Best Practices: A Social Media Guide for Authors

For authors, social media is a wonderful place to share with friends, family, the writing community, and the world at large how fun and stressful the publishing journey can be. But if you’ve never used social media to promote yourself or your book, it can be hard to know how to get started. This blog post won’t teach you how to use different social media platforms (as there are plenty of tutorials online), but Ooligan Press is currently working on ways to help our authors start their social media journey—or at least help them start looking forward to it. While social media isn’t a prerequisite for authors, it’s helpful for those marketing your book to know that you have a following.

The Importance of Platform
There are so many social media platforms that you could explore. You don’t have to be great at all of them. Just like writing, social media is an extension of storytelling, and where you tell that story has a lot to do with how people will interact with it. If you are an author who loves to talk about books, consider creating BookTube videos or podcasts. If you are more visual, try Pinterest or Instagram. If you like to make people laugh, TikTok is quite popular these days. If you just like to write, blogging and platforms like Facebook and Twitter are solid. Spend some time experimenting with each platform.

Engagement and Relationship over Promotion
While social media is used as an extension of marketing, no one likes to be marketed to. See social media as an extension of your story, whether that story is your personal brand or your book. The truth about social media is that it is not too different from actual relationships. The sheer amount of followers isn’t everything: it’s your level of dedication and interaction that produces hits. Get creative with it and don’t be afraid to be yourself. Be authentic. Readers love hearing anything about their favorite—for example, how many cups of coffee or tea it took for you to finish rewriting a particular section. More often than not, I will check out an author’s book if I’ve gotten to interact with them on social media over something unrelated to the book that is simply relatable. Author recognition and book-title awareness are just as effective as targeted marketing, if not more so.

Mindful Sharing
The editing process in itself can be an emotionally and mentally challenging experience. Editors may seem like an enemy whose sole goal is to destroy the work—or “book baby,” as we like to say here at Ooligan—that you’ve put so much time, heart, and energy into. But the truth is that editors are just trying to make sure that your book is the best it can be so that it will sell, which is mutually beneficial.

Be open about your successes and struggles, but know that any rude or derogatory comments toward your editor and publisher may unintentionally backfire on you. Readers may not buy your book if they feel you are not satisfied with how the book turned out. It also sends a negative message to future agents, editors, or publishers you may work with. You should always stop and think before venting your frustrations online.

While we have plenty of helpful and insightful posts on the Ooligan blog, here are a few to help you start thinking about your social media journey:

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