What should authors be writing about on social media?

01 April 2022 / By Nigel Cooper

Previously, we’ve talked about the importance of building your own community by reading and commenting on other people’s posts, be that other authors, agents, publishers, book bloggers or the most important people, readers.

Now we’re going to take a look at writing your own posts. What should you write and share? 

A clue: it isn’t endlessly posting ‘I’ve got a book, did I mention my book, buy my book’*. 

Ultimately, you want to post about topics that interest you and matter to you. Remember, you’re building a profile as an author, don’t fall into the trap of confining yourself to your latest book or work in progress.

You need to bring a balance of many aspects to your social media profile – don’t be a single facet, give a little of yourself. 

What makes you unique? What really sparks your interest? Why do you write?  When you feel most alive? When don’t you?

When you *are* talking about your novel on social media, here are some angles to consider:

  • Are there key themes in your novel(s)/writing that might generate a wider conversation?
  • Did you do particular research for your novel that people might find interesting or informative (eg an historical period or the science behind your sci-fi or a particular health condition etc)
  • Are there timely/topical elements in your novel that you could talk about?

When you aren’t – which will be most of the time – here’s other areas to consider:

Homelife, family and pets
You only need to give as much detail as you feel comfortable with, but the personal stuff is a big part of your life – don’t exclude it. Other people on social media want to ‘get to know you’ somehow – and they can’t do that unless you let them. As well as engaging with their posts, you’ve got to give a little of yourself back. For me, I talk about my pets a lot. I also talk about my kids and partner but I choose not to use their names on Twitter and rarely post photos of them. It’s a personal decision in terms of how much of yourself you give – but you need to give something – and whatever you do give has to be real and authentic.

Your day job
Most authors nowadays still have a day job as well, don’t be scared to mention it. Again, it’s part of your life – and how you juggle that with your writing (and family life, if relevant) is interesting to people.

Politics and religion
Trickier, this one. Have opinions, be vocal if that’s who you are. Just know that on social, this invites the ‘mouth-frothers’ (they exist on all sides of the fence, whatever the opinion) and they can be vicious and unkind. If your opinion is particularly relevant to the themes of your writing, I’d say go for it – likewise if it’s really intrinsic to who you are and what you believe – but expect controversy.  If not, maybe take a deep breath and decide social media isn’t the place to air your views.

I know all of the above seems daunting right now, but it gets easier over time, trust me.

One last thing – if you want more people to see your posts, use hashtags (note: these are also great for finding interesting people to follow). The Empowered Author has a great free download of hashtags to use on Instagram that work for other networks, too.

*Don’t get me wrong, there’s a place for that sometimes, if you’ve got an offer on, if you’ve had a great review or if you’re having a proud moment, but simply slapping people in the face with your book day in day out will only serve to alienate people, try and steer clear of it.

About The Author

Nigel Cooper

Nigel’s debut novel Beat The Rain was a semi-finalist for Best Debut Author in the Goodreads Choice Awards 2016. His second novel The Pursuit of Ordinary was a finalist in the People’s Book Prize for Fiction 2019. It was also one of the 8-12 titles ‘called in’ for the Man Booker Prize, a first for his publisher. It was also long-listed for The Guardian’s Not The Booker Prize. His third novel will be released in September 2022 and is now available for pre-order. Nigel brings his own experience of the trials of getting published, building an author profile and marketing his own novels to AuthorSpark. As well as co-founding AuthorSpark, Nigel co-founded digital marketing agency and employee advocacy platform We Are Togethr alongside Andrew, alongside online content sister company Togethr Lab. Prior to that he was a newspaper subeditor and a writer and editor for Channel 4 Interactive.

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