As we discussed last month, agents and editors strongly encourage authors to develop a platform long before their book is published. One key element for most authors and illustrators is social media. But what should your social media look like while querying, (especially if you don’t feel you have anything to talk about)? Here are some social media tips for those on submission.
- DO think of your social media as part of your “interview” with an agent or editor. If you include your social media handles in your query (as I discussed last month), agents will take a look to get a sense of your personality before offering. Do you retweet authors you love and boost their books? (Good.) Or do you trash agents on Twitter after they send you a rejection? (Bad.) Before each post or tweet, you might pause and consider how an agent or editor would view what you’ve shared.
- DO amplify others. Feel like you don’t have anything to say yet? Use your social media to talk about books (and TV and movies) you love. Instagram has a vibrant #bookstagram community where people snap covers and spines of books they’re reading. On Twitter, people frequently use the hashtag #amreading (along with the category or genre) to share book recommendations. If you’re sharing your love of books, make sure to @ the author and even the publisher. Most creators are deeply appreciative when you share their work.
- DO build relationships with future readers. Consider who your readers are and get involved with the online community. On Facebook, find groups related to your genre or category. For example, there’s a Facebook group of 3,900 thriller, suspense, and mystery fans and 13,000 romance junkies. On Twitter and Instagram, find your future readers using hashtags, follow along, and share your love of books. Here’s one list of author and book-related hashtags.
- DO share your author/illustrator life. People are always fascinated by the working lives of creative types. Where do you work? What’s your process? Where do you get your ideas? Each February is #AuthorLifeMonth on Twitter and Instagram, with a daily post prompt. Even though February is long past, this list is sure to elicit some ideas for social media posts. And if you’re an illustrator, daily doodles and single panel comics are always popular.
Social media can be a great way to connect with fellow creators and book-lovers long before your book deal. A good presence can only enhance your standing with agents and editors. If you have additional social media tips for querying authors, please share them below.