More Social, Less Media 2

Make The Most Of Your Author Platform, Part 2

In part one of the series, I covered being more person than pop-up ad, how to really engage your followers and desired audience and interacting directly with the readers community alongside all the chatter that happens between authors. In the last bit, I mentioned several commonly used author hashtags.

If you find hashtags more confusing than helpful, fear not! You are not alone. For clarification, I’m 33 and struggle to understand most of the ones I see. Especially when they get into alphabet soup territory, a.k.a the sea of acronyms. If I ever get those figured out, rest assured that I will post a glossary of them here! There are a number of resources I’ve found particularly helpful in regards to using hashtags, which I will include links to at the bottom of this post. In the meantime….

#Can #You #See #Me #Now?

How many times have you seen a tweet that is almost entirely made up of hashtags? Follow any author related hashtag (or any at all, for that matter) and you’re sure to run across this at some point. Either every single word has # in front of it, or it is a shortened link and image paired with every hashtag that could be even vaguely related to the topic.

Holy hell, these make my eyes hurt. I can’t be the only one!

While this sort of online speech is gaining steam with younger social media users, there’s a difference between tweeting on a personal account and a professional one. That sort of thing can be difficult to read for many people, so consider your audience before #hitting #tweet #on #something #that #looks #like #this.

On the other side of this, using every quasi-related hashtag on your post (especially a promotional post) could very well make you look desperate. Or like a bot, which could result in the AI that trolls Twitter looking for such things targeting your account. Pick a few that are the most relevant to the specific post and only use those. Certain ones can be used as a part of a sentence without making it difficult to read, others should go at the beginning or end, above or below the rest of the text.

After spending the day training my tortoise for her big race, I #amwriting, finally! Feels good to get back to #WIP about a little tortoise with big dreams!

Diving in to some #amediting time on my #fantasy #murdermystery. 

Meant to get in some #writing today, but when I #amreading, I totally lose track of time! {Insert author tag, name of book, buy link here}

Just a few examples off the top of my head. Not sure where the whole tortoise thing came from, to be honest. However, the first one could easily be followed with a hashtag or two aimed at animal lovers, the reading community or both. It’s both promo and conversational. Posts like that, in my opinion, can also help readers who are following you to feel like they are a part of the book coming to life. If someone feels personally invested in the book’s journey, they are not only more likely to buy that one, but others by the same author as well!

Picture Perfect

Now that you’ve got all the right words in place, time to move on to the other most important part (again, in my opinion) of making the most of your author platform.


A picture is worth a thousand words. Yes, it’s a cliché, but it didn’t become one because it’s false! Images are a great, simple way to interact with your followers and desired audience, both on social media and a personal website. That doesn’t mean you have to be a graphic design guru, however. Hell, these days, you don’t even have to have Photoshop or similar software. There are plenty of wonderful resources out there that make it easy.

Allow me to introduce you to my dear friend Canva. This incredibly easy to use site makes creating awesome graphics a breeze, even for those who struggle with such things. Believe me, if my Mom can use it, so can you! There are tons of totally free images to use without worrying about copyright issues. Canva also has lots of cool fonts, backgrounds, colors, shapes, templates and more to play with, stores all your designs on your account and allows you to choose what format to download the image as!

On sites like Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr, images can be a great way to catch someone’s eye amid the sea of text. On Instagram, adding a unique logo or watermark to your images can help build your brand. Then, of course, there is Pinterest. Including a picture with a post, or making the post text part of an image, means it can now be added to Pinterest. Tons of people use their boards to keep track of books they want to read and authors they like.

However, there is one thing you have to watch out for….

Fonts, Colors & Backgrounds, oh my!

Ok, so I let my inner theater geek show for a second there. Moving on.

All too often, I see images – specifically promotional images – posted by writers and find myself wondering what they were thinking. Sure, it’s visually appealing. But I can’t read a damn thing! Exciting colors, fancy backgrounds and swirling fonts are tempting, especially for romance, erotica and the like when the curves of the letters seem to sensually mirror those of your enchanting heroine described in the text. But what good does it do if it’s too hard for people to read?

Can you see what I'm talking about here_

Yes, that example is a bit on the extreme end. However, I’ve seen far too many that were just as difficult to read for one reason or another. Too much crammed into too little space, color off by only a shade or two, things like that. But far too often font style and color paired with background are to blame. The key to posting images that contain words – especially words you’ve slaved over – is making it easy to read.

My trick when I find a busier or fancier background I absolutely have to have for a post is to reduce the transparency of it (not as tricky as it may sound) then use an easy to read font style in a color that ensures the text stands out. Or, I will use a solid color rectangle with the transparency reduced (usually to 75%, sometimes lower) in the middle of the image and put the important words there.

Can you see what I'm talking about here_ 2

Keep in mind that even on a plain, single color background, fancy fonts can keep your words from reaching people. You don’t have to totally steer clear of pretty fonts, just be careful which ones you use, and stick to plainer ones for excerpts bigger than a line or two. Having someone check the image for you before posting couldn’t hurt, either.

Hashtags and images can be your best friends when it comes to building your brand and platform, engaging with your followers and desired audience and, ultimately, selling your book. The trick is using them wisely.

Share the love, spread the word and stay tuned for the third installment!

Thanks for reading!


Hashtag Resources

Literary Related Hashtags For Authors (And Readers)

Hashtags Writers & Readers Use

31 Most Popular Hashtags For Book Lovers

Image Resources

10 Absolutely Free Websites To Download Stock Images


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More Social Less Media 2