Having a social presence is something that publishers look for more and more now when considering a book / author. However, that shouldn’t be your one and only motivation (albeit it may be your main one) you can also use Social Media to build up relationships locally for book signings, festivals, bookshops, schools if children’s author etc. So here are some top tips on how to build a genuine following on the 3 main platforms – Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

It’s worth saying – don’t over stretch yourself. Running successful platforms is time-consuming! It is better to do one and do it well than to do three poorly!

My overarching top tip for all platforms – is to remember they are social platforms – not a platform to just talk about yourself and sell! Be sociable, have conversations, be genuine, respond to people, share content. If you implement these tips then you’re already doing better than many!


This is the platform that I’d always suggest writers should start with. It’s the platform that allows you to network opening and build a community of followers. It allows you to REALLY connect with an audience and have conversations. It allows you get your name out there and recognised within the industry.

My top tips:

  • Don’t spam people!
  • Use hashtags but not too many. 2 – 3 per tweet is ample.
  • Use Twitter Lists to segment the people who are influential to you and to allow your focus away from the main twitter noise.
  • Engage – get involved in conversations, especially influential people – maybe publishers or published authors, book stores etc
  • Be yourself.
  • Use images where possible to catch attention.
  • Retweet and Quote Retweet any content that you think your growing audience might like.
  • Don’t auto post, auto DM or auto anything – it’s a twitter car crash waiting to happen.
  • Watch hashtags – #mswl is short for “manuscript wishlist” and it’s the hashtag used by editors looking for particular types of manuscripts. Keep an eye out for what is being asked for:

An example #mswl

  • Get involved in other more general hashtags #writerwednesday, #fridayreads, #nanowrimo, National Novel Writing Month (in November) and even more general ones: #books #novel #nonfiction #shortstories #womensfiction #cookbooks etc etc


Instagram is a very visual platform so obviously, you need to be prepared to use good quality photos. It is great for working with influencers and getting your personality across.

My top tips:

  • Use good quality images – this needs to represent you and your writing so you want the images to be high quality like your writing.
  • Use up to 30 hashtags (don’t cross post to facebook!!!) – you can use an app like Hashtagger or Website such as https://displaypurposes.com/ to get a selection of hashtags – but make them relevant to what you are saying/showing.
  • Post when your audience is online (8 pm generally)
  • Use Stories – it is a great way to get the audience to know you and make them feel that they’re helping you through this “journey”. Use geotags and hashtags in them too. It’ll help widen your reach.

Instagram Stories using Geotags and Hashtags is a great way to increase reach

  • Decide on a visual theme If you write children books you may want to have that reflected in the colour choices and tones. Therefore it would appear different to someone who is more a thriller or crime writer. Or use a generic filter to start making all your photos look like they fit together. Try VSCO or Colour Story Apps to get good filters. This feed from Bookish Bronte show’s how style and colour tones bring a grid together.
Bookish Bronte Instagram Grid
  • Tell a story in your top 9 images. These are the most recent 9 images – do they represent all about you as an author, your inspiration, your workalike, your down time – let the audience in! Although only share what you’re happy to share.
  • Get involved with campaigns that are relevant to you, like next weeks #readtosleepweek by @thebookmatchmaker
  • Encourage people to converse with you!


Facebook is where the bulk of the walking talking book buying audience is – so once you get your deal and get your audience nailed on the other platforms then this is the one to throw your energy at. However, it doesn’t come cheap!! Due to the algorithm, it is a hard hard platform to crack organically so you’d want to look to invest in ads – whether that be to increase traffic to Amazon for purchases or to increase your page following. This is worth the investment and you can see great results for little expense. However whilst trying to get your book published there is no harm in trying to slowly grow your Facebook following:

My Top Tips

  • Be engaging – the more comments likes and shares you get the better for widening your reach.
    Share curated content that compliments yours.
  • Don’t just talk about your book/writing – people will get bored (sorry!) and switch off. Keep it interesting, fun and engaging. Competitions are great – Gillian McAllister did a great one to get a character named after them.
  • Remember why people use Facebook – it’s normally to entertain them whilst they have a spare 5 minutes – so entertain them!
  • Don’t be over promotional – Facebook doesn’t like it!
  • Consider using viral content – i.e. content that is already doing well on Facebook
  • Share content that is useful/interesting to your audience. If you’re a dog lover then that’s cool but the large part of your audience might not be so don’t post about dogs all the time (unless you’re writing a dog book!!).
  • Don’t believe Facebook when it tells you to Boost posts – only boost posts when your posts are getting engagement.
  • Respond to comments on other pages as your business name.

General Social Media Tips

  • Don’t steal images or content always ask before you use or check copyright if you’re using Google Images etc
  • Don’t write anything that you won’t want to be seen thrown back at you by the Daily Mail when you’re a world-famous author.
  • Keep an eye on what has done well using the platform analytics and try and replicate it.
  • Be yourself
  • Be genuine
  • Be Sociable

Great Writers & Authors to follow on Social Media

Claire Allan

Marian Keyes

Sophie Hannah

Kate Tilton

Julie Ferry

Cityread London (show’s great variety of content)

Joanne Harris

Matt Haig

Jessie Burton

Gillian McAllister 

Here is an amazing list of Book Bloggers that you may want to scan through and follow AND engage with too.

How To Use Social Media To Help To Build A Writing Career by Virtually Savvy. including top tips on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Maybe it's all you need to get a publishing deal? Stop reading books and start writing! #writer #author #publishing #fiction #literature #books

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