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2016 lesson 4: regular posting to social media makes a HUGE difference.

Social Media for Writers: Which Platforms You Need to be on, Based on What You Write

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.

Want to improve your writer brand on social media but don't know where to start? This guide on social media for writers is just what you need.

Fiction

Facebook

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.

While the average post on a Facebook page will only be seen by 2% of your followers, authors such as J.A.Huss have talked of their success using Facebook groups.

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.

Instagram

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

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.

Goodreads

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.

Poetry

Instagram

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A photo posted by rupi kaur (@rupikaur_) on

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.

Tumblr

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

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.

Screenwriting

Twitter

Twitter is a great way to show your knowledge and share information about your works in progress.

Screenwriters such as Scott Myers and Bitter Script Reader use Twitter to offer commentaries on recent films and scripts, as well as the state of Hollywood.

Nonfiction

Google+

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.

Twitter

Hashtags such as #SundayBlogShare and #wwwblogs can help to boost the reach of your blog posts and introduce you to people with similar interests.

YouTube

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.

LinkedIn

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

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!

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ABOUT
Kristina Adams

Kristina Adams is an author of fiction and nonfiction, writing and productivity blogger, and occasional poet. She has a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Derby and an MA in Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University. When she's not writing she's reading, baking, or finding other ways to destroy the kitchen.

Her latest book, Productivity for Writers, is out now.

9 Comments

  • 5th March, 2018 at 14:43
    Susanna

    What about using Facebook for Non-Fiction? Is it a waste of time? And how would I use Goodreads as a social platform? (Sorry, totally stupid with the technology…)

    REPLY
    • 5th March, 2018 at 21:17

      I wouldn’t say it’s a waste of time, but I would say that it depends on how you use it. It’s harder than ever to get seen on Facebook, so you really need to do something that stands out and resonates with your audience. If you like creating videos, it can still be great, but if you’re camera shy it’s going to be harder than ever to get noticed.

      Goodreads is quite a tough one, and probably better for fiction. There are groups for just about everything imaginable on there, and they’re really great for networking. If you can befriend people on there who write in a similar area to you, you can promote each other’s content, too. Goodreads has become a lot like Facebook in that it’s very saturated and very hard to stand out. Giveaways can be a good way to get new followers, but some people enter them without really paying attention to what they’re signing up for (they just see a free book), so the quality can be quite low.

      Overall it really depends on where you get the best quality leads from, and where you enjoy the most. There’s no point spending ages on a platform that you don’t enjoy and that doesn’t bring anyone to your books/content.

      Hope that helps!

      REPLY
  • 8th April, 2018 at 08:41
    araiyama

    If ones aim is not to be published but still get an audience to comment on your work online Wattpad is recommendable.
    A disadvantage is that to make your book known networking is a must.

    REPLY
  • […] Each social media platform has its own community and “specialization” too. Here’s a nifty social media for writers guide from Writer’s Cookbook that I […]

    REPLY
  • 17th August, 2018 at 19:07
    CDB

    Facebook — stay clear, hacked back in 2009, lost account complete nightmare;
    Tumblr is for kids 16 and under not my target audience. A big waste of time.
    LinkIn is for professional workers and as Authors are not considered professionals another waste of time. You get companies following wanting you to promote their company in your country. Annoying!
    GoodReads — if you’re not on Amazon don’t bother since 2013 it belongs to them they ignore authors if not available on Kindle.
    Instagram — people there click on pretty pictures, they don’t read the stuff below and don’t follow links.
    Anchor, that’s new, might try that.
    YouTube — after 4 years of posting two ebook videos no likes other than 6 and about 250 views total absolutely no sales, no ad revenues either too low for views/subscribers
    Twitter for now, but whenever I post everything is drowned by retweets from other authors who follow thinking I’ll review their books for them for free.

    Social Media is very Anti-Social. Trolls and people who tell you to get lost, ridicule yourself and your work. No body talks anything good. Book reviewers get the tally of followers and likes but humble authors get ignored completely.

    REPLY
  • 16th November, 2018 at 16:39
    SpotifyThrowbacks.com

    My views in regards to social media has changed. After years of blogging, and being on social media such as Facebook, I no longer believe they are effective for the small time blogger or writer. People on Facebook are more interested in funny pictures and memes; things they can quickly thumbs up. People on Facebook DO NOT READ, and they’re not interested in reading. Anything more than a thumbs up, is just too much work for Facebook users. I’ve been proven write from time and time again. I think writers are better off on Quora and Medium. At least their users actually read!!!!

    REPLY
    • 17th November, 2018 at 10:20

      It’s true that it’s hard to get people to read things on Facebook, but it depends what your aim with social media is. If your aim is to sell books first and foremost, then no, it won’t work. If your aim is to build a community and interact with your readers, then it will. People ignore salesy posts and the algorithm kills them anyway. If you continually provide value, though, your readers will keep coming back to you.

      I did a Facebook Live to promote the launch of Return to New York, and it got me several sales for an hour’s work. Some of those were new readers, too. The focus of the video was on my writing process, and why I write about what I do. People found that interesting and from that went on to read my fiction and nonfiction.

      Before people want to buy from you, they have to know, like, and trust you first. The only way they’ll learn to know, like, and trust you is if you offer them something of value without any ulterior motives or asking them to part with their money. That builds brand loyalty, and from there, they’ll be willing to buy from you.

      REPLY

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