The top 3 rules of social media for authors


Social Media for AuthorsIf you want to build a large online readership and effectively promote your book through social media, there are three very important things to remember, no matter which social networks you’re using.

1. It’s all about connection

Don’t be one of those annoying social media spammers, constantly boasting or asking followers to “buy, buy, buy” (or both).  Instead, provide value, either through writing and sharing useful information, or by being simply entertaining (which could mean funny, biting, sympathetic, etc.) Once you’ve made a real connection, your followers will be more receptive to buying your book. Soft sell!

2. Be a shinier, more compact you

Here’s the thing: you can’t communicate all of your beauty, depth, and complexity via social media. We can’t even express those things in their entirety in the real world. So embrace the idea that social media is a way to communicate only a few of the most important facets of your personality, aesthetics, and beliefs. Social media is a chance to supercharge that version of yourself. Not exactly a persona, but a heightened expression of a more focused you. Think about the 3 or 4 things you most want to convey; now go!

3. Authenticity is key

This one might seem to be in contradiction with #2, but it’s just to say that you should never do anything online that makes you feel drained, embarrassed, or fake. You’ll feel even worse afterwards and your audience will see through it. Your followers have good B.S.-detectors; they know when you’re putting something on, and they also know when you’re being your best social media self (that’s why they followed you, after all).


When you’re presenting a focused version of yourself, one which also fits comfortable within your sense of authentic self, making connections on social media is easy. The more connections you make, the larger your online community will grow, leading to increased book sales, reading opportunities, and more.

What are your top rules for social media? Let me know in the comments below.

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[Social media image from Shutterstock.]

Chris Robley 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."


  1. Point 1 about building a connection is key! The authors who respond to tweets and engage with their community build a tribe of followers (aka book buyers) compared to the authors who only blast out info about where to buy their books.


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