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Book review: Sell More Books With Less Social Media

I’m a fan of Chris Syme’s, so it’s no surprise that I like her newest book, Sell More Books With Less Social Media: Spend less time marketing and more time writing.

There’s no question that Chris knows what she’s talking about. What’s more, she communicates clearly and effectively. As I was reading, just as I reached a point where I thought, “It would help me to see this in a chart,” POOF! a chart appeared! She understands what her readers need.

Who can benefit from this book

In the book’s introduction, Chris explains who will and won’t benefit from reading this book. She makes it clear that she wrote it for authors who believe they are responsible for marketing their own books and who are willing to learn how to do it — then spend time doing it. If you aren’t going to do the work, there’s no point in learning about how you can use less social media to sell more books.

Sell More Books With Less Social Media coverI’ll expand on that, though. If you look at learning opportunities through the lens of college course numbers, you know that a 101-level course is entry level, 201 is  more of an intermediate level course, and so on. This book isn’t Social Media for Authors 101. It’s at least a 201-level guide and maybe even 301.

That means that if you know nothing about book marketing or social media yet, this book might not be the best starting point.

There’s lots of helpful content on this site about how to use social networks for book marketing, including a recent guest post about Facebook, an article on the three Facebook options (profile, Page, group), and a good Twitter primer. You might also appreciate a popular article here on how to promote your book without using social media at all.

In addition, Chris advocates spending on Facebook advertising, so keep that in mind. If you’re dead set on never spending a cent on book marketing, you’ll get less value from this than someone who embraces the concept that you have to spend money to make money.


You’ll also want to know that the book addresses novelists more than nonfiction authors. The concepts and content apply to both, but there’s no question that Chris was thinking mostly about fiction when she wrote this. There are occasional references to nonfiction in the text, but if this were truly an equal opportunity book there would be a section on how to use LinkedIn for nonfiction marketing purposes.

Don’t let that stop you, though — just be aware of it. Nonfiction authors can get just as much out of Sell More Books With Less Social Media as novelists can. I just want you to know what to expect. What you’ll learn from this book applies to nonfiction, too.

What to expect and what not to expect

Understand that this book doesn’t cover everything you need to know about book marketing (and it doesn’t claim to). For example, there’s nothing in it about book publicity. Book publicity, as you might know, is that free news media exposure you can get that is said to be 10 times more effective than advertising.

It also doesn’t cover blogging, guest blogging, virtual book tours, or public speaking, among other book marketing tactics.

The emphasis is on these topics:

  • Platform
  • Content you’ll create
  • Social media with an emphasis on Facebook
  • E-mail marketing

It covers those topics well. I especially like the guidance on email marketing — what to send to your list, when, and so on.

The real value in this book, I think, is Chris’s work to help you identify your platform level — she defines and explains four levels for fiction and three for nonfiction — and then match your marketing activities to that level. With that “label” in place, she helps you figure out which marketing activities or tactics are the best fit for you.

Bonus video content

Finally, there’s both a plus and a minus to one of the book’s features — the one that makes this part book, part multi-media training program. Chris has created companion videos that expand on what’s taught in each chapter. On the one hand, I see this as generous. On the other, I find it frustrating because it forces me to stop reading and go online.

It interrupts my flow.

Plus, I like my training to be all-inclusive.

But, to each his own, right? It might end up being your favorite part of the book!

And . . . let me point out that the book is a whopping 99 cents. To get top quality written and video instruction for that price is quite a deal. Kudos to Chris for working so hard with Sell More Books With Less Social Media to help authors learn.

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