Social Media: An Approach for Authors

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Writers hear all the time about the need for author platform. If you don’t know what I mean by platform, here’s some info to get you started: Author Platform and Brand – Build Them Now! So we make websites, join the social media sites…and then? Just what do we do with these newfound ways of reaching our readers?

Writing blogs can come easily enough (we are writers, after all) but what should we post on social media? Content creation can be difficult and feel overwhelming. But not to worry–here are some tips to get you started:

1. Focus Your Energy

If you’re unsure of how you’re going to keep up with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, etc, let me give some advice: focus on one. Sure, it’s nice to have many outlets, but social media management is a full-time job title. You are better served focusing your time and energy on engaging on one social media site. Each has different advantages, so find the one that makes you comfortable.

Once you settle on a social media site to focus your efforts, work on learning some social media strategies. There are experts for each different type of social media site who offer courses to get you up to speed. And don’t forget to utilize the VAST resources available for free on the internet and on YouTube.

2. Authentic Engagement is Key

It will take consistent work to build a reader following on social media. It may be slow. But, hey, writers are used to slow. The publishing world can move at glacial speed and good things take time to build.

Many brands (and writers are brands) get a bit anxious about getting lots of followers. In their hurry to do so, they turn to services that help them buy followers or participate in things like giveaways/follow loops to get followers. Don’t do this!

Numbers are important to exposure, yes. But numbers won’t matter if the fan base you’ve created are a bunch of bots or people who aren’t interested. You’re going to want to attract potential readers or fans, not just any followers. In order to do so, you need to interact with your followers on your social media page. Authentic engagement with your followers will build your numbers and create true fans.

3. Using Social Media to Pique Interest

So how are some ways you can authentically engage your followers? Here are some ideas:

  • Behind-the-scenes looks at your writing: Give your readers snippets of lines from works in progress (Diana Gabaldon has been doing this daily for years!). Tease new ideas for novels. Ask questions about ideas you’re considering. Write about your writing stages (Stephanie Dray posts editorial notes on Instagram, for example). The ideas for posting about your writing are endless.
  • Get followers excited about upcoming works: Do cover reveals. Host giveaways of advanced copies. Videotape live unboxings of your hard-copy novels. Post written or audiobook excerpts. Share upcoming events or readings.
  • Give fans access and attention: Host Q&A sessions about your novels. Post fan art. Do shout-outs for followers who make kind gestures. Answer frequently asked questions.
  • Pay it forward: Participate in charity events. Support fellow writers and authors. Show off the works of those who contribute to you creatively.
  • Make it personal: Post personal pictures. Share your favorites. Put pet pictures up. Give an insider’s view to your work space. Find inspirational quotes.

The ideas for what you can post on your social media page are endless, actually. Be yourself, make the effort, and find occasional ways to think outside the box. One by one, you’ll gain readers who are rooting for you and, most importantly, interested in your work.

Do you have a topic you would like us to cover? Let us know about your suggestion. 

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About Author

Annabelle McCormack is a writer and photographer from Baltimore, Maryland. When she's not busy writing, she's chasing around her four kids and enjoying life in the country. To follow her journey, check out @annabellemccormack on Instagram, where she posts regularly about her adventures.

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