How I Use Social Media to Create an Author Platform

The topic of the day here on Mostly Mystery is social media. Frankly, I’m a relative newcomer to using social media with my books and I’ve been learning as I go along. This month my website will be totally redone and my blog will be added to my website. So I guess you could say at the moment I’m under construction. My current website is here and it updates my news about my mysteries, but it centers more on my memoir about teaching. When the site is reconstructed, the mysteries will take front and center.

twitterThe one piece of social media I don’t use is Twitter. Seriously, I have enough trouble keeping up with my email and the various sites I do use.


GoodreadsI have an author page on Goodreads, but I find that site inscrutable, and I use it simply to post what I happen to be reading and reviews of books I have read. I’m hoping that Amazon will do some restructuring to make it more user-friendly now that the book giant has bought Goodreads.

My own blog, andsometimesshewrites, is where I spend my most time on social media. I’ve written this blog since March 2012 and have 74 posts. The first year I posted fifty times and was very active, writing about everything from life in Phoenix to imaginary towns for novels. Since that first year I have posted less because I’ve been working more on novels.

More recently, my blog posts have been about writing and research. I’m in the middle of four posts about experts I’ve interviewed for my first mystery. So far I’ve written about the police chief, the fire chief, and the coroner. Last will be the homicide detective I’ve used for both novels.

Because I can see statistics on my posts, I enjoy thinking about my readers. In the two years I’ve been blogging, I’ve had 26,700 hits (which means that is how many times my page has been opened and, hopefully, read by a reader.) The most popular piece was one of nostalgia about growing up at the drive-in theatre in the 1950s. That post has had 1,560 hits. It’s also interesting to see where my audience lives. The United States, by far, is my biggest readership, but I also have myriad readers from the United Kingdom, Russia, France, Germany, Canada, Ukraine, and China.

facebookThe second social media I use most is Facebook. While I have a personal page that centers on my children and grandchildren, I also have an author page you can reach by going to Susan Van Kirk Author. On this page I update my progress on my current novel, direct readers to a new blog post on my site or on Mostly Mystery, and sometimes share funny things from my publisher. I use this Facebook page to keep people up to date on my Work In Progress and the publishing date for my next book. This page, like Goodreads, does have limitations. I’d like to be able to connect with other groups, but that isn’t possible at this time. The third Facebook Page that is important to me is the page for Desert Sleuths, a Sisters in Crime chapter to which I belong. I post on that page when I have book news from my publisher or blogs that I think might be of interest to other members.

It’s very time-consuming to keep all these dishes spinning, but it’s also a necessity in today’s world of publishing and reading.

5 thoughts on “How I Use Social Media to Create an Author Platform

  1. Wonderful website, Susan. So much information and so well presented. I’ll be thinking of it when I redesign mine (which is really a blog). And I love your blog. Look forward to reading through many of the posts. The first two were very interesting and very well done.


  2. Thanks, Britt, for the kind words. I hope I have helped a little with your redesign ideas. I’m mostly putzing along like everyone else, trying to figure out how things fit together.

  3. Good post. I liked your expert interviews as well. I also liked the layout of your website. I am on twitter but not sure how helpful it will be overall. But working on having more of a web presence and I find that I can retweet 4-5 tweets every day or so – that is pretty easy and is building up followers as well as number of tweets. I also find a few things that are helpful links. But agree you can get caught up in all this with little time for anything else. We have to choose what we spend our time on.

  4. Hi Carolyn,
    Good information. I do social media, clueless and in bursts. For Facebook I have a home page and a page for my writing, but the writing page doesn’t get much interest. Maybe because it is attached to the home page? See! I don’t know what’s up. My LinkedIn account is attached to my other business, but Twitter was set up for my writing. I use Twitter to send out interesting writing information I’ve found and to announce my latest blog posts. I think I need to revamp or break away from my former business accounts and have a new name that focuses on my writing.
    Thanks. You’ve got me thinking about correct social media use.

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