Having a web presence is essential for all writers in the twenty-first century.
Whether you write fiction, poetry, scripts, nonfiction or all of the above, social media can help to boost your audience.
Having an already-established audience makes agents and publishers more likely to pick up your work because you’ve already got a guaranteed audience to sell your books to. It’s a tough market out there, and the more you can do to prove to agents and publishers that you already have people who will buy your books, the more interested they’ll be.
If you write nonfiction, having a presence means you don’t have to reintroduce yourself to editors each time you contact them. Staying in touch with them using social media keeps you in their consciousness, making them more likely to think of you when the opportunity for a piece in your specialist area comes about.
It also gives readers somewhere to find out more information about you and your other work, wherever it’s published.
Even if you haven’t finished your work in progress yet, there’s no excuse for not starting to build your profile now. The sooner you start, the bigger your audience will be by the time your work is ready.
It’s best to focus your time on one or two. The more thinly you spread yourself, the less time you have to spend on each platform, and the harder it is to increase your following.
Below is a guide on which social media platforms are best suited to you and what you write.
Facebook has the largest audience of any social media site. That’s a lot of potential book buyers, but also a lot of noise that potential book buyers need to drown out in order to find you.
Even if you don’t use Facebook Ads—which you’ll likely need to do at some point—having Facebook is a great way to connect with authors.
Facebook groups allow you to create a group of engaged fans who are interested in you and your books, but who eventually turn into a network of friends.
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If you take great photos, Instagram is perfect for catching your readers’ attention. It has one of the highest engagement rates out there and with hashtags like #bookstagram, it’s easy to find like-minded people.
YouTube is one of the biggest search engines in the world. Not only that, but videos are on the rise. They’re the best way to catch someone’s attention.
But what can an author do with a YouTube channel?
The possibilities are endless: you could do Q&As, live book launches, book trailers, interviews with other authors, and more.
Romance author Tracy Bloom does a great job of using YouTube to market her books using book trailers.
If your book is on Amazon, it will appear on Goodreads eventually. It’s best to claim your book on Goodreads so that you have control over your author profile, your books’ descriptions, and can respond to comments and reviews.
You can also use Goodreads to track what you’re reading and books you want to read.
Poets like Rupi Kaur built their following on Instagram and have gone on to have collections published.
Fans of Instagram poetry like their poetry short, snappy, and heartfelt. If you write long prose poetry or use complicated metaphors, Instagram is probably not the best place to post your poetry.
While Tumblr isn’t the most popular social media site out there, it’s easy for posts to go viral. People can share and comment on other people’s posts. Much of what’s shared centres around particular fandoms, but artists such as Taylor Swift are also fans. Coca-Cola also do a good job of using it.
Anchor is fairly new on to the scene, but if you like to read your poetry aloud and don’t like your face on camera, it’s perfect.
Anchor is purely for voice recordings—there’s no written reactions here.
Twitter is a great way to show your knowledge and share information about your works in progress.
Google+ gets a bad reputation, but if you use it right, it can have a great ROI.
Groups on Google+ are called Communities, and these Communities—if you find the right ones—can link you up with like-minded people who are interested in what you have to say.
Do you specialise in a particular topic? Why not create a tutorial on said topic?
Creating tutorials establishes you as an expert on a particular topic. This then helps to increase your audience’s trust and faith in you. The more you increase this, the more likely they are to share your content to their friends and family.
Out of all of the social media sites, LinkedIn is the best for networking. It’s aimed at people who want to improve their professional skills and network with people in the same industry.
You can meet likeminded people in LinkedIn groups and trade tips and advice on your craft.
Medium is a blogging platform that you can use either instead of a self-hosted blog, or alongside one. If you repost something from your blog, make sure to change it slightly, mention that it’s a repost, and link to where you found it originally so that you don’t affect your site’s SEO.
Over to You
What social media sites have you had success with? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments below!