From Publishing Trends:
Look at some of the top authors on Twitter and you’ll see that the list is pretty evenly divided between authors of books for children and adults. Paulo Coelho weighs in at 12.2 million, followed by JK Rowling at 11.3 million. Then a steep fall to Anthony Bourdain (6.1) and John Green (5.33), Stephen King (3.52) and Neil Gaiman (2.62), and Chris Colfer (2.52) and Margaret Atwood (1.7). You get the idea.
Facebook mirrors Twitter in that Coelho is still at the top, but with 20.5 million followers. Others are closer to parity with their Twitter followers, e.g. Stephen King has five million on Facebook while John Green (who’s on every major platform) has three million-plus on Facebook. James Patterson has a healthy 3.7 million. Lemony Snicket has a half million under A Series of Unfortunate Events and Rick Riordan has more than three million under Percy Jackson.
Beyond Twitter and Facebook, the numbers are generally much smaller and harder to track. Still, in conversation with agents, publishers, social media gurus and writers, it’s clear that authors are generally encouraged to embrace one or more social media platform. However, what they really accomplish in promoting themselves differs depending on what their goals and expectations are their level of commitment and skill.
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Most agree that authors should engage with social media only if they are comfortable. Rachel Fershleiser, HMH Executive Director of Audience Development and Community Engagement, says she’s a “huge believer in authors setting their own boundaries,” both in terms of where to post and what to write about. She encourages authors to try Instagram, because it’s generally the least contentious, and allows an author to express his or her personality “without the stress” of a network like Twitter. Writers HouseDigital Director Daniel Berkowitz thinks that, for many, how one interacts on social media “almost runs counter to how an author operates.” Authors want their posts to reflect the same level of writing that their books exhibit, and so are anxious about achieving that, especially on “of-the-moment” platforms like Twitter. In her blog post, So You’re An Author Without a Social Media Presence: Now What?, Jane Friedman warns that, while engaging in social media offers “an opportunity to learn about your readership as well as better establish your platform,” it’s “not necessarily an opportunity to hard sell the book you’re about to release.”
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Optiq.ly’s Pete McCarthy believes that, done right, social media is “one of the most cost-effective ways” of marketing an author. He believes middle-grade authors often ignore Goodreads because they forget it’s a good place to meet their readers’ parents.
Link to the rest at Publishing Trends