Katie Cressman

April 15 , 2024

Navigating and Understanding Social Media

Not Sure Where to Start With Social Media?

You have to choose the ones that you are most comfortable with and, most importantly, where your ideal readers are hanging out. Start with one or two and add on, as you adjust to the amount of time needed to create and schedule posts. In the beginning, it might take longer than you think, but as you get rolling, you won’t find it so daunting.

Social Media is not primarily where you sell your books, although you may include a link to your product page here or there. The best use of social media, however, is to make connections and network- building a brand for yourself as an author and a platform for your books to be highlighted on. On your Social Media platforms, you should post information about your blogs and website, emphasize content in your books, and highlight tidbits that your ideal readers will find interesting. You can also use your social media platforms to engage with other authors, or comment back to those who engage with your page and posts.

Spend time on each platform getting to know what the majority of its users expect and like. Then plan out your strategy. But don’t only try to sell. In fact, on some platforms, you should not emphasize selling at all. Create relationships, let the audience, followers, fans, etc. get to know you and your work. Send them to your website and your newsletter signup to learn more. Think: You don’t actually send your resume out to get a job right away, you send it to get an interview first. At the interview, you sell yourself for the job. Social Media is much the same way. You have to find out if you’re the right match first. Here is a brief overview of each:


  • May be most useful for Literary Fiction/ General Fiction books. Does not trend to be as successful for non fiction novels because it does not have an overly professional tone. 
  • Largest Social Media platform with an older demographic.
  • Paid Ads can be effective, but you need a strategy and there is a good bit of trial and error to find what works. Ads are NOT free, and we do not always see a ton of success with paying additional for them. We highly suggest continuing with the 'organic route' and putting your efforts there.
  • Mastering the 'organic route' (no Ads or paid sponsorships) is not easy, and it takes time. However, some best practices include: posting multiple times a day, throughout the day to ensure you have the best chance of appearing on your intended audience's feed. Including images or videos in your posts- platforms like Facebook tend to favor images or videos instead of just text. Using hashtags in the text of your posts- using hashtags allows others to find your post through hashtag searching. It could also allow Facebook to organically put your post in front of more people the platform thinks may be interested in it based on those words you use, think of it like key words in a search bar just intermingled in your posts.

To get started... set up a professional author page for promoting your book(s). You can also setup a personal page (or maybe you already have one). We recommend having both an author page AND a personal page so you can alter your posts a bit easier to the likings of your audience. (However, using your personal account for promotion tailored towards personal connections in your closer network has been beneficial as well).

  • Ideas for future posts: contests and giveaways, live Q&As with an interviewer. Like/follow other pages like yours. Use video and animation to get attention.


  • Most useful for literary fiction due to its graphic intensive structure. However, you may choose to promote yourself as an author on this platform as well and show your lifestyle.
  • Has a younger demographic and is more graphic intensive. Similar ton to Facebook- not unprofessional, but relatively casual.
  • You can’t link in your posts, so you have to use hashtags (#). However, you can put your website link in your bio and we highly recommend this.
  • If you are into graphics and understand hashtags, Instagram might work well, especially if your book’s ideal reader is younger. 
  • As you continue to build your page, ensure you continue to interact with those commenting on your page and like or respond as you can.
  • We recommend creating a social media strategy/ content calendar as well to schedule times and content to release as you go to help improve your chances of being seen (especially as you build your profile).
  • Like Facebook, Instagram also offers paid Ads- it is up to you if you would like to use, however we have not seem a huge benefit to them.

To get started... create your book/ author specific account (depending on the route you choose). For graphic intensive content, we at least recommend a blend of both where some lifestyle content is included due to what the platform was created for. Basically, there is more opportunity for self- marketing than just book marketing. Which is completely okay! What better way to sell your book than to sell the author behind the work?

  • Ideas for future posts: Plan a series of images ahead of time and schedule to post them over time. Include world settings, people, places, and any topical info from your book. Use words in memes. Research hashtags. Something to think about: Instagram tends to push videos and 'reels' to the tops of pages, it is just what their algorithm likes the most.


  • This platform is useful for any genre. Since this is a platform for book lovers- you know that any book has a home here.
  • Goodreads is the social media platform created specifically for book lovers. Here, anyone can interact and review books as they please. Even going as far as to rating them out of 5 stars or adding them to a "want to read" list. The options are endless- it really is a book lovers dream! Or in our case, an authors!
  • Post on them often, your readers are here, be sure to invite them to visit your website and get to know you better.

To get started... create a Goodreads account and personalize it to fit your book(s). You can and should take time creating your profile page and use a business headshot/ your author photo for your profile picture. Keep up with your posting often, and we recommend reviewing other authors books in addition to your own self marketing to show you are an active member of the platforms community. The more you engage with others the more they will want to engage with you.


  • This platform is useful for any genre. Since this is a business forward/ professional platform. However, we have seen a lot of success with memoirs and other non fiction works. 
  • LinkedIN is a social media platform that may be known to help with securing employment. However, there are major advantages for an author if used correctly. Primarily, it functions as the largest online B2B or B2C networking platform in the world.
  • First, you should focus on building your profile page. Since LinkedIn is a place for networking, it is important to show a profile page that is both professional and welcoming. We recommend using a nice professional headshot and a nice background/ cover photo. In addition to this, spend time creating your bio and include your book(s) and links to your website or product pages. You can list yourself as an "author" as your career or add this in addition to your career (if you already have an active profile in use).
  • CONNECT CONNECT CONNECT! Once your account is built, you have to do the networking part. Luckily, LinkedIN offers a ton of different groups you can join. So I always recommend starting there and joining anything relevant! Otherwise, think of the individuals you think may be interested in your book, and just start connecting! The more the merrier in this case.
  • Whenever you post content relating to your book... tag the Sunbury Press business page. We can then interact with your post and report for you to make sure you are reaching the maximum audience.

To get started... unlike the others, you may use the same LinkedIN for your books as your personal profile. This is primarily due to the professionalism of the platform itself. However, if you wish to have a seprate account in order to reach the right audience, fee free! The key is to make sure you are getting enough publicity out there, so CONNECT CONNECT CONNECT! Sometimes, when you already have an active LinkedIn with numerous connections built- it creates a nice foundation for outreach. However, if your industry has nothing to do with your book topic or you think they may clash, consider making a new one and tailor your connections appropriately.

X (Twitter)
  • Probably most useful for Literary Fiction/ General Fiction books. Does not trend to be as successful for non fiction novels because it does not have an overly professional tone. 
  • Large and popular platform similar to Facebook in use and navigating- although the least 'professional' environment of the main choices.
  • The more people you follow, the faster the newsfeed rolls, so if you don’t post often, chances are, people will miss your tweet.
  • Popular posts most likely to work in your favor for the algorithm includes images, videos, GIFs, links, and the use of hashtags. (X has a 'trending topics' segment that is only around hashtags so this is emphasized even more when using X).
  • Posts are limited to 280 characters- similar to the concept of being a bit less professional, the thought is to keep the posts short and concise as well. (Plan on short and frequent posts).

To get started... very similar to Facebook, you should set up a professional author page for promoting your book(s). You can also setup a personal page (or maybe you already have one). We recommend having both an author page AND a personal page so you can alter your posts a bit easier to the likings of your audience. X is a platform that it is extra important to 'know your audience' because you have less space to work with for your content.

  • Ideas for future posts: Share blurb about and from in your book with a picture of the cover. Create your own hashtags. Stay relevant with your audience.


  • This platform is probably most useful for literary fiction because of its graphic intensive content. However, if you plan to use it as an author self- brand marketing platform that is also an option. (Think: what can I post to help other authors, etc.)
  • Pinterest is another graphic intensive social platform that is primarily female.
  • Pinterest is about lifestyle, so think book genres and worlds for fiction or how-to for nonfiction. You can create boards and pin relevant content about your books.
  • You should also post your cover and link to your website. Be sure to remember keywords in your posts so Pinterest can match up your pins with others like it.
  • Create a graphic and Pin all your blogs.
  • Pinterest also has advertising opportunities that are worth checking into.

To get started... VERY similar to Instagram: create your book/ author specific account. As I mentioned in the first point, we recommend author specific. This is because Pinterest surrounds 'lifestyle', not just the book itself. Remember, self marketing/ building your own brand!


  • This platform is useful for any genre. Since this is short- medium length videos and television- like segments, there is no limit to the audiences who can be reached and its intended users.
  • YouTube is a majorly popular platform that began as social media and has since produced its own television network. However, it is still immensely popular for its short- video style content where it originated.
  •  This is where you post interviews, your book trailers, and any other fun or informative videos. You can also post audio files here with a cool graphic.

To get started... create your own channel and post videos of your work, industry information or anything that your ideal audience will find engaging. Be sure to use the tags and keywords and embed those videos into your website or at least link to them. 


This is a brief overview and each platform can require research and patience. Once you decide on the platforms you intend to use, search online for strategies and tips for authors. I encourage looking at some of your favorite authors pages for inspiration on your own when deciding how and what content you will focus on! You’ll find plenty more insights and suggestions.

Watch the Sunbury Press blog for more information coming soon. The keys to Social Media are to consider your ideal reader and where they are, start small, create a plan, post often and refrain from overselling. Also, be sure to link back to your website and newsletter signup. Remember to keep at it and be adaptable. Relationships take time and Social Media is constantly changing!

For any further social media specific questions, please contact kcressman@sunburypress.com