The Skinny on Social Networking

Publish date:

Guest post by Rob Eagar

Marketing books via blogs, Twitter, and Facebook has become an extremely confusing topic for many authors. Some people herald social media as the saviour of marketing. Others complain that their online efforts rarely produce tangible results. As an expert who has coached over 400 authors on the subject, below is my attempt to offer some clarity:

The Internet can either be an author's best friend or an author's worst distraction. You simply cannot let technology and trendy ideas sidetrack you from a solid marketing plan. Use the Internet as part of what you do, not the only thing you do.

Balance your activity on social networks with mastering other essential marketing tactics, such as creating a powerful author website, sending out compelling newsletters, providing free resources, public speaking, capturing radio and TV exposure, etc. 

Always remember that it's the content - never the medium - that gets people excited. Social networking only works if you use it to make people's lives better.

Blogs and social media produce the best results for authors who already have a large platform. If you’re an unknown author, plan on spending at least 1 – 2 years to build a decent-sized online following from scratch. It doesn’t happen overnight and it takes frequent posting on a consistent basis. What makes an effective blog?

  • Frequency: Post 2 - 4 times per week.
  • Transparency: Express your personality.
  • Value of content: Give truly helpful information.

Promoting a book via blog tours can be very hit-or-miss. Blog tours can help raise awareness, but only if the bloggers involved have a large, engaged following. I know several authors who paid for blog tours during their new book launch and saw disappointing results. Get references from other authors before you spend the money.

Blogging don'ts:

  • Don't be overly promotional, or you will drive readers away because they'll think your blog is just a billboard.
  • Don't live and die based on how many "comments" or "visitors" you get. Instead, focus on being consistent. Provide regular value and you’ll attract more readers.

When Using FaceBook, Twitter, etc:

  • Get involved with your target audience.
  • Participate in the discussion by asking questions and challenging misconceptions.
  • Don't waste your time surfing around these sites and engaging in useless chatter. Get in and get out.

Don't write new content for every social networking account you have. Take your same content and place it on all of the different sites. Use free services like or to post all of your content simultaneously.

Promote your book via social networks by giving away free value that encourages people to spread word-of-mouth. Examples could include a free e-book, insightful article, humorous video, resource guide, etc. I personally like the idea behind

E-Newsletters, blogging, Twitter, and Facebook are the most efficient online tools for broadcasting yourself to large groups quickly (in that order).

Blogging, forums, webinars, and Twitter are the most efficient online tools for building discussion among large groups.

There is no doubt that blogs, Facebook, and Twitter have turned the world upside down. The way that people can interact and communicate will never be the same. Having said that, remember that social media is not the savior of book marketing. You can have the most technologically-advanced online strategy and still fail to sell books. Technology offers incredibly powerful new tools, but they will never replace humanity’s need for value and life-changing information that we all crave.

About the Author:

Image placeholder title

Rob Eagar is the founder of WildFire Marketing, a consulting practice that helps authors and publishers sell more books and spread their message like wildfire. He has assisted numerous New York Times bestselling authors and his new book, Sell Your Book Like Wildfire, will be published by Writer’s Digest in May, 2012. Find out more about Rob’s advice, products, and coaching services for authors at:

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: #StartWrite, Virtual Conference, and New Courses

This week, we’re excited to announce free resources to start your writing year off well, our Novel Writing Virtual Conference, and more!


20 Most Popular Writing Posts of 2020

We share a lot of writing-related posts throughout the year on the Writer's Digest website. In this post, we've collected the 20 most popular writing posts of 2020.


Carla Malden: Writing With Optimism and Innocence

Screenwriter and author Carla Malden explains why young adult fiction and the '60s go hand-in-hand and how she connected with her main character's voice.


Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Talking About the Work-in-Progress

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake writers make is talking about the work-in-progress.


Greta K. Kelly: Publishing Is a Marathon

Debut author Greta K. Kelly reveals how the idea for her novel sparked and the biggest surprise of her publication journey.

Poetic Forms

Mistress Bradstreet Stanza: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the Mistress Bradstreet stanza, an invented form of John Berryman.


Capital vs. Capitol (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use capital vs. capitol with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.


On Writing to Give Grief Meaning and Write Out of Challenging Situations

Author Lily Dulan explains why writers have to be willing to go to difficult places inside themselves for their writing to make a positive impact on ourselves, others, and the world.


Gerald Brandt: Toeing the Line Between Sci-Fi and Fantasy

Science fiction author Gerald Brandt explains how this new series explores the genre boundary and how he came to find his newest book's focus.