Stefanie Hartman In The Press

Authors Getting Real About Social Media

Posted on 25 October 2011 by Stefanie

Here is the tenth installment I found on book tours, from a company that is closing their doors soon, so I thought I would pass it on to you guys!  There is a lot of different ways to use social media for your promotions and launches including your book tour.  I like how Kevin approaches this subject, he talks about knowing your target market and using the right tools for it.  When you think about your audience think about them in all their dimensions, paint a 3D picture of them.  What age/sex/gender are they?  Where do they like to hang out?  What is their lifestyle like?  Knowing this will help you reach them more efficiently. 

When you are ready check out your social media tools at


All the best,


Authors Getting Real About Social Media

Last time we mentioned we’d be discussing social media and technology in this segment of our series. We are not the first to go here. The articles and books indicating what technological wizardry authors should be using to get their books noticed are myriad. Stacked together, they could block a garage door. One Google search on “Should authors tweet?” or “social media for writers” will send them towards you like a fire hose stuck up your left nostril.

So we will refrain because who needs more from a fire hose? Instead this chapter of our series will be our shortest. When talking about technology and authorship, the message we must bring to has between supported and repeated by the previous 8 segments. We’ll only say it slightly differently.

“When selecting the appropriate tools for promoting your book, choose the best fit for your book and your reader, not the shiniest toy.”

I have given hundreds of talks to writers over the last decade and I’ve taken to doing a quick scan of technology news the day before an engagement. Because if a publication of any size has written about Twitter/YouTube/Insert new hot technology company name here that week, come Q&A I will invariably hear…

  • Should I be tweeting?
  • Should I be YouTubing?
  • Should I be using something I don’t know/don’t understand/and haven’t even pronounced correctly because I read about it in Newsweek?

There are three false assumptions at work here. 1) Authors assume that promotional success awaits whoever grabs the newest tool first 2) That “newest” means “best” and 3) If they don’t grab it, they will miss the legions of readers using this tool and saying “we would have bought that book if only the author had used New Tool X to find us.

Let’s look at each of these missteps and how they can be framed as strong, productive questions instead of acts of desperation.

Assumption #1: No tool is a magic wand. If using a social media tool meant instant bestsellerdom, everyone would do it and the bestseller list would be 95 million books long. We hear about the authors who used a tool well because it is an exception to a rule, not a solution for everyone. So instead of asking “should I be using x” let us start an alternative.

Instead: What is my book and what is the right tool for it? I know I’ve said this a million times in our series but I cannot emphasize it enough. Without knowing your book, no tool will work on its behalf. Without understanding the lock, it’s pointless to look for the key.

Return to our previous exercises and ask: “What is my book. Who are my readers? Which tool would reach them best?”

Answer to the last of those inquiries follows…

Assumption #2: New tools are just that. New. Not better. New. Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Goodreads are all tools. Tools do some things well and some things not so well. Because they are digital tools doesn’t make them any different than tools made of wood and steel. You would use a hammer when hanging a picture but not to trim your fingernails.

So what is the tool and how well does its purpose line up with your book? Equally as important: How well does the tool line up with your strengths as an author? Are you hilarious and fun in quick bursts? Twitter might be for you then. Can your book be divided into short exciting segments (travel books, cookbooks for example). Twitter again is a good fit. Flickr might be a good fit if you are a skilled amateur photographer or if your book lends itself to visual images (guide books, coffee table, location-dependent novels). If you’ve got 500 Facebook friends already, why ignore that avenue?

Instead: Right tool. Right book. Any tool you are curious about do a “what is Tool Name” search on Google. Then ask yourself “What is this tools primary function and is that function a good fit for my book? Then do a Google search on “what’s the best way to use Tool Name.” Read it. Does it sound like something you could do well even if it makes you a little uncomfortable? If yes, then do it. If no, then don’t. Because…

Assumption #3: I’ll be punished if I don’t tweet/YouTube/Facebook! My readers will abandon me! If our readers are gathering like crazy somewhere and we don’t know it, let’s call this a high-class problem and move on. The only tool you’re going to be punished for not using is one blatantly obvious. No website, no listing on BookTour (ho ho) is grounds for abandonment. Everything else…

Instead: Research. Think a tool might be right for you; spend some time Googling “Authors who use Tool Name” well. What can you learn from them and apply to you and your book. Or go one step bigger and look at the careers of the successful authors in your genre (don’t go nuts. If you write mysteries, study your favorite local mystery author, not James Patterson) and see what they’ve done. Then steal it from them.

Technology and Social Media are not fairy dust. They are methods by which authors, readers and books form three legged and enduring relationships. Relationships beyond “buy something from me” and “I really enjoyed that thing you wrote.” Social media are methods to maintain ongoing communication with your readers, for them to see you and your books as relatable, as something they wish to know and support. It is very hard to remain unknowable while maintaining a Facebook page or a twitter account. But that doesn’t mean you need to be spilling your guts to your readers every five minutes. But they might like to know about the process of creation of your next book, what you’re reading, and your thoughts on the future of publishing etc. You won’t know until you give them an opportunity to ask you. And if you feel like you don’t know how, you’re not alone but that’s not an excuse. How to use a social media tool is not a state secret. Find others in your field who are using them well (again Google) and ask them. launched a ten-part series on Book Promotion called “Everything you Wanted to Know about Book Promotion but were Afraid to Ask” written by CEO Kevin Smokler. Kevin has been advising authors and publishers on marketing and promotion for nearly a decade and has written and lectured on the topic throughout North America.

Popularity: 3% [?]

Authors Getting Real About Social Media

Leave a Reply


 Subscribe to get my blog posts

Subscribe to my feed via email

Follow me on:



Visit my Website:

Stefanie Hartman


Photos from Stefanie

Heavy Gold Bar!medal holdmedal hold1medal design

See all photos

Recent Posts


Visitors Online

Free counters!