Social Media Tips for Writers (And Reluctant Marketers)

Practical Tips for Marketing Your Books on the Social Web


Social Media Just For Writers 185 KBThe biggest resistance writers have to jumping into social media is that they fear they will need to spend countless hours in front of their computers posting, tweeting, updating and commenting.

I refer to this as the “time suck factor.”

You’re a writer and that means you love to write. You don’t particularly want to market your book but you’ve been told that you have to and you accept that fact, although grudgingly.

News flash: Marketing doesn’t have to be an ugly word.

We’re not conducting robocalls or telemarketing. And we’re not creating direct mail appeals – junk mail – that people toss without even opening an envelope.

We’re in the era of new marketing: social media marketing and the beauty of it is that it’s not interruption-based marketing. Your message is waiting for people when they choose to navigate to Twitter or Facebook or other social media networks.

But you’re still afraid that if you start to use social media you will lose track of time and spend hours in front of the computer when you should be writing or going to the gym. Am I right?

Nonsense. Fitting social media into busy schedules is easy.

You can manage your own social media marketing and still have time to write, cycle, relax with a novel, or soak up suds in a tub by following a simple four-point plan.

1. Curate

2. Schedule

3. Be social

4. Measure your results

By spending as little as 20 – 30 minutes a day, you can grow your contacts, further your brand, sell more books, and stay in touch with colleagues and friends.

Here are my social media tips for writers that will help you to better manage your time while marketing.

Curate Stellar Content

lookingThere are a wide variety of applications and websites that can help you to find great content in your niche. These are a few of my favorites.


Described as “your blogging assistant” on its website, this WordPress plugin will suggest content and royalty-free images for your blogs. It will also recommend your post to other Zemanta users and suggest posts by other writers to include at the bottom of your post, giving your readers additional resources. What writers may like best about this free application is that it can also help you conduct research for your next post and help you to find images.

CurationSoft: Download this program to receive help in finding information you need based on keywords you choose. The company offers free and paid ($49/year) versions.

Enter your keywords and this application will scour the Web for you. You can discard or keep the articles and posts that suggests and even create your own customized “magazine.”


Not an application but a website, this is the top online source for the hottest trending information on the entire blogosphere from A to Z.

Schedule Your Posts in the Morning

There are numerous applications to help you plan your day. Here are a few for you to consider and use at the start of your day.


The free version allows you to post four tweets daily while with the paid version – starting at just $10/month – you can post as often as you’d like. Buffer interfaces well with other applications such as SocialBro and the browser Chrome.


Hootsuite offers a great free plan that allows users to tweet and post as often as they’d like. The paid version will allow you to also post to your Google+ pages and offers analytics.


This application is a scheduler on steroids. You can schedule recurring tweets, track keywords and hashtags, check your incoming feeds, and analyze your click-through-rates to your website. They offer a 7-day trial plan that’s free.


Tweetdeck is a free application that enables you to manage your Twitter feed, schedule tweets, and monitor and manage unlimited accounts.

You Don’t Have to Be a Party Animal to Be Social

pounding at the typewritersIt’s important to schedule time in your day to be social. What does this mean?

At the end of your day, right before or after dinner, spend some time on social media. Like and comment on posts you find in your newsfeed on Facebook. Check your Contact feed on Twitter to see who messaged you or followed you. Reply to tweets by telling users that you liked a quote they sent out. Follow back users who followed you during the day – assuming they are interesting enough – and comment on their blog, website, or Facebook page.

Read a few blogs and leave comments. Check in on one of your groups on LinkedIn and add to the discussion. Check in on your Google+ communities.

In other words, put the social in social media to work but limit your time to about 15 minutes.

Check Your Return on Investment (ROI)

I love this quote:

“Social media is like teen sex. Everyone wants to do it. Nobody knows how. When it’s finally done there is surprise it’s not better.” Avinash Kaushik, Google Analytics Evangelist

Time is precious so it’s important to check to see whether your marketing efforts are having any effect. Here are some applications that can help you to make that determination.


I use this application and I really like it. It provides detailed information about my social media accounts. For example, during a recent 30-day period, I had 294 mentions, 184 retweets and there were 3,800 clicks to my domain. On Facebook one week, Monday and Thursday were the days when my page had the most engagement. SproutSocial also measures my influence, analyzes my audience, and let me know whether not I’ve been social enough.


This application will analyze your tweets and let you know which days and times are your optimal times for sending your messages. It integrates with both Buffer and Hootsuite.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics measures sales and conversions and offers information on how visitors arrived at your website and how they use it. This information is important because you can use it to improve your conversations (book sales!).

So, spend 10 to 15 minutes in the morning curating and scheduling, spend 10 to 15 minutes in the late afternoon or early evening socializing, and finally, spend a few minutes a week analyzing your indicators so that you can measure and adjust your posts.

How do you balance writing with social media?

About the Author: Frances Caballo is a social media strategist, trainer,  and author of Social Media Just for Writers: The Best Online Marketing Tips for Selling Your Books and Blogging Just for Writers. Presently, she is the Social Media Editor for the Women’s National Book Association-SF Chapter and the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association. You can find her on FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterest, and Google+.