Social Media Mastery for Authors: How to Use Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest to Build Your Platform, Sell Books, and Attract New Readers

You’re real. You’re the coup and shenanigans behind your books. You’re the hero and the villain in your novels. Your words lit other minds, and like a good song, they want to know who sang it – they want to get to know the one who spelled out their joys and horrors, and they want more.

You don’t only feed them with your bounded stories because they’re interested in your stories too. More than the characters you immortalized, you are also viewed. Social media makes authors real. Real enough to verge readers into virtual nods and pats on the back. If you know how to captivate them in an honest way, no other marketing scheme can ever beat that.

Here’s a collection of tips from pros who got real.


Caring is most effectively achieved not through facts and figures but through effective storytelling. Our brains are wired to process and retain stories much better than logic. - Smith and Aaker

Andy Smith and Jennifer Aakeer Authors of The Dragonfly Effect

Twitter is like a sea of newspaper headlines, the sole intent of which is often to intrigue — compelling a click to learn more.

Funny, embarrassing and lewd things (as well as cats) spread well, but those are not always aligned with a brand message. Further, they tend to be quick-twitch / superficial attention-grabs that make no lasting impression and are impossible to repeat.

Andy Smith and Jennifer Aaker

You must make progress along two fronts at the same time: writing your book and building your marketing platform. Ideally, you started building your platform before you even began to write your book.

There are five social-media services to choose from. You need not use them all, but each serves a different purpose. I call this the five Ps of social media:

Facebook is for people. Twitter is for perceptions. Google+ is for passions. Pinterest is for pinning LinkedIn is for pimping. You can use each of these to build a platform, but your relationships on them are apt to differ.

Your profile page is an ad. Its purpose is to convince people to circle, follow, subscribe, or like you. It should communicate that you are a likeable, trustworthy, and competent person.

Do, don’t plan. Social-media experts will tell you that the first step is to develop a plan that includes highfalutin elements such as goals, strategies, and tactics. Let me simplify the process of building a platform. The goal is to get 5,000 followers by the time your book comes out. End. Of. Discussion.

There is little “right” and “wrong” in social media — even what I say here! There is only what works for you and what doesn’t, so jump in and get going. You’ll figure it out along the way. - G. Kawasaki

Guy Kawasaki Canva


You want to make sure that you’re always making your audience the hero of your story. Yes, you’re sharing elements of your own journey, but it has to be in service to them. - M. Margolis

Michael Margolis Narrative strategist

The trick to social media is learning to talk to strangers like they’re your BFF. You’re going to need to provide some kind of persona, some aspect of your life that you’re willing to invite people into.

What people are actually investing in, what they’re going to remember from your book, is the emotional content. Part of that is about who you are, how you see the world, what path or journey you’ve been on.

Michael Margolis

Keep Tweets less than 90 characters. Keep it short and sweet! - L. O'Bryan

Laurence O'Bryan Author

Tag people you talk about in your posts. It helps people to discover your posts.

Link to Google+ & autoshare your posts there. It’s great for SEO.

Enhance your pics. If you are in any way visually inclined you can use Picmonkey.com or Canva.com to make them even more interesting.

Tease. Ask if people know (Do you know . . .) or want to see or can guess …

Tweet the same content again. It’s called Evergreen content. Weave it in again!

Try short videos. You can do a lot in 30 seconds. See BookTrailers4You for some examples. Most were made by us for $99. If you have a creative urge try Instagram or Vine video clips you make yourself.

Laurence O'Bryan


Make friends with your rivals.

Become a partner in sharing with online personalities whose messages are similar to yours and you’ll soon have a vast support network.

Launch and maintain more than one social media network – preferably at least three, if possible.

You need to consistently share content and interact with others to build a following. - M. Friedman

Marsha Friedman Author, and founder of News & Experts

Too many people fail to make their home page distinctive. They don’t add banner photos or tailored backgrounds. Even worse, they use the gray, faceless default icon as their “profile picture,” which displays every time you post or comment. Yikes!

Add photos and fill out the pertinent information requested. Carefully word your “about me” information with your audience in mind. People will be more interested in following you if they know something about you!

Marsha Friedman

Social media is not a megaphone to shout “buy my stuff.” - J. Moran

Jan Moran Author

While you might want to enlarge your audience and client base to increase sales, understand that growing your social media marketing platform is a long-term endeavor. People buy from those they know, like, and trust. Online or offline, trust is earned.

Like face-to-face social interactions, social media interactions are also improved by being genuine, by speaking to the individual. In writing, the reader/audience has to fall in love with the protagonist.

Use link shorteners such as bit.ly to measure traffic over time on specific posts or campaigns.

For the best search rankings on Google, turn to Google+. Google’s new Authorship feature will link your blog and show an author image beside your posts.

Jan Moran


Start small and don’t over share. Being genuine doesn’t mean your focus is on you, you, you. Start with sharing one thing a day. - K. Tilton

Kate Tilton Founder of Kate Tilton's Author Services LLC

Don’t thank everyone for everything they do. Thanks is VERY important, but if you thank every person for every retweet, like, comment, or favorite, your words of thanks will lose their meaning.

Look at authors in your genre. What do they share? Use those ideas on your own channels. Take a minute to look at what personal things they share and work towards sharing similar things about yourself.

Kate Tilton

Download the pin it button to your web browser and pin pictures from articles as you read them. Just remember to pin content with value!

Follow five new accounts a week. Comment on two new pins a week.

One of the easiest ways to gain more followers is to create seasonal or “hot topic” boards. Since people search these seasonal / hot topic terms looking for ideas, make sure you stay ahead of the trends to see account growth.

Kate Tilton

Use your cover photo to show off your books. - K. Garst

Kim Garst Author and digital marketer

If you are looking to invest in something that will allow for greater flexibility, less design work on your part, and the ability to easily offer giveaways and promotions, you may want to consider signing up with a service like Odyl.

Keep in mind that having a strong community on Facebook can also be attractive to potential publishers. Growing your Facebook community should be primarily be about interacting and connecting with your fans, but attracting a publisher is certainly a nice bonus!

Kim Garst


The perfect Twitter bio is error-free, communicates the benefit of being followed, avoids clichés such as #CoffeeAddict, and is unique to you. - F. Caballo

Frances Caballo Author and social media strategist

Follow the 80/20 rule: 80 percent of the time tweet content other users generated and 20 percent of the time tweet your content.

There are numerous hashtags that writers can use including #bestseller, #eBook, #Free, #Giveaway, #Kindle, #ShortStory, #amwriting, #nonfiction, #mystery, #giveaway and #amediting.

Tweet Images Daily to Boost Engagement. It’s important to post images on all of your social media profiles, including Twitter, because the brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text.

You can adjust the trends that Twitter tracks for you based on your location and who you follow. If you’re unhappy with the trends being tracked, click Change to adjust your geographic region.

When issues trend that relate to your book, genre, or even personal interests, you can use the trending hashtag to expand your following and perhaps even your influence.

Don’t use the TrueTwit validation app. If you are worried about spammers, use websites such asManageFlitterto weed them out.

Don’t send direct messages to your new followers. Don’t ask new followers to like your Facebook page, read your book, read your blog, or review your website or book and part of your “thank you for following” tweet.

Frances Caballo

For indie writers to succeed on Twitter, you have to do it every day/all day. - JJ Toner

JJ Toner Author

If you’re looking for a promotional site that does an outstanding job of showcasing independently published novels, you might want to give BooksGoSocial a try.

It is very important that you don’t go overboard with following since this can be flagged as spam and cause Twitter to suspend or even delete your account permanently.

If you include another user’s @-handle, they’ll see your tweet. It’s like sending a message to them that the whole world will see.

The thing with Twitter is some people get really into it and for others it is a chore. And then other people just never get it. So the suggestion to all indie authors is to give it a good try for three months. If you get no benefit, or are not enjoying it, invest your energies elsewhere.

JJ Toner

What’s your social media secret? Let us know in the comments section below.

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