Social Media Marketing Basics for Authors

Woman holding book with embossed cover.

Kima Jones of Jack Jones Literary Arts says, “Book publicity is book discovery.” This is true for both legacy marketing and social media marketing. In fact, if you have a publicist (or are doing your own outreach to magazines, reviewers, podcasts, etc.) your legacy and social media marketing campaigns will work in tandem. That means, social media marketing is more than just posting selfies and pictures of your lunch. It’s about building awareness around your book, your campaign, and you as an author.

Man standing near a stack of books making the OK sign.

Let’s first begin with debunking a couple of myths.

  1. All publishing houses provide publicity, so if your book is being published the publicity will be taken care of. Sorry — not true! Even if you do have publicity help, you will probably want to supplement it. And you’ll definitely want to add a social media campaign to your plan. Why? Because social media is the easiest and most cost effective way to connect with potential readers.
  2. Publicity is unaffordable. Ok, it is pricey. You can be looking at $10,000 or more to hire a publicist. But you can also hire someone to take care of small chunks of your campaign, such as only handling print media, only handling broadcast media, or only handling social media. Outsource the parts of publicity that you can’t or don’t want to deal with.
  3. Social media takes tons of time. It doesn’t have to. Sure, you can spend all day making reels, TikToks, and posts. You can also create a monthly plan, dedicate a day each month to making your posts, pre-schedule everything, and forget about it. A good social media strategy can result in a lot of traction with not a lot of time commitment.


  1. Think about your book in cultural context, such as news hooks and holidays to which it ties.
  2. Think about the themes of your book and make a list. This can be helpful when creating posts.
  3. Think about your origin story as a writer — in your life, in your career, and in the project you’re publicizing.
  • Based on the ideas you came up with (above), decide on three messages. These are your brand pillars. Most of your social media posts should relate to these pillars. They’re also your touchstones when creating your content calendars.

  • Soft promo vs. hard promo — Soft promo integrates lifestyle and culture. We also think of this as storytelling and value-adding when creating posts. It’s information you share that helps build name recognition (see below) and generate following WITHOUT directly selling anything. Hard promo offers specifics about a product or an event. You’ll include event time or sale price and a link to buy or participate. You social media posts need to be a combination of these, with a great focus (say 75% to 25%) on soft promo.


While your social media campaign may center on a various topics (your book release, an upcoming author event, a tour), strategy should also include increasing name recognition. This means you’re not necessarily focused on IMMEDIATE SALES but on building your platform. Although social media has a lot of built-in immediacy, it’s also an important tool in the long game of brand awareness and community building.


Showcase other authors and literary initiatives. Use your platform to share about your work and events, but also dedicate a percentage of your posts to shout out writers you love or whose books are coming out soon. If you support a literacy organization, a writers workshop, an initiative for youth writers, etc., shout it out! (And if such an organization is not yet on your radar — find one or two. Make sure you’re tagging the authors and organizations you mention!


A traditional book campaign is 6-10 months; a social media campaign can follow this timeline. Allow at least 3-4 months leading up to the book launch to generate awareness and enthusiasm. This is when you can share a cover reveal, an excerpt, and reviews. You can also reveal book event dates and a tour schedule if applicable.

During and after the launch you’ll share images and videos from events, photos of fans with the book, reviews and quotes, and personal experiences from your events and travels.

Social media should extend well before and after the book campaign begins and ends so you’re not bombarding your followers with information and then returning to radio silence. Instead, think of your pre- and post-launch months (and years) as time for name recognition and community building, while also reminding followers about your book(s) and where to purchase your work.

What About Indie Presses?

A woman sits on a sofa by a sunny window reading a book.

It’s no secret that 2022 was rough for the publishing industry. Book bans took place across the country, a merger between two major publishing houses was blocked by a federal judge, and low wages led to strikes. It’s a lot to unpack, but — at least for me — the question it raises is: What about indie presses?

Why doesn’t the writing community, once and for all, elevate indie presses to the level of cache enjoyed by indie record labels?

In the 1980s and ’90s, the recording industry was large and corporate — a near monopoly. “Only six major labels remained: Warner, Universal, Sony, BMG, EMI, and Polygram,” reported a 2012 “Current Popular Trends in the Music Industry” study. “In 1998, Universal acquired Polygram, and six years later Sony and BMG merged.”

A bookshelf holds rows of colorful books.

Similarly, in book publishing, the “Big Five” publishing houses are Penguin Random House, Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, Hachette, and HarperCollins. In October, a federal judge blocked Penguin Random House from buying Simon & Schuster, which would have merged two of the world’s biggest publishers.

In the record industry, however, indie labels stepped up. (And in truth, independent labels and studios had been putting out great music almost as soon as commercial recorded music began — but this blog post isn’t intended as a timeline of the record industry.) I’m thinking of Sub Pop in Seattle, which signed Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Mudhoney; Merge in Durhamm NC, which released albums by Superchunk as well as Neutral Milk Hotel’s In the Aeroplane over the Sea, The Magnetic Fields’s 69 Love Songs; and Fat Possom Records in Oxford, MS, thrugh which The Black Keys released Thickfreakness and Rubber Factory, and Solomon Burke release his Grammy-winning comeback album, Don’t Give Up On Me.

The combination of these bespoke labels that were launching major careers was on the rise at the same time home recording became viable. The GarageBand turned every home into a potential studio and “bedroom” albums were made by the likes of Bright Eyes, Josh Rouse, and Hiss Golden Messenger, among many others. Check out this list of 16 famous albums that were at least partially recorded in home studios.

An old man reads a book on a bench. He's sitting outside a rundown old house.

My point is, small labels and self-released records gained cache. Even though they didn’t have the money to back giant stadium tours by the likes of Taylor Swift and Beyonce, they were able to gain notoriety, big name artists, and major awards.

The same has not happened in the publishing world. The standard remains with the Big Five, though one could argue those major imprints are much more concerned with releasing WHAT WILL SELL A ZILLION COPIES over what is edgy, experimental, culturally prescient, and boundary pushing.

That’s not to say NO important books are coming from major presses. Of course they are. The graphic novel Maus by Art Spiegelman is one example. Bestseller and Pulitzer Prize finalist There There by Tommy Orange was published by Vintage, an imprint of Penguin.

But the recently banned The Girl Who Fell from the Sky by Heidi Durrow was published by Algonquin; the trilogy Crank by Ellen Hopkins was published by Margaret K. McElderberry Books; and here’s a staggering list of 35 impressive books released by indies in 2021.

How close are we to considering indie publishers with the same cache and cool as indie record labels? Can we agree that indies are the tastemakers? I hope so.

But self-publishing as a writer is still a long way from self-recording as a musician — at least in terms of acceptability. There’s long been a pall of unprofessionalism cast over self-publishing. Poor editing, grammatically challenged, “hobby” writing, tacky cover art, clunky layouts. And while self-publishing platforms have made serious strides to improve the self-published product, desktop publishing is not regarded with the same welcome as bedroom recording.

I don’t have answers to this dilemma, but I do hope that as the Big Five publishers continue to face turmoil and missteps, independent presses will gain more support from readers. And I have hope, too, for improvements in desktop and self-publishing. To inspire you, too, here is a list of the 30 best self-published books of all time. Happy reading!

Top 4 Business Goals for Solopreneurs

A person's hands are shown using a calculator while sitting in front of an open laptop.

Happy new year! As we move into 2023 I’ve been thinking about ways to set my business up for success. I started thinking about goals back in the last quarter of 2022. Now, in January, I want to get started! The four goals I’ve identified are not especially sexy. They ARE especially basic. But they’re also necessary to build a solid foundation for my business.

Are you a solopreneur — an entrepreneur running a business with one employee (yourself)? Then these four business goals might also be helpful for getting YOUR 2023 off to a stellar start.

1. Set up an LLC

When I published my novel How to Talk to Rockstars in 2015, I set up a DBA (“Doing Business As”) for selling books, freelance writing, and business expenses that came from being an author and financing a book tour and publicity campaign. By setting up a DBA, I was assigned an Employee Identification Number from the IRS that I could use instead of my Social Security Number, and I was also able to establish a business banking account and line of credit. describes a DBA as “a trade name, assumed name, or fictitious name. You may want to file a DBA name for your new business instead of using your own personal name or your legal business name. Think of a DBA as an alias.”

A DBA is easy and inexpensive to set up. However, a DBA isn’t a business structure or a legal entity. And it doesn’t protect your personal assets, “so in the event of a lawsuit against your business, your personal bank accounts, car, or home could be at risk,” LegalZoom cautions.

An LLC (Limited Liability Company), on the other hand, “a structure that establishes your business as its own legal entity and that carries a lot of credibility. The main advantage of this structure is liability protection. If your company goes bankrupt or someone sues your business, you’re not held financially responsible for your company’s debts or liabilities.”

Setting up an LLC requires a number of steps: Selecting a distinguishable name (can’t be the name of any other business in your state), designating an agent to handle legal documents (probably you), filing Articles of Organization, obtaining an EIN from the IRS, filing annual reports, registering with your state’s Department of Revenue, and obtaining business licenses and permits.

In North Carolina, where I live, the filing fee is $125, but that amount varies by state.

A woman in a blue shirt sits at a desk looking at a notebook.

2. Get bookkeeping help

Since creating and launching my company, AM/FM Broadcast, I’ve been doing my own bookkeeping in a super low-key way. I use Google docs to track income and expense. Income is organized by client name and the services I provide; expenses are organized by categories such as subscriptions, tool, memberships, utilities, education, etc.

It’s worked pretty well. My business model is simple: I am the owner and sole employee. I work with my clients directly. I only occasionally hire a freelancer or contractor for services. I’m paid monthly. My expenses are low, and the majority are monthly service fees such as WIFI, phone, and subscriptions.

But I’m aware that there’s so much I don’t know about accounting and bookkeeping — and even more that I don’t know that I don’t know. Because I’d rather focus on growing my business and providing excellent serve than learning about accounting, I plan to hire someone who DOES know the ins and outs or bookkeeping.

Here’s an important point in favor of outsourcing bookkeeping from “Although you may believe you have a good idea about the state of your startup during the development phase, it helps to have another pair of eyes on this.

“Your bookkeeper can put the financials in order and run reports showing how you are doing each month, where the funds are going and how your efforts are paying off (or might need improving upon). He or she will give you that ‘big picture’ through the numbers being crunched.

For me, another important part of this decision is to insure my tax filings are correct. I’m juggling 1099s for contractor filings as well as estimated tax payments. I’d like to make the most of deductions. And I want to protect my business while maximizing my earnings. For all of these reasons, I’ve decided it’s worth the cost to hire a bookkeeper this year.

3. Price your product or service correctly

I’m borrowing this section from the blogpost Self-care for Creatives, part 2, which I wrote for ArtHero, an excellent company that helps artists and neurodivergent creatives find success in business.

Setting competitive prices can be a major challenge for entrepreneurs who are just starting out (and sometimes for those who’ve been in business for years). And it’s not just because you don’t know what price you should charge — though that can be tricky, too (something Art Hero’s ABC Biz Course addresses). Competitive pricing has to do with your competitors charge, but also what you need to pay your bills and grow your business.

Beyond understanding the direct costs or your product or service as well as the indirect expenses of your business, you also have to understand YOUR OWN WORTH. Setting pricing for products or services is vulnerable. It’s telling potential clients that your time and talent has value, and for some of us that feels incredibly awkward. If you do under value yourself, you will end up working harder for less- which is the OPPOSITE of building a life of freedom and flow.

But knowing what price you need to charge and sticking to it helps to set up clear communication from the start. Some clients may not hire you or buy your products due to your rates, but that’s OK. Those were not the clients for you and weeding them out opens you up to focusing on the clients who are right for you and value your products or services.

And pricing your work competitively sets you up for success in your business. Profit provides ongoing funds for purchasing assets, hiring staff, research, development, and other elements of scaling your company.

3. Build Your Brand

There’s so much to building a brand. It’s about having a clear message to communicate — and how you communicate it. It’s about developing a logo, brand colors, fonts, and imagery to present a consistent overview of who you are in business. It’s about language as well as key topics. Niche. Look. Vibe.

I admit, I changed by brand colors twice last year. Major no-no. (I don’t care. I also accidentally destroyed my website while trying to install a new theme, and then I rebuilt it by myself. It has some glitches. I don’t love my blog layout. There are things.

Even though I’d probably caution a client against taking branding liberties like I have, I also understand how these trials and errors are helping me to hone my brand. My boss likes my enthusiasm and spirit of discovery.

But for a more pointed, less round-about method of building a brand, here are seven actionable steps provided by Shopify:

  1. Research your target audience and your competitors.
  2. Pick your focus and personality.
  3. Choose your business name.
  4. Write your slogan.
  5. Choose the look of your brand (colors and font).
  6. Design your brand logo.
  7. Apply your branding across your business.

Learn more about each step here.

Social Media for Authors workshop

Flyer for social media workshop.

In this five-week workshop we’ll cover how to use social media platforms for book launch campaigns and to build your brand as an author. Topics include how to pick the right social media platform for you, how to create social media posts from the writing you’re already generating, how to plan a monthly social media calendar, and how to manage your social media platforms without burnout!

Although social media can feel like one more thing to add to your already busy life, it’s a necessary part of promotion. Authors are small business owners — solopreneurs, if you will. That’s why it’s important to use social media platforms to market your product and your brand. But authors are also creatives, and there are so many ways to use social media to engage your creative side (and that of your followers).

This workshop is for all levels with a focus on those fairly new to social media. You should have basic computer skills and feel comfortable navigating the internet. You do not need to have a social media account set up in order to take part in this class, but for those who do, we can answer specific questions about your account(s). We will discuss Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, and we will use the free version of Canva to create graphics.

After five weeks, you will be able to create a sustainable social media strategy and monthly content calendar for at least one social media platform.

Instructor: Alli Marshall
Meets online via Zoom. 

Wednesday evenings starting March 22, 6:00-8:30. 

Register here.

Top 5 graphic design trends for 2023

Graphic design of a woman's profile. She has dark hair, a red cap, and a red and white striped shirt.

Even if you’re not a graphic designer, following design trends can be inspiring for blog layout (and subject matter), social media content creation, website look and layout, and brand style.

  1. Mysticism
  2. Retro Illustration
  3. Folk Botanical
  4. Risograph
  5. ’90s Space Psychedelia

While graphic design websites are speculating on the popularity of many potential trends in 2023 (retro line art, punk revival, and abstract gradients are some examples), here are five that speak to me.

All five styles here play with color. Three tap into nostalgia. There’s also a through line of imperfection lending to the uniqueness of the design.


Fantasy, which blends mythology and sci-fi, has been a major design trend for a while. But mysticism, drawing from iconography that relates to astrology and divination, feels like fantasy’s more obscure and mysterious cousin. I love symbols, sigils, and talismans that contain secret or hidden meaning. “From a purely visual standpoint, there is an inherent gentleness to these designs,” writes 99 Designs. “They are constructed with thin lines and organic curves that feel light and delicate. Colors become calming when subdued through muted tones. And the imagery of moons, stars and meditative faces evoke uplifting peace, an escape from earthly concerns that offers hope and solace.

A graphic design with orange, green, blue, yellow, and pink clouds on the left side of the page. On the right side is a navy blue Hamsa hand with a moon and clouds in the palm.
“Midnight Hamsa” medium layflat notebook design by Denik

Retro Illustration

This is a trend that appeals to us through nostalgia. But it can also be updated with contemporary techniques. French illustrator Malika Favre, for example, “captures the raw sex appeal of the mid-20th century,” writes “She combines it with minimalist art to give striking art pieces.” Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Nat Geo, and Vogue Spain, among other publications. I love her use of bold, clean lines and saturated, contrasting colors. Designs feel both lush and organized. They express current themes and ideas through the lens of recognizable and familiar design aesthetic.

Stylized graphic design of a woman's  face. She wears a hajib and has red lips and round sunglasses. Reflected in the sunglasses lenses we see she is driving a car.
Start Your Engines by Malika Favre

Folk Botanical

Florals have long been a staple of graphics design. Last year was big for blossoms. But for 2023, botanicals take on rougher and more rustic proportions. Think: imperfectly hand-carved stamps, hand-drawn lines, and off-kilter block prints. “This trend reinterprets familiar nature themes into unexpected, whimsical drawings,” says 99 Designs. “It also rejects the geometrical precision too often imposed by vector art tools. But the vibrancy in these patterns does not only come from the plants but from the shaky imperfections of the human hand. The effect is to make digital artworks feel organic in more ways than one.”

Water color and ink design of flowers and leaves in black, gray, red, yellow, and green.
Mixed media design by by kirsen
Floral design of yellow-green petals and gold leaves against a black background.
Folk flowers from PNGTree


A brand of print duplicators used for high volume copy and print jobs, Risograph was introduced in Japan in 1980. The technology is similar to that of the mimeograph, and riso printers were known for using soy-based ink. Contemporary digital designers have repurposed the color and visual style from riso printing and mainly use the aesthetic in background designs. “Expect to see bright blues, oranges, yellows, and pinks. Some of these same colors are part of the material design palette that was popular not too long ago, so there’s a natural carryover for this trend,” explains Design Shack. “The color palette in the riso style is often rather limited and might even be reminiscent of a duotone or include a dot grain or halftone effect. [And] Risograph backgrounds are quite imperfect with lines or shapes that aren’t exactly as you’d expect, but have a quaint quality to them.”

Ad advertisement for the Risograph PSD effect with hazy hands in white holding a purple butterfly.
Risograph template from Envato Elements

’90s Space Psychedelia

Last year’s ’60s psychedelia trend gets an update … to the 1990s. The shift here is that inspiration comes less from nature (trippy florals, mushrooms, clouds) and more from futurism. There’s a nod to sci-fi here, and Saturday cartoons. Other influences include the loud, colorful style of 1980s Memphis Design, “and colors reminiscent of Lisa Frank school supplies,” reveals 99 Designs. “It mixes in futuristic themes, like androids and spaceships, vaporwave landscapes, simulated environments and cyberpunk neon.”

Image of a character than looks like an astronaut in a jagged, rocky landscape looking out to a sky with planets and a red and gold spiral.
Golden Phi by Monkeii
A graphic design in pink, orange, and purple of a female character with reflective glasses and moon boots seated on a boom box. The words "Midnight Girl" are in silver across the top third of the page.
Midnight Girl by WifiSigns

What design trends are you hoping to incorporate in 2023? Share in the comments below.

How to Use Color Palette Generators

  1. Canva
  3. Figma

Why use a color palette generator? When branding a business, website, or campaign, it’s important to have a dedicated color palette. Because those colors represent your mission, they should stand out, be immediately recognizable as YOUR COLORS, and also relate to your products, service, or campaign.

There are many places to find color palettes, such as Canva, Pantone, and Pinterest (just search “color palette” — you won’t be disappointed!) You can also learn more about color wheels and color theory at Hubspot’s informative blog on the subject.

But one way to create truly unique color palettes is to create your own from images that inspire you. Here are three color palette generator tools to help you do that.

1. Canva

Instead of using Canva’s Color Combinations Resource, try the Color Palette Generator. Here’s how it works: You upload an image and bam! In less time than it takes to blink the generator has churned out a palette for you.

But, as you can see from my demo below, the generator has a mind of its own. I was expecting pastels and brights and, instead, ended up with something more reminiscent of The Brady Bunch’s living room.

PROS: It’s ridiculously easy to use, and the site also offers demo images to try.
CONS: If you don’t like the colors it pulled from your image, there isn’t a way to select other parts of the image, or add or subtract from the generated palette.

Light bulbs of various sizes, shapes, and colors such as red, pink, lavender, yellow, and blue. Below is a palette created by a color palette generator.
A color palette created in Canva’s Color Palette Generator


The Image Picker at offers lots of options. To use it, browse or drag and drop a photo. The Image Picker will immediately select five colors from the image. BUT — and here’s the cool part — it places markers on the image showing you where each color came from. You can drag each marker to change the color, creating a truly custom palette. There are also layout options for a collage when you export your palette.

The image I used, below, is of purple and gold late-summer flowers. The initial palette suggested by the generator was darker and more subtle. I reselected for brighter yellow and pink shades.

PROS: So many options, and it’s fun to use.
CONS: Some options, such as certain collage layouts, are only available with a pro subscription.

An image of purple and gold late summer flower in a field. Below is a palette created by a color palette generator.
A custom color palette created using the Image Picker at

3. Figma

Collaborative interface design tool Figma offers tools for layout as well as palette generation. For the latter:

  • Install a plugin such as Photo to Palette.
  • Run the plugin and it will automatically generate a color palette based on colors in your image.

Or, for more control:

  • Create and set up a free account on Figma.
  • Create a new project and import and image (or several images!)
  • If you’ve selected a number of images, you might way to organize them on the page.
  • Using the rectangle tool, create a 50px by 50px square to the right of your image(s).
  • Duplicate the square at least three times.
  • For each square, click the fill option on the left-side tool bar.
  • Using the eye-dropper select a color from the image
  • When you’ve filled in each square with color, you’ll have a customized palette.

For my palettes, I selected images of butterflies (below) and vintage hats (top of page). The plugin-generated color palette runs along the bottom of the image and my hand-picked palette is on the right side.

PROS: Lots of control in color selection, and the ability to use and select from multiple images.
CONS: More complicated to use. The automated generator requires a plugin and offers no control of color selection. The manual process has many steps. The Figma platform requires initial set up.

A collage of images of butterflies. Some are photographs and some are illustrations. Below and to the right are palettes created by color palette generators.

There you have it! Three ways to generate your own color palettes for your brand assets, your website, a marketing campaign and more.

If you enjoyed this post, sign up for my mailing list to receive bi-weekly creativity and design tips.

Social media for authors (made easy) — Part 2

  1. How to choose your platform(s)
    1. Tips for setting yourself up for success on social media
    2. How to avoid burnout while managing your social media

    Social media is an important part of the marketing and brand awareness strategy for any author. As I pointed last week in Social media for authors (made easy) Part I, even if you DO have a full-time publicist and social media team, your readers want to hear from you, in your own voice. They want to connect with you, engage with you, and buy books from you. And that’s where your social media platforms come in.

    In Social media for authors (made easy) Part I, we went through the various social media platforms, what differentiates them, and what they each have to offer. In this post we’ll talk about how to choose one or more platforms, how to set yourself up for success on social media, and how to avoid burnout when managing your social media.

    How to choose your platform(s)

    1. The most important question to ask yourself is: Where does your audience hang out?

    If your readers predominantly flock to Pinterest, you don’t want to invest your time creating TikToks. On the other hand, if you’re writing Young Adult fiction, your readers probably gravitate to younger platforms (such as TikTok) rather than a professional site such as LinkedIn.

    Take the time to do some research. One way to figure out where YOUR audience hangs out is to look at the audiences of other successful artists in your genre. If you were to create a “RIYL” (Recommended If You Like) list for your writing, what well known authors would you include to give potential readers some idea of what to expect? Make that list with five names and then look up what social media platforms THOSE authors use.  

    2. What platforms do YOU enjoy spending time on?

    This matters a lot. Do you enjoy creating video content? Do you HATE creating video content? Do you want to engage with your audience or be more hands off? When choosing a social media platform to promote your work, expand your brand, and sell your product, you want to be sure it’s a platform on which you actually want to show up. If you really can’t stand Facebook, pick something else — your followers are likely in more than one place. What we’re doing here is looking for the Venn diagram of social media where you and your audience meet.

    3. What sort of content do you like to create?

    We covered this a little bit above, but it bears repeating. There are several parts to social media: The image, the headline, the caption, and the call to action. Different social platforms highlight these elements differently. Instagram is all about the image (or video). The caption matters, but you’re attracting attention with the image. Facebook, on the other hand, makes it easier to post and share links (no need to say “link in bio”). Reels are a fun way to show off your creativity in short form video or share a direct message to your audience by speaking to them on camera.

    4. Pick one social media platform to start.

    Weigh all the options we discussed above and then create a sustainable strategy. Follow your plan for at least three months. Get really comfortable with one social media platform before adding another to your marketing plan.

    A person attaches a sticky note to a laptop computer screen. The computer is surrounded by a coffee drink, a notebook and pen, and a cellphone.

    Tips for setting yourself up for success on social media

    1. Consistency is key.

    When creating a social media platform, pick a name that is easily recognizable — ideally your first and last name. Use the same name across platforms (my personal accounts use @alli_marshall because @allimarshall was already taken). If your first and last name aren’t available, try last and first name. Or first and last and author, or writer: @allimarshallauthor, @authorallimarshall, @allimarshallwrites, @booksbyallimarshall.

    2. Be professional and recognizable.

    Use a professional photo that shows your face. If you’re an author, use your author photo. Use your book cover or some portion of your book cover as your background image. If that’s not an option, choose an image that connects with your writing.

    3. Fill in your profile.

    Using key words that relate to your field of writing (fiction, novelist, horror, fantasy, young adult, poetry, creative nonfiction, etc.). And add your website link or (for Instagram) a tool such as LinkTree that allows you to share multiple links on social media. With LinkTree your “link in bio” goes to a customizable site with ALL of your links conveniently displayed: Your website, your publisher, where to buy your book, your various social platforms, and any reviews or events you want to include as well.

    Also, in your link tool and on your social media platforms add links to easily connect followers to your other platforms. It’s all about networks and connections.

    How to avoid burnout while managing your social media

    1. Start by creating a monthly schedule.

    You can create an easy content calendar by following the steps I laid out in this blog. Using a blank calendar page or template, lay out a month of post ideas for yourself. I recommend starting with three posts per week and rotating between tips (or other added value content), engagement (such as personal stories, behind the scenes glimpses into your writing space, photos of you at an author event, etc.) and sales posts. Sales doesn’t have to mean only “Buy my book.” You can share a review, a photo of someone reading your book in a fun or unexpected place, or a quote from the book. The important part is that the call to action is something like, “Learn more and find my book” and a purchase link.

    2. Create content in advance.

    Instead of trying to create a post each day, set aside 30 minutes per week or two hours per month to batch-create content. You’ll find it goes much easier when you’re not up against a deadline. And, when you have your content created in advance you can also SCHEDULE in advance. That means never having to remember a posting day. I’ve included some information about scheduling posts here.

    3. Repurpose content.

    This is not only efficient, but also good marketing. A person has to see a post something like seven times before they connect with it. Sharing the same message more than once (as long as it’s timely and on brand) helps readers to really see and hear your call to action. You can also repurpose content from your blogs, interviews, online articles, and even podcasts or radio interviews. I will share a post soon about how to download and edit audio content for social media posts.

    4. Let yourself off the hook.

    You want to show up consistently for your book and your brand. But sharing your work as an author should feel like more of a joy than an obligation. Follow your strategy and be as regular as you can with it. But also know that if your gut is telling you to spend your time taking a walk in the sun, or calling a friend or, I don’t know … writing? Do that. Posting can wait. Social media will still be there tomorrow. Your mental health, physical health, and creative well being are far more important than any sale.

    For more social media tips for authors follow AM/FM Broadcast on Instagram.

    Social media for authors (made easy) — Part 1

    If you’re an author, unless you have a full-time publicist and social media team, you need to be on social media yourself. In fact, even if you DO have a full-time publicist and social media team, your readers want to hear from you, in your own voice. They want to connect with you, engage with you, and buy books from you. And that’s where your social media platforms come in. Here’s our easy primer (part one of two!) on social media for authors.

    1. These are some of the main ways authors use social media:
    2. Facebook
    3. Instagram
    4. TikTok (and/or Instagram Reels)
    5. Pinterest
    6. YouTube
    7. In Part 2 of this post we’ll cover:

    These are some of the main ways authors use social media:

    • Create brand (book) awareness

    • Build a following

    • Promote an event such as a tour or book launch

    • Sell books

    Are you wondering if a website is enough to accomplish the goals above? A website is part of the recipe for success, but — like any good recipe — there’s more than one ingredient. If managed well, there’s something of a feedback loop that happens between a website and social media platforms. It looks something like this:

    This is a text diagram for implementing social media for authors. The graphic shows the information flow from an author's website to social media platforms and back to the website.

    I recently shared a post on how you can create up to nine pieces of social media content across three social media platforms from ONE BLOG POST. So, your website can be your MAIN HUB. But your social media platforms are spokes of that hub. Or, more accurately, funnels that gather and send potential customers (readers) back to your website.

    Top social media platforms for authors include:

    1. Facebook

    The largest age group using this platform is between 25 and 34, but Facebook also has a small but mighty group of age 65+ users. It’s a good space to post links to blog posts, videos, event updates, photos, reviews, etc. You can create and invite followers to your events and you can also engage with other authors and publishers here. You join Facebook groups for writers and post your events on other group pages.

    2. Instagram

    The majority of this platform’s users are between 18 and 44. It’s image-driven with posts using photos, video, and graphics. Instagram has become a necessary platform for businesses in part because engaging content can reach well beyond a user’s follower base. (And yes, my dear author friend, YOU are a small business.) Instagram allows you to engage through short posts with an eye-catching image or video.

    Expert tip: Instead of linking to your website in the profile — the ONLY link currently allowed on Instagram — use a tool such as LinkTree that allows you to share multiple links on social media. With LinkTree you “link in bio” goes to a customizable site with ALL of your links conveniently displayed: Your website, your publisher, where to buy your book, your various social platforms, and any reviews or events you want to include as well.

    One more tip: Invest time in Instagram STORIES. These are posts that only last for 24 hours, but can be way more casual. Stories are a great way to give your followers a quick update and, because you can include links on Stories, they’re also a helpful tool for sales and for connecting audiences to upcoming events.

    3. TikTok (and/or Instagram Reels)

    “If your brand’s target audience includes anyone between the age 13 and 60, you should be on TikTok right now,” says Wallaroomedia. Perhaps. It’s a very fun and engaging platform with lots of room for experimentation and being yourself. Do you enjoy creating short form videos? Then TikTok might be for you. Keep in mind, nearly half of the demographic on the platform is between 18 and 24. If this is your audience, go for it.

    Expert tip: TikTok has a GLOBAL audience, so this is an opportunity to expand your reach beyond the US.

    If your audience is older, you might want to focus on Instagram Reels instead. Videos here are similar to those on TikTok, though trends follow a few weeks behind TikTok.

    4. Pinterest

    If you still think of Pinterest as the place to find craft or recipe ideas … you’re not wrong. But it’s also so much more. Pinterest has long been considered the social media platform for introverts because it’s MORE about sharing ideas and LESS about promoting a personality or even a brand. That’s not to say you don’t want to use basic branding principals on your Pinterest posts (such as brand colors, fonts, and logos).

    Pinterest demographics: 32% 18-29 years old. 34% are 30-49 years old. 38% are 50-64 years old. This is also the platform that takes the LEAST day-to-day management, and interaction is rarely necessary or expected.

    Types of pins: Static (a single image), Video pins (a single video), Carousel (a collection of image slides), Idea pins (a multi-page format featuring up to 20 pages of videos, images and text in a single pin), and Rich pins (these have embedded meta data that is synced from your website).

    Expert tip: Rich pins include Product Pins, Recipe Pins, and Article Pins. Learn more about them here.

    5. YouTube

    This is the largest social media platform (81% of U.S. adults use YouTube) and, as I’m sure you know, contains a wide variety of video content. If you enjoy creating video content (or have someone on your team making video content for you), this is the place to post book trailers, videos from author events such as readings, and interviews. If you have a podcast, you can also post a video recording on YouTube. This is an effective way to grow an audience.

    Expert tip: You can repurpose short-form, vertical video content from Instagram Reels or TikToks for YouTube Shorts. This newer feature of YouTube was introduced in September 2020. You may not have noticed shorts on your YouTube homepage yet. If not … scroll down. These  <60 second videos can be wildly creative. Or very simple and direct. YouTube just released a new guide for Creating Shorts if you’d like to learn more.

    In Part 2 of this post we’ll cover:

    1.  How to choose your platform

    2. How to set up your social media

    3. How to avoid burnout.

    For more social media tips for authors follow AM/FM Broadcast on Instagram.

    Make up to nine social media posts from one blog post

    1. Choose a blogpost or piece of writing
    2. Make an easy content calendar
    3. Schedule your posts

    Are you a writer or blogger? Do you find that creating narrative comes easily for you but knowing how and what and when to post on social media is a bit of a mystery (if not an outright frustration)? Here are some simple steps for turning your longform writing into Facebook and Instagram posts and Pinterest pins. In fact, you can create up to NINE social media posts from one blog or article!

    Choose a blogpost or piece of writing

    This blogor article must be published and linkable online. From this post you’ll create several pieces of social media content:

    • A Facebook post announcing the blog / article / story and sending readers to it. For this, you’ll need the link and a caption that briefly introduces your piece of writing.

    • A Pin for Pinterest. You will design a simple graphic with an image representing the story. It can be as basic as the title in a nice font and color palette.

    • An Instagram post that is a graphic of a quote from the piece. You can repurpose your caption from your Facebook post.

    • An Instagram story with a graphic (you can repurpose your Pinterest pin design) or short video of you announcing your story. Use the links feature on Instagram stories to paste in the direct link.

    Want to get more traction from that same blog / article / story?

    • Pull out a specific quote or idea and make it into a graphic for Instagram or Pinterest.

    • Are there tips? Pull out 3-5 for an Instagram carousel (multi-image) post. You can also post this to Facebook.

    • Share a key point in a reel (short-form, vertical video on Instagram). You can repurpose up to 1 minute of that video for an Idea Pin on Pinterest.

    So now you have possibilities for up to 9 (!!!) posts across three social media platforms, all from one published piece of writing. With 2-3 blog / article / stories per month, you can fill a content calendar.

    Make an easy content calendar

    1. Print out a blank calendar template for the upcoming month. You can also make a content calendar in Google Sheets following these steps.

    This will also allow you to create a social media calendar template that you can use again and again.

    2. First, fill in anything you know you want to post about such as upcoming author events, book signings, workshops, public appearances at festivals, etc.

    3. Next, fill in the posts you will create from your 2-3 blog / article / stories per month. I suggest 3-5 posts per week across platforms. So, perhaps 2 Facebook posts, 2 Instagram posts, and one Pinterest pin. As time goes by, you’ll get a sense for which platforms perform best for you and you can give those platform more attention.

    4. If you still have calendar days in need of posts, consider making quote graphics. There are so many wonderful quotes by noteworthy artists about the craft of writing, the experience of writing, publishing, creativity, etc. Using a tool such as Canva (the free version is excellent), you can create a beautiful graphic template and simply change out the quote each time you reuse it.

    So, now you have post ideas and you have an easy social media content calendar ready to implement.

    Schedule your posts

    Yes — schedule! You can make graphics and write captions for your, content in advance. Why not post it in advance, too?

    1. If both your Facebook page and Instagram account are business accounts, you can link them in the Meta Business Suite. From there you can post to both accounts and schedule them to post on any date, at any time. There’s even a built-in tool to choose the optimal time, when your posts have the best chance of reaching your audience.

    2. You will need to post separately to Pinterest, either from your desktop or the app on your phone.

    3. If you’d prefer to post to all of your accounts on one platform, consider a social media management tool such as Later, Loomly, or the very affordable SocialBu.

    Those are the basics! If you have questions, don’t hesitate to message me. Want a tutorial? We can schedule a Zoom meeting. Ask me about pricing.

    If you’ve enjoyed this post, please sign up for my bi-weekly email which provides more tips, trick, ideas, prompts, and good vibes for creators of all genres.

    Scheduling Instagram Reels: What works and what leaves much to be desired

    Social Media Today announced that Meta has launched new reels features in the Creator Studio App (which can also be used on your phone or desktop / laptop).

    Among those features is the ability to schedule reels and that’s a big deal if you’re a content creator. Reels, for those who aren’t familiar, are short-form, vertical videos that appear on Facebook. They’re usually less than a minute, though Instagram has started to allow longer reels.

    You’ve probably heard by now that video is the most popular form of content across social media platforms. Instagram Reels were launched about two years ago to compete with the short-form video platform Tik-Tok. Pinterest is encouraging its users to create Idea Pins (formerly known as Story Pins), which also use short-form vertical videos. And even YouTube now hosts YouTube Shorts, which are vertical videos of one minute or less.

    Anyway, until recently, Instagram Reels couldn’t be scheduled in advance, though the planner in Meta’s Business Suite allowed for scheduling of Facebook and non-reels Instagram posts. And that’s kind of problematic if you’re trying to incorporate popular video material into your social media posting strategy yet have to remind yourself to post it. Or you have to make time during your busy to week to post and create at a time when the reel is likely to get the most viewers (for me that’s around 7 p.m., but your followers might be online at a different time). Or you have to make reels when you’re able to, or inspired to, and post them then and there in the hopes that the timing will work and the content will get plenty of engagement.

    So being able to schedule is HUGE (!!) … but only if it works. So I tried out the new features in the Meta Creator Studio. Here’s what I found:

    • The Creator Studio isn’t super intuitive to find. To access it, you need to sign into your Facebook account and the go to
    • Once there, the directions for creating a reel a pretty straight forward: Upload a video. Trim it to one minute max, and resize it if needed in the resize screen. To CAPTION your video, you need to click “back” to return to the first screen (as opposed to captioning as the last step, which is the order of operations when you post a reel directly from your Instagram app).
    • Finally, click publish to schedule your reel for a future date.

    The drawbacks:

    • In the Creator Studio you, rather ironically, don’t have creative tools for your reels. No stickers, no filters, no text and no close captions. You also can’t add music or a voice over.

    I found a work around to this by importing my video to the Instagram app and adding close captions there, then downloading it to my phone and re-uploading it to the Creator Studio. You can do this with EITHER captions OR music, but for some reason you can’t save and download a draft with both.

    • You can’t edit clips other than trimming the beginning or ending, and you can’t import more than one clip at a time.
    • You don’t have the option to add a location, which is especially important for those promoting and event, a brick and mortar business, or a city or neighborhood.
    • You CAN add hashtags and tag other accounts, but neither autofill from your previously used tags or your followers.
    • You can’t edit or add a cover image.

    I did go ahead and schedule my post through the Creator Studio, but it’s a far from ideal system. In fact, the reel I scheduled went live on my Facebook feed but NOT on Instagram. (You had ONE JOB Creator Studio!!) If you plan to use this featuring for scheduling reels, I suggest first editing your reels in a program like Canva, Premiere Pro or Davinci Resolve so that you can colorize, add text and transitions, pull in photos and additional film clips, music, voice overs, etc.

    Export your completed reel video and upload it to the Creator Studio for scheduling, if you want to try it. Though I recommend waiting for Meta to smooth out the kinks.

    Another option, if you’re interested in paying for a subscription to a social media management platform, is to find a platform that includes scheduling reels. Some that have this feature include Hootsuite, Planoly, and Metricool.

    More options should be popping up soon. Instagram unveiled its Reels API to all social media management platforms in July and many, like Buffer jumped at the opportunity to offer drafting, scheduling, and auto-publishing of Instagram Reels. The services are included with subscriptions.