Social media have certainly helped revolutionize the way businesses, brands, and famous people outreach to their audience. When the internet was just formed the way we know and love it today, the only way an athlete, actor, musician or a writer could make a public statement was by posting it on their website. This was certainly regarded as a drawback since not everyone’s frequently checking on someone’s official website. Before that, the only way we could find out anything about our favorite writers was from official statements made in press conferences and interviews.
Social media have revolutionized this in a way that’s made it staggeringly easy to keep up with your favorite writer’s updates. It’s now so simple to check what someone’s working on, all you have to do is check their official profile on Facebook or Twitter. Writers, as much as other creators, have started using this to their advantage – gathering an audience and developing a more personal relationship with them via social media. Most writers post a lot of updates on their work and on their personal life, as well as comments on their previous work.
If you’re a writer and you’re looking for a way to connect with your audience, you might want to give social media a try. This cheaper, quicker, and more effective way of communication has attracted many big names in the writing business and it’s still prioritized before old-school ways of communicating with the audience. However, one should always be careful when it comes to internet interaction since everything that’s online will always stay online. Many celebrities, some even non-writers (most notably Azealia Banks), have completely ruined their reputations online, and thus ruined their careers, as well.
In this article, we’ll be exploring social media platforms used by writers to connect with their audiences and update them on their work. Let’s get started.
It’s not without reason that I’ve decided to list Twitter as the first social media platform in this article. Twitter is particularly interesting to writers because of its character limitations.
Posts on Twitter are limited to 280 characters per post (excluding photos and other media), meaning that whoever’s posting has limited freedom as to what they want to post. Writers particularly enjoy challenges and find wording their thoughts easy, so it’s only natural that they excel at this.
Right now, there aren’t a lot of platforms that are observed more carefully than Twitter (except for maybe Instagram). Everything that’s trending is presently discussed and updated on Twitter; be it the 2020 US Presidential Election or Paul Pogba’s new haircut, Twitter’s going to cover it. This platform has become an arena of exchange and looking at it from both a creative and a business standpoint – this can be a powerful tool if used correctly.
Twitter can be characterized as a fast-paced platform, one that uses limiting characters as a boost for creativity. Pitch your writing. Bring in, followers. That’s it.
Another absolutely important aspect of using Twitter is building a following. A lot of Twitter users follow an F4F (Follow-For-Follow) policy.
Twitter is famous for its feuds, as most celebrities use exclusively this platform for firing shots at other celebrities. It’s interesting that other platforms like Facebook and Instagram are relatively untouched in this field. Most writers follow this pattern in a similar way, often discrediting absolutely wild and unrealistic fan theories about their work.
A lot of famous writers use Twitter, and here are some of the most notable ones.
J.K. Rowling – the mastermind behind one of the greatest (if not the greatest) book sagas of all time, Harry Potter, has taken to social media enthusiastically, and she’s often caught in exchanges with her fans, as well. Rowling’s confirmed and denied various theories about Harry Potter on Twitter, as well as expressed her personal opinions and feelings. This has often led to blows with fans and media, as some opinions, Rowling’s expressed are considered controversial and wrong.
Stephen King – the master of horror himself is an active and a rather popular Twitter user. His content is mostly promotional and friendly, however, he’s known for making political statements, as well. This has often helped him develop an even larger following.
Rick Riordan – the creator of Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Rick Riordan, uses Twitter openly for both self-promotions and for updates on the newest tech, as well as self-deprecating humor.
Most writers use the 80/20 rule: 80% of their activity on Twitter is about tweeting, retweeting and liking tweets, as much as developing a real connection with their fanbase – the 20% is devoted to self-promotion.
A great advantage Twitter has when it comes to writing is the fact that it’s self-defined itself as a real writer and blogger network, meaning you can connect with anyone in the same business out there.
It’s crucial to connect with other people in your area of interest on Twitter, as much as it’s important to show your audience what you’re all about. #writerslife, #writerscommunity, and #amwriting are all good hashtags to add to your posts when writing.
Goodreads is a social media platform designed specifically for writers. Its sole purpose is connecting writers with their desired audience. You can register on it as either a writer or a reader and each option has its own options in interaction.
Most users on Goodreads are readers (obviously), as there are more readers than writers in the world. When registering you list the books you’ve read and the ratings you’d like to assign them, as well as following writers you like.
The process is different when registering as a writer, and you’re able to take full advantage of Goodreads’s Author Program. You can use Goodreads advertising tools, paying $0.15 per click – you can control targeted adverts to your audience. The site also has other tools you can use to organize giveaways and other kinds of promotions.
Your rating on Goodreads can help you determine and anticipate your book’s success on Amazon (the world’s leading book store, believe it or not). There was a study conducted by Northwestern University, Microsoft Research India, and the Indian Institute for Technology Karagphur. The study came to the conclusion that Goodreads rankings and reviews are in direct correlation with sales success on Amazon.
A lot of famous writers use Goodreads, including:
James Patterson – he’s used the platform to review a lot of work for lesser-known authors and he actively interacts with his fans, answering a lot of community questions.
Dan Brown – he uses the polling feature regularly in order to engage his readers and answers a lot of fan questions.
Nicholas Sparks – the well-known romance writer is an avid user of Goodreads.
John Grisham – the de facto King of Crime, Grisham is very active on his Goodreads site, actively updating his fans on his work.
Here’s a very useful guide, explaining how to take all you can from Goodreads.
Forgive me for the possible nepotism, but Reddit is my favorite social network and it’s often used by all kinds of creative authors, not just writers.
The absolutely individual trait of Reddit is that everyone’s anonymous if they choose to do so – the platform is based mostly on discussion, and it doesn’t focus on more popular, visual branding like Instagram or Facebook do.
Many writers and other creators have publicly admitted to using Reddit anonymously, reading comments and discussions about their work, and very often joining the same discussions without the audience knowing it’s them.
Jordan Peele, the screenwriter, and director of horror-mystery Get Out, which has deservedly received a lot of critical acclaims – has gone on Reddit to answer a lot of fan theories about the film. He’s praised a lot of them for their creativity and surprising accuracy, but he’s also debunked a lot of them.
Reddit has entire subreddits devoted to writing, publishing, reviews, etc., meaning that you can actually get your work reviewed by other writers. This also helps a lot of writers connect with one another, allowing collaborations and mutual advice. There’s also a crazy amount of writing prompts which can help inspire you for further writing.
Facebook is the largest and the most popular social platform in the world, although some experts argue that Instagram’s taken that title over. Facebook, however, still has the largest active user base. No matter what you write – your writing is welcome on Facebook.
You can join the site as an author (a public profile) or you can join an author group. For professional reasons, it’d be best to keep your public writing profile separate from your personal profile (which should remain secret).
On your public author page, you can post about your work or anything that you deem important for your audience to know about you. This form of public outreach seems to be the preferable option for most writers, and this way you’ll have more control over your marketing and advertising program. You will also have the option whether to let your followers post on your page.
A writing group on Facebook can be a great fit if you’re an up and coming writer, a beginner. Creating a group around your genre and your work can help you keep your current fanbase and attract new fans. You can also interact with your fans this way, just like you could with a public profile. This will, however, require more time and patience, as with groups you need administration and mediation in order to keep it on point.
A lot of writers use Facebook as a public platform, some of them were already mentioned under other social platforms (like J.K. Rowling), here are some immensely popular writers on Facebook:
Paulo Coelho – one of the most popular writers of our time, Paulo Coelho has completely mastered the craft of using social platforms as an author. He provides daily content for his fans including quotes, book reviews, and even entries from his own personal blog.
Neil Gaiman – well-known for being witty and hip, Neil Gaiman quickly boarded the social media train. His official page on Facebook is balanced and well-formed. He uses the page daily and he allows an insight into his daily life, as well as promoting content. However, he seems to be focusing more on promoting himself than his writing on Facebook, as he’s looking to connect with his audience rather than sell them on his writing.
John Green – the author behind The Fault in Our Stars and Looking For Alaska has a very interesting approach to Facebook. He spends a lot of time creating and posting videos, rather than just keeping to textual posts. He actively posts YouTube videos as a way to engage with his following better, and he’s become quite well-known for this.
Facebook is without a doubt the most powerful social media platform, commonly considered the king of social media, and it’d be unwise to overlook it when choosing a social media platform to work on.
The main difference between this platform and the ones preceding it in this article is the focus it puts on the visual. Instagram’s main focus is on the photo or video posted, rather than on the text in the caption.
You may be wondering why should a social media platform that’s only focused on the visual be at all relevant when discussing platforms for writers – the answer to that lies in our younger generations. The truth is – there’s been a great disbalance in social media and culture ever since the complete takeover of social media, meaning that the younger generations care less and less about literature, art, etc., and put their focus on something more palpable – like the physical, videos and photos. Obviously, this problem can’t be solved by writers adapting to Instagram and it needs systematic reform and education programs in order to utilize the benefits of social media to their fullest.
However, writers can use this to connect to their younger audiences. There are many authors on Instagram posting exciting and engaging content via pictures and stories. They often share photos and videos, or simple quotes from their work in order to engage their audiences. A lot of writers, especially poetry writers, share photos of inspirations behind the work.
Instagram is also perfect for setting-up giveaways and other sorts of promotional work.
Here are some writers who use Instagram on the regular:
Lana Del Rey – Lana Del Rey has recently released her first poetry book, Violet Bent Backwards Over The Grass, and she’s promoted it intensely on Instagram. It’d be ridiculous to assume that Lana Del Rey, arguably the greatest lyricist of the twenty-first century whose songs were often described as poetry in motion, needs any introduction – but it’d also be unwise to refuse to advertise. Lana has taken to Instagram to self-promote her work, posting snippets of her poems, and at one point posting a video of her reading one of her poems.
John Krakauer – the investigative adventure writer rarely spends his time on Instagram self-promoting, but he does post a lot about the adventures of his life, which undoubtedly leads to more exhilarating writing.
This is the most business-minded platform on this list, a dream for buyers and sellers. Pinterest, unlike other platforms on this list, doesn’t exactly cause a boom when you post something new and exciting – it rather builds a fanbase, slowly and steadily. Pinterest has the potential to dwarf Facebook’s and Instagram’s traffic, though.
Some argue that Pinterest is a rather asocial social network, unlike Facebook or Twitter. You don’t need to actively pursue social engagement on this site. Few people on Pinterest look for social interaction on this site, everyone’s mostly interested in the content.
This is great if you’re a writer, as you can simply pin your writing and other work, directing users to the place they can buy it.
Here are some writers that use Pinterest:
Jody Hedlund – she’s created a very effective profile on Pinterest, and you should use her profile as an example and a guide on how to form your own profile.
Sylvia Day – this profile is completely dedicated to her fans. Day posts photos sent in by her fans, which are usually about her work and her writing.
Social media can be a true blessing when it comes to creative work, and it’s important for every writer to keep active with their fanbase, connecting with the fans. This will help you form a more personal relationship with your fans and promote your product. Just make sure to be careful what you’re posting as everything you do is going to stay on the internet forever, and will have a great effect on your reputation as a writer.