One of the biggest falsehoods that authors and publishers believe is:
Social media sells books
Nothing could be further from the truth.
In fact, The New York Times proved this point in a recent article entitled, Millions of Social Media Followers? For Book Sales, It’s Unreliable.
Here are some highlights from their reporting:
Pop singer, Billie Eilish, has 97 million followers on Instagram and 6 million on Twitter…But her self-titled book sold about 64,000 hardcover copies…not necessarily a disappointing number, unless Ms. Eilish got a big advance. Which, of course, she did. The book cost her publisher well over $1 million.
Tamika D. Mallory, a social activist with over a million Instagram followers, was paid over $1 million for a two-book deal. But, her first book, State of Emergency, has sold just 26,000 print copies since it was published in 2021.
Journalist and media personality, Piers Morgan, has 8 million followers on Twitter and almost 2 million on Instagram. But, his 2020 book, “Wake Up: Why the World Has Gone Nuts” sold just 5,650 U.S. print copies.
Ouch! Those are some embarrassing situations for both the author and publisher. I could cite more examples from The New York Times article, but you get my point.
After losing a lot of money, publishers are waking up to the reality that I’ve been telling authors all along, which is that social media is a lousy predictor of book sales.
Shannon DeVito, director of books at Barnes & Noble, says, “The only reliable part about social media is that it’s unreliable.”
“Marc Resnick, executive editor at St. Martin’s Press, stated, “We’ve learned some hard lessons along the way, which is that a tweet or a post is not necessarily going to sell any books…”
What does this wake-up call mean for authors?
Stop falling for the lie that social media sell books. It’s a crap shoot. It’s unreliable and a big waste of time for most authors.
Instead, there is a more dependable predictor of book sales you can trust, which is a:
Big email list
Every author I know who has an email list with over 100,000 subscribers has hit the national bestseller lists. Yet, I know numerous authors with over 1 million social media followers who struggle to sell books.
Email is still the best way to connect with readers, drive sales for a new book, and revive sales of an old book. Email may seem old-fashioned. It may not be sexy. But, it still out-performs all other digital sales channels – and it’s practically free.
Here’s my advice. Make email your #1 marketing priority. Make it more important than social media, advertising, publicity, and anything else.
Not only will a bigger email list help you sell more books, it will make you more attractive to bigger influencers who can help you reach even larger audiences.
Plus, you can use your email list to boost sales of anything else you might offer, such as courses, coaching, webinars, consulting, etc.
You’ve seen the proof that social media is an unreliable guide for selling books. Take advantage of the proof that email can make this year the best ever for authors!
Not sure how to grow your email list?
Not sure what to do once you’ve got a bunch of subscribers?
Confused about how to turn your email list into book sales?
I teach advanced-level email growth techniques in my Book Marketing Master Class. This 1:1 experience explains everything you need to know. Many authors who’ve gone through my instruction have doubled and tripled the size of their email lists within a year.
You can also book a Private 90-Minute Author Coaching Session to ask me questions about email marketing, advertising, Amazon, media interviews, or anything else.
Why walk alone trying to figure out book marketing by yourself? Get faster results by working with a proven industry expert.
Contact me today to discuss the coaching option that is right for you.