Writing Wednesdays: Why social media is crucial to your author profile

Social media is so important, especially when it comes to promoting yourself as an author. In this post, I talk about why.

Pretty much everyone is online now. And I’d say that being online is pretty important for the bookish community right now, with everything from booktube to authors doing blog tours to #ukyachat on Twitter.

Writing can be a very solitary activity, which is one of the main reasons why I think authors and writers are so active on social media. You can share a TV you like with friends, or a good meal with family, but it can be hard to share writing with people who don’t write.

Lots of you know I started out on Wattpad and I rave about how supportive the community there is – but the same can be said for the bookish community on Twitter and across social media. (I mention Twitter specifically simply because it’s my go-to, but everyone will have a preference.)

Need ideas for a character’s name? Need a little research, like ‘Would you hyphenate this word?’ or ‘Do kids still watch this TV show?’ Maybe you want to vent about the struggles of editing, or share the joy of finishing your book. Take to social media. Follow other writers (especially those in your genre!), book bloggers, etc. You’ll find an enthusiastic community to jump into.

Another reason why social media is so important to your author profile is that it’s a way of talking to readers – and gaining new ones.

You might also like this post on the pros and cons of sharing your work online.

Let’s break this one into two parts. Firstly, your existing readers. It doesn’t matter if you publish online, self-publish, or are traditionally published. If you’ve shared your work somewhere, you’ll have readers. Readers who may well want to message you to say they loved your book or want to see if you’ve written anything else.

Quick tip: try to make your username something obvious. For instance, my username on Wattpad was Reekles, so when I published, I published under ‘Beth Reekles’ so my readers could recognise me. My Twitter handle is @Reekles, my Facebook page is Reekles. My blog and Instagram are authorbethreekles, though, because ‘reekles’ was taken. But that’s as opposed to using my real name, Bethan Reeks. My readers are looking for Beth Reekles, not Bethan Reeks. It just makes it easier for the readers.

Being on social media is a great way to expand your audience, too. I’ve found dozens of new authors and books through Twitter and Instagram: if a writer has a new book out, runs a giveaway, follows me, or is retweeted by something I do follow. It might surprise you, and you’ve certainly got nothing to lose by it.

I can understand if you’re wary of using social media to support yourself as a writer. ‘But people won’t follow me if my whole feed is my own shameless self-promotion,’ I hear you say. And I get it. There’s nothing wrong with self-promotion, but talk about other things too. Talk about the book you’re reading, or respond to other people; retweet things you’re interested in. You don’t have to be 100% about Your Book. That can just be your main focus.

And I know a lot of writers who are wary of using social media because they want to use it just for their friends. In this case, I’d recommend you create a separate profile for your writing. Especially if you use a penname. I have my Facebook profile, for instance, but only add my friends and people I know on Facebook. I have a separate Facebook page for my writing, though.

You have to figure out what works best for you, but it’s definitely worthwhile to promote your books and support your author profile by using social media. Both in terms of networking with other writers and talking to your readers.

For those of you who aren’t sure about using social media as a writer, or at all, I’m starting a new series called Social Media for Writers. You can find out more about it here, or look out for posts at this link on my blog.

And, as usual, feel free to message me with any questions, and follow me on Twitter @Reekles for more.

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