Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Various platforms for social media

I’m curious when looking at an author’s platform, is it better to find them on all social media sites or to be doing well on one?

I ask, because I have started an Instagram account and have had success there. As my following continues to grow more quickly, I’m wondering if I should focus my efforts there or start a YouTube channel, Facebook, Twitter, etc.?

Learning each one is a lot of work. I don’t want to be distracted from writing if it isn’t necessary, but I also want to have an established online presence when I query. What’s a woodland creature to do?

The best social media platform is where your audience is.
For some books, it's Facebook.
For others it's Instagram.

I find Twitter useful only as a way to tap blog readers on the shoulder to say "hey, new post at QueryShark."

If you're doing well on Instagram, keep at it!

Bottom line: if something is working, keep doing it till it doesn't.

Also: You don't need a robust presence on every social media platform.

I look at platform ONLY for non-fiction writers, and the things I value there are, in order,
1. a robust mailing list
2. an active speaking schedule
3. a social media following
4. everything else

In other words: solidly old school.


Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Speaking of “old school” I have one down the road a piece from where I live. It’s smaller than a two car garage, has two front doors, (one for boys, one for girls) and has been around since the mid 1800’s, when farmers ruled the wilds of coastal Connecticut.
It has been a private home for decades. Now it has all the bells and whistles of indoor plumbing that a modern family needs plus entertainment and communication gadgets. It’s a great home.
My point?
Solidly “old school” works even in our “modern” times.

K White said...

When it comes to social media I’m a mixture of old-school and a skittish woodland creature. I do no social media. However, I realize that one day I will have to venture out there, because I have read some agents now look for a social media presence, if not a platform, when considering an offer of representation to novelist.

Sam Mills said...

I saw some good advice recently: even if you aren't going to use all the many, many platforms out there, you should snap up your preferred username on them (preferably the same across everything) so that nobody else gets it, and make a bare minimum profile linking back to your central information hub (preferably a website that you own, as opposed to something you don't, like a Facebook page).

That way 1) nobody can mimic being you on there, and 2) if readers are looking for you somewhere you don't hang out, they'll find your correct info. And I suppose 3) in case you change your mind later and decide you were truly born to Pinterest.

(If you want to check the availability of your username across numerous platforms simultaneously, you can plug it into and run a search)

Endless Fairytales said...

Thank you so much for answering this question! I write fiction, so I will focus my efforts mostly old-school, but keep up with the Instagram. That seems to be where my audience hangs out. You always give such great advice. I appreciate it.

Cheryl said...

A newer option is Litsy, an Instagram-type platform that's only for books. It's mobile-only right now, which is kind of annoying, but the user base is so small that everyone follows every new person immediately, so it's great for developing audience.

Assuming it survives.

I'm on there as Vagablonde.

Julie Weathers said...


That's about the only reason I still have a Facebook account. I don't use it. I despise FB. I may still delete it, but at least for now some agent won't be looking up some Chinese site selling whatever.

Timothy Lowe said...

Communities like this one are about the only thing I really spend any kind of time with anymore. I tried the whole social media thing but I don't think it's for me. But give me a space like this, with like-minded folks who care about and understand the pain that is publishing, and I'll come back time and again.

May seems to be triple witching month for me, with deadlines, end of school, and a couple of kids who ride me occasionally off the rails. So I'm late to this party, but I wanted to congratulate all of those who took Janet up on the weekend's pitch offer. What an incredible opportunity for all of you who were quick enough on the draw!

Colin Smith said...

Social media... I'm not sure where I am with this topic, so I'm paying attention to y'all. I enjoy my Twitter account most. Something about being able to say "Hi" or "Thanks" to writers, readers, and friends anywhere in the world. That feedback and response thing.

I've never really clicked with Facebook. I have a personal account, but that's really only so I can use Facebook messenger to contact family and IRL friends (mostly church friends). I have a "writer" FB account, but I'm terrible at keeping up with it.

I like my blog, but I'm wondering whether I'm really getting any return on the time investment it takes to keep it going. Would a static web site be just as effective? We talked about blogs not long ago, and it seemed the consensus is that they are sooo 2000s and a dying fad. Is this true (he asks Janet's blog readers!)?

As for other social media, I've never really explored anything else and I've yet to be convinced I need to.

Sorry, not a very helpful comment. But I get the feeling there are many as-yet-unagented/unpublished writers who feel the same way. So here's some empathy! :)

BrendaLynn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mallory Love said...

I've never been a big social media person, so this is good information to know. I follow a few author pages on facebook, but I feel I would be terrible at updating one myself. Semi-related: is anyone else following the #cockygate thread on twitter? I am fascinated by all the trademark legalese and how an author can destroy her whole career over one word. I wonder how this will play out.

MA Hudson said...

It’s always a relief to hear Janet say that she only looks at platform for non-fiction writers. As an MG writer, it’s particularly difficult to reach my target audience through social media.

I use Instagram a lot (@m.a.hudson) but that’s just cos I enjoy it so much. On Facebook I get the best responses when I post personal stuff but I really don’t feel all that comfortable doing so. And twitter - oh my god, I lose hours of my life every time I venture down that road!!!

The Sleepy One said...

Mallory, #cockygate has been fascinating to follow. RWA is now part of the conversation and helping the writers affected.

The Sleepy One said...

Also, if anyone hasn't been following #cockygate on social media--and this is the sort of writing-related issue Twitter is well-designed for sharing information *and* puns--here's Victoria Strauss's take:

Ashes said...

I use Facebook to connect with family and friends and communicate with a bunch of volunteers and parents of kids in my groups (I'm a Youth Group and Girl Guide leader). I do not have any sort of author presence set up, mostly because I don't feel like I have anything to tell right now. When I have an agent/a publisher is interested/my book is being released, then it seems more worth having.

I use twitter to follow agents and connect with other aspiring authors, and I used to use it to check out pitch and query contests when I was actively querying. The writing community there is great! Though it does seem to skew towards the YA category. I also hear about reader/writer/author drama over there, though I am sure it gets blown out of proportion on Twitter (#CockyGate). I kind of love how dramatic Twitter is though, as a sidelines person. I also follow book bloggers on twitter.

I recently started using Goodreads, as a reader. I am not connected to very many people, but I like it for tracking what I've read.

And there are a couple Booktubers I follow on YouTube, but I am a complete lurker and never comment or interact.

I don't think those last two count as being social.