How Successful Authors Use Social Media to Sell More Books

How Successful Authors Use Social Media to Sell More Books

This column is excerpted from Guide to Literary Agents, from Writer’s Digest Books.

GIVEAWAY: Chuck is giving away a copy of his book, Create Your Writer Platform, to a random commenter. Comment within one week to enter! (Must live in US or Canada to win.) (UPDATE: Marjorie won!)

Increasing your author visibility through different online channels allows you to meet readers, cultivate an audience, and increase your discoverability to sell more books. But finding your ideal social media channels is not the easiest thing to figure out and implement.

That’s why I’ve reached out to some experts for advice. I asked six different platform-heavy writers — three nonfiction, three fiction — for their best general advice in terms of using social media. Here’s what they had to say:

Do you have any general advice for writers looking to market themselves and their work via social media, promotion and platform?

Mignon Fogarty: Creator of Grammar Girl@GrammarGirl

“I think you really have to enjoy interacting on social networks or you won’t do it well or stay with it. You can’t force yourself to do it; you have to find the things you like and do those even if they aren’t the most popular. For one person it might be Twitter, for another LinkedIn, for another YouTube, for another podcasting, and another blogging.

Also, I think some authors are too afraid to ask people to buy their book. I spend hours (and hours and hours) of my time answering people’s questions without compensation, so when I have a new book out, I don’t hesitate to post about it. I believe I’ve earned the right to market my products.

On the other extreme, I see a lot of authors jump into Twitter and immediately start doing nothing but push their book. They haven’t earned the right to market their products, and all they do is turn people off.”

Mary Kole: Former literary agent and author of Writing Irresistible Kidlit@kid_lit

“I have gotten flack for saying this before, but I am sticking to my guns: do it well or don’t do it at all. There are billions of blogs and websites out there. On the Internet, if you build it, they will not automatically come. You have to give people a good reason to spend their precious time on your real estate.

Don’t blog or tweet or Facebook because you think you have to. Your reluctance will ooze from the screen. Don’t engage if you can’t keep it consistent, both in terms of timing and in terms of quality.

Figure out what you’re best at, then do that well and forget the other stuff. You should have some online presence, but you don’t have to jump into everything all at once, especially if you’re going to do it badly or irregularly.” (Like this idea? Click to tweet it).

Dr. Lissa Rankin: Author of Mind Over Medicine@Lissarankin

“Stay true to your integrity. I can’t tell you how many times I have said no, even though it sounded like such a good platform-building opportunity.

Listen to your gut (which I call your “inner pilot light” — that wise part of you that really knows what’s best for you, your body, your relationships, and your business). Don’t let fear rule the show.

In the beginning, I said yes to everything because I was afraid I’d miss an opportunity, and I wound up quickly burned out, depleted. But you can’t lead or heal from a place of depletion. You must heal yourself first in order to change the world. That’s the one lesson I’d share with aspiring authors/visionaries/healers.

Don’t let platform building spiral you downwards. Fill yourself first. Learn to say no. Create healthy boundaries. Raise your vibration. Attract others who share this vibration. Avoid the temptation to get sucked into doing everything for everybody. You are enough doing exactly what you’re doing. Resist the urge to continually do more.

Billy Coffey: Author of Snow Day, @billycoffey

“Whether fair or not, getting your good story into the hands of the public now depends in large part upon your reach, and your reach depends in large part upon your savvy with blogs and social media. That can be a scary thing.

Writers are notoriously withdrawn and even shy. The idea of having to ‘put yourself out there’ can be tantamount to having to tap dance in front of a firing squad. But it can be done. I promise that, and I offer myself as proof.”

Amy Julia Becker: Author of A Good and Perfect Gift@amyjuliabecker

“My biggest warning is that you can’t do it all. I’ve tried to approach platform building like organic farming. I’m cultivating what grows (my audience, hopefully), but I’m trying to do so without gimmicks and with integrity and respect for the writing itself. I hope that this is a sustainable method that will also bear fruit, so to speak, with a faithful and steadily, if slowly, growing audience.

I think a lot about limitations and possibilities. If I limit my time platform building, I open up time for family or exercise or working on a larger project. If I focus on the possibilities of platform building, I limit my time for those other things. I try to keep it all in balance rather than thinking that I can, or should, do it all.

Quick note from Chuck: I am now taking on clients as a freelance editor. If your query or synopsis or manuscript needs a look from a professional, please consider my editing services. Thanks!

If you could go back in time and do it all over again, what would you tell your younger self in terms of platform?

Mignon Fogarty: Creator of Grammar Girl@GrammarGirl

“I knocked myself out for a year doing my email newsletter every day and for one quarter doing my podcast twice a week — and in retrospect, I don’t think it was worth the effort. Weekly is enough. The benefit from publishing daily and podcasting twice a week was minimal.”

Mary Kole: Former literary agent and author of Writing Irresistible Kidlit@kid_lit

“This may sound like bad advice but: Blog less! I was killing myself trying to blog three times a week at Kidlit, then I added two extra blogs and tried doing those twice a week, too.

The result? I’d travel or freak out and let the blogs go to seed for a while, and that was altogether worse than blogging less frequently because dead blogs and silence are the ultimate online networking sins.

It’s very possible to have a platform with the ‘less is more’ philosophy, as long as you focus on the absolute quality of your efforts.

Gina Holmes: Author of Crossing Oceans and Dry as Rain

“I would tell myself that helping others succeed would translate into the biggest personal success. I would tell myself to go ahead and build my wings on the way down, and not to stress over every little number, setback, or failure.”

Dr. Lissa Rankin: Author of Mind Over Medicine@Lissarankin

“Oh, if only someone had told me to put a free opt-in in the upper right corner of three years ago! After two years of great traffic, we had only 1,200 people on our newsletter list. (The sign-up was buried way down on the page and there was no free gift to entice people to fill it out.)

The minute someone told me to offer a free gift, we got 5,000 new sign-ups in a month! Free teleseminars and telesummits (I’m about to do my first) are another great way to grow your newsletter list quickly.”

Billy Coffey: Author of Snow Day, @billycoffey

“I would have definitely started building my platform earlier. My younger self was stubborn and ignorant. I was one of those people who thought I could buck the system. And yet everything I’ve been able to achieve to this point is the direct result of finally understanding the importance of platform.

Amy Julia Becker: Author of A Good and Perfect Gift@amyjuliabecker

“My greatest success has been my blog. I’ve wasted time speaking without pay, especially when there is travel involved. I’ve also wasted time (and money) creating a website. Don’t get me wrong, I needed a website, but I should have been far more realistic about how much time it would take and what that time is worth.

In addition, I would have begun blogging and writing short essays from the start. Not only would I have gained readers (and perhaps a book contract) much earlier, but I also would have benefitted as a writer from blogging.

Blogging has improved the quality of my writing, and it also gives me a place to try out ideas. Most days, I write something, and two or three people comment on it and a few dozen share it through social media. But every so often, I write something and it provokes dozens of comments and hundreds of shares. I pay attention to that type of reaction because it means I should possibly write more about the same topic.”

Special thanks to those writers who chimed in with answers.

Don’t forget to comment to be in the running for Chuck’s book giveaway! You could win a free copy of his latest book, Create Your Writer Platform. (UPDATE: Marjorie won!)

Other TWL Guest Posts by Chuck Sambuchino:

  1. The Worst Ways to Begin Your Novel: Advice from Literary Agents

  2. When Can You Call Yourself a Writer?

  3. Querying Literary Agents: Your Top 9 Questions Answered

This post contains affiliate links. That means if you purchase through our links, you’re supporting The Write Life — and we thank you for that!

Filed Under: Marketing
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  • Thanks so much for this helpful post! Social media and platform-building have often seemed overwhelming to me, but I’m starting to get the hang of it…These writers’ comments were helpful.

  • Debra Eve says:

    Glad to see nonfiction writers represented here, Chuck. Dr. Rankin’s advice particularly spoke to me, “You are enough…” It’s so hard not to compare and especially silly considering that much of social media is a Ponzi scheme (sorta) — the earliest ones in get the most ROI. I’ve found time and perseverance to be the biggest allies of social media marketing.

  • What a wonderful collection of ideas, folks. Finding our audience in the sea of possibilities can be a daunting task, but when our gladness meets the world’s need (who said that…?) connecting with people is a good thing.
    Thanks, authors, for your insight and thanks to Chuck for this roundup of social media experience.

  • I appreciate these comment from authors. It is so easy to have your head spin with all the platform building choices. Nice to hear from the voice of experience. Thanks!

  • sabrina says:

    I agree with one of the advisers who stated writers are introverted, almost innately. We just want for people to have an experience in our world, and if it were not for the economy, and some of us making a genuine living, i highly doubt we’d charge a penny. We write for the love of words, and the artistry in it! So, yes… i desperately understand that i am within the quandary of building a writer’s platform.

  • Peggy Frezon says:

    Great post! It takes so much time networking and marketing my books on social media, and that’s the big problem. Sometimes I feel like I’m not even brushing the surface of all I could–and should–do. But then, if I spent any more time on social media, when would I write?

  • “Stay true to your integrity.” I agree so profoundly with this. What are the themes of your novel? Within the themes, you will find your deepest beliefs as an author. Blog about those themes and you will be aligned fully in your integrity. And I believe you will organically draw to you not just those who also hold your beliefs, but because themes are universal truths, you’ll draw a large crowd of followers.

    Don’t lecture. Don’t tell people how they should change their lives lest you put them off. Just pose the questions. Just pose ideas and concepts, and let your readers think for themselves. This is true for novels, blogs and for life. BTW, I’m a writing coach.

    • Ellen H. says:

      Great advice! I find myself telling people what they should do instead of letting them decide what they think. No wonder they lose interest.

  • Jen McConnel says:

    Great post! I love hearing the diversity of experiences.

  • R Lee Barrett says:

    It is a real challenge to use social networking to raise awareness about a book and make it seem natural. My FaceBook page is replete with drag racing, cigars and Bruce Machart. If I am trying to peddle a fee more copies of Barge Pilot, it often feels forced or desperate.

  • Sabrina says:

    I’m so excited about this book!

  • Deborah says:

    Great advice – now I need a column on getting an agent!

  • Andrea Zander says:

    Interesting advice–still not always sure what I would blog about while writing fiction: “today I wrote”? But good advice nonetheless. Thanks.

  • Stella Rawlings says:

    Great advice – thanks!

  • Suzanne Pick says:

    Great topic. I’m in the process of getting my author web page set up.

  • Diane Riggins says:

    Great post! Loved the advice that was given!

  • Barb says:

    Great post! Lots of good advice and food for thought. Although everyone’s experience is different, learning what others have learned the hard way is always an advantage. I particularly liked Amy Julia Becker’s comment that blogging improved the quality of her writing and gave her a place to try out new ideas.

  • Heather says:

    I have the most trouble sticking with a new media. Once I learn how it works, I seem to lose my motivation.

  • Nikki Archambault says:

    I am curious as to how much of my novel to post about on Facebook. I mean I wouldn’t want someone to take my concept because I revealed too much of the plot synopsis on social media. Any thoughts?

  • Victoria says:

    I’m a highschool student hoping to self publish this year, and this post really helped! Thank you very much for posting!

  • Janna says:

    I’m trying to get my first book published and would love to learn more information about how to use social media to promote myself.

  • Melissa says:

    Very interesting advice, especially those who said to stick to your passions & not try to do everything. 🙂

  • Nancy Keaton says:

    I often tell myself I need to be doing more, more, more. So it relieves me to see these writers saying to know your boundaries and more isn’t always better.

  • Franziska says:

    Sounds like a super helpful book! Exciting!

  • Daisy says:

    Great article! Thank you for sharing this information. Very helpful!

  • Chris P says:

    I would love a copy of the book to help get my writing jump-started.

  • Thanks, Chuck…love that those who shared said what I had hoped would be true.
    Good work..

  • Pamela says:

    I try hard to do all the right things to build my platform. I’m sure I’m not the only one. I’ll take all the help I can get!

  • Ron says:

    Writing is what I do almost every waking moment. It’s how I get everything out of my head to make way for more things. I have a website but no idea what to do with it. This has been a helpful column.

  • Shelby J. says:

    My first novel is still in (incomplete) first draft. When I try to plan ahead I see lots of advice to have a good platform. No matter how much I have read on the subject, I remain confused about where to go, when and how much.

  • Julio Saldana says:

    I see now what I must do. I must come out of my shell and let people laugh at my mistakes because I will grown as a writer. My ego is our of tue

  • I am in the process of publishing a book for eight to twelve-year olds, Growing Up in Montana, and your book showing how to use social media would be terrific!

    Diane Lockard

  • Laura Bartlett says:

    Thank you! Great info! Social media can be confusing!

  • elise says:

    Great blog post, Chuck. Thanks for the useful advice.

  • Lydia says:

    It’s nice to see blogging isn’t dead after all, and gasp, even encouraged! It’s ironic how much contradictory information is out there regarding social networking tools. I agree that you need to find what works best for you. Whether that be a blog, or Twitter, or FB, or what have you.

  • Sunny Kelley says:

    I’m So Glad to learn- some of the hang ups I have experienced lately aren’t uncommon!

    Thanks for Sharing!

  • Heidi U says:

    Great feedback from all of these authors. So helpful to get advice from people doing it. Thank you for sharing the information!

  • Brenda Roberts says:

    All of this is great information! The techno!ogy is evolving so rapidly it is overwhelming! But I am willing to stay in the game!!!

  • Thank you so much for the articles above. I have heard opposing sides of this argument, Blog or not to blog. I was happy to hear someone say there was no right answer but suit it to ourselves as long as we are in the game. The last article I read stated “If you don’t have a twittler account, get one.” I am in the process of writing my books and am not ready to open myself up to full-time blogging, tweeting etc. I have created a website as a start. My digital cover is in the works. When the cover is finished I will be uploading the first two books. Then I will be in a better position to blog or answer any questions about the books or myself. As for now, I am creating a bit of curiosity with a small group of family and friends. Wish me luck for growth and getting to a comfortable level of blogging success in the future. Thanks again. K

  • Erin Smith says:

    I write as often as I can. The writer’s that are featured on your blog and in your book offered great advice. I am just starting out, and trying to think about how to build my platform is hard. This is a great book for aspiring and published writers alike!!!

  • Gia Saulnier says:

    I have found Social Media really great to help promote our small events and now my picture book. However, I would say it’s a reap what you sow thing. I do also want to put my two cents in to say that NOT everyone is online (shocking, I know). Make sure that you also have business cards with your website and other social media sites that you have available.
    Get social with your Social Media. Make it a conversation rather than make it a sales pitch every single day, not only will you lose customers but you will most likely lose followers and worse friends.

  • Krys H says:

    Great tips. It can be hard to put yourself out there and try to sell your work.

  • CC says:

    It seems logical to me to use social media to sell books. I’ve checked out several sites to see what some of my favorite authors do for their platforms. Unfortunately, many of these are okay to sad. The really good stuff is done by the fandoms. Sometimes, I think it would be easier to invest in groupies than a blog. The only way to get fans is to write a memorable book. The only way to get a book read is to have good advertising where people are going to see it. It’s a vicious cycle.

  • Shela says:

    Great advice. It is nice to hear from several people, what worked for them, and what they wish they did differently. I know for me it feels a bit awkward to put myself out there, but hopefully with time and practice I will figure it all out. Luckily there are people and places, like this column, to seek the help I know I will need. Thanks.

  • Lindsay says:

    Very helpfui; thanks!!

  • Leigh says:

    Quite informative! Thanks!

  • Christopher Reeve says:

    I would like to express much gratitude for this wonderful advice. I found the article to be helpful and well rounded. I praticularly enjoyed the fact that both fiction and non-fiction were well represented. It is also helpful to read the comments posted. I feel that this has been pratical and sound advice. Thank you for this community and this forum.

  • Jeff Oddo says:

    Chuck, I love the premise of the book and the feedback the others provided. I’ve worked in corporate PR for over 10 years and a big portion of my job and work day is to help the executives I support build strong personal brands. I always counsel them with the same advice: there is no “magic bullet,” you cannot automate the process and, most important, you can’t build a strong brand and platform in social media if you do not have the time or the temperament to SOCIALIZE.

    Social media, in my mind, is like an author doing a book signing at a small, local bookstore. The turnout will be light at those initial signings, so you have to do a lot of “hand selling” of your books. You have to “sell yourself” before you can sell your books. Authors in those situations often put a lot of time into building those initial personal relationships (after all, with a small turnout, authors are forced to spend quality time with those customers).

    But guess what? Those personal exchanges create a powerful and personal customer experience. That one reader, provided the book is a quality read, will tell 3-4 friends and provide a glowing recommendation. That begins the process of building your platform.

    It takes time. It takes hard work. It takes a social personality. It takes a commitment to be consistent and to provide valuable content to your community. That is how you build a strong platform.

  • Em says:

    This was a helpful article. Makes me think about how I’m blogging, not just that I’m blogging. (and I’d love a copy of the book!)

  • Very interesting article, thanks for sharing 🙂

  • This was a great way to remind people that social media is a tool for writers. We don’t need to let it overwhelm us.

  • April D says:

    I enjoyed reading the different author perspectives on best approaching social media. Lots of food for thought, here – Thanks!

  • Tina G. says:

    Great post!
    This reminds us all of two things I think we often forget as we get caught up in things. 1. Enjoy what you do 2. Less is more
    Thank you for a good read.

  • Even with all the evidence, I hear writer’s say they don’t have the time; they don’t want to bother; they just want to write, have adoring fans; they just want to write.

    All writer’s need to interact with their readers and social media makes that ‘chore’ not so arduous.

  • Dawn says:

    As some others have mentioned, I hesitate, too, to share too much of my writing on a social media platform, but I’m very intrigued by this article and am willing to open myself up a bit more to new possibilities. After all, you can’t get anywhere staying in place, right?

  • Andre Cruz says:

    Chuck, you created a great layout for your guest post. Thanks for the wonderful resources.

  • Yilin Wang says:

    Great advice on social media. Thank you for sharing! The point about doing what you enjoy really resonate with me. I’ve been trying to get onto some social media networks but they just didn’t interest me so I gave up…

  • Such valuable insights! One of my resolutions for this year was to “do less” including for my blog, and this reaffirms my sense that I don’t need to be working at it constantly in order to do it well. Thank you.

  • Reba says:

    Encouraging in a way to see how most writers share the same frustrations. I get so engrossed in writing & promoting my grief book for widows that sometimes that I have to remind myself not to let WRITING about life get in the way of LIVING my life and SHARING my life with my family.

  • This article came at a perfect time for me, because my FB writing page was just hacked last week and I’ve been worried about whether or not I should start a new one. Since I’m looking for a new agent for my latest book, I was worried if I didn’t have a presence on as many media sites as possible, I wouldn’t have a strong author platform. After reading your great advice and the advice of everyone else who commented here, I’m going to concentrate on the sites where I feel I am most comfortable, like my blog and Twitter. Since receiving no help or support from FB when my page was hacked, I don’t feel very good about being there anymore. Thank you so much.

    • Mildred R Holmes says:

      Your personal Facebook account controls your Facebook page. Or one of your administrators, if you have another admin.

  • I have been following Kristen Lamb’s advice from Rise of the Machines: Authors in the Digital Age. It doubled my blog followers but I still haven’t completed all ten steps in her “to do” list.
    I just don’t really follow any of my favorite authors online (who has time to do that with writing and reading to become a better writer and keeping up with regular life – chores and cooking and such), so it’s hard for me to fathom that someday my readers will want to follow me online.

  • Connie says:

    Thanks for including @twitter info with all these helpful comments!

  • What great information! Thanks to all who shared their journey and hard-earned wisdom. Building a platform has to be the most daunting part of the writing journey for me. Thanks for the chance at what has to be my most-needed book!

  • Tamy Burns says:

    Thank You All!! (Sorry, My Phone Is Capping Each Word.) I Am A Firm Believer In Building Relationships And Helping Others. That, To Me, Is Success.

  • Bob Jones says:

    Very valuable content. So glad I read this. Especially enjoyed the responses under “what I would could tell my younger self about platform.”

  • Lynne Schuyler says:

    Really great advice from the writers; this posting had substance and details. I love it when examples are used and some depth is added to advice given. Thanks!

  • Kate larking says:

    Interesting. Thanks for posting this.

  • Kelly says:

    I really love what Mignon said. It speaks to authenticity. Thanks for the tip!!

  • Olive says:

    This is a great topic. As a relatively new writer it’s been really hard for me to figure out what I need to do to create an authorial presence. I’ve been caught up creating social media sites and then found I don’t have time to manage them all. That last comment from Amy about creating a blog and just writing… That really resonated with me and that’s what I’m going to try to do.

  • Jaime Geraldi says:

    Thanks for this awesome opportunity! *fingers crossed*

  • Robin McCormick says:

    Great info! Thanks for sharing.
    I would love to win your book. It is one I need to add to my shelf.

  • Laura Baker says:

    Interesting, informative & helpful excerpt. I enjoyed reading the personal perspectives in the quotes from different authors! Social media doesn’t come easy to everyone, it’s one big learning experience.

  • Paula Howell says:

    Platform building can definitely be very overwhelming. It’s great to receive very useful bits of advice from others who don’t mind sharing their wealth of experience with those who are just starting out…or who are still trying to figure out what works for them. Thanks for sharing!

  • A. E. Lowan says:

    Thank you for this helpful article. We just started our Twitter account a few weeks ago, and it has been a new experience. Very much like talking into a cacophony. We’re looking forward to seeing how we can apply these tips to expand our platform in the new year!

  • Vanessa says:

    Fabulous post! I think I need a copy of the book regardless of whether I win or not!

  • Victoria says:

    Such wise words! Thank you for sharing. The many facets of social media definitely seem daunting at first but having different people break it down makes it easier to handle.

  • Barbarajoe says:

    Great post with sound advice. It’s never to late to learn something.

  • Rose Marie Hart says:

    Wonderful advice. Thank you!

  • Deborah Stockwell says:

    This article is encouraging. I have been wondering where to start.

  • Mary Lou says:

    My novel is incomplete and social networking is overwhelming, but this article makes it seem doable. Thanks for the information.

  • Kari says:

    Great post! I practice some of these things, but it’s not always easy to be consistent. This was a good reminder for us all.

  • MK says:

    Love this post, and the book looks really useful. Thanks!

  • Carrie Fisher says:

    This book sounds very useful – can’t wait to read!

  • CM Doran says:

    Thanks to your authors for stressing quality over quantity; blogging…and not trying to do it all (social media-wise). Frankly, I love Twitter for the interactions that can happen…and the new-found bits of information…Keep writing!

  • Great advice! I like the idea of not jumping into everything at once. Find what works for you (and what you enjoy doing) and grow from there.

  • David bruns says:

    Great post, very helpful to new writers

  • Nancy Harms says:

    Sounds like a book I would be very much interested in! Great advise from those who have been there.

  • Shelby J. Woods says:

    I’m somewhat lost in the technology age. I accept that the game has changed, but I really need help figuring out the rules.

  • I love every bit of this advice, especially reading both perspectives, from authors of fiction and non. Thank you!

  • Kelly Caufield says:

    Thank you kindly Chuck for your great insight as well as the fabulous insight from the other Authors. I am brand new to all this since I’ve just barely began my Memoir. I went to my local library the other day and checked out some books on how to be a better writer and one of which was on platforming, there is very good information out there! My brother-in-law creates web designs for a living so he has agreed to make up my own webpage for me as another form of promoting my book. This is all so exciting!! Thank you.

  • Julio Saldana says:

    I love to win a copy. I don’t have any clue what a platform is

  • Shanna Miles says:

    I had a lightbulb go off and then immediately explode while reading this post. Thanks for the ideas.

  • Great insights and suggestions! Helping me rethink my blogging and social media strategies. Thanks!

  • Brillant marketing, Chuck! You gave advice(value to others), received feedback (value for you) got the word out about your book, increased your KLOUT, moved your Google ranking and created a chain of walk ambassadors! LOVE IT!

    I look forward to learning more about you!

    -Michelle Colon-Johnson
    Founder of 2 Dream Productions, Inc.
    (book publicist)

    PS: I will be sharing you sage wisdom with my authors and followers.

  • JW Witt says:

    Excellent article. Very insightful.

  • Thank you for this excellent collection of suggestions, wisdom, and experience! Lots of food for thought and great direction. Yeah!

  • Mod says:

    Ok, so other than self promotion of one’s novels on one’s blog, exactly how does writing a blog translate into a novel? Or does it? Personally I’m too busy at writing that novel. I’ve heard of people writing books after their blogs “take off”, like Charlie McDowell for instance. His blog was cute to say the most. Then I read excerpts of the book. Not that exciting, like beating a dead horse…the funny is in the blog, short and quick. I know blogging can be about anything, but in terms of writing with the intent on publishing, how do they connect? Is there something I’m missing? I signed up for a blog once but realized I seriously have nothing to say except for some one-off inner thoughts.

    • You’re right, Mod, it can be hard to find the right balance. There are some great examples of fiction authors who blog, though — off the top of my head, Joanna Penn ( and, Chuck Wendig ( and Therese Walsh and Kathleen Bolton, founders of Writer Unboxed ( Writer’s Digest also had a post a while back that focused on blogging ideas for fiction writers:

    • I’m writing a historical novel using real names—eg. Gen. Henry Knox, Gen. Henry Jackson, William Duer—and real situations. I’ve found every chapter takes me on a learning curve. Ergo., I can write something on what I’ve learned in the learning curve.
      Books where any kind of research is involved have this opportunity to write about what they’ve learned.
      Blogging, therefore, has been very helpful to me. It’s also on my business card and shared with people who ask about my novel or a subject in it.

    • Lance says:

      I am with you here Mod. I too am not convinced time spent doing all this is well spent. SM in general seems like a huge time suck to me, and on top of that I find it hard to function there because of the culture that surrounds the very nature of SM. Everyone is so fickle, and sometimes negative, and always sarcastic. I don’t get anything ‘real’ from SM interaction. They tell me t here are real people behind the posts, but it’s hard to see that. And even more importantly, do any substantial sales come from SM interactions? I seriously doubt it. I think the people logging sales would have done so even if they weren’t on SM. And if you check, honestly, most of the real players were already famous BEFORE they got on SM. So for a startup like me, I don’t see the benefit. On the contrary, I do see lots and lots of downside. 🙁

  • I blog daily and it’s a labor of love. I’ve been slowly building a platform over the years, as I write my book.

  • I just found a link to the post and wanted to say Thank You for all of this insight. While the post might be a few months old, the message is timeless. I especially appreciate the message to do what you enjoy doing because you enjoy doing it–not because others say it is important. If you don’t enjoy you won’t last so why bother. Thanks again!

  • Leta says:

    Building a platform is so much harder than writing a novel! Thanks for the helpful advice.

  • I like to think of Social Media as a funnel. At the widest, I feel Twitter does the best job of getting the word out. So…post on twitter something that sends people to your facebook page to read more detail. This narrows the marketing focus like the center of the funnel. Then on you facebook post have a link that leads them to the page or your website where they can buy your book or product

  • Karen Hoyt says:

    A timeless article with great advice. Finding the balance is a continual challenge.
    Karen Hoyt

  • Some awesome advice there, I especially like the advice about sticking to the platforms you enjoy. I seem to get a lot more fun out of facebook and I love instagram but I’m struggling with twitter. I’ll have to try and remember these tips!

  • I agree with the advice given in this post. I gleaned from it that what I’m doing is about right, however, I need to make my content more attractive (flashy), more tech savvy (bells and whistles), and more consistent (treat posting on my blog like a job). What are some tools I can use to accomplish my goals?

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