Socially Acceptable Grandstanding: Talking About Your Writing On Social Media

  • Be Yourself. Folks want to engage with people who are authentic, honest, and passionate, while you want to inform folks about your books. These two goals are not mutually exclusive, especially if you can craft posts about where your passions and their interests intersect. For example, if you write sci-fi, share exciting new space-probe pictures of the cosmos. If you write historical novels, share interesting tidbits you’ve discovered while researching. If you write diet books, repost or retweet heartwarming success stories. These posts will attract folks with similar interests who may be willing to join your tribe — and buy your books.
  • Share Challenges as Well as Successes. Finishing a new book or making a sale to a big publisher is fabulous news, but you’ll seem more approachable if you also share your work struggles, such as brainstorming a new title, finishing a difficult chapter, or meeting your daily word count goal. Drawn into the narrative, people will follow your progress in the hopes of a happy ending.
  • Be Generous. It’s human nature to have warm-fuzzy feelings for people who are selfless. Offering up a book giveaway, for no more reason other than it’s Tuesday, is a great way to draw interested readers to your backlist. Hosting contests with books or related swag as prizes may attract new friends and followers. Engage your followers in your writing process by giving them a chance to name a secondary character, a pet, or even a town or storefront in your next book. Giving your followers a heads-up about a freebie offer for another author’s book will show your willingness to spread the love.
  • Be Positive. The old adage about avoiding discussions about sex, politics, or religion in social situations goes double for social media — except, of course, if you’re writing about sex, politics, or religion. There’s enough negativity in the news, so friends and followers may flee if your page becomes too polarized. Generally, strike a positive tone, even when discussing challenges. And never, ever engage an Internet troll.
  • Get A Cat. Nothing draws more attention than cats or dogs, with recipes coming in a close third. Posts about your life, whether about pets, food, or family, can be surprisingly intriguing. They let curious potential friends and followers see that you’re just like them — except you also write books. But be careful about oversharing, for the safety of both yourself and your family.
  • Always Respond. Make sure to respond to anyone who has taken the time to comment on one of your posts, even if it’s just a “thanks so much!” or an “aww, you made my day!” If the response allows it, ask a question to engage them further. Developing a dialogue helps cement the bonds of trust and friendship for when the time comes to harness the power of your network to build a newsletter list or sales.
  • Choose Your Timing Wisely. If you’ve used the above techniques to develop a trusting relationship with your growing list of followers, they’ll be less likely to balk when you ask for a favor — or put up the occasional sales-oriented post. Pave the way by cluing them in about an upcoming launch. Tease them with an exclusive book cover reveal or an excerpt. When you’ve got a big launch or a big sale going on, you can post your sales pitch and follow up with humble thanks. If you’ve done it right, your followers will be as excited as you are to watch your book climb the charts.

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Writer’s Relief

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Author’s Submission Service Est. 1994. We help authors reach their publishing goals with targeted submissions to literary agents and editors.