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Judging a Book by Its Social Media

Courtesy of @fotografierende on Unsplash

Published on April 7, 2020, at 6:10 p.m.

by Olivia Carroll.

I close the back cover of my newest read, “Red Queen,” and open up Instagram to see what the author, Victoria Aveyard, is up to today. Aveyard has a following of 154,000 followers on Instagram where she interacts with her readers by posting pictures from recent trips, updates on her house renovation and adorable pictures of her dog. Of course, she also posts updates on her writing process and new projects and consistently promotes her completed “Red Queen” series.

Just like other industries, social media plays a major part in the world of literary public relations. Promoting a book is no longer just about talk shows and book conventions. Literary publicists are tasked with the job of not only selling the book but selling the author as well. The best way to accomplish both goals: social media.

Courtesy of @victoriaaveyard on Instagram


Personal social media account

Social media provides users with an intimate look into the lives of those they follow — including authors. J. K. Rowling, author of “Harry Potter,” boasts 14.5 million followers on Twitter. Veronica Roth, author of the “Divergent” series, consistently interacts with her 200,000 Instagram followers. Jenny Han, author of “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” caters to her 382,000 followers on Instagram alone. Authors are closer than ever with their audiences as they answer questions in their comment sections and show what they do in their day-to-day lives. This close interaction leads consumers to feel connected to the author even after they put the book down. Such a deep connection encourages consumers to continue to support their favorite authors as they move through their careers.

Book bloggers

While many book bloggers are normal readers who blog about their newest books as an unpaid hobby, some are now being paid like many other industry bloggers. For example, Folded Pages Distillery has 122,000 followers on Instagram and is consistently gifted books and branded items from major publishing houses, such as Penguin Random House. Read It Forward is a group of women who actively promote books, authors and publishing houses to followers across their social media — 24,300 of which are on Instagram alone. Abookutopia is a blogger who takes to YouTube to talk about new books, old books and the authors behind them all to her 363,000 subscribers.

Courtesy of @lizsbookbucketlist on Instagram

These numbers alone speak to how book bloggers are a useful tool for literary publicists to take note of, as they can provide much-needed exposure and word-of-mouth marketing. Bloggers posting about your book not only present the book to their audiences, but they also contribute to the conversation happening online. When people look up your book — or keywords related to your book — the blog post will appear and increase interest in the book. Additionally, followers trust the bloggers they follow and will likely buy the book if the blogger recommends it to them with a positive review.

Book social media platforms

There are social media sites made specifically to discuss and create books. For example, Goodreads is made up of normal people who simply love to read — and these people have a lot of influence. Goodreads allows people to share the books they are currently, and want to be, reading with people from all over the world. Just like with traditional social media, users can discuss their opinions of the book, talk with authors and make recommendations for other people based on what they like to read. Promoting a book through social media platforms designed for books, such as Goodreads, is another tactic to encourage discussion and promotion of the book from the public themselves.

Using social media is all about cultivating a deeper relationship with your target public. Literary publicists can use social media to bring independent readers together to form a community of book supporters and promoters that spans across the globe. Whether it is an author’s personal social media account, a blogger dedicated to the newest book or a group of people simply discussing their favorite read, social media now plays an essential role in the promotion of a new book and the author who created it.


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