When Should You Start Being Active on Social Media?

I have written a lot about timing for traditional book publicity campaigns.   However, I haven’t spoken much about social media timing in today’s book marketing campaigns.  Many writers tell me they need to wait to start being active on social media.  They do not want to be “out there too soon”, because buzz needs to be created closer to the on sale date of a book.   I say, don’t wait.

Why Be Active on Social Media Now?

You need to be active on social media and come up with ideas for topics you want to talk about now.  Why?  Because the first step in the product selling process is creating an interested and aware following.  Building Awareness is a marketing term that is included in a three-part cycle that ends will a sale.  Social media gives anyone and everyone a chance to employ tactics to generate awareness and gather their own fans.  You control the information you make public.

Simple Campaign Ideas

Your campaign could be simple and your book can come up organically, which is better.  Decide how many times per week you want to post and what you want to share with your audience.  One topic writers share about is what they have read lately.   Another topic could be about your process, where you write, how you feel about releasing a book, etc. Write your plan into your calendar online or on paper.  Then, most importantly, stick to it.  Other things you can do are: use hashtags that are relevant to you and your work; follow other people; and comment on other posts and “tweets” (if you use X (Twitter)).  Social media is like a party where you don’t know a lot of people.  You can make small talk.  Act interested in other people and they will be interested in you.

When To Wait

So be on social, actively, like I’ve suggested above.   Look for other writers, who are at a similar stage in their careers, and copy some of what they do.  Everyone does it.  And if you still aren’t sure if you should wait, take a look at a few cases where tighter timing might make sense.

  1. You are breaking news: If your book contains breaking news, then there is another layer to your process.  This does not affect the creating awareness step, but it could affect what you say about what’s coming.  There may be an embargo or restrictions placed by another entity, like a media outlet.  Details may need to be kept quiet until publication.
  2. Your audience is already aware: When you release a book that is highly anticipated, like a sequel in a bestselling series, you may not need to talk about the book on social media.  You could wait until two or three weeks ahead of publication to spur a frenzy in pre-orders for the book.  A period of fast paced ordering will help drive it up the bestseller ranks on Amazon.
  3. Your book is based on what you do professionally: For example, if you are a dermatologist and your book is about skincare, your content is going to align with what will be in the book.  You could wait to talk about the book product until closer to publication to drive preorders.  Maybe you will be selling your book at conferences and events.  Your social media can be focused on where you will be and the chance to buy copies in person.

Get out there and share some thoughts and ideas or just ask questions of others.  You have everything to gain and, seriously, nothing to lose.

Social Media Marketing Resources

Some resources for information about platforms and content are www.hubspot.com and www.hootsuite.com.  You can also download our eguide for different social platforms that explain how several of them work.  Here is a recent blog post on the differences between Threads and X.

What is the Best Social Media for Authors?

Most people have multiple social media accounts in order to consume a wide variety of content. However, for creators themselves, it’s better to stick to one or two social media sites in order to better build a focused audience. This post is meant to help you discover the best social media for you as an author, rather than the best overall. Each has its own demographic, so no one social media is best for everyone.


Tiktok is much more popular with the younger generation than anyone else. 25% of TikTok users in the US are aged 10-19, with a 2:1 ratio of female to male users. YA books are popular among TikTok’s younger demographic. The best tag for authors to use is #booktok, as many readers use that tag to find new books to read or talk about.


Instagram is one of the most popular social media sites. Thanks to it taking inspiration from several other sites, its content is fairly generalized. The same goes for its audience. Most Instagram users are 18-34 years old, and the split between male and female users is miniscule. There’s a slight lean toward men, with 50.6% of users being men and 49.4% being women. Like TikTok, it has its own tag for authors and readers: #bookstagram. There are also widely used niche hashtags by trope and micro community.


Meta’s very first social media site, Facebook, is well known as an early pioneer of social media. Because of its age and fame in the online world, it’s possibly the most popular social media site. Many people assume Facebook is used by primarily older generations, however the majority of its users are 25-34 years old. The gender demographic skews toward men, with 56.8% of users being male and 43.2% female.


Reddit is incredibly useful for building an audience in a certain subject. Subreddits are helpful for finding people who enjoy the same things you do. Like Instagram, the majority of Reddit users are young adults, with 42% of its users being 18-24 years old. Reddit has the biggest gender split so far, with 63.8% being male and 36.2% female. However, all of these stats can change depending on the specific subreddit you’re using.


Tumblr is the most unique of the social media listed. It encourages people to reshare and engage with posts they like, and more unexpected people use it than one would think. Niel Gaiman and John Green are two well known authors who regularly use Tumblr. 28% of its users are 18-29 years old, and 69% are millennials overall. Its gender split is very even, like Instagram’s. 48% of its users are female, and 52% are male.


X, previously Twitter, is incredibly popular. It’s best for short-form content and short bursts of advertising due to its character limit, but that doesn’t stop it from being useful. The majority of X users are 25-34 years old, and 70.4% of its users are male. This is the biggest gender gap of the social media discussed. These are some of the most well-known and used social media platforms you can use as an author to build an audience and market your book. As said earlier, it’s best to stick to one or two, preferably the ones that will have the biggest potential audience for your content.


TikTok User Statistics (2023) (backlinko.com) Instagram Users, Stats, Data, Trends, and More — DataReportal – Global Digital Insights Facebook Users, Stats, Data, Trends, and More — DataReportal – Global Digital Insights Reddit Statistics For 2023: Eye-Opening Usage & Traffic Data (foundationinc.co) https://blog.gitnux.com/tumblr-statistics/ 23 Essential Twitter Statistics You Need to Know in 2023 (thesocialshepherd.com)

Threads vs. X – Competition in the Social Media Sphere

With the complete rebranding of Twitter, now known as X, it’s a ripe time for some competition in the social media sphere. Meta has eagerly jumped at the opportunity and created Threads in hopes that previous Twitter users will migrate over to their new platform. Though both platforms look similar on the surface, there are some key differences with Threads vs. X.

The most notable difference is that Threads is linked to your Instagram account. You log in using your Instagram, and any Instagram followers will be notified when you make a Threads account. However, this also means that once you make a Threads account, it can’t be deleted without also deleting your Instagram account. Unlike Twitter, Threads is intended for longer discussions. The character limit of the initial post is 500 as opposed to Twitter’s 280, and posts can be linked together as threads, hence the name. This means you have to think things through before posting on Threads to make sure the narrative is cohesive.

Interestingly, Twitter and Threads share a similar gender distribution. According to this article, 70% of Twitter users are male. Another article states that 68% of Threads users are male. Threads’ demographics is unexpected because Instagram and Facebook are used primarily by women. Potentially, the style of content appeals more to men and thus more male Instagram users are joining Threads.

Inactive Users

Unfortunately for Threads, despite the high user count, not all of them are active. The app’s use peaked on July 7th at the time of writing at only 45% of Twitter’s daily use. This is due to a combination of factors.

First of all, Twitter users don’t want to lose the followings they’ve amassed over the years. It can be discouraging to have to build yourself up from nothing, so people are reluctant to switch platforms.

Secondly, Threads doesn’t have the activity of Twitter. There’s less happening on Threads because people aren’t as active on it. That makes scrolling through the activity feed less appealing because there’s less content to see.

Lastly, Threads just isn’t complete yet. Meta has been planning to release Threads for a while, but recent backlash against Musk and Twitter’s rebranding is likely why it has been released at this point. It doesn’t have all of the expected features of an app of its type just yet. There’s no direct messaging, no search function, no hashtags, and no access to trending topics. It feels more like an open beta than a completed app.


Threads does have a lot of potential, but it currently isn’t in a state worth investing in. When more features are released and its active user base grows, it certainly has a chance to overcome Twitter. For now, it’s good to keep an eye on it as it progresses.


Why is Twitter called X now? Elon Musk’s rebrand explained and where it’s going next | TechRadar

PSA: You Can’t Delete Your Threads Account Without Also Deleting Instagram (makeuseof.com)

23 Essential Twitter Statistics You Need to Know in 2023 (thesocialshepherd.com)

Threads App Statistics 2023 – By Country, Sign-Ups, User, History (enterpriseappstoday.com)

Threads Usage Drops By Half From Initial Surge | Similarweb

AI Art and How it Affects Design

With the rise of AI such as ChatGPT and Dall-E, people are forgoing hiring artists and designers to instead use AI to create art for them. However, AI art has many flaws that make it pale in comparison to hiring human artists, greatly affecting the world of art and design.


One of AI art’s biggest flaws is the moral and legal conundrum that comes with training it. AI art has to be trained on human art, which is usually used without permission or credit. Artists may not even be aware their art is being used by a learning model, which can make legal claims even more difficult. This also means the AI models that are intended to replace human artists are using those artist’s creations to learn.


Nowadays, artists have the ability to opt-out of their work being used to train AI on most platforms. This is especially prevalent on DeviantArt, a site created specifically for artists to showcase their work, which has its own AI art software. As more and more artists opt out of including their work in AI data sets or use specific watermarks that are not AI-friendly, the amount of original works to learn from are hopefully dwindling. Without human art to train AI, it could eventually be forced to learn from other AI art. This would theoretically cause a negative feedback loop where the AI art gets worse and worse due to only learning from itself.


Since AI is limited to only training from pre-existing art, the result is typically unoriginal and uninspiring. AI can’t come up with unique concepts. This creates the risk of anything using AI art ending up with a repetitive style and design. This can be very bad in a field where you want your work to stand out and catch people’s eye.


Another flaw of AI art is that it is incredibly difficult to explain what you want it to do. If it gives you something you like, but have some issues with, you can’t ask it to make edits. You either have to accept what it gives you or have it completely redone. This is unlike an actual, sentient artist who can make adjustments to the piece as it’s being made. You can also request far more specific details from a human artist, such as color palette, character design, and specific font. An AI art generator that will accept any of those parameters is currently unheard of.


None of this is mentioning the controversy surrounding AI art. Not only is it not popular with human artists, there have been lawsuits due to its derivative nature. In January of this year, artists sued Midjourney, a well known AI art generator, for using their art to train the program. Midjourney was able to mimic the specific art style of these artists, which helped prove how derivative it truly was and provide evidence against them for the lawsuit.


While using AI art may seem appealing because of its time and cost effectiveness, the final product and how AI affects design might not be worth it. Hiring a human artist to create the art and design for your product or brand is overall the better choice.






How to Build a Community on Discord

With the use of social media, creators are able to connect with their audience directly. However, there isn’t a good place for the audience to gather and discuss on most social media. The biggest exception to this is Discord, which was built for communities to interact with one another. Building a community on Discord can seem intimidating at first, but it’s actually quite easy. You just need to be prepared for it to take some time and be willing to talk with your audience. Here is a simple, step-by-step guide to get you started with Discord.


Step #1: Joining Servers

The first step to building a Discord community is meeting new people and familiarizing yourself with how Discord functions. It’s very easy to search for and join servers. Discord has a search function at the bottom of your server list where you can explore communities. To use this function, open the app and scroll to the bottom of your server list (which may be empty, if you’re totally new) until you see an icon that looks like a compass. This is the “Explore Discoverable Servers” button. You can search for servers in different languages and under specific tags.


Step #2: Building an Audience

If you already have an audience, great! However, if you don’t, there are several ways to build one. Other social media platforms, like Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok can be useful for this. Discord provides a more up close and personal way to connect, by making friends and getting people interested in your work. Share your process and experience, and chat with fellow writers, and you’ll find people who are interested in a community for your work.


Step #3: Making a Discord Server

Once you have a sufficient audience and are familiar with how Discord works, it’s time to make a server. You can create different channels and categories for various conversations, as well as voice channels for group calls. There are different types of servers: private friend servers, and more open community servers. Community servers give moderators more tools and have the ability to be discoverable on Discord’s official search function. You can learn more about the ins and outs of Discord by checking out various resources that explain each function in more detail.


Step #4: Sharing Your Server

When your server first starts, you’ll have to share it manually. Doing so is actually quite easy. All you have to do is open your server on the app and click your server’s name, select ‘Invite People’ from the dropdown menu, and copy the link. The link for friend servers will expire in 30 days, however community server links won’t expire. Once you have the link copied, you can share it on any social media for people to join your server.


Step #5: Making Your Server Public

This step is optional for when you have a big enough audience. Making a public server isn’t as easy as clicking a button. There are various criteria a server has to meet before it can be made public, to ensure that Discord provides a positive experience for all users. The rules to making a public server are to follow the Community Guidelines and Terms of Service, foster a healthy and positive environment, not host graphic or sexual content, have a server name and description that accurately describes the server, respect people’s intellectual property and other rights, and have a moderator team. However, there are more requirements than just following these rules. A server must also have 1,000 members, be at least 8 weeks old, meet certain activity requirements, and enable 2 Factor Authentication For Moderation Settings. For more details on making a server public, you can visit Discord’s official site. 

Once you’ve completed the first four steps, you’re pretty much done! Making a public server isn’t necessary, especially when there are bots that also make your server discoverable online. However, learning about Discord bots is worth another blog post entirely.

Now, go out there and have fun making your servers!