How To Use Tumblr To Promote Your Book

Tumblr

Tumblr is a huge (and growing) platform that is an interesting mix of social media and micro-blog. It’s perfect for authors looking to promote their books.

With all the various social media platforms available to you, it can be a bit overwhelming trying to stay up-to-date on all of them. My advice is to pick two or three and hit those hard. Many of you are already using Facebook and Twitter to promote your books, and that’s great. But if you are overlooking Tumblr, you may be missing out on some incredible opportunities.

A huge (and growing) platform that is an interesting mix of social media and micro-blog, Tumblr is perfect for authors looking to promote their books. It has over 450 million users and over 12 billion posts. Plus, it has a very intuitive interface, making it easy to post quotes, photos, videos, audio files, etc.

Tumblr Screenshot

Writers love Tumblr because it’s easy to create and customize a blog and the site encourages fans to like and “reblog” your posts, which helps you spread the word. Like Twitter, Tumblr makes it easy to network with other authors. You can curate the content you like, follow people with similar interests, and reblog their content as well. You can easily share your Tumblr content on your Twitter page, which can cut down the amount of time you have to spend updating your social media presence.

Registration is simple, you only need an email address, a username, and a password. If you wind up hating your URL, you can change it later.

After you’ve signed up, you’ll want to customize your Tumblr blog. Click on the person-shaped icon in the upper right corner, select “Edit appearance,” and you’ll find all the tools you need to select your header photo, profile pic, background, theme, and more. Speaking of themes, Tumblr offers a variety of looks for your page, some of which are free and some of which you pay for. There are plenty of great free options, which you can find here.

For inspiration on the look of your Tumblr page, and the kind of content you might post, check out some of these Tumblrs:
Neil Gaiman
Erin Morgenstern
Ransom Riggs
Marie Lu
Sabaa Tahir

Content is king

The key to building up a following is to upload content people will want to share. Unlike Twitter, which tends to favor breaking news-type content, Tumblr is more about sharing humor, wisdom, lifestyle, attitude, mood, etc.

Of course, as with any marketing effort, it’s important for you to know your audience because it’s not so important what kind of content you want to publish as much as what you think your audience will want to see.

Mix up your content and share different kinds of posts: quotes, images, GIFs, videos, etc. But don’t be afraid to write the occasional longer post. Neil Patel, co-founder of the Web analytics firm KISSmetrics, was quoted in Inc magazine on this point: “The impact of something long coming across your visitors’ screens can be quite startling… getting them to pause and take notice.”

#UseYourHashtags

It may seem a little weird at first, but you want to include about 7-12 tags for each of your posts. This will help your content end up in as many searches as possible. But be careful. Don’t just throw in hashtags you know people will be looking for. Make your tags relevant to your content, otherwise, people will have a negative reaction, which is not what you’re after.

Who loves Tumblr?

You know who loves Tumblr? Librarians. Author Rainbow Rowell, who created Tumblr’s Reblog Book Club, was quoted in the LA Times describing Tumblr as “a place full of enthusiastic readers and writers: poetry, fan fiction, novels, everything.”

Knowing that readers, authors, and librarians love Tumblr, publishers like Penguin Random House post new content every day. Take a page out of their Tumblr and post all things literary, including photos, illustrations, quotes, GIFs, videos, and (of course) links to purchase your books and other books you enjoy. By being an active ever-present voice on the site, you will build up a fan base.

Check out what some of the major publishers are doing on Tumblr to help inspire you:
Hachette
HarperCollins
Penguin Random House

So, give Tumblr a spin. If you dig it, create an account and start tumbling!

6 COMMENTS

  1. If you write what you think your audience wants then as a writer you will fail. Because you will be a clone of somebody’s else’s imagination. Would Nietzsche do this? Or Gibson? I am not against Tumblr. But what is suggested at times for a writer to do. Expect nothing is a good beginning. Write as it comes to you. Then you will be interesting. Second guessing on social media is banal. There is enough of this that uses so much electricity from the servers to energize a small country. Which is about as content rich as it will ever get.

  2. These tips are good for plenty of other platforms as well. :)
    As for Tumblr itself though… I wouldn’t be so sure that it’s still growing. Staff doesn’t reply to concerns, for one thing.
    As a result, after “the purge” that occurred, and random posts still being flagged while outright white supremacists and porn blogs aren’t being blocked, you may want to double check how many people are actually still using the platform now, compared to BEFORE December 17th, 2018.

    • indeed. Do a search engine search though not Google or IE. See what digital dollops pop up. Then you’ll get the idea it is about little things which people are interested in. Books I doubt. Unless it’s graphic novels. Anything with sentences is going to be a mental challenge

    • I read a number of reviews on tumblr and many of them weren’t positive. How good and safe is this site actually? Sounds like they allow porn and violence on their platform. Why not just use Instagram?
      Thanks

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