Friday 7 June 2019

TopTips on Social Media for Authors and Illustrators

Insta Post!

Social media - love it or hate it, it's part of our modern lives and a big part of the deal of getting your book to readers.   Not everyone takes naturally to it, and not everyone has an instinct for using the technology.  If that's you, this post aims to give a simple guide of how best to make social media work for you without swamping your life. If you've any questions, pop them in the comments and I'll do my best to help.


You probably need a website. It doesn't need to be all singing all dancing but it needs to showcase you and your work in an appealing way so that if someone searches for you, they're going to be mildly impressed. This is especially important if you're an illustrator.

Here's mine:

Who does it reach? Anyone searching for you - potentially agents, editors, reviewers, readers, librarians.

How to use it?  

1. I've written a brief how to on my own website that you might find useful for the very basics. You'll find it here. 
2. Keep it updated and fresh. Post public appearances, news,  information about event bookings - have a look at other people's websites for inspiration.
3. Put links to booksellers on your posts - make it easy for people to purchase if they want to.
4. Check your website is usable on phones, tablets and desktops. Wordpress has a facility that will allow you to see how it looks across all of these.
5.  Check in so you can answer any comments or have them sent to your email.


This is probably the best known of all the western platforms. It's also, possibly,  the most highly visible in terms of ethical issues such as misuse of data and the spreading of fake news. I won't go in to those here but our own Candy Gourlay discusses that here. Aside from those issues,  in terms of promoting yourself to an audience, is it worth being on Facebook?

I get very little traffic to my Facebook Author page - I keep it because there is some traffic and because I don't want to bore my friends and family rigid with all my book news on my personal Facebook page. In truth though, most of my Facebook followers ARE my friends and family. And that is what I find Facebook best for.  I am a member of several private groups and I love the community space they provide. I can see what my wider family are up to and dip in and out when  I want to.

Here's mine:

Who does it reach?   Mostly friends and family. Good for chat groups like SCBWI and other writer groups.

How to use it: 
1. Post regularly, aim for at least every other day.
2. Check your messages so you don't miss anything. Block any horrible people without engaging.
3. Interact with comments at least once a day if you can.
4. Don't push your book at people, give them interesting relevant content such as news articles or reviews.
5. Use the cool things Facebook gives you - there's a Book Now link that you can set up to take your readers straight to  your website.
6. Link the account to Instagram if it helps, (so if you upload to Insta it'll automatically post to the face book page you  select).

There are alternatives to Facebook but I'm not hugely familiar with them and so far, adding extra platforms is just a bit too much for me BUT you'll find a few Slushies, including me occasionally, on MeWe.


Fast paced and furious Twitter can be a bit bewildering and shouty as well as fun and dynamic.

Here's mine: @KathrynEvansInk

Who does it reach? Librarians, book sellers, bloggers and other authors cross paths. If you want to reach industry professionals, Twitter is the place.

How to use it:
1. Don't shout BUY MY BOOK, no one  will follow you.
2. Be wise, pertinent, funny and sharp. You need to be generous - share good things you've found, help promote others - if someone asks for advice, try and give it.
3. Follow people, interact with them. Be interested and interesting.
4. If you get embroiled in an argument stay calm , block anyone who is outrageously rude to you.
5. You can't retweet a tweet over and over without commenting on it but it's easy for a single tweet to be missed so Retweet with comment - you can use ICYMI ( In Case You Missed It) so you can RT (retweet) again later.
6. Use a service like TweetDeck to organise your tweets - you can create search columns and schedule tweets.
7. Use appropriate hashtags - #amwriting #amediting are really useful ones !
8. Use your author name so people can find you easily.


I was advised to join Instagram by my publicist. I didn't think I'd like it. Turned out, I LOVE it.

Classic Insta story post!

Here's mine: @KathrynEvansAuthor

Who does it reach? Readers and bloggers and librarians. This is the primary place my readers connect with me - I write YA so that  may skew the figures - do comment if you write for a different age group, I'd love to know where works best for you.

How to use it? 

1. Post regularly without swamping people's feeds. Aim for once or twice a day.
2. Be interesting and relevant but don't be shy - the posts that get most likes on my Instagram are usually pictures of my new hair colour!
3. Think about what you're presenting to the world and try and keep to the same themes - I post about my life so it is a bit eclectic - books, hair, pets and fencing mostly.
3. Use hashtags - that's how people find you- #bookstagram #amreading are good ones.
4. Stories allows you to take a reader on a journey through your day without swamping their feed - they have to choose to look at stories - look at how Juno Dawson and Alwyn Hamilton do it. I find their story threads really fun and engaging.
5. Make your pictures as good as they can be - the edit features in Instagram allow you to turn your pictures the right way around and brighten or sharpen them. Take time to get to know how to use them.
6. Interact with people - this is almost more important than posting - comment, ask questions - aim to do so around 5 times a day.
7. Use an app like Repost to share other people's cool posts - ask permission first, they usually love it.
8. Go to settings and connect your account to twitter and facebook - then you can choose which images to share across all platforms.


I am on You Tube but creating content takes such a long time I don't use it enough. Still, it's fun and another place for people to find you. Youngsters search YouTube all the time, they use it like a search engine to locate 'how to's' and information about things they're interested in. It's a platform I should make more use of! Though I don't feel qualified to help you with this one but have a look at my channel if you want to see what I do.


I thought Snapchat would be a great way to connect with my teen readers. I hated it - I got sent a lot of pictures of willies and my son deleted all the people I'd inadvertently befriended.

Here's mine:

Who does it reach? Who knows? I only use it to keep in touch with my son these days!

How to Use it: Sorry, it's still a mystery to me BUT it has really fun filters and you can save the images and videos and post them wherever you like. Here's a snapshot  of a virtual reality video I made with a Snapchat filter and then posted on Instagram.

That's it - there are many other platforms but for promotion purposes, these are the main places to be. My final bit of advice though - if you hate it leave it. Choose the place you feel happiest and make the most of that one.

 Kathryn Evans is the award winning author of More of Me. Her new book, Beauty Sleep, ( Black Mirror meets Sleeping Beauty) is out now.  Kathryn loves faffing about on social media: find her  on Facebook and Instagram @kathrynevansauthor and tweeting @KathrynEvansInk.  

Share buttons bottom