A Bookworm’s Guide to Social Media
It probably won’t come as a surprise to you that I’m an avid reader, and I get a lot of enjoyment with sharing the books I’ve loved on social media and building a community with other readers. As the social media coordinator for Britain’s biggest book retailer, I’m always interested in how people are sharing their favourite reads, the conversations that are going on within the world of publishing, and which books are striking a chord and keep cropping up in reader’s posts. Here are my 5 tips on how keen book lovers can get the most out of the bookish worlds on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Join the clubs!
There is a thriving online community of book clubs on social media. Facebook is the best go-to place for this. One of the biggest and best of these is The Book Club https://www.facebook.com/groups/readrecommendreview/ – a superbly managed, wonderfully engaging group of readers sharing the books they love. There are countless other Facebook groups, some set up to read and celebrate the works of particular authors, others for fans of genres. Some clubs chose Instagram as their platform of choice – one of my favourites is the Criminally Good Book Club. Find it here: https://www.instagram.com/criminallygoodbookclub
Follow the publishers
Since you’re reading this on a publisher website, you’re probably quite up-to-speed on the fact that different publishers publish different sorts of books for different markets and genres. For example, within HarperCollins alone you have Avon, HQ, Harper Fiction, Fourth Estate, Killer Reads, Williams Collins and many more imprints, each with a social media presence. Take a look at their channels and follow the ones that most appeal.
This way, you get updates about the books you like on your newsfeeds, as well as competitions, giveaways and exclusive insights.
Share the pics
Traditionally, Instagram has been a place where literary fiction titles have held strong, but with the boundaries blurring and genres crossing more easily, it’s now a terrific place for you to share your enthusiasm for whatever type of books you enjoy. You don’t have to be a world-class photographer to take a nice-looking ‘bookstagram’ pic. The easiest way to make your books look good is to keep things bright, with white or cream colours, and include ‘props’ in the shot such as mugs of hot chocolate, scarfs, throws, plants or plates of pastries.
And don’t forget the hashtags: #bookstagram #igreads and #instabook are all good ones to go with, but don’t be afraid to get creative.
Group your favourites
By harnessing Twitter ‘threads’, you can celebrate your favourite books of the year (or of the month, if you’re a very prolific reader) in a line of tweets all connected together under one theme. You can tag the authors and publishers in each one, and it helps other readers get a good round-up of recommendations.
Connect with authors
Enjoyed a book? Tell the author! Honestly, it’s really great for authors to hear when people have liked one of their titles, so don’t be shy. Twitter is probably the easiest way of doing this – you can just ‘@’ them in a tweet, but Facebook is also a good place to get in touch. Just make sure you find their author page on Facebook, rather than trying to add their personal account as a friend (usually best to save that for people you know!).
A word of caution though: maybe don’t tag authors in negative tweets or reviews about their books.
You’re of course perfectly within your rights to not like a book and tell people you didn’t like it, but, as author Claire Mackintosh once said, tagging writers in bad reviews is ‘a little like running after me in the street, tapping me on the shoulder, making me turn around and then saying ‘that coat you’re wearing really doesn’t suit you’.’
By B.P Walter