As an author, your readers may want to connect with you over social media and other online avenues. This is a great opportunity to engage fans in a new way, so that they come to like you as a person, not just your work. This camaraderie translates to a more dedicated fan-base.

It also allows for more discoverability. This means that people may find you over social media before ever hearing of your books. As it is a way for people to discover you, it’s important to make a good first impression. And the key to a strong first impression on social media is content curation.

Who do you want to be?
This is an important question to ask yourself before endeavoring to start or change your online presence. Do you want to be wise? Funny? Do you want to share the most intimate details of your life? Be elusive? Do you have a message to your followers?

Stay on-brand.
Now that you know who you are, stick with it. If you don’t have a distinct message, don’t spend too much time talking politics. If you’ve decided to be the sage advice-giver, don’t start an Instagram dedicated to food that looks like historical figures. Your brand also includes your work. If you’re a thriller writer, pictures of your idyllic life on a farm are going to confuse your readers, and those who discover you through your online presence will be shocked by your books. Use themes in your stories to guide you.

Decide how much you can handle.
Nowadays, there are so many platforms available to reach an audience. Do not feel pressured to engage in all of them. Pick a couple platforms and do them well. A website is a must, since it’s a home base for anyone interested in all that you do. The great thing about a website is that once it’s set up, it doesn’t need too much maintenance. That way you can focus on your blog, twitter, YouTube channel, Facebook fan page, Instagram or Pinterest—whatever you choose. Play to your strengths. Do you have a lot to say? A blog or YouTube channel may be the way to go. Handy with a camera? Check out Instagram. Is your writing funny and succinct? You could thrive on twitter.

Remember that your presence is your online identity.
This is not your personal page; this is a public persona you are crafting. Your profile picture should be professional and on-brand. Your social media handles and website URL should be simple and to the point. You should alwaysinclude the name of your book and/or that you’re an author in your bios on social media, as well as a link to your website. Your website should link to all of the other places people can find you, and at least 5direct links to buy/preorder your book on different retailing sites.

Be assertive, not annoying.
Having a hashtag for your book included in all posts about it: good. Every post a sales pitch: bad. Not posting about your book ever: also bad. Connecting with a friend of a friend over social media to ask them to review your book on their book blog: totally acceptable. Tweeting at random celebrities you have no personal connection with asking them to read your book: bad.

No matter what platforms you choose to post on, pause before you hit post. Read it again. Is everything spelled correctly? Is it grammatically correct? Is there anything in this you may regret posting? Is there a better way to say this? Is it on-brand? Is it redundant? Is it engaging? Have I used this exact image before? It may seem imperative to get your post out right this moment, but take the pause. If you feel iffy, hold off. There’s no shame in asking for a second opinion.