ask a writer about her latest project and be prepared to listen. The writer’s eyes will dance, and her excitement is contagious.

How do we find readers?

Family, friends, and extensions of those
Book signings.
Community organizations and clubs
Speaking events
Print advertising
Radio and TV.
An online presence.

Let’s unpack an online presence and what it means. Every person in the world who is connected to a wifi network has access to us and what we write. In 2015, over 3 billion people were using the Internet. 

Can we reach that many people through ads, book signings, speaking events, even radio and TV? Don’t think so. But through social media, we can form relationships to people we may never meet face to face. A very remarkable advantage of technology.

How does a writer choose a social media platform?

Now we see why social media is important, even critical to the writer’s life. But there are so many platforms. This is determined by the writer’s genre and the readers’ interests, age, and culture. A professional writer delves into her readership to discover where they are hanging out and joins in.

Which ones do I need?

Basically, a writer needs a website, a presence on Facebook, Twitter, and a blog. Other platforms are important if your readers are there. A blog doesn’t have to be the writer’s; posting regularly on a blog that receives a lot of hits works well.

I still don’t get it. How does a platform sell books?

We’ve talked about why, the target audience, and the various platforms, but how does all that work sell books?

This is accomplished through posting content that is relevant to our readers’ interests. Writers don’t post, “Buy my book” but useful information. Social media isn’t about the writer, but about the reader. Each one of us has unique skills and gifts that are purposed to help others. Therein lies our content. 

When a writer learns what attracts her readers, she can weave other content or post from another site those things which are important. The key is to know our readers and sincerely make a decision to provide valuable content. The reader is sent a subtle message, “This person cares about me.”

Does social media sell books? Is your platform reader-ready? Register now for Mountainside Marketing Conference scheduled for January 18-22, 2019. 


DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Firewall, the first book in her Houston: FBI series, was listed by Library Journal as one of the best Christian Fiction books of 2014.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Suspense Sister, and International Thriller Writers. She is co-director of The Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference and The Author Roadmap with social media specialist Edie Melson. She teaches writing workshops around the country.

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on Facebook:, Twitter: or any of the social media platforms listed at


  1. "Social media in not about the writer, but about the reader." Boy do I have a lot to learn yet. Cannot wait to engage you and Ms. Edie to help me improve in this crucial learning area. I won't make the January conference, but will be seeing you at BRMCWC, Lord willing. Thanks for the great insight Ms. DiAnn. God's blessings ma'am.

  2. Jim, we are here to help you! Thanks for posting and see you at the BRMCWC!

  3. Important stuff! Thank you DiAnn! So much more I still need to learn! MailChimp Newsletter for one!

  4. Hope you'll consider Mountainside Marketing this year!

  5. I feel like I'm climbing a mountain as I learn to use social media. I've got a blog and a website so am maybe in the foothills, but still so much to learn. Thanks for breaking it down into smaller steps!