Help Authors Be Social on Social Media

**Update: We have winners! Suzie and Samantha, please email me, Amy, at agreen@bethanyhouse.com with your mailing address. To everyone else, thank you, THANK YOU for your feedback! I’m compiling it all right now to present to authors at the conference, and I know they’ll find it extremely helpful!**

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Pretend I’m a Christian fiction author sitting down to host a focus group made up of you and a few of your reader friends.

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After offering you coffee and chocolate chip cookies (no, it’s not bribery; it’s hospitality) here’s what I want to know:

One: How have you seen social media used by authors in a way that really worked for you? (You can list the types of posts that get you to comment/click, give an example of something creative and fun you’ve seen an author do, or go in basically any direction you want with this.)

Two: If you knew an author was really busy with deadlines and only had time to interact with readers in one way, what would you suggest?

Three: What is something about the way authors sometimes use social media (or the way they phrase things) that annoys or bothers you? (No names, please…just general examples of the type of thing that bothers you.)

As you read these questions, do you know what your answers would be? Great! Now, let’s make it real. I’m going to be teaching a class at the ACFW conference in September with Melissa Tagg on Stress-Free Marketing for authors. That means we’re going to be giving lots of your favorite Christian fiction authors (and some future favorites!) tips on marketing and social media.

I’d love your feedback on these questions so I can give authors a reader perspective. If you could answer one or all of the questions in the comments on this post, that would help so much! (Just be sure to identify which question your answers are addressing.)

Since I can’t really send coffee and cookies your way, focus-group style, next Tuesday, I’ll pick two random commenters who will each receive copies of our two August releases, The Potter’s Lady by Judith Miller and Not by Sight by Kate Breslin. Winners will be posted in this post by noon on Tuesday, so be sure to check back!

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Be as thoughtful with your answers as you can…remember, I’m actually going to pass these answers on to some of your favorite authors from a number of different publishing companies! And thanks in advance for your help…I’m excited to read your thoughts!

52 thoughts on “Help Authors Be Social on Social Media

  1. One: things that work for me include posts that inform me about the progress of books, inspiration for books, info about the release of books, quotes, teasers, etc. The most appreciated are quick pieces of info that I can get right from the post. Having to click to read a lengthy blog, unless it is an author I’m really invested in or about a book I cannot wait to read, takes more time than I have or is not convenient on my phone (where I do most of my social media).

    Two: As a busy mom of 3 & teacher, I totally get busyness! I think something quick and simple to inform readers that there is a deadline looming is great! Prayer requests relating to it. How it effects your family. Did you go away from home? A quick picture of you and your computer.

    Three: Things that bug me… Having to sign up for a newsletter. I don’t mind following on Twitter, but a newsletter I probably won’t read clogging up my inbox is not something I’m interested in. Too many personal/family posts. I do love knowing about personal lives, but too many posts detract from the book info I’m hoping to get. I recently unfollowed one author because all that came through on Twitter was personal kid stuff. This was an author I hadn’t read much of, but I found her on a scavenger hunt (not something I will ever take time to do again…very long and much too much signing up) and had to follow on Twitter to get entries. Every day, many times per day there were many personal posts and rarely any book related posts. This was a turn off.

    • Be interactive. Add sketches or photos of how you picture your characters or maps/pics of a favorite setting. Promote new books coming out. Perhaps a book release countdown. Ask for feedback on previous books or on something you’re trying to work out in a current storyline. Engage your readers. It doesn’t have to be daily, but at least monthly. Definitely list your books. Tell a new reader what to read first if there is an order to your work. Tell your favorite books, your own and other author works. Note when books will have special offers or formats ( I like audio CD s so I’m looking to see if the author offers that in a book.)
      Participate in giveaways and promotions. Offer free recipes, short stories, alternative endings, or cut sections to books previously published, movies, or free knitting patterns. Offer a meaningful scripture and tell about your faith. Be real. Ask for prayer when you’re struggling to meet deadlines or need devine guidance. You’ll find many readers to be encouraging, caring fans. I’ve seen great sites and lousy ones. A good up to date site promotes the author, cares about it’s readers and sells books.

  2. I interact the most, by far, with authors on Facebook. And I also love following their Pinterest boards. Facebook events are also fun; although harder to “attend”. Goodreads book contests and posts are secondary, but I do respond on a regular basis. Fan groups on Facebook are another helpful venue. AND FYI, I am on Kate Breslin’s Review team, so I have a copy of that book already!

  3. Question 1: I love to see behind the scenes! A quick photo of their desk, a post about their research trip to the farm, a recipe that fits into the book– all these things thrill me to no end. I like to see anything that helps them as an individual or the book come alive.

    Question 2: If an author could communicate in only one way, I’d choose quick blog posts that include all of the above in answer 1. When I find a great new author, I first head to their website to learn all about them and their writing. And I hate it when I find slick marketing text instead of a real person. If it sounds like your PR person wrote it for you, I’m going to be cranky.

  4. How have you seen social media used by authors in a way that really worked for you? I love hearing differeing bloggers talk about a certain book, it grabs my attention when I see a certain book being mentioned all over the place. Not just by the author.
    If you knew an author was really busy with deadlines and only had time to interact with readers in one way, what would you suggest? I think twitter is a great place to connect with authors. It is fast, and easy.
    What is something about the way authors sometimes use social media (or the way they phrase things) that annoys or bothers you? The main thing I have been turned off by is too much name dropping. For example: ____________says,…… That one name or a few big names of famous or semi-famous people are mentioned over and over again as if they give clout. If a famous person likes the work then I want to see that person actually say something and then that is pretty much it, I don’t want the author constantly saying, “Famous Joe LOVES my book……”

  5. 1. As a reader without Facebook, I really appreciate it when authors post content/news/contests on their website or blog. With a fun post or quiz, or if they ask a thoughtful question, I do try to respond. But . . .
    3. Websites that are updated only once or twice a year (or less) are really disappointing for us non-Facebook-ers. Even if it’s just a small update once a month–a sneak-peek, a cover reveal, a tidbit of history, a recipe–then I am content and feel kept in the loop.

  6. One: I think responding and sharing favorite reviews on Twitter or Facebook really work. The interacting is fun for the readers (I remember the first time an author responded on Twitter – I geeked all the way out). I think when they share some blogger reviews, it’s not only a fun and encouraging thing for the reviewer, but I think it helps the blogging community as a whole – I love reading other fun reviews.

    I’ve recently connected with more authors on Instagram and I like how they use it – it’s a mix of personal and books. Plus I like pretty pictures.

    When authors interact, I think that leads to more opportunities as well. I think that’s one reason the Hedlund Challenge has been so fun and worked so well – Jody has taken the time to be a part of it (to which I say THANK YOU SO MUCH). There’s other authors I would love to do something like this with, but I know they’re not as active on social media (which I totally understand), so it wouldn’t have the same fun for readers.

    Also behind-the-scenes are always fun!

    Two: I would say either Twitter or Facebook.

    Three: I recently read an article from Rafflecopter full of tips and tricks for the best giveaways. One of the things they mentioned was having 3-5 options for the best results. I wouldn’t say having several options is annoying (I understand when it is a multiple author giveaway), but it’s more that I just won’t enter because it can be overwhelming.

    That’s so fun that the conference is in Dallas! I might just have to find myself in Dallas that weekend 😉

    (I just noticed this turned out to be a thesis – sorry! Hope something from it is helpful!)

  7. #1 I enjoy when the authors get personal, my favorite (since I’m a dog lover) is an author who shares pictures and stories about her dog. Helps me relate that the author is indeed human with a sense of humor. I also enjoy posts about the progress of the book or how the cover was chosen/made.
    #2 I still enjoy e-mail newsletters and also Facebook posts which alert me to go to their website.
    #3 Offering a giveaway and saying ‘check back to see if you’re a winner’. Maybe they notify you by e-mail if you win not sure but why ask for an e-mail address if it isn’t going to be used to notify you if you are a winner.

  8. I interact with authors through Facebook seems to work for most people. The least thing I like about any author is when they post many times a day about a book that has just been released note I know social media is a great way to advertise but a dozen or more posting of the same book is too much.

  9. #1: I love it when authors talk about their faith and share their stories with readers. Also, if the author has something special going on in his or her life, it’s always fun to see it as readers. For example, I know one author who trains dogs for the blind. I also love when authors share pictures of their trips (especially when the trips are for research). It’s also very interesting when Amish authors share things about this community. Of course, giveaways are always very fun and I like when authors share on social media that their book is on sale 😀

    #2: If an author is really busy because of a deadline, he or she can simply take a break once in a while to let readers know how their writing or editing journey is going. It’s always fun when author post something like: “Finished the first 5 chapters of my next novel! Yeah!” or something like that 😉

  10. #1. I greatly appreciate authors blogs. Not only to talk about their own newest publication, but to introduce me to other authors. I really appreciate author blog posts that ask readers to comment on the favorite books they recently read, or favorite books of all time. My husband and I read about 7+ books each per month. We stay mostly in the Christian market for fiction. Author and publisher blogs are our main source for new books to purchase. We also follow as many Christian authors and publishers as possible on Twitter.

    #2. We have no problem with an author withdrawing from social media to focus on their writing. We miss them, but this gives us the promise of an even better book to anticipate. Most of the authors we follow will post that they are withdrawing for awhile and that is appreciated.

    #3. It would be nice if ALL artists could learn some synonyms for the word “excited”. Of all the Christian fiction authors we follow on Twitter and blogs, I can’t think of anything they do that bothers us in any way. We are always excited to see a new post by any of them. I know blogs are a a lot of work, but we would greatly love to be able to follow what is new with all our favorite authors on Twitter. It is fast, easy and can have links to good stuff that the author does not have to spent time creating. I should mention we do not use Facebook. We tried it and found it too time consuming. We aren’t really interested in what our favorite author had for dinner or that a child lost a tooth. I don’t say that to be snarky, I say it to explain why Facebook is not useful for us personally.

    Bottom line: From our personal view we are most interested in what helps the author create the best book possible and how easily we can learn of new authors and publications. We aren’t “given” any books i.e. to review, so we appreciate sources that help us spend our money wisely.

    Thank you for this platform and your effort to encourage authors.

    • I wanted to also mention that we appreciate newsletters, blogs, etc. that we can sign up to receive directly in our email inbox. Authors don’t usually take the time to write a blog post or newsletter unless it really has some meat (news) in it.

  11. Number one: My favorite author currently does a great job interacting with fans via Facebook. She posts tantalizing hints about current projects, asks who out favorite hero is from her six book series, puts her character’s memorable quotes in a pretty format that’s easily shareable, and does give always once a quarter. She also shares what she’s reading and recommends other authors. She’s very good at responding to the more thoughtful comments her readers share, too, which really helps us to feel more valued and excited to support her work.

    Second: I prefer Facebook, though I use Twitter a great deal to see what my authors are up to. That’s usually the more day to day stuff than the things I sink my teeth into.

    Third: Please stop posting leading headlines that require me to click through to a forever long blog post, which then has nothing to do with your books! I’m a mother of three, very busy, and if I have time to read it’s going to be given to a book, not an author giving me an essay about what she did with her kids on their trip to New England.

  12. One of things I love to see authors doing is sharing a bit of their life, maybe it is just a pic of their writing nook or even a tip they have learned during their writing process. I would have to say I like Facebook better than Twitter, Twitter seems to be more of a way to say something very brief. While Facebook you can share more about what you are doing.

  13. One:

    I mostly connect with authors on Facebook, and that just really works for me. I love when an author shares her research for a book, when there is a Facebook “book banter” event with the author, when there are cute little quizzes about the book (“Which character are you?” type stuff), and of course when there are giveaways because oftentimes that’s how I find a new author I really like. I also really like pretty posts, so posts with a pretty picture that has a quote from one of the author’s books or something like that.

    Two:

    Spending an hour or an hour and a half on a book banter is my suggestion! I just feel like I get to know the authors so much more and have more personal interaction with them through that. It makes up for not having a new post as often.

    Three:

    I don’t like long blog posts usually or having to subscribe to email. I already get too many emails as it is. It also annoys me if it’s an “author page” or “author account” full of more personal content than author/book related content. Also, I’ve seen one particular author recently who sounds rather condescending in all of her posts. I can’t quite figure out why, but it’s kinda a turn-off.

  14. I love to connect with authors on Facebook. I get to like their author page and see their daily thoughts. I do like Facebook launch parties, but only if they are for a few hours on one day. When it goes on all day, you find yourself confined to your computer fearful you may miss something. I like when they close the party and don’t except other comments. It makes it more fair for those who took time to actually attend the party. I enjoy when authors are guests on blogs. We get to know them a bit better. They always share with readers how the concept of a book was started and you get a glimpse into their personal world. When there is a special giveaway for a book that seems to draw interest and let’s readers know about a new book. Overall , authors do a great job with social media , except for one small thing. I don’t like having to sign up for every newsletter just to be entered into a contest. If you really like an author , you can decide if you want to get more information by signing up without being promoted to do so . I appreciate all the work authors do by giving us books that we treasure.

  15. One: I like authors who not only keep us up to date with tidbits on how their books are progressing, but also give us glimpses into their daily lives. A reader who feels connected to an author is more likely to purchase more of their books.

    Two: Probably Twitter. I follow most of my favorite authors through Twitter I scroll through Twitter everyday whereas I might not log onto Facebook, but every few days. Facebook is a close second although seeing posts are sometimes hit and miss because of Facebook’s unpredictable newsfeed algorithms.

    Three: Endless links. I am not a fan of clicking a link that takes you to a blog that asks you to click another link. Also, I am not a fan of the “teaser links”. They ask you to click a link for some information and it only takes you somewhere to sign up to receive that information. Very frustrating.

  16. 1. I like it when authors post about what they’re reading. It could be a recommendation or quick review- either way, it’s a fun way to find new books to read.

    2. I interact with authors mostly through Facebook. I don’t have Instagram or Twitter and I rarely read blogs.

    3. I’ve unfollowed a few authors when they post too much unrelated content. Either too much personal info or articles that have nothing to do with books. Some unrelated content is fine- and often entertaining- but too much of it bogs down my newsfeed.

  17. One: How have you seen social media used by authors in a way that really worked for you? I love it when author’s give looks into their newest books to feed the hunger readers get for the release date. I also really like when they use it to promote other author’s, there has been numerous times new author’s have been promoted and loved their books but I probably wouldn’t have found them if not for them being promoted by other author friends.

    Two: If you knew an author was really busy with deadlines and only had time to interact with readers in one way, what would you suggest? I would suggest letting us know on via social media whats going on that you might be MIA for a little while as you finish the deadline, but also I like when they also ask us to pray for them to give them the strength they need to meet these deadlines or for things going on in their lives, when they do this it helps remind us that they are human too! 😀

    Three: What is something about the way authors sometimes use social media (or the way they phrase things) that annoys or bothers you? (No names, please…just general examples of the type of thing that bothers you.) I don’t know if I don’t like something I just ignore it.

  18. I love it when authors share their covers as they finalize them. I also have fun on Facebook when they announce their book parties.
    A couple favorite authors on Facebook are Becky Wade and Katie Ganshert. They have Pinterest wars.
    My favorite, favorite thing is when the authors set up interest boards on pinterest with pictures of their characters.

  19. One: I enjoy interacting with authors about more than just books. I find that word of mouth helps greatly on social media when it comes to spreading the word. Seeing authors promote other authors is really cool. They post reviews of someone’s book and that will get my attention. I also read their reviews on goodreads and that will point me in the direction of a new author for me.

    Two: I highly recommend a facebook party so that readers can get to know the author, behind the scenes info about a new book, and giveaways. There’s never enough merchandise for everyone to win something, but the interaction is always fun and having the chance to participate always brings positive results. The facebook chats are time consuming, but I believe they also increase readership. And for those of us who are shy to reach out to these authors, once we’ve connected on facebook, the shyness goes away and more readers are eager to spread the word about the book as well as join the authors’ facebook page to let them know we support them.

    Three: I really had to think of this one because if I get tired of receiving emails or newsletters from an author then I just unsubscribe and problem solved (please make unsubscribing simple to do). I do have one suggestion for authors, though, but this rarely happens. If you make a promise to give your book to a reader, please honor that promise. I joined a street team once with promises of free merchandise in exchange for my efforts and that merchandise was never received (i worked for that street team for a month and was happy to do it before leaving because it was too time consuming but it was a let down). I also had an author change the requirements of joining the street team when I had understood I would receive marketing products related to the book I was excited about it.

    I have no complaints about any of these situations because I agreed to everything required and I was happy to lend my support. However, if you make promises to your street team or your readers, please honor that. Try not to make promises about merchandise or giveaways unless you know you’ll be able to come through. Hope these comments help and thanks for the opportunity to voice our thoughts! *this is not an entry for the giveaway, just wanted to be helpful…..love you Bethany House and your fabulous authors!!*

  20. Honestly, I can’t think of anything that annoys me. 🙂 I loved the pinterest contests some authors did recently. I thought it was so fun to see their fun side. I also like teasers they sometimes put on the posts because It makes me anxious to read their book. I also loved seeing a fast reel of how a book cover is made. I also loved reading about the models that are used on the book covers. I think we always like “scoop”. If they are super busy for a deadline, then maybe a quick link to their blog to share what they are busy about and get us excited for the wait. I also love an author sharing photos their offices, or their brainstorming routines. Things like that are always interesting for a reader. Hope this helps a little. 🙂

  21. One – I love it when an author posts pics and comments on Facebook about their book-signings, speaking engagements, conferences, etc., It puts me in touch with their life when they share what they are doing with their fans.
    Two – When they are busy, Facebook is also the way to go. Just a quick note saying “working on a deadline, be back soon!” is all that is needed. It’s great to think that they are giving us inside info on their need to back away and work.
    These types of contacts on social media from my favorite authors work best for me.

  22. My favorite thing is Kristin Billerbeck’s blog. She makes me laugh out loud all the time, and I like that she’s very active on facebook but posts often on her blog when she has something more long-winded to say. She balances the use of the two for different purposes very well. I also love how Deeanne Gist posts on facebook about her life, her books, AND just fun things she comes across on the internet. She is pretty good about responding to comments too, so I feel like I have more interaction. Ultimately, the insight to an author’s life is something that I really value. If our only connection is when they release a book, that’s months of no contact and we have no idea if they’re working on anything, if they need encouragement, if they are just taking a little time to rest and having a blast, etc. I like when they share and invite us to share with them, too. It feels like the conversation is less one sided when they actively use and engage on social media.

    I think more authors should use twitter. I realize that authors are often long winded and may gravitate toward facebook because of that. However, I have made so many good friends through twitter and I’m on there all day long. If an author only posts on there to link to a facebook post, that’s incredibly annoying. Twitter engagement is really important.

  23. I enjoy interacting with authors on Facebook. I wish they (Facebook) weren’t so horrible about limiting authors’/businesses’ outreach. I enjoy getting glimpses into their everyday lives. I agree with the others that it’s fun to know how a book is coming along. I also enjoy it when authors have us help them decide on a book title or cover art. It’s fun to feel like we’re part of the process! I don’t mind if an author hops onto Facebook long enough to say “Sorry; I’m on deadline!” We’ve all been busy in our lives. I’ll only sign up for newsletters if it’s an author that I truly love. Otherwise, I prefer not to do it. My inbox is too full already. Also, I don’t mind an author sharing personal/political views if they affect their writing career (like those who are dealing with plagiarizing, etc), but other than that, keep it professional, please! I like to know that you’re human, but some things have a time and place. That’s about all I can think of!

  24. I really like the authors that are starting to use Periscope to offer a short livestream. It could be even 2 minutes long but I think it is really starting to catch on. Kim Cash Tate does a fantastic job with this. I see it could be used for short announcements and longer chats about what the author is doing.

    One thing I don’t like is overuse of hashtags. Especially on Twitter. Pick one or two carefully chosen ones instead of #amwriting #amreading #author #fiction #christian etc My eyes just skip right over that post. Especially when it’s a Twitter post linked to Facebook. That said, a FB post linked to Twitter with just a link only, no writing, is not going to get me to click through. I agree with the above, I don’t like when I have to “watch for your name to be announced” as a winner. I don’t have time for that. Email or message me if I win.

    On another note, I’m always a huge fan of contests I have to enter only once. Those ones I have to enter daily for a month I don’t even bother. I know it seems like a good idea to get people coming back regularly, but it doesn’t work for me.

    I love all of the personal stuff–give me more info about the books you read as an author. I love Robin Lee Hatcher’s series on “Books Authors Read” on her blog.

  25. One: My favorite types of posts are author interviews and behind the scenes. I also will most like respond to giveaways with just a comment instead of having a question to answer (unless it’s something I relate to).

    Two: Facebook! I love seeing authors on there, especially when they post updates about their next work in progress.

    Third: I’m not really sure I’ve come across any “annoying authors.” I do like it when their is a nice balancing between updates, fun facts, sales, personal, and even sharing other author’s books.

    I’m sure this will be a great session! I so wish I was going to be there 🙂

  26. 1. I like information about when new books will be out and endorsements of other authors’ books.

    3. I do not like too much posting about pet issues: GMOs, natural healing, vaccinations, etc. I stopped following one author because she kept pushing these. The last straw was an ebook every parent of a child with autism should read because it would erase the disorder. It was just another miracle diet/supplement regime. Btdt years ago. I have an adult child with severe autism.

  27. 1. I like information about book giveaways or sales. I also like tidbits about the writing life or about a character from an upcoming book. 2. I think a brief post to Facebook or Twitter would be enough to keep the author’s name or book name in our minds. 3. I don’t have any negative examples that I can think of right now.

  28. One: I really like it when authors talk about their own favorite books. I always check out that author’s books as well as the ones they mention. I also like it when they link to giveaways, both theirs and other authors’. I’ll almost always click through to an excerpt as well.

    Two: I’d say Twitter. It’s quick and easy, and limited in space so it doesn’t get too out of control. Also, it totally makes my day when an author Tweets to me!

    Three: I don’t like it if they ever spread negativity of any sort. It doesn’t matter what it is – I don’t like seeing it. There’s enough of that! Also, I don’t like being approached via social media for reviews. It’s impersonal. Also, I seriously don’t like it when their posts are full of grammatical errors. I get that we’re not all grammar police, but come on. Learn how to properly use apostrophes.

    Mostly, I just love interacting with authors on social media!

  29. Question 1. Things that interest me would be comments about their progress on a book, maybe sharing new covers. I love the posts Melissa Tagg shares regarding her favorite actors and debates about favorite anything (just fun things like that). I also love the scripture many authors share that encourage comments and maybe helping someone out along the way by sharing what God has been showing you. I love getting a glimpse into their lives and feeling like I maybe know them just a smidge.
    2. I would have to say either Facebook or blog posts. I’ll be honest, I’m more willing to stop and read a short blog post (or even a long one) before I’ll open a newsletter.
    3. I like the basic idea behind newsletters, but because authors send them out so rarely, many of them become rather long and tedious (no offense). Maybe if they sent something like a short, monthly update instead? The semi-annual ones, or the ones only announcing a new release are okay, but because they are so seldom sent several authors feel they have to elaborate on all that’s been happening in their lives the past 6 months. A monthly one would be much more manageable for me to read, or maybe newsletters should simply be an alert for a new book releasing.
    Just a few thoughts, obviously, I’m nowhere even on the same part of the spectrum as an expert, but hopefully something in my comments will be pertinent. 🙂

  30. One: I love seeing authors who not only post on social media, but reply and interact with their readers. I always enjoy when authors share what inspires their writing, give behind the scenes looks into their research and writing process, giving a glimpse into their personal lives, and share about giveaways or some of their favorite/current reads.

    Two: Just a quick update to let us know they are busy, but big news/etc. coming soon helps keep readers interested, and allows us to feel a bit involved in the process. Especially on Twitter– I love interacting with authors on Twitter, and it is so easy, yet personal– only 140 characters!

    Three: Using social media to advance their personal ideologies that are/ might be offensive to their readers. I know one author recently has given many people a bad taste in their mouth because she has been harsh and condescending with the advancement of some of her personal beliefs on social media– and then proceeded to delete any comments that disagreed with her viewpoint. Very unwise, and potentially hurtful, in my opinion.

  31. Hope this helps! My theme word would be: interaction.

    One: I think the biggest thing is interaction. While I know writers can be super busy, I most love and appreciate the ones that at least take some time to respond to comments and posts by their readers. While they may not get to all of them, it shows that they really care about their audience, and let’s face it, they wouldn’t be successful without us. So, I don’t know that it’s as much the type of post as it is interaction. That said, I’ve seen a lot of posts by two authors I particularly enjoy, and I think I like and want to read their books even more because they interact with readers online. Their posts very with the wind; sometimes an anecdote from life, sometimes a blog post, sometimes something about their current research, and the crazy stressful edits. I like posts that make them human. One author even shares about other authors needs, sales, and releases. I think that is just awesome and it shows that she there to support her community and doesn’t think she’s above everyone else.

    Two: One, I think it’s ok for an author to post to their facebook that they are doing crazy edits right now! It gives them a human quality. Plus, with this genre (being Christian), who couldn’t use more prayers to get through those edits or whatever it is? Two, I find it fascinating when authors post just an interesting tidbit from their research. I think when they can’t take time to interact with users, this might be most helpful as the reader can still feel involved with their writing, and subconsciously you feel like you helped contribute, although you know you didn’t!

    Three: I would say when they don’t ever interact with their readers is uber annoying. Isn’t that kind of the whole point of social media? On top of that when their posts are only “buy my book” repeated indefinitely; it makes them seem haughty or desperate. Not that you can’t taut your own book, but don’t let it be the only thing you say.

  32. One: Giveaways always get my attention. Just seeing real-life posts on FB like the rest of us do. And if they comment back to us!
    Two: I’ve seen and enjoy two things when authors are on deadline: Simple posts on FB telling that they’re drinking a lot of coffee or asking for prayer, AND I would suggest blog interviews. Then the author can just email their list of normal answers while promoting their new book. I learn about a lot of authors from review/interview blogs, usually via FB.
    Three: I don’t like when all an author does is self-promotion of their book. I want to get to know the author and what’s happening in their life, not just get links on where to buy their books. Let your publisher and book bloggers promo you!

  33. I dislike the giveaways – the entry conditions are often so onerous that I give up before I start. Also dislike authors who are constantly pushing their books on Facebook or Twitter–once a week is okay, two or three times a day is not. I do like authors that start “street teams” and give the team the books in advance so the team can read them and post reviews in all their social media. I like authors who say thanks to those readers who post reviews–if you care, we will. Most of all, I like authors who write good books on interesting subjects.

  34. Although I don’t pay much attention to giveaways, I absolutely love having my favorite authors on Facebook. Love how they recommend special deals for other authors. I think that is just so kind and helpful, for all involved. I also love how authors on Facebook share from their lives and how we are able to share with them in return. The half-dozen authors I follow on Facebook generally respond to my comments, and I feel a kinship with them. To put it simply, I am so grateful they write great stories that edify and uplift the reader, bring history and other environments into my life, and fill my heart as God works through the lives of their characters. Encouraging them is a highlight of my day.

  35. I love that my favorite writers share about their lives and not solely book stuff. I feel like it makes their books more personal for me, and as they post about their families and about writing/editing, I love the glimpse I get into the balance and process they are living all the time. I enjoy imagining them dreaming up characters and stories as I read. Interaction creates relationships between writers and readers.. it lets you actually connect. It’s good for both parties. 🙂

  36. I love to promote my favorite authors on social media. A few authors do some things that make it easier for the poster and more appealing to anyone reading.

    First. Sending out a list of places on the web, mostly blog posts, where your book is going to be featured and when. Then the morning of the feature, I can pin, tweet, and put on FB links to the events for the day.

    Second, give us influencers graphics! These make our pins, tweets, shares, etc much more appealing. Since so many readers mention that cover art caught their attention, graphics, pics, quotes with the front cover are all helpful in promoting books on social media.

    Third, and something I’m not seeing a lot of is to have the author tagged in the post, tweet, pin…and then the author can simple retweet, repin, etc. I don’t think some authors check these especially Twitter, but it makes it fast and easy for the author to use our tweets to promote their work.

    Lastly,I really like an author who is upfront in what the want from their influencers, readers of ARC, etc. this helps me help the author! I thoroughly enjoy promoting my favorite authors whether I’m an ” official” reviewe/influencer for them so I’m always trupying to find ways to promote. Reader pages on FB such as Avid Readers of Christian Fiction is a great way to mention and promote those authors that I love.

    If they can only communicate to us one way an FB page or email is best for me..then I can spend what time I have promoting it on other sites.

    Also having an FB party is a great way to promote. I do want to thank those authors who have allowed me to influence for them and have provided the above making our jobs easier, more fun and more productive.

    • As for how authors use social media themselves, as long as they actually use it and interact, I love it! I don’t expect a lot as I know they are busy. The personal comments, pictures, and talks of their favorite food, places, movies, etc is fun! I have yet to have an author irritate me. I guess I figure it’s their page to share what interests them.

  37. 1. I do use facebook, so facebook is a nice way to interact with authors. I also like going directly to their website and reading their blogs. I especially like it when they talk about how they get their ideas for their stories, what inspires them to write, what keeps them on track with writing even when they have a dry time, and how they do the research for their stories. It is also fun when they want to interact with the reader about certain characters in their book and find out why readers connected to each character. I also enjoy when I have been involved in voting or helping to choose covers for upcoming books.
    2. I think my number one way for an author to connect in busy times would be short updates on their blog on their website. It is easy to find for the author you want to read about and you don’t have to have facebook or Twitter to use it. My least favorite would be Twitter. It is too short and many of us don’t have an account.
    3. The only thing that has been a bit irritating has been the scavenger hunt to get entered into a drawing. They take so long and are so involved that I have ended up quitting in the middle at times. It is REALLY fun to enter drawings for new books and it should not be a stressful process to do that!!

  38. 1. The authors I connect with most on social media are those who engage with me. If you are going to ask me what I’m reading this weekend, then let me know if you’ve read it, if you’re looking forward to reading, if you haven’t heard about that book, etc. Some authors do this really well. Others seems to just ask to up their comments and likes. Also, authors doing unique things, thinking outside of the box get a lot of attention from me. A couple of authors do Pinterest challenges every summer and not only post results but some outtakes as well. They are often humorous and allow readers/followers to engage with them a little more. Tonight I’m joining a virtual baby shower hosted by an author for two of her characters (complete with games and prizes every 15 minutes—at least that’s what the invite said). It sounds like more fun than just a “get to know the author” event. In addition, hearing about the author’s unique interests or obsessions—whether that be their addiction to movies, Jane Austen, Downton Abbey, what music they’re listening to, or their latest cover model (you all know who I’m talking about if you follow her on FB)—makes them more real and relatable.
    2. I definitely connect the most with authors on FB. While I follow many on Twitter, it’s too easy for them to get lost in the minutiae of the rolling Tweets
    3. As far as things that I don’t like or that annoy me, I concur with having to sign up or sign into anything else. Newsletters were probably a useful tool at one point but now, more often than not, those emails are deleted without ever being opened while in the back of my mind I think “I need to unsubscribe from all of this junk mail someday.” And giveaways on blogs that require me to sign into something to leave a comment or enter a giveaway irritate me. I already have to remember so many passwords for social media, I don’t want to have to do more. Rafflecopter is wonderful because it’s a click of a button for entries.

  39. 1. I love it when authors take the time to be conversational. I love open ended questions. I’ve seen several from asking opinions on reading habits, voting on minor details for a WIP, offering name suggestions for characters, what are you reading this week, and other random questions.
    2. I think a quick update when they’re busy goes a long way to engage readers and help bring life to the book.It’s easy to forget that real people work behind the pages of our favorite stories.
    3. There are a few things that annoy me, but thankfully very few authors have violated my sensitivities. 😉
    It really annoys me when someone asks an open ended question but then snubs your reply. If you’re going to engage your audience then you should care when they respond. At the very least, the author could take the time to “like” them. Some authors are busier than others, so personal responses may not be an option, but when someone takes the time to actually respond it goes a long way.
    Status updates or responses written by a personal assistant may be convenient but they’re not very personal. I can understand why this becomes a must for some people. They certainly should pray for direction here and if it’s necessary than use it to their advantage. But a personal touch goes a LONG way. Every author will simply have to determine if they’re taking the lazy way out or if it’s vital for their work load during the current season of their life.
    Sadly, I’ve actually seen a reader attacked by an author online. 😦 It was surprising, uncalled for, and it certainly leaves a bad taste in the mouth for those looking on…not to mention the poor person on the other end of it. Thankfully, this is rare in the circle of authors that I follow. On the business side of things, this is a major no-no, but from the Christian side….well, it’s Relations 101.

  40. I like when authors have dedicated accounts for interacting with readers. I’m not so comfortable with hearing private or personal information that they’d only share face-to-face with their families/friends, because they weren’t planning to share that with strangers like me. However, if they have a separate account for their readers and tailor the content to that, I don’t feel like I’m barging into their personal matters and can enjoy the content/updates/info they do choose to share with me.

    I follow blogs like Seekerville.blogspot.com and Julie Lessman’s Journal Jots because much of their content is based on the books/writing/updates/etc. and only their personal lives as much as is appropriate and applies to the focus of that social media account. If I follow an author’s Twitter or other, it’s because the content has that sweet-spot mix of personal and professional. And, the amount and frequency isn’t overwhelming either.

    • Point of clarification:

      I love getting to know the authors I follow via their social media, don’t get me wrong. The problem comes when it’s too personal for the semi-professional setting of our interactions on SM or isn’t right to share with an audience of fans/readers.

  41. Also:

    I love when authors invite connections or conversation, as long as they’re sincere about the interaction. Open-ended posts that invite a response or encourage action or contact.

    Activity-inspiring content is great too. I love giveaways, the concept of street teams, or just being challenged to do something or even think about something from a different angle. Faithful content that is open, honest, and encouraging is special to Christian writers and their readers, and it’s one of the things I most enjoy.

    I find I mostly am drawn to newsletters, blogs, Twitter-ish-ness, and mailing lists. I do wish authors used more platforms than Facebook for launch parties, live chats and such, more often.

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