By Maddy Reda, Publicity Associate
In a world dominated by social media posts and likes, the concept of an author’s work spreading via “word of mouth” now seems to take place almost entirely online. Authors and readers are more connected to each other now than ever before–a feat both incredibly daunting and incredibly exciting!
Writing, once a solitary, isolated career path, now has the potential to bring vast communities of readers and writers together. You don’t have to “know a guy” in order to be visible or get book deals anymore; all you have to do is sell the wonderful writer that is YOU!
A viral tweet, relatable TikTok, or even the discovery of an obscure fandom or genre has been known to take a new author’s book to the top of the Bestseller list in the blink of an eye. A social media community is also a great way for authors to uplift each other, share advice and give great writing tips. If posting on social media seems daunting, here’s how to establish yourself in the world of literature.
1. Join social media platforms
For those of us who didn’t come of age during the birth of Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter, it seems like every day generates a new, fleeting social media platform.
While it can be easy to feel daunted or intimidated by setting up a new profile that will rival authors with hundreds of thousands of followers (and sometimes more) it’s important to put yourself out there. How can people find your book if they can’t find you? Establishing who you are, what you do and what you enjoy will help readers relate to you and determine if your book is something they’d like to add to their Goodreads reading list.
Humanizing the person behind your work makes people want to support you and all your future endeavors. Think carefully of the genre (or genres) you want to dabble in, and build your “brand” accordingly.
2. Connect with other authors
On the surface, the most visible relationships on social media are between fans and authors–but writing communities are alive and well just below the surface, and they are all yours to join! Many new authors do “book boosts” where they pitch their new work in progress in a brief tweet or Instagram post, and allow it to circulate amongst other writers. New writers are all struggling to land deals and literary agents, and with such a solitary profession, it can be cathartic and fun to connect with people as passionate as you are about the world of literature.
3. Attract “the right” attention
While using social media can garner you readers and foster connections with other writers, it can also put you on the radar of a wide variety of publishing houses or literary agents. Because people can look up posts via keyword or hashtag, even the most obscure book idea can pop up in an agent’s feed–and maybe they happen to be hungry for what you have to offer!
4. Don’t forget LinkedIn!
Fun and trendy social media platforms aren’t the only way to advocate for yourself and put yourself out there. Job websites that are more career and network-oriented like Indeed and LinkedIn are good ways to make personal connections with literary agents, publicity associates and “must-know” people in the publishing industry. Furthermore, these job websites are a great place to store your portfolio, whether it be short stories, literary magazine articles, newspaper bylines and more.
5. Be active, stay active
There is nothing more disappointing than wanting to learn more about an author I like, only to find that they haven’t posted or tweeted anything in over a year. I like to know what my “favorites” are doing with their time, both behind the keyboard and in their daily lives. Now that you have set up your social media accounts, it is important to make sure you don’t leave your followers high and dry. Readers want something to look forward to, and agents want to see that you are continuing to develop your brand, following and skillset.
Social media is a rapidly-changing ocean of culture, information and celebration. Don’t be shy and take a dive!