Using social media to get our writing out into the world can be an amazing opportunity. It helps market our works and hopefully, gain a following that will continue to benefit from our writing.
But it can also be a curse. Because of so many social media platforms, most writers languish in obscurity and end up spending more time marketing their writing than just…writing.
Therefore, I’ve constructed this guide to help authors understand the erratic world of social media for writers and authors. I’ll show some of the better social media platforms for writers, how to best approach them, and which writers are doing it right –so you can see what it looks like when done to a level that will bring real success.
That way, if you choose to use social media to promote your writing, you'll know what tactics to use and who to follow so that your efforts will not go in vain.
In this article, you will learn:
- The best social media platforms to give your writing the best chance
- How to effectively use social media for your writing career, so you’re not wasting time
- The #1 reason why most writers fail at social media and how to fix this
Table of contents
- Organic vs Paid Social Media
- List of Social Media for Writers
- Facebook Page or Group for Writers
- Twitter for Writers
- Instagram for Writers
- Goodreads for Authors
- Pinterest for Writers
- Social Media for Writers and Authors in Action
- How Many Social Media Platforms Should You Pick
- Don’t Have Time for this? Ads Can Accelerate Growth Fast!
- Social Media for Writers Summary
Organic vs Paid Social Media
Before we start discussing the different social media platforms for authors and writers, I want to discuss an important part of all platforms: Free versus Paid traffic. This is otherwise known as Organic vs Advertisement. Back when social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter were first around, you could easily gain followers quickly. And when you posted, a majority of them would see it. But this was before the Age of Advertisement.
With its advent, social media morphed into a pay-to-play model. For instance, Facebook natural reach declined quickly and posts are rarely seen organically. HOWEVER…
This doesn’t mean that you can’t reach your followers organically. If reaching followers more effectively and efficiently is your concern, then advertising is the best way forward. This way you can spend more time writing and less time pampering your social media accounts for organic traffic. The truth is that gaining a following on social media organically takes a lot of time. Time that you’d rather spend writing.
On the flip side, putting money out there for ads can be scary. Especially when you’re not making a lot of money yet, or you’re not sure what you’re doing. So, if you decide you want to build your social presence in an efficient manner, then be sure to take a course to help you.
List of Social Media for Writers
Social media is a wonderful tool for both professional and personal reasons. It helps you to keep in touch with friends, family, fans, and potential clients. There are many different platforms out there, each with their own unique features.
So, which one is best for you? It all depends on exactly what you are looking for and how much time and energy you are willing to dedicate to social media. Let’s take a look at some of the platforms available for authors and writers to utilize.
Facebook is one of the largest social media platforms. It not only has the largest user base, but is also one of the most widely used for all demographics. No matter what you write, your market definitely exists on Facebook.
With Facebook, authors have three ways to market their books and writings:
- Using your Personal Facebook Profile
- Creating an Author Page
- Joining or Creating an Author Group
Your personal Facebook profile is exactly what it says. Some have had success with this. Personally though, I prefer not to mix business with my personal life.
An author page is your official writer page where you can post about your works or anything that is happening in your genre or subject matter. This tends to be the preferred choice for most writers. With a Facebook Page, you have more control of the marketing aspect of your writing. You can also dictate whether your followers have the ability to post on your page or not.
A Facebook Group could be a good fit for you as well, especially for beginning or newer authors. Creating a group of like-minded fans of your genre can keep you relevant and always attracting new readers. It allows you to interact with your groups followers. However, it will require a lot more time because with good groups, you need to mediate and keep the group clean and on target.
Choosing between a Facebook Page or Facebook Group can be a difficult decision at times. Here is an article that breaks down just what the difference is between the two, pros/cons of each, and which should you pursue.
Examples of Authors Using Facebook Effectively:
- Paulo Coelho: Paulo Coelho has mastered the art of Facebook. He provides daily content for his fans including quotes, book reviews, and even entries from his own personal blog.
- Neil Gaiman: Neil’s page is well-formed and balanced. He provides his followers with insights into his daily life and promotes content that he has taken interest in. There are, however, snippets of promotion throughout. He focuses more on marketing himself than his writings.
- David Allen: David Allen is effective at follower outreach through quotes and questions. Often times, he poses questions to his audience in order to generate response.
- John Green: John’s approach to Facebook is very interesting. He provides insight into his life and works through video. He frequently uploads his personal YouTube videos as a way to actively engage with his following.
- LitRPG Books: This is a genre-specific Facebook group where lovers of LitRPG gather to talk about the genre, the latest books and more. You can find other authors in the LitRPG world where you can network as well as potential fans of that type of book.
- Kindlepreneur: Here at Kindlepreneur, we like to take a meat and potatoes approach. We provide you with informative and entertaining content on how you can market yourself and your work.
Extra Resources to Help Get You Started on Facebook for Authors
If you decide that you want to drive hard and spread your writing through Facebook, then I highly recommend you read, study and implement the following:
- Facebook for Authors: Getting Started Guide: A great guide by Jane Friedman for authors getting started on Facebook.
- How to Advertise a Book on Facebook: Ever wonder how to effectively market on Facebook? Check out my article here as I break down why Facebook is a marketer’s dream and how you can make that dream come true.
- Ads for Authors: Described as the premier social media advertising course specifically crafted for writers. This course does not disappoint.
As of right now, there are very few platforms anywhere that are more watched than Twitter. From celebrity gossip to presidential politics, Twitter has become a place where you can experience it all. It is a huge arena to exchange ideas and get your author brand out there. From a business standpoint, Twitter can be a powerful tool if utilized correctly.
Twitter provides a fast-paced platform for you to pitch your writing. By limiting the amount of characters that can be used, Twitter encourages the elevator pitch format. Get your point out there. Bring in followers. That simple.
It’s also a great place to build a following. You see, many Twitter users act on a follow-for-follow policy. So, all you need to do is find and follow those who may be interested in your work or those who you are interested in. Normally when you follow an individual, that person will follow you back. You help each other build fan bases. An I-scratch-your-back-you-scratch-mine kinda thing. Building a following has never been easier.
Examples of Writers Using Twitter Effectively
- JK Rowling: Rowling does it best when she’s roasting trolls both at Hogwarts and online.
- Stephen King: Stephen’s tweets normally have been promotional and friendly in nature. He does like to make political statements here as well. Many of which have garnered him a much larger following.
- Jodi Picoult: She spends her Twitter time taking down nasty Internet trolls and defending those who are discriminated against in society.
- Rick Riordan: When not promoting his work, Rick uses Twitter for other means. By reading through Rick’s Twitter feed, you will find that he is a huge fan of self-deprecating humor and the latest in science and tech.
- Dave Chesson: I spend my Twitter time promoting not only my own posts, but those who are really making great contributions to our line of work.
Extra Resources to Help Get You Started on Twitter for Authors
For those of you ready to jump into the fast-paced world of Twitter, take a look at these additional resources to help you on your way:
- The Do's and Don'ts of Hashtags: In this Boston Digital's entry, you will find some great rules concerning Twitter hashtags.
- How to Get Noticed on Twitter- 15 Tips for Writers: Here you will find out 15 creative ways you can get more recognition on Twitter.
- No Excuses! Why and How Writers Should Embrace Twitter: Just because Twitter offers limited characters doesn’t mean that the possibilities aren’t endless. Learn why you should make Twitter a part of your author brand.
- 8 Twitter Resources for Authors: This article gives you a great list of resources to help you maximize your Twitter potential.
Besides an author bio, what’s one of the best ways to give your readers a glimpse into your life?
Instagram is very different than the previous two social media platforms. Its biggest focus is on the picture or photo posted. Now, you may be wondering…
“Who the heck just looks at the pictures?”
The younger generation for starters. An insanely large number of them. Writers looking to attract the youngsters' attention does not need to look any further than Instagram.
There are many authors on Instagram posting exciting and engaging content via pictures and stories. Creative pictures of their work or simple quotes are just a part of them. Many Instagram authors take wonderful photos of their inspirations in order to show their followers a peek into how the writing gets done. For instance, if you wrote a poem about a gnarled old tree, it would be cool to see a picture of that 150-year-old live oak that you drew inspiration from.
Don’t let Instagram’s artistic nature fool you. This may be one of the best social media platforms to promote on or get book reviews from Bookstagrammers (#bookstagram). Instagram is perfect for setting up giveaways and promotions! There is a caveat to this, however. Just like Amazon and Amazon Affiliates, there are some simple rules that must be followed. Make sure you comply so you can run a successful promo.
Examples of Authors Using Instagram Effectively
- Rupi Kaur: If you are a lover of poetry, you should definitely follow Rupi. She posts visually artistic poetry along with illustrations from her collections.
- R.M. Drake: Drake is another Instagram poet. Here he posted excerpts from his work. Great for poetry on the go.
- Susan Dennard: Susan utilizes the Instagram Stories feature. She gives you some super intense and super helpful tips on how you can become a better writer.
- John Krakauer: This investigative adventure writer’s handle is @krakauernotwriting… and that’s exactly what he’s not doing on his IG feed. But check out all the awesome adventures his life takes him for a behind-the-scenes look.
- Tahereh Mafi: She spends her life traveling the world and living life to its fullest! When she isn’t writing, of course…
Extra Resources to Help Get You Started Using Instagram for Authors
- 10 Instagram Tips for Writers: Another Jane Friedman article. This time she breaks down 10 key points for utilizing Instagram.
- How to Use Instagram As An Author Plus 10 Ways to Grow Your Account Organically: Learn what Instagram is and how it has made a difference for authors from Joanna Penn. She also offers guidelines on posting times. You don’t want to miss this one.
- How I Use Instagram to Help My Freelance Writing and Reporting: Check this article out for some great tips on using Instagram to build your network as a freelance writer.
- How Authors Can Build a Solid Instagram Following in 10 Minutes a Day: If you are having troubles with properly maximizing your time with social media, then this is the post for you.
Goodreads is a social media platform designed specifically for writers. It exists for the sole purpose of connecting authors and their readers. Pretty neat, huh?
One of the best features of Goodreads is how you actually register for the site. Instead of business and personal pages like Facebook, you have reader and author options available. Each option has its own special abilities.
Most people on Goodreads actually join as readers not authors. When registering as a reader, you list all the books you have read then rank and review them using a 5-star system. When that’s done, you are able to then share that list with the public and your friends. This system can help deliver direct exposure for new and budding authors.
Word to the Wise: When updating the reviews on your Goodreads page, be sure to keep your Goodreads reviews and your Amazon reviews separate! Even though Amazon owns Goodreads, that does not mean their respective review mechanics are compatible. Crossing streams could cause for a nasty letter from Amazon or getting banned altogether. It is permissible to ask your readers to review your book on both Goodreads and Amazon individually to avoid any possible confusion. Here's a video about the right way to create your Goodreads Author account to run into fewer review issues on Amazon.
When signing up for the Goodreads Author Program, you are able to take full advantage of some neat features unavailable to readers. For example, you can utilize Goodreads advertising tools. At $0.15 per click, you can control targeted adverts to your readership or another author's. Ruthless. Goodreads also has marketing tools to help you set up book giveaways and other sweet promos.
Your Goodreads ranking can also help you determine how well your book will do on Amazon! In a combined study (Northwestern University, Microsoft Research India, and the Indian Institute for Technology Karagphur), Goodreads rankings and reviews have a direct correlation on whether your book can become an Amazon Best Seller. For all you science and math nerds out there (myself definitely included), check it out here!Reading Status on Goodreads better predicts future best seller status than reviews and ratings? This might change your book marketingClick To Tweet
Examples of Authors Using Goodreads Efficiently
- James Patterson: Patterson has a well put together page. I like that he has done a few book reviews for lesser-known Goodreads authors and answers community questions.
- Dan Brown: Dan’s Goodreads page is another great one. He makes use of the polling feature to engage his readers and has answered many fan questions.
- Nicholas Sparks: For those of you in the Romance genre, Sparks is a must-follow. Get the scoop on all his works and his recent updates.
- John Grisham: As the King of Legal Thrillers, John has a very organized Goodreads page.
- Khaled Hosseini: Hosseini’s answered questions and blog posts are the highlight of this page. Check out his life experiences and how they have affected his writing.
Extra Resources to Help Get You Started on Goodreads for Authors
- The Ultimate Guide to Goodreads for Authors: The complete Kindlepreneur guide on how authors can best utilize Goodreads from A to Z
- 8 Ways Authors Can Use Goodreads to Promote Their Book: Check out this post to find 8 ways that you can utilize Goodreads to get your work out there.
- Goodreads Tips for Indie Authors: Ever wonder just how you can get more involved on Goodreads as an indie author? Look no further.
- Are You Under-Utilizing Goodreads? Tips for Readers and Writers: Goodreads is much more than a book review site. Check this article out to find 10 underused features that can set you apart from the rest.
The most business-minded of the social media platforms is Pinterest. It is a buyer and seller’s dream. This is true for a slew of reasons. Perhaps though, the biggest reason for this is the way traffic comes in. Take a look at your Twitter and Facebook accounts. Ever notice when you get the most traffic?
When you share something exciting and engaging is when the magic happens. Shorts bursts that build up into one large collective.
Pinterest, on the other hand, is different. After posting (or creating pins as per the platform), pins tend to bring in steady traffic. Now, there may not be the large initial boom the other platforms may have. But that’s ok. Remember slow and steady wins the race? As far as traffic goes, Pinterest has the potential to dwarf the numbers put up by Facebook or Twitter.
Pinterest is also a great “un-social” social media platform. Unlike Facebook or Twitter, you don’t need to actively pursue social engagement. People don’t really care if you reply or talk to them on Pinterest. Just set it and forget it. You can also post many pins at once and its algorithm will space them out as not to flood a reader’s board.
Remember when I said that Pinterest is a buyer and seller’s platform? It’s true. Pinterest now has Product Pins that will redirect readers or those who click your pin directly to the checkout page on your retail site.
Examples of Writer Using Pinterest Effectively
- Jody Hedlund: She has created an individual Pinterest board for all of her books. This can help you see how Jody envisioned her stories so you can see where she draws inspiration from.
- Katie Ganshert: Looking for great Christian Fiction? Check out Katie’s Pinterest. She has created a board full of short stories she wrote. All of these are free of charge.
- Sylvia Day: Silvia dedicates her Pinterest to her fans! She has compiled a trove of photos sent in by fans of them with her books.
- Beth Revis: Beth has created a board all about fan art her readers have sent in. Want to get featured? Just follow her instructions given.
- Dave Chesson: I like to use my Pinterest as a library full of useful knowledge. I have broken down my boards by topic ranging from book marketing to self-publishing to book cover design.
Extra Resources to Help Get You Started on Pinterest for Authors
- 34 Strategic Ways You Can Use Pinterest to Market Your Book and Your Author Brand: This is one of the most detailed resources available for authors on Pinterest. Follow step-by-step instructions on creating a legitimate presence on Pinterest for writing.
- How Writers can Use Pinterest: This article gives advice on the creation of Pinterest Boards. What should you create and how you should do it.
- What’s New to Pinterest for Writers?: Pinterest has been around for a while now. Check out some of the latest features and upgrades to come out for the platform.
- 20 Inspiring Pinterest Boards for Writers: Need more inspiration? Check out some of these Pinterest boards and get motivated!
Want to see the different social media platforms and look at the examples listed in today's article? Then check out my video below:
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How Many Social Media Platforms Should You Pick
My personal feeling on this is that an author should really only choose one platform and drive it hard. I know everyone tries to be everywhere, but let’s face it…we don’t have time for that. We’ve got to write a book, publish, and market. Can we seriously do a great job managing multiple accounts in multiple platforms?
Realistically…no. As a matter of fact, this is the number one reason many writers fail to conquer social media.When you try to target everyone everywhere you really connect with no one. Narrow your target audience and social media platform. That's where the magic happens.Click To Tweet
Take Kindlepreneur for example. I spend most of my social media resources on Facebook. Doing so has allowed me to create a wonderful avenue in which I can directly communicate with my followers and clients. Not only that, I am now receiving a greater outreach than if I were to try and do too many things at once. Take a lesson from history. Fighting a war on two fronts produces a much lower chance of success.
This is why I think your time is better spent doing only one. And doing that one well. You’ll get much more out of it that way.
I bet you’re thinking, “Dave, this is all fine and dandy, but… ain’t nobody got time for dat! Can’t I just pay somebody to do this for me?”
Sure you can. But do you really know what you’re paying for? Or how do these paid advertisements work? Smart authors know the benefits of doing their homework. And thankfully, I know just the spot to get fully acquainted with paid advertisement.
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This course has the ability to turn you from a naive social media advertiser to a confident and fully developed social media book marketer. Get into Ads for Authors and get your books read by more readers.
Social Media for Writers Summary
To wrap things up, we discussed many of the major social media platforms used by authors today and their benefits. Each platform definitely has its own pros and cons. Be sure to really take a look into which platform is right for you before committing.
Remember, unless you have the resources available… DO NOT STRETCH YOURSELF TOO THIN! Instead, pick one social media and dig in.
Take the time to understand and learn the ins and outs of your chosen platform, then reap the many rewards.