Thirteen Myths About Social Media for Writers Busted by guest @CaballoFrances

As I meet writers online and at writer’s conferences, I hear misconceptions about social media. I’ve kept a list of them and decided to debunk these myths for you one-by-one.

Let’s get started.

Social Media Is Hard to Learn

This is the misconception that I most frequently hear among writers, especially authors who are about to embark on their marketing journey. If social media were difficult, it wouldn’t be so easy for a 12-year-old to use.

Like any new topic, we come to social media with questions and some trepidation. What if you make a mistake? Well, if you make a mistake and you’re new, then you probably don’t have much of a following, so only a handful of people might see your error, right?

Besides, everyone makes mistakes from time to time, and none of them are fatal.

I always advise writers new to social media to start with one social media network where they’ll find their readers. Once you rock it, move on to a second. In about a year you should be on two social media networks and rockin’ them. If you’d like, add a third but don’t add a fourth. It’s doubtful that you’ll need to use four social media networks to mingle with your readers. See more on this topic below.

Facebook Is Silly

Sure, you’ll find plenty of cat videos on your Facebook newsfeed but don’t mistake that silliness for how dominant Facebook can be. Romance and thriller authors, in particular, tend to do well on Facebook.

When you add Facebook ads to the mix, you’ll find that Facebook can help you sell loads of books and grow your email list. You can use your Facebook profile to share pictures of your dog or cat and to schmooze with friends. But on your Facebook author page, share your blog posts, images, and niche-related memes, and dabble in Facebook ads to grow your following and sell more books.

Photo by Paul Hanaoka on Unsplash

Photo by Paul Hanaoka on Unsplash

Pinterest Is for Hairstyles and DIY Projects

Sure, images of hairstyles, DIY projects, and wedding dresses are abundant on Pinterest. Know what other photos are popular?

Images of:

  • bookcases
  • book covers
  • author quotes
  • libraries and bookstores
  • infographics
  • blog post visuals

Also, Pinterest is awesome at referring traffic to websites and landing pages. As Mashable has stated, “When it comes to referral traffic from social networks, there’s Facebook and Pinterest — and then there’s everyone else.”

So every time you write a blog post, pin an image to your pinboard designated for your blog. And create pinboards that make sense for your genre and niche.

Twitter Is Dying

While attending the San Francisco Writers Conference, a literary agent nonchalantly stated, “Don’t use Twitter; it’s dying.”

Au contraire.

Sure, Twitter has had some rough times, which is why founder Jack Dorsey returned to the CEO seat, but it’s not dying.

In fact, Twitter has gone through several changes, from Twitter Moments to tweets expanding to 280 characters. And we can probably expect a few more.

In the interim, influencers have not flocked to other social media sites and you shouldn’t either. You’ll find that Twitter is the place to meet influencers, find new readers, and post information that will trigger traffic to your website. In my case, Twitter refers more traffic than any other social media network, and I’m sure it can be powerful for you, too.

I Need a Graphic Artist to Create Images for My Social Media Posts

Actually, no you don’t. All you need is a free application, such as Canva or Pablo or a paid application, such as and you’ll be able to create all the images you need without the added expense of a graphic artist. All three applications are easy to use, and none require training in graphics or Adobe.

To find copyright-free images, go to, a directory of sites that offer images for free. Or go to Pixabay, Pexels, or Unsplash.

I Need to Be Everywhere

Negative. In fact, it wouldn’t make sense for you to be on every social media network because your readers aren’t.

Let’s break this down. You only need to be on those social media networks that your readers use. For example, let’s say that you’re a romance author. It would make sense for you to be on Facebook, and depending on your reader demographic, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. You wouldn’t need to be on Google+, which a predominance of men use, or Tumblr, which young adults primarily use.

I like to think that no author needs to be on more than three or at most four social media networks. Who has the time to be on more social media networks? To spend time on social media platforms that your readers don’t use, well, is a waste of your valuable time that you could use to write another book.

So the next time an expert says that you need to be everywhere, leave the workshop.

Brand Isn’t Important

Whether you like it or not, as an author you are a brand. Everything you do and say online will reflect on your author brand.

This is why it’s so important to use your author name as your username on all social media platforms and to keep your banner and header images and avatars consistent as well.

It’s also important to monitor your comments online. If you want to comment on current political events, stop and think, “How will this reflect on my brand? Will it hurt me or help me?”

Think about well-known figures in the indie author field. Do you see Joanna Penn, Jane Friedman, or Mark Dawson commenting on political events? No, because they want to keep their brands clear of distractions. Despite how tempting it might be to comment on today’s political developments, it’s best to steer clear of comments that might antagonize your following.


Facebook Pages Can Take the Place of a Website

Some authors have asked me if a Facebook author page can take the place of having a website. The short answer is no.

You don’t own your space on Facebook. Facebook can change the look and feel of an author page at any time. Or, Facebook could disappear. Well, that scenario isn’t likely, is it, but I say it to emphasize your lack of control over the platform.

You need a website that you control, that has your author name as your domain name, and that you use to host your blog. You’ll be the only person who can control the website and no one, other than you, can alter the site. Awesome, right?

I Should Respond to Trolls

They’re out there. They’re on Facebook, Twitter, and even LinkedIn and Goodreads. They make unfounded assertions and are just plain mean at times. What should you do?

Ignore them.

We’ve all experienced men on Facebook who say, “I can’t stop looking at you.” Or readers on Goodreads who say, “If you’re a self-published author, I’m not interested.”

Don’t worry; their karma will eventually get back to them. In the meantime, ignore them.

I Shouldn’t Share a Competitor’s Posts

Just the opposite is true. As I like to tell writers, on social media, we don’t have competitors; we have colleagues. The beauty of social media is the ability to meet writers in our genre, join forces, and co-market each other’s books.

Let’s say that you’re a romance writer or thriller author. Your readers are voracious and can finish a series of books in one weekend. Guess what? You can’t possibly write enough books to satisfy your readers’ appetite for your genre. Why not join forces with other writers you admire and co-market each other’s books? Tweet his or her tweets. Write guest blog posts for each other and while you’re at it, expand the circle with additional authors in your genre and help each other sell books.

I Don’t Need to Post Consistently

False. You need to post consistently, whether that’s three times a day on Twitter or twice daily on Facebook. There are few things worse on social media than to encounter an abandoned social media profile or one where the author posts irregularly. Respect your readers by being available to them.

Social Media is Best for Businesses, Not Authors

This is also false.

Besides, whether you realize it or not, if you self-publish, you are in the publishing business. You spend time writing, and spend money on formatting and graphic artists, correct? And you hope to sell sufficient books to recover your costs and make money. Well, that’s a business model.

Self-publishing books is a business and social media can further your brand, help you to engage with your readers, bring traffic to your blog and website, and further your publishing business.


  1. Sandra Hurst on May 7, 2018 at 6:57 am

    Okay, I think I am guilty of believing 12 out of 13 of these myths. (I’m not admitting which one I got right.) Thank you for the eye opener… I see work in my future!

  2. Donna M Baptiste aka D.B. Moone on May 7, 2018 at 7:25 am

    Thank you, Frances for “debunking” some of the myths about social media. I had a dilemma and posted on FB asking for some advice, which I never received. In hindsight I would have been better off tweeting about my dilemma.

    The dilemma was I had began on Twitter in 2010 as @inkpen2010 since it was my writing email account. Eventually, I took on the pseudonym of D.B. Moone and created an author’s page on FB, which I ultimately shut down and began using my personal FB page as a dual purpose page (big mistake, I know). I did this when I started a blog: because I felt I was taking too much time away from my writing to manage my social media sites.

    Recently, I jumped on the Instagram bus as dbmoone but I felt as if I had an identity issue to correct. I had some back and forth with Sue Coletta over the fact that I believed my followers did not know who I was unless they followed my blog, due to being Donna M. Baptiste (D.B. Noone – Writer) on FB, @inkpen2010 on Twitter and dbmoone on Instagram.

    Last week I took a chance and changed Twitter from @inkpen2010 to @dbmoone while worrying this was going to confuse my Twitter followers, many of whom have followed me since 2010. I also began using the same profile photo on FB, Twitter, and Instagram. I have not seen a loss in followers on Twitter, and my Instagram followers are slowly coming around.

    I’m grateful for your post which confirmed many of my social media mistakes. I believe I’m on my way to correcting these mistakes although FB remains a dilemma that I’m eventually going to have to do something about.

    Your post was most helpful. Thank you for participating in Rachel’s #NaNoProMo.

    Donna aka D.B. Moone

  3. Laura on May 7, 2018 at 9:02 am

    I always have to laugh when people randomly declare that certain sites are “over.” Who are these people, anyway, and what is their proof? (They never seem to have any, when pressed, which is also a strange coincidence…) Prince once stated that the entire INTERNET was over, but even he had a change of heart. Thanks for busting these myths, Frances!

  4. Michael J Melville on May 7, 2018 at 9:26 am

    One of my biggest issues as an author when it comes to social media is posting consistently on my FB page, more accurately posting relevant and interesting things consistently on my FB page. I know I can’t be all “buy my stuff” all the time and I try not to do that unless I’m running a promo. Branding is something I have a hard time with, I understand what it is and what it is not but figuring out how to turn ME, the relatively unknown author into a brand is overwhelming a little.

  5. Dana Lemaster on May 7, 2018 at 9:40 am

    This is well-written and, from my experience, spot on. Thanks for sharing your insight and honesty.

  6. Alex Kourvo on May 7, 2018 at 9:46 am

    Thanks for the advice! It’s good to know that being on only two social networks is plenty. I rock Twitter and Instagram, but not FB or Pinterest. I’d rather do two social networks well than do several poorly.

  7. Tarang Sinha on May 7, 2018 at 12:06 pm

    Good one! Some valid points here.

    I love Twitter, but I do not have a personal account on Facebook, however I do have an author’s page. I really like Pinterest for its ideas, but I have to admit that I haven’t learned to use it well for promotion. And yes, you don’t need a graphic designer to create your posters! I create my book posters myself and I really enjoy doing it! 🙂

  8. Sarah on May 7, 2018 at 12:29 pm

    These are some me great tips. At times I feel overwhelmed by trying to use multiple social channels. Experimenting with and focusing on what works best for you will have a lot of benefits in the life my run. I’m learning to achieve that balance.

    • Rachel Thompson on May 8, 2018 at 8:49 am

      Have you tried using Hootsuite or Buffer? Using a social media management tool is SO much easier than logging in and out. I prefer Hootsuite because I can put them all in and also interact, as well as schedule things in (like articles, visuals, blog posts). It’s a great tool and affordable.

  9. Marilyn Chapman on May 7, 2018 at 12:36 pm

    Great advice! As a journalist-turned-author I find sharing fellow authors’ post on social media one of the most enjoyable and rewarding marketing tools. Plus, I know I should have a website but have managed with a once very popular and now outdated blog (ten years and counting.) It’s time I got into the real world.

  10. Beth Overmyer on May 7, 2018 at 3:53 pm

    Great post! My main genres are women’s fiction, romance, and fantasy/speculative. I hang out on Twitter, posting several times a day on two accounts (one for a pen name.) And I have a Facebook author page. I’ve tried Instagram, but the camera on my device is lame. I have three blogs (one for each pen name), and I am going to turn my main blog into a website this year, which I should have done a long ago. That’s about all I feel I can handle right now.

    BTW, I’m reading your book, The BadRedhead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge. I’m only two days in, and there is such good information that I can implement right away. You rock!


    • Rachel Thompson on May 8, 2018 at 8:47 am

      Thank you, Beth! So glad it’s helping you.

      As Frances says, don’t take on too much. Be where your readers are — that’s half the battle. x

  11. Lisa P Sicard on May 7, 2018 at 4:15 pm

    Rachel, great advice! Twitter surely is not dying by any means! They have started making money the past 2 quarters and are finally growing some. It’s my favorite network.
    You are also right that you can’t be everywhere and be effective. Been there, tried that too 🙁
    I’m glad to see it is recommended to share competitors posts, I’ve always done that if good info is provided.
    I’d love to win an audit, that would be so cool!
    Thanks for the info and contest Rachel.

    • Rachel Thompson on May 8, 2018 at 8:46 am

      Credit goes to Frances for this wonderful post — she and I fully agree on Twitter, though! I LOVE it. When I mentioned that 90% of the donations made by the experts here came from Twitter, people are shocked.

      I’m not. Twitter is absolutely THE best networking tool I know of as well as the best way to connect with readers. We have to remember to go where readers are, which is not necessarily where we are most comfortable. Many writers are stuck on Facebook and that’s great IF that’s where their readers are — cool. If not, they’re definitely missing out.

  12. Karen Hugg on May 7, 2018 at 5:13 pm

    Thanks for this. I finally figured out, after years, my readers are on Pinterest! It was so obvious! And the most professional opportunities I’ve received have been via Twitter! These are the social media sites I use and like anyway, which makes sense.

    • Rachel Thompson on May 8, 2018 at 8:43 am

      What’s great about Pinterest is how long our pins stay relevant — even YEARS later, people are still sharing and commenting on my pins. Pretty amazing.

  13. Joanna Maciejewska on May 7, 2018 at 6:18 pm

    I’ve been recently guilty of the last one: not really believing it, but acting as if I did. This post reminded me I need to get back to regular presence on social media, thank you!

  14. KJ Waters on May 7, 2018 at 8:19 pm

    What a great article that cuts through a lot of the clutter out there about author marketing, branding and social media empires. Thank you for this encouraging post. I’m excited to focus now on just thefew social media sites I’m doing well at and not stress about the rest.

  15. R on May 7, 2018 at 8:44 pm

    I love making my own graphics!

  16. Iola on May 7, 2018 at 9:09 pm

    Great tips! I do have to ask … do people actually believe responding to trolls is a good idea? Or is it more that we sometimes don’t recognise we’re being trolled until we’ve responded?

    I love Canva. I use it for all my graphics. I don’t remember who first mentioned it to me, but they have my eternal gratitude because Canva means I can create branded pins and graphics for no cost.

    My added tip would be to use a programme like Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule social media posts. They are wonderful tools for consistently posting across a range of platforms (including Google+, because Rachel has persuaded me that’s important for SEO).

  17. Pamela Harju on May 8, 2018 at 7:38 am

    I’m on Pinterest – as I recently discovered – so this is probably something I should make more use of.

  18. Dena Garson on May 8, 2018 at 7:55 am

    YAY! I am doing a FEW things right then! Thanks for the confirmation and the additional advice.
    I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on consistently posting on our Facebook account (like as a person) vs. on our Facebook Author/Fan page. As in, should one get more attention than the other? I don’t feel like I do enough on my fan page but don’t want to be redundant either.

  19. McKenna Dean on May 8, 2018 at 7:57 pm

    I confess, I find it frustrating to post to Facebook these days when I have X number of followers and only a fraction of them see the posts. I probably need to take a course in how to make Facebook ads work for me, but I see so little ROI there, it’s hard to throw more money their way.

    I post regularly to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but see little click through to my books. I participate in groups, and I *have* increased my NL signups slightly by doing so. But it seems a hard slog.

  20. Jessica Joiner on May 9, 2018 at 9:16 am

    Thank you for your great tips for social media. I especially liked your tip about ignoring trolls. I see other businesswomen getting in social media wars with anyone who posts a bad review and just cringe.
    I also agree that Twitter is NOT dead. I get most of my fan interaction on Twitter 🙂

    Thank you again for your time and helpful tips

  21. Frances Caballo on May 9, 2018 at 1:30 pm

    Love all the comments here! Thanks so much for your involvement and comments.

  22. Kenzie Macallan on May 12, 2018 at 5:23 pm

    I always love your posts. I find them very useful. Trying to navigate social media can be daunting so thank you.

  23. Dylann on May 12, 2018 at 9:56 pm

    Thanks for the chance to win!

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