Social Media for Authors
My Step by Step process for Planning & Organizing
Three of the Major Social Media accounts
When I decided to become a self-published author, I read a lot about what to do and not do. Most everyone recommended having a website AND a strong social media presence.
This was difficult because up until this time I just had a Facebook page (which I only got to keep up with church group events during college) and I had no desire for anything else. I like my life being private.
But I kept finding posts and books in my research which said this was a MUST DO action to be a self-published author to get my name and novels out in the world.
So, I set up business accounts for 3 major social media sites:
Great, I have accounts, but what do I put on them? I’m not a document every moment of my life kind of girl and I can only take so many pictures of my laptop and a cup of coffee.
Step 1: Create Monthly Social Media List in Excel
I created a sheet for each month of 2019, hiding months once they are completed to keep the clutter down. (MY triple-A personality insists)!
Creating the entire year is done for several reasons:
- As I find holidays or ideas for specific days, I can write them down and not forget
- I can start planning ahead as I have time so it doesn’t all hit me at once
- Allows me to make sure I’m not repeating the same stuff all the time
- I highlight the Sunday of each month in green for easy reference for my weeks
My Headers for each month:
- National Days/Holidays/Special Events
- Social Media Post
- Facebook and Posted
- Instagram and Posted
- Twitter and Posted
I list the dates and save a spot at the bottom to put any monthly holidays or special weeks.
The novel heading is for individual novels I will be relating the posts to but also other subjects as well. I keep a record of which “novels” I’ve mentioned, including general posts, about me, writing, and website to make sure I’m covering multiple subjects. I don’t want to focus on the same subject to where it gets boring. This was April’s list and the reason Renewed by Grace was HIGH with 11 posts was I was promoting the novel release date at the end of April. Usually, they are more spread out, but it’s good to see how much I was able to offer free publicity for my book launch.
As I add novels, I will add new lines, always making sure to promote the entire series!
Step 2: List Holiday/National Days & Plan Blog Posts for the Month
Going through different holidays, special dates, etc. I find ones I think are either:
- FUNNY Dance Like a Chicken Day, National Ninja Day
- RELEVANT TO MY NOVEL
- National Chocolate Ice Cream Day, for Noah from novel four, Renewed by Grace
- Plant a Flower Day for Delia Anne, the grandmother in my first novel, Restoring Grace
- Accountant Day for Trusting Grace, my third novel, featuring Joshua Cabot, who works with numbers. This was a little blurb using a relevant photo creating a great social media post.
- TELLS INFORMATION ABOUT ME which allows readers to learn more about me as more than just an author. For example, turtle day where I show off my collection of turtles sitting in my library for decoration.
Step 3: Planning how to tie to a Novel, Author, Writing, etc. for each day I will post
I’ve started “resting” and often choose days I don’t have a way to combine a national day to my life
- May 3- Two Different Color Shoes Day
- May 5- No Pants Day
January is National Crock-Pot Month. I tied this to my books by having Delia Anne, a character from my first novel Restoring Grace, revealing a bit more about her life by mentioning how the main characters from my novel, interact with her now they are officially a couple.
Many times, I drop details or tidbits of characters lives into these posts, planning for future novels or even just continued interest in past characters.
For January 10, I gave a sneak peek to another character from my fourth novel Renewed by Grace, which wouldn’t be available until April 30. MONTHS AHEAD OF SCHEDULE, I gave my readers a little sneak peek into a future novel.
I look at each day, planning what I will use and what it will tie to.
My main categories, which can be added to or expanded:
- Grace Series: Published, In the Works, and Future Novels
- Restoring Grace Book 1
- Accepting Grace Book 2
- Trusting Grace Book 3
- Renewed by Grace Book 4
- Healing Grace Book 5
- Giving Grace Book 6
- Saving Grace Book 7
- General – such as Father’s Day, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, also Quotes, Bible Verses, etc.
- About Me- interesting facts and things about yours truly
- Writing – tips, tricks, quotes, inspiration
- Website – Blog Posts, Games/Puzzles, etc.
Step 4: Planning photos for each post and social media account
Depending on what is the subject determines the photos but I do have several Do and Don’ts for Step 4:
- DO find Multiple photos (if possible) for VARIETY, tied to subject I’m posting about
- DO look for Wider photos Facebook and Twitter
- DON’T make every post ALL ABOUT SELLING NOVELS
- DO use different “areas” for a photo if only using one
- DON’T use only stock photos. I try to mix in my personal photos as well, some I take specifically for the day and sometimes I go old school and pull out old photos
- DO make sure all stock photos are acceptable to use for your purposes
- DON’T make the image so bright and central, you can’t read the words
- PLEASE DON’T post family and friends without permission
- DON’T post lots of faces for characters. This is just a personal preference. I try to make sure if I post a “Bailey” character, it only shows the back of the head but has her vibrant red hair I mention in the novel
- DON’T post a person’s photo just because you like the image but it’s not accurate to your character.
For example, on National Brothers Day, I found several front shots of two boys but they didn’t have green eyes which I mention multiple times in my book… so in Photoshop, I changed their eye colors.
I use a mixture of free stock photo sites such as Pixaby.com, Pexels.com, and Unsplash.com. Occasionally, I can’t find what I’m looking for or it’s not the photo I have in mind so I create my own.
Now I know what I’m going to do for my social media accounts for the month, it’s time for the fun, creative part of my job. Stay tuned for the second part in How I manage my Social Media: Part II Creating FUN images. I will go into more detail about my process and planning in my next post including tips and tricks.
Until next time, may God’s grace surround you,