By Hayley Zelda
In this day and age, the internet rules the world, especially for young people. If you’re thinking about marketing to teens and you aren’t looking at online platforms or social media, then you’re doing it wrong.
Social media plays a significant role in marketing today. Here are some ways to market a book to young people:
Leverage a storytelling platform like Wattpad
There are many different platforms on the internet that allow writers and creative artists to share their work with other people. Wattpad is one such platform on which new writers can share their stories and books.
The majority of the members in this community are young people between the ages of 13 and 24. Sharing a story on a site like Wattpad taps into a young audience and potentially some organic distribution.
Anna Todd is probably the most well-known success story on Wattpad. With over 2M followers on Wattpad, her book, originally posted on Wattpad with hundreds of millions of views, has gone on to be published and also made into a movie.
Commaful is another site that has a strong presence of teens. The site is unique in its formatting and feels little more like Instagram and Snapchat stories, but designed for fiction and poetry. The visual format helps the stories go viral, not just on the site, but even when it’s shared.
Commaful is a bit newer compared to Wattpad but can provide many new opportunities to grow and reach a different audience. Aknier is a creator with close to 70k followers that built her following exclusively through Commaful. Well-known authors like Cornelia Funke have also experimented with it to promote their books through short stories.
All of these sites have their own culture and structure. Study how the sites work before sharing to learn the best way to build an audience and drive book sales.
Share snippets of your book
Share some short bits of your works for free as a hook. Look for the most exciting, interesting cliffhanger you have and use that. It will attract the most readers and also convert the most people into fans. In a world of short attention spans, a short and strong hook can go a long way.
The most important part is to keep the suspense. Try not to let the readers lose curiosity.
So, now you’re sold on sharing a snippet. The question is, where to share these snippets.
Blog or social media accounts are great starting points if you have some followings already built. Sharing to audiences you already have allows them to amplify the message further. You can also share snippets on storytelling platforms like the ones mentioned above.
If you don’t have a following already, a really easy way to share a snippet is to reach out to summary sites, review blogs, and other sites with established audiences. There are tons of sites that are dedicated to summarizing and reviewing books and they’re always looking for fresh content.
If you’re still relatively unknown, look for sites within your genre that are active, but might have smaller followings. For example, if you’re writing non-fiction books, Wired For Youth would be the type of site you’d want to target. It has a number of the qualities you should look for. The site is small but has some readers and it is still getting updated, which means the people behind it are still active. Once you have a few of these under your belt, you can target larger sites and reference your snippet’s previous features as leverage to land bigger targets.
Share quotes on Instagram
An excellent way to grab the attention of young people is to type up some of your favorite quotes from your book and share it on Instagram. Add some color or designs onto the writeup and post it on your account or your Instagram story. Teens love reading quotes with pretty backgrounds on Instagram and it has become a huge viral trend.
Rupi Kaur, for example, became a bestselling poet by sharing short “instapoems” on Instagram. Add some relevant tags so that it reaches as many people as possible. Her Instagram has amassed over 4m followers. Her fame led to a book deal and a spot on many bestseller lists. Milk and Honey is still extremely popular to this day.
Do a social media giveaway
The most common social media platforms for social media giveaways are Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.
Why do a giveaway? Everybody likes to win things! Giveaways are a great way to collect emails (to maybe send them a snippet later on) or get them to refer friends.
There are many types of giveaways so you’ll want to study the various types to see what might be best for you. I’ll give you one example:
Do a giveaway where every person you tag in the comments gets you a “lottery” ticket into the giveaway. To get some initial entrants, pay a big Instagram on your account to post the giveaway for you or mention the post. Then, compile all of the entrants and tags, assign ticket numbers based on the entrants and how many “tickets” they have. Use a random number generator to choose the winner.
This campaign is easy to set up and would likely grow your Instagram following as well. In many cases it’ll lead to more book sales and drive some buzz.
The most sophisticated giveaways involve a link to an email capture with fancy unlockables based on the # of invites and a live leaderboard. There are a number of tools you can find that can facilitate that for you (most aren’t free so I won’t recommend one here), but even simple ones can work great.
Young people can be hard to reach given many traditional methods of book promotion don’t work as well with them, but if you’re willing to experiment and try things online, you’ll have a great shot at turning the hearts of these youngsters!
Hayley Zelda is a writer and marketer at heart. She’s written on all the major writing platforms and worked with a number of self-published authors on marketing books to the YA audience.