By Haley BCU
Haley BCU is the author of Four Letter Words published in January by Can’t Put it Down Books. She is a master of the hashtag.
So, you wrote a book! Let me be one of the many who will congratulate you, be impressed with your dedication and hard work, and purchase a copy! That’s what you wanted to hear, right? But who am I? Isn’t that the question?
No, the question isn’t who. The who is ever-changing. It’s how. How do you find me, your potential reader? A person ready and willing to drop some hard earned coin on your passion project. But… If we never connect, we are forever destined to be two ocean liners passing on an inky black night; missing one another by what might be inches or miles, but we’ll never know unless you #use #your #hashtags.
And not like that. Hash-tagging everything from here to Kingdom come will do nothing but make your social media post look unprofessional and spam riddled. Why would I want to drop cold cash on a spam-spewing, unprofessional author tagging desperately from their Twitter account? The simple answer? I wouldn’t. However, there are easy rules to follow when when it comes to utilizing hashtags for people to find your book in an endless literary sea.
Let’s start with the aforementioned social network, the one designed to showcase your writing in less than 280 characters: Twitter. Did you know the most common length of a Tweet is a mere 33 characters? Essentially, what that means is you can pack your Tweet with the full 280, but if you do so with every-single-post you’re crossing into spam territory. Thankfully, Twitter etiquette is far simpler than real-life etiquette, or this writer would be screwed, blued, and tattooed. Commonly use between two and five hashtags per post, but no more than six. Don’t simply hashtag what looks catchy or cool. Start with the day of the week. For almost all days, excluding Monday and Saturday, there’s a corresponding hashtag. If your calendar begins with Sunday, the beginning of your week is #SampleSunday: where you can offer a link (http://bit.ly will shorten any link free) with a downloadable sample, driving traffic to your website/mailing list in one simple move. If poetry or songwriting is your style this is ideal and extremely simple; cut and paste a stanza. #TeaserTuesday is next. You might consider reusing Sunday’s sample strategy. I implore you take it a step further. Offer readers something new. Either share an unreleased snippet of work, or make a creatively-worded blog post hyping your next upcoming project. #WriterWednesday is a true free-for-all, and time to stand out from the crowd. This is the day to use your best tagline or piece of “Ad copy,” refresh your timeline, and choose a new pinned Tweet. Having the same pin becomes tiresome, so find new creative ways to change the look of your feed while keeping your current project front and center. #IndieThursday is for the majority of us, whether we’ve set out completely on our own or are working with an independent publisher. Unless you’re rep’d by one of the big guys this is your time to shine. The same way people love a farmer’s market, they love the pat on the back they can give themselves from supporting an artist that isn’t entirely mainstream. This brings us to the day of days for Tweeting about your book, because you’re Tweeting into the wind without a substantial following to absorb your words. #FollowFriday is the official hashtag, but can be abbreviated to #FF if you find your post becoming lengthy, or the more specific #FridayReads or #StoryFriday. I will stress the importance of this day above all others. If you’re going to miss posting any day during the week (tip: avoid this with “scheduled posts”), I stress you make it any day but Friday. Friday is the golden day, a day to actively seek out new writers to follow, because along with those writers come a built-in audience of readers. Treat it like your mom sent you to the mall for a job, and you can’t leave without scheduling an interview. Set goals for yourself, and set them high. A dedicated fifteen minutes a day has the potential to completely alter and shape your desired audience, and on Friday that chance is magnified.
Along with these semi-daily hashtags, I’ve compiled a list of the top 20 most liked and re-shared tags related to writing. Select only those relevant to your style, add your chosen genre, and continue following the rule of no more than six hashtags per Tweet.
#Amazon #AmWriting #Author #Book #BookGiveaway #Ebook #Freebook #IndieAuthor #IndiePub #Kindle #LitFic #MustRead #MSWL (abbreviated industry term “Manuscript Wish List”) #New #Novel #NoveLines (for quotes) #Paperbacks #Quotes #Story #WritingCommunity
And one more for “good luck,” my absolute favorite tag, #WritersLift. It’s writers supporting writers, by highlighting and sharing the work or WIP (“Work in Progress”) of others in the #WritingCommunity. I admittedly use #WritingCommunity with nearly every post, encroaching on my character count but keeping my name relevant in the largest active community of writers in the known universe.
Now that I’ve dropped the term easy more than once, let me show you the legitimately easy social network: Instagram. It boasts more active over-all users than Twitter, and many who don’t utilize social media otherwise have an Instagram. The theoretical artistic anonymity appeals to a vast audience, and for those who might not read an entire tweet – a striking image could better suit a wider audience. I can’t say there’s no such thing as too many hashtags on Instagram, but the limit of thirty (as opposed to the suggested max of six on Twitter) feels like freedom. My advice? Use every single one, and play with the format of your posts. Use the Return/Enter key to place them further down the post so it appears less cluttered, with simply your subtitle and short link to your current project beneath your chosen image. Here are your top twenty most liked and re-shared Instagram tags related to writing:
#AmWriting #Art #Author #Authors #Bibliophile #Book #Bookstagram #eBook #IndieAuthor #Kindle #Literature #Novel #Quote #Quotes #Read #Reading #Story #Writer #WritersLift #WritingCommunity
Now, I know I suggested you go all out and use thirty, but only offered twenty tags. Here’s where your writing skills come into play. Along with adding your genre or style, create one unique hashtag for your current project. It’s a great way to push brand recognition, and when clicked it’s a great way for potential readers or even publishers to view specific posts related only to your creative work. While self-promotion can appear confusing, endless, and tedious; this article exists to illustrate it doesn’t have to be, and even you can master the art of the #hashtag.