Do Authors Need to be on #socialmedia ? #IWSG

Here on Daily (w)rite, as part of the guest post series, it is my absolute pleasure today to welcome author Chrys Fey who gives wonderful pointers on author promotions despite not being on social media.

Do authors need social media?

Authors don’t need to be on social media if they don’t want to be.

Nowadays, social media can be a drag. There are things we might like about it, but then there are things we probably hate, like the drama, feeling as though we don’t do enough on Facebook or Twitter, or even losing writing time because of keeping social media accounts updated.

Authors, if you hate Twitter, you don’t need to be on Twitter. If you hate Facebook, you don’t need to be on Facebook. I personally like to have at least one form of social media to stay current and have a searchable presence, but that is always up to the individual. And I do advise snagging those accounts on Twitter and/or Facebook to keep people from creating a false account under your name/pseudonym. That way the account is yours, but you don’t have to do a thing on it if you don’t want to, and especially not if you dislike social media or get stressed out about it. What can you do instead?

How an Author Can Promote without Social Media:

  1. Online Reviews

Online and social media are two different things. You can still take advantage of the online world and not be on social media.

2. Find Book Bloggers and Reviewers

You can do this with a simple Google search. Check out the blogs/websites for reviewers, read their Review Policy, and then send them an email with all the information they request. Following instructions is key.

Reviews are important, so even if you’re not on social media, you can still take advantage of online reviews. And once you have these reviews, you can quote parts of them in the Editorial Reviews section on your book’s Amazon page. You can even put those review quotes on your website, in your press kit, and any kind of printed promo, such as a postcard or brochure. Use them everywhere.

3. Guest Posts

I have never viewed my blog as a social media platform. There is a community there, and people can comment and share your blog posts, but blogs have a very different vibe than say Twitter or Facebook. So, blogging can be a wonderful tool in a writer’s box who hates other social media platforms. On your blog you can create a series of posts related to you book without it being too pushy-salesy. Writing a post about fascinating tidbits you learned while researching your book is a great way to attract interest.

But if you don’t want to create a blog, you can still partially hop into the blogging world by contacting book/author bloggers and asking them if you can offer them a guest post. Write a fascinating guest post about your book, add your book’s blurb, cover art, your bio and links, and then voila! You have a guest post that can attract their visitors.

TIP: Simple book blasts with only the book’s content do next to nothing because they don’t offer value. And every book blogger fills their followers’ feeds with these. Be different. Create a unique post that is less salesy and more informative.

Get on a handful of blogs. One a day for a week or two is great. In this way, you can have a blog tour. It’s virtual, but it’s not social media.

4. Local Libraries

Contact your local libraries. You can go in and talk to the people at the reference desk about doing a discussion there. This works for authors who write adult books as well as authors who write children’s and middle grade books.

5. Local Schools

If you write children’s books, see if you can do readings in the media center or in classrooms. This is your audience. Elementary school teachers love to connect with local authors, and so do kids.

Many elementary schools also hold fests, such as an autumn fest, spring fling, or summer fest. At these fests, there are usually tables. Contact the school(s) months in advance to see if you can get a table for your books at their events.

6. Local Newspapers

If you release a book or do an event locally (at a library or school), contact your local paper. Many newspaper websites list the reporters and contributors. You can directly contact one of them through email. Give them your press kit and all of the details of what you’ll be doing.

7. Radio/Podcasts

Check out your local radio stations or search for podcast opportunities for authors. You can find radio and podcast opportunities on the Radio Locator database, iTunes (under podcasts), and sign up for Radio Guest List for free to receive daily emails for current radio, podcast, and TV opportunities.

8. Go to Book Events/Fairs

Every year there are book events/fairs throughout the country, and a few of them could happen in your state. Even in your city. Signing up to be a featured author at a book event, with a table for the signing open to the public, you have the potential to find new readers. Have promo items, such as bookmarks or postcards, with your book’s information on it and pass them out to every reader who pauses at your table. I also suggest, having a tablet at your table so readers can directly fill out your newsletter’s opt-in form. Include some sort of incentive, such as a giveaway the readers will be entered into if they sign up. When I did this, I got about 50 new sign-ups from one event.

Book events are also great ways to network with other authors. Introduce yourself. Stop at their tables, swap business cards, and wish them luck. By doing this, you could be building a valuable relationship.

9. Join Local Writing Groups

Most libraries have group meetings for writers. Go to your local library and ask the reference desk for information on any writing groups that may meet there. Usually, these groups meet once a month. If you attend the meetings, you could get to know other local writers/authors, which could lead to combined promo opportunities. For example, you and one or two others could do a signing together at a local spot. You never know what could come out of the friendships you build in writing groups.

10. Readings

Host a reading at a coffeeshop, library, or another local spot. Many of the people who go to these places are artistic people. At the least, you entertain them while you read. At the most, you pique their interest and they ask you questions afterward about your book.

11. Farmer’s Market

Many cities and towns have a weekly Farmer’s Market. See if you can get a table for your books. Treat it like a real book event. Have promo items you can hand out to everyone. Whoever stops at your table, try to pull them into a conversation. You could simply ask them what they like to read and follow their answer with a reply of your own. Perhaps they read your genre. Great! Tell them that’s what your offering and pitch them your book.

Do Authors Need Social mediaIf you target all of your marketing efforts locally and get known where you are, you and your book will become successful WITHOUT SOCIAL MEDIA!

And if a local opportunity comes your way, say to speak at a luncheon or library, don’t pass it up. Even if you’ve never done it before. There’s no harm in trying, and you just may be pleasantly surprised.

Get creative. Think outside the box. Try anything at least once.

How else can an author promote their book(s) without social media? How much of your time do you spend on social media? Do you buy books you encounter on social media? Have you ever been annoyed by author promotions on social media?

For more information like this check out:

Write with Fey: 10 Sparks to Guide You from Idea to Publication by Chrys Fey at Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo | Amazon

Chrys Fey on Social mediaChrys Fey is the author of Write with Fey: 10 Sparks to Guide You from Idea to Publication. Catch the sparks you need to write, edit, publish, and market your book! From writing your novel to prepping for publication and beyond, you’ll find sparks on every page, including 100 bonus marketing tips. Fey is an editor for Dancing Lemur Press and runs the Insecure Writer’s Support Group’s Goodreads book club. She is also the author of the Disaster Crimes series. Visit her blog, Write with Fey, for more tips, or tweet her at @ChrysFey

Social media by Chrys FeyThis post was written for the IWSG. Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for organizing and hosting the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) every month! Go to the site to see the other participants. In this group we writers share tips, self-doubt, insecurities, and of course, discuss the act of writing. If you’re a writer and a blogger, go join rightaway! The IWSG’s co-hosts this month are Beverly Stowe McClure, Tyrean Martinson, and Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor.

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Add Yours
  1. Sandra

    Thank you. This post was extremely useful with ideas I hadn’t thought of doing. I’m not a fan of SM for various reasons.

  2. Karen Hugg

    Great approach to promotion without social media. You’re right, it takes a lot of time and I’m not sure sometimes whether it’s better to go a different route. You gave me ideas about some of those routes. Thanks!

    • ChrysFey

      Hi Karen! I’m glad I was able to give you some ideas and insight into marketing routes that don’t involve social media. 🙂

  3. aj vosse

    Very good advice, thanks!
    Personally, I detest FB so it’s great to hear I don’t have to be there!
    Go local… and hope! My next target will be the local farmer’s markets…
    Real world fun! 😉

  4. morlock13

    I’m glad someone mentioned Huxley in the comments. We were talking about things getting far too Orwellian, online and off, and my husband offered up that it was closer to “Brave New World” for the sake of all the shiny distractions.

    I dispense with most social media but kept accounts for the reasons you explained, not having fakers as Oprah warned once about her own name being used for phony accounts. I’m just doing my thing online for a potentially small audience I didn’t really want to get so darn big. Now I’m engaged with pen pals who are very fulfilled without social networks. Just focusing on the friendships, discussion and the content of our lives and personal works. Take care.

    • ChrysFey

      The decision to be on social media, which platforms, how many platforms, and why is a personal one, and we all have the right to decide for ourselves what we want to do. 🙂 Oh, and I have a pen pal, too! I “met” her through blogging. We took to emailing each other, and since she stopped blogging years ago it’s how we keep in contact.

      • morlock13

        Very good! That was precisely something I was hoping to hear because much of the internet came from accepting/embracing differences and then suddenly even people who believed in that were giving me a hard time for not wanting to use social media. Boy! I’m glad things are getting better now. Thanks!

  5. macjam47

    Social media can be a wonderful venue, but it is like a huge vacuum sucking up all of your time. That adds up to a lot of time that could be used for something else – writing, family time, daily chores, lunches with friends, everything. Face-to-face is the best advertising. I met a young writer at a coffee shop where they had given her a table. We spoke at length and I bought her book for my grandson who reads a lot of dystopian books, which her’s was. She’s since written another and he found it on his own. In a round about way, she gained a new reader. By the way, his teacher read the book after reading his book report and now has it on her suggested reading list for her classes.

    • Chrys Fey

      That is awesome! An author can meet many new readers by doing something in the public and locally, and it’s just so much more rewarding when you make that connection in person.

  6. Dominic Dalston

    There is something very unreal about social media. It can leave you wondering what the value is in an engagement. A like or a re-post can be done automatically, without thinking, though they can indicated a glimmer of communication which is not to be sniffed at. A comment, like this one takes time and thought. It shows a meeting of minds. So it has more value, but nothing beats the challenge and the joy that comes from meeting people, face to face for a real human interaction. We don’t want the distopian vision of Huxley to come true. Let’s keep it live and real!

  7. kkrige

    I spend a lot of time online helping clients with their social media management, but I see the value in your suggestions Chrys. There is certainly something to be said for getting the word out to as many people as possible in a wide variety of mediums.

    • Chrys Fey

      Hi, kkrige! I wholeheartedly agree about getting the word out in a wide variety of avenues, which can certainly include social media. This could be a list of additional techniques for authors to try along with their social media efforts, or for those who want to focus efforts off social media. Having someone like you to help manage social media would be a great benefit to many.

      • kkrige

        I do what I can. The trick is always to find a way to connect with people who are not online already. If they aren’t online, then it is hard to find me!

        • ChrysFey

          Attending conferences/events, putting out ads in print, guest posts, and YouTube videos would be my tactics. Even people who don’t use social media can stumble across you by Googling something and finding your guest post or video. 🙂

  8. Parul Thakur

    I am not an author but I agree to the point that to achieve something, there is more than one way. Social media is good but there can be more ways. After all, we have read so many books that were never even on FM or Twitter.
    Great advice, Chrys!

    • ChrysFey

      Exactly, There are many ways to promote and market. Authors don’t need to exclusively use social media. It’s great to get out there locally. Thanks, Parul!

  9. datmama4

    This is great advice, Chrys. Keeping my business name present in social media probably consumes about three hours of my week. It’s marketing, yes, and it’s nice to be able to market widely for free, but it’s still time-consuming. Your suggestions are terrific options of where to spend your time for the most satisfaction and return.

  10. pratikshya2

    This was such an informative post. First few points i was aware of well, but halfway through this article it was all new information. Never thought about newspapers, local libraries, book events in schools…

  11. J.R.Bee

    Thank you! It does get really quite overwhelming sometimes when you think you need to be on ‘all the platforms’.

    • ChrysFey

      It sure can get overwhelming. We don’t need to be an all platforms. It’s much better to choose one of the big platforms (Facebook and Twitter) and stick with that one than to try to be active everywhere and neglect them all out of sheer stress and displeasure.

  12. Jemima Pett

    Farmers markets – why didn’t I think of that? I do craft fairs locally, but Farmers markets are monthly, so people get used to seeing you. Must do that!

  13. Nabanita Dhar

    Not a published author so not sure. But yes, it makes sense. We don’t have to be on social media if we don’t want to but sadly it now seems to be a requirement.

    • ChrysFey

      When it becomes a requirement, either from an agent or publisher, that’s when we need to understand our limits and know a little about each platform. Then we can evaluate which platform(s) would be the best for us. Many of us have a blog and/or website, which is a big part of our online presence. After that, if you pick one of the most popular platforms in the beginning (that’s probably Facebook or Twitter) and stick with it until you master it, then you can add a platform that’s more fun…like Instagram or Litsy or Pinterest. 🙂 We don’t need to be everywhere, though. And that’s coming from someone who pretty much is and wishes she wasn’t. lol

  14. BellyBytes

    A sister in law who is now a published author of two books was quite upset when her publishers insisted she have an online presence. For shy authors this in your face activity is quite an anathema. But she did it and survived and perhaps even managed to get short listed for several prestigious literary awards.

    • ChrysFey

      Hi BellyBytes! Publishers do insist on being on social media, which is why I suggest snagging those profiles just in case, and if they ask the author to post promo during a release. But authors should feel empowered to tell their publishers where they draw the line and make compromises. For example, an author can discuss with their publisher about being active on Twitter but not Facebook, or vice versa. Having a website and/or blog that updates regularly is also a great alternative to social media. I’m glad you sister managed it! Believe it or not, I’m a shy writer, too. 🙂 But I find social media easier for me to communicate than in person.

  15. Kishor Kr

    Well, I agree that one needn’t be on social media. It may not be required to be on social media religiously, and there might be several other methods to promote and have your presence felt. But, in the end, what’s the harm in just being there. In fact, when you’re unable to handle your social media accounts, but have enough money to let someone else do the job you may look for that option as well.

    • ChrysFey

      Yes, that’s why having a profile in these different outlets for people who may come searching for you is a good idea. And you can sporadically post or put up a few posts when you first create the account so something is there instead of a blank feed. And you make an excellent point about hiring an virtual assistant or social media manager. This could even be a friend or adult child. 🙂

  16. ianscyberspace

    Social media is OK to keep in touch with family and friends but you can get too much of a good thing and it can be a huge time waster. I limit my time on social media to a couple of hours a week.

  17. hilarymb

    Hi Damyanti – excellent you have Chrys here .. she is so wise on all things bloggy, writerly and socially media acceptable! Yes one does need a presence and an active one … being sensible is the thing – cheers Hilary

    • ChrysFey

      Exactly. And you can have a presence online without social media. There’s also some social media that is much more laid back and fun, like Instagram and Litsy,

        • ChrysFey

          I love Instagram! That platform comes naturally to me since I love to take photos, so I don’t even think of that platform as “social media” anymore. It’s just pure for for me. 🙂

  18. Meka James

    Social media can be very time consuming, but sadly for people just starting it is a good way to be visible. I agree with finding one or two platforms that work for you so you aren’t trying to stretch yourself too thin.

    • ChrysFey

      A blog, which I know you have *wink*, is a great way to start to become visible. That’s how I did it. Then I slowly added another platform (Facebook) and then another (Twitter). And I joined Twitter YEARS after Facebook. For those authors who seek out online visibility, I suggest joining social media sites one at a time, and only if the individual wants to be in those places. But you can still be visible elsewhere other than online. 😉

  19. J.R. LeMar

    All of these recommendations are good advice. Nevertheless, I still disagree, in that I think *some* social media presences is necessary, at least for new and upcoming authors, especially self-published ones.

    You don’t need to be on every major platform, but I do think at a bare minimum a Twitter account is a prerequisite in this day and age. And posts like this make social media seem “scarier”, or more trouble, than it actually is.

    It doesn’t mean that you have to be on all day everyday, tweeting back and forth and getting into arguments or trolls. But when used properly, it can be very helpful.

    I hope it’s okay to post this here, author Nat Russo has some great posts about using Twitter:

    • ChrysFey

      This post isn’t meant to make social media platforms seem “scarier” or more trouble than they are. It’s meant to give some relief to those people who don’t like social media and feel stressed or pressured to be everywhere. And provide alternatives to building a presence in other ways.

      I do agree with you, J. R, about having at least one form of social media. That’s why I said “I personally like to have at least one form of social media to stay current and have a searchable presence, but that is always up to the individual.” 🙂

  20. Widdershins

    I read the post title and wondered … was this going to be another exhortation to do all things social media-y? … but no, I am pleasantly surprised. I find myself, pleasantly surprised. (10 bonus points if you know where that paraphrase came from. 🙂 )

  21. Jacqui Murray

    Oh thank god for you, Chrys. I struggle with social media, begrudgingly spend hours at it, hate FB but still have pages. Thank you for permission to do things differently!

    • Damyanti Biswas

      You’re welcome, Chrys. Thanks for your insightful post–I can’t make bad content look good, so all credit goes to you!

      Apologies on being offline and scatterbrained, I’m limping back to online life now.

  22. Nita

    These are very good suggestions, but honestly quite overwhelming. I will be self publishing my novel soon, and to know i have to do so much is frightening. Writing consumes me already.

    • ChrysFey

      Hi Nita! You don’t need to do all of these. You can pick one and see how it goes and then try another one, and only the ones that sound like you’d enjoy them. I definitely don’t suggest doing them all at once. Writing is of upmost importance.

  23. bamauthor

    I have done all of the above, except Farmer’s Markets. Most of the markets in my area feature produce only. It might be worth trying though.

    • ChrysFey

      That can really be frustrating if you don’t want to be on social media, right? There are so many other avenues than relying on social media, which is pretty loud as it is. When you do local promotions or promo on blogs, you get a much more personal and intimate experience.

    • ChrysFey

      Exactly. I actually enjoy Facebook…well, minus the drama…but Facebook is not for everyone. Just like Twitter isn’t for everyone. I struggle with Twitter, but I try to be active there when I can be.