Claim Your Social Media Accounts Already

For Your Book’s Sake, Just Do It

A couple of days back, I encountered a client who is an aspiring writer looking to self-publish his book. And the conversation soon turned to social media strategies for authors. The most interesting bit was when I asked him, “So, text me your Facebook page or Twitter account.”

And he just looked back at me with a confused expression.

“Social media accounts? But I’m not published. What would I even post?”

This was perfect. It got me to poll a writers’ group on Facebook, and the answers were completely unexpected. A whopping 49% of aspiring writers said that they hadn’t set up their Author accounts. The remaining 51% had, and had little or no idea of how to leverage social media to their advantage. Almost 75% were only on Facebook and not on any other platform. Apart from participating in “Like for Likes” or Instagram pods, they’ve generated very little organic traffic, engagement or sales through their accounts.

I don’t actually have to tell you what social media marketing does for sales and how it has become one of the primary channels for promoting any product. And if you’re an author, even one that’s not published, you can easily use social media to build yourself a platform of readers who like your work. That way you’ll have an audience waiting to buy your book when you do publish.

The biggest question however, is, “My book is not out yet. What do I post?”

5 Things to Post on Your Author Pages When You’re Just Starting Out:

1. Small excerpts of your work

Excerpts are like tiny nuggets that give people a taste of your style and stories. It can range anywhere from a couple of sentences to a 100-word excerpt. It could be part of your work-in-progress novel, or could be a whole story by itself.

Use a free online design site like www.canva.com or www.picmonkey.com to design a pre-made Facebook post image, add your excerpt and appropriate royalty-free artwork (or your own artwork), and post it to your page. Use not more than 1–3 hashtags, if at all, on Facebook. Instagram will allow 30 hashtags.

For eg., Rupi Kaur, irrespective of how controversial her work is, does a brilliant job of having a stylish curated feed which alternated between excerpts and staged shots that her followers love.

Rupi Kaur’s feed

Posting full poems or chapters or stories, if any, at this stage, is not advisable. If you’re planning on submitting your work to literary journals, then full posts on Facebook will be counted as “published” pieces. Remember that most literary journals will consider this as “previously published” work and will reject your submission even before they look through it.

Top Tip: Research your hashtags for Instagram. A mix of lesser knows tags and the popular ones will give you more exposure than all popular tags.

2. Blog posts

If you have a blog where you put up short stories in, or if you blog about your journey as a new writer, navigating through the steps of character development, plot structure, story arcs, sub-plots and so on, ensure you regularly post links to your Author Page. If you’re using www.wordpress.com or www.squarespace.com as your blogging platform, it will be easy for you to automate the posting, where the platform can post your link directly to your Social Media pages as soon as you publish it. You could also get a domain name and cheap hosting and start a self-hosted blog.

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3. Posts from other blogs

Seriously, at this stage, I’m pretty sure other awesome bloggers have more content than you do on your blog. So don’t stop at posting just your own blog posts. Post links to resources from around the internet, resources that you have found to be useful. Famous author interviews, blog posts from editors or on self-editing your work, marketing tips from publishers and other writers, story structure templates from writing coaches, list of illustrators and book cover designers who are affordable, and so on. The idea is to have a steady stream of fresh material posted to your page, so your readers and fellow authors keep coming back.

For eg., K.M. Weiland’s feed is a chock-a-block of writing advice from herself and from around the internet.

4. Status updates

Funny, quippy, witty or just an inspirational quote — a one or two-liner about something that’s relateable in a writer’s life or a work update, will let your followers know what it’s like being you. For Instagram, you could also post clips from your personal life. What it’s like writing with kids running around? How are you celebrating your holidays? Are you travelling? Writing on the train or the plane? Give your followers snippets of what it’s like being a writer in your world.

For eg., look at how Glennon Doyle, the author of Love Warrior and Carry On Warrior uses her Instagram. Or Jen Pastiloff’s feed, and how she shows what’s her writing life like.

Jen Pastiloff

5. Curated finds

Sounds fancy, does it? It isn’t. Curated finds are similar to posting other people’s blog posts, but they extend to the writing life, rather than just writing.

Post about something you found on Amazon — a brilliant journal for you to write in that you think other writers may find interesting. Or a coffee mug with a clever caption about writing on it. Or a quill feather pendant that you may have found on Etsy. Don’t go overboard. You don’t have to do this everyday. Just once in a while.

Post book reviews that you found informative, especially if you’re looking to buy that book. News on writing awards. Or a book cover that you found interesting.

Top Tip: The biggest mistake most people do, while maintaining fan pages and accounts, is that they think constant marketing is going to help. Lol, no. Bombarding your followers continuously with news on your book will make them unsubscribe or unfollow your account in a millisecond. Instead, follow the 20% rule. For every 4 posts out of 5, that you make, make the 5th one a promotional post about your book.


If you’re looking for even more actionable advice, Amrita’s guide for new authors, Let’s Sell Your First Book, on building an audience and selling more books, is now available for pre-order, in e-book format, on Amazon.

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