by Deanna Raybourn

Navigating social media these days can be like sailing into a maelstrom with a broken rudder and a missing compass. How are you supposed to juggle five different platforms? What do you share and how much should you promote? Here are my favorite quick tips for making social media work for you:

1. Pick your poison

You can’t do everything well. Different social media platforms suit different communication styles. Choose the platform that fits you best and focus your attention there. Instagram is perfect for people who are visual; Twitter is best for people who can keep it short.

2. Be authentic

Just as important as choosing the right platform is presenting yourself well online. Your online self should reflect who you are as a person and as a writer. Gail Carriger and Chuck Wendig are very different authors, but both of them are superb on Twitter. Gail shares pictures of gorgeous hats and teacups and Chuck talks about facebees and heirloom apples—quirky, fun, and real.

3. Mind your ratio

Online interaction is not all about promotion; it’s about building connections. Have organic conversations, share content, make friends—and keep the book promotion under control. 20% promo to 80% other content is a good ratio, one that will keep it from feeling like you’re always pushing a sale.

4. Obtain consent

Never add anyone to your mailing list without their knowledge/consent. I can’t believe this has to be said, but this happens all the time and it’s the quickest way to get people to hit “unsubscribe”. You never want to be the person who pushes their way in where you aren’t wanted.

5. Control the platform

Always keep a corner of the internet where you control the platform. I’ve seen far too many authors build a huge presence on Facebook or Twitter only to have it vanish instantly. (It’s far easier than you think to get banned or suspended.) For that reason, you need to cultivate a little space where readers can find you. Blogging may be out of fashion according to a lot of pundits, but an online journal is a great way to keep your readers informed of new releases, appearances, giveaways, and deal announcements.

6. Keep your look consistent

Whether you choose your author photo or a cover thumbnail as your profile image, use the same image across all social media platforms. It will help readers find you.

7. Boost other writers

A rising tide lifts all boats, and the more you share books you’re excited about, the more readers will check in on your feeds for suggestions. Recommend upcoming releases in your newsletters and retweet other people’s award nominations and release days. People will remember that you were the one who told them about a fantastic new read.

What’s missing from this list? What works best for you? Let us know on the Career Authors Facebook page.


New York Times and USA Today bestselling novelist Deanna Raybourn is a 6th-generation native Texan. Married to her college sweetheart and the mother of one, Raybourn makes her home in Virginia. Her novels have been nominated for numerous awards including the Edgar, five RITAs, two RT Reviewers’ Choice awards, the Agatha, two Dilys Winns, a Last Laugh, and three du Mauriers. Her Lady Julia Grey novels are currently in development as a television series in the UK and she launched a new Victorian mystery series with the 2015 release of A CURIOUS BEGINNING, featuring intrepid butterfly-hunter and amateur sleuth, Veronica Speedwell. The fourth adventure in the series, A DANGEROUS COLLABORATION, was released on March 12.