Authors who are promoting themselves online are often told that they need to be everywhere- all the time. But can you really be expected to manage an effective presence on every social network? Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, Tumblr, Bebo, Foursquare, Google+, LinkedIn, MySpace, SumbleUpon, a hundred others, and Habbo Hotel—Exhausted yet?

For writers who are new to social networks and social marketing, I recommend you test the waters first; get in the shallow end and wade around for a while. Forget about being everywhere. Just concentrate on the basics. For all you social media gurus out there, this article ain’t for you. But if you want a brief overview of how to effectively share your books and promote your writing career online, here goes:

[Note: the social-media guides that I link to in this article have been put together by our sister company CD Baby and are targeted at musicians. However, the same advice generally applies no matter what your creative project. If you want to learn more about promoting yourself online through social media, check them out (just replace “musician” with “author” and “music” for “book”!!)]

1. Start a blog-

Your website is your central “hub,” the place where you can create content that is pushed out to the social networks, or “house” content that is pulled in. For instance, your videos (electronic press kits, readings, interviews, behind-the-scenes footage of your writing room) will be uploaded to YouTube, but then you can use YouTube’s embed codes to share the videos on your blog. Conversely, you can write a blog post about your latest workshop and then share that on Facebook and Twitter. BookBaby’s sister company HostBaby can easily help you take your first important steps in the blogging world, and help you with anything after that point too!

2. Use YouTube-

We all know and love YouTube, but did you know it’s quickly becoming one of the world’s most popular search engines? Check out The DIY Musician’s Complete Guide to Promoting Your Music on YouTube. Again, replace “music” with “book” while you’re reading. Although it’s geared towards musicians, you can learn a lot from this resource.

3. The facts about Facebook-

While some authors find Facebook’s interface frustrating for the purposes of marketing books, if done right, the world’s most popular social network can be an important tool in your promotion efforts.  Download CD Baby’s Complete Guide to Selling More Music with Facebook. It’s FREE!

4. The truth about Twitter-

… is that it’s great for promotion, ONCE YOU GET USED TO IT! It takes time to figure Twitter out, though. And many people get frustrated or overwhelmed before they reach the point where it all clicks. The Musician’s Roadmap to Facebook and Twitter offers some great tips for getting started on Twitter. Also, this very blog has been known to post some friendly pointers once in a while.

5. What the heck is StumbleUpon? –

It’s like crack, only you get smarter and there’s no negative effect on your body. StumbleUpon is FUN! So if you create content that is fun to share, you could be a big hit in the StumbleUpon community. Check out our article on How to Use StumbleUpon to Get Exposure for Your Music. And yes, please continue to ignore the “music” part of all these links!

For any social media beginners out there, I hope you found this basic checklist useful. Please check out those links and guides for the real nitty-gritty details on using Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, blogs, and StumbleUpon to spread the word about your writing!

-Chris R. at BookBaby

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Chris Robley

About Chris Robley

Chris Robley has written 563 posts in this blog.

is an award-winning poet, songwriter, performer, and music producer who now lives in Portland, Maine after more than a decade in Portland, Oregon. His music has been praised by NPR, the LA Times, the Boston Globe, and others. Skyscraper Magazine said he is “one of the best short-story musicians to come along in quite some time.” Robley’s poetry has been published or is forthcoming in POETRY, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Beloit Poetry Journal, RHINO, Magma Poetry, and more. He is the 2013 winner of Boulevard's Poetry Prize for Emerging Writers and the 2014 recipient of a Maine Literary Award in the category of "Short Works Poetry."

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