But what do I tweet?

TwitterMaybe you’re already on Twitter — you’re active and tweet every day, you follow fellow authors and your readers, you enjoy following news and interacting with the Twitterverse.

Or maybe you don’t get it at all and wish Twitter would just fly away.

We’ll leave the arguments for and against alone for now, but if you’re new to the platform, or if your book is about to launch and you’re wondering how to boost interest (and sales!), here are some suggestions:

  1. Pictures of your cover — of you! — and of your friends and family reading/posing with your book
  2. Launch date info with links to order from OSV, Amazon, BN.
  3. Let people know when the ebook version (with links) is available.
  4. Book signings with location, dates and times. Take pictures and tweet those!
  5. Talks or speeches — have someone take pictures and tweet!
  6. Webcast dates, with reminders that your webcast is available afterwards
  7. Links and news about your book topic
  8. Follow similar authors/writers/experts and retweet interesting news, with your comments
  9. Share interesting facts/Scripture/quotes about your book topic
  10. Watch your ‘mentions’ and be sure to interact with your followers!

Here are some helpful links if you’d like to up your Twitter game:



Instagram and you

OSV on Instagram

Follow OSV on Instagram.

Did you know? The photo/status update/messaging/story app has over 800 million users as of September. Purchased by Facebook in 2012, it’s often the millenial social media site of choice, with most users between 18-29 years old.

Maybe you’re not on Instagram (yet), but have seen posts shared in traditional media from top users like Selena Gomez, National Geographic or even Beyonce. And concluded that Instagram is not the place for you.

Think again.

What you might not know is that while it’s easy to get lost in those 800 million users, it’s easier than you might think to join Instagram (or up your Insta game) and reach exactly the Catholic audience you’d like to.

The Catholic community is thriving on Instagram. Catholic news and other organizations (including the USCCB), dioceses and archcdioceses, parishes, priests, religious, youth groups, high schools and colleges, people-in-the-pews and more are avid users.

We’ve rounded up a set of links to get you started. But before we get to those, here are the OSV Top 5 Tips for getting started on Instagram:

1. Use the name you write under to sign up. Be clear in the short bio that you’re a Catholic author, and include a link to your web site (or other site) visitors can go to see/buy your book(s).

2. Search for authors you admire/authors writing books similar to yours. You might be surprised who you find! Follow these authors (hopefully they’ll follow back!) and take a look at the people who follow them. It’s easy at this point to follow their followers (sounds redundant, doesn’t it? But it works a lot like Facebook friending).

3. Scroll through other authors’ posts to see the type of photos and status updates they share. But don’t let this limit you! Instagram is your chance to engage your audience (and prospective audience) in your work, your writing life, your travels, your faith!

4. It’s an old social media joke that “nobody wants to know what I’m eating for lunch.” And it’s often true — unless you’re visiting the Vatican and are eating lunch in Rome. Or perhaps you’ve visited a local shrine. Or your home church is beautifully decorated for Christmas. Maybe you’ve visited an interesting church library for research, or interviewed a faith-filled Catholic. Selfies may seem overdone — but introducing yourself to your audience with a selfie — or a photo snapped by someone else — puts a human face on your work and makes a connection. Take a picture of your messy desk, or your stack of research books, or the latest book you’re reading. To accompany the photo, you don’t have to write (another) book — just a few words about what you’re doing. And don’t feel like you have to share intimate details of your life, or every little move you make. You don’t! You’re simply trying to give folks a little peek into your writing life. And when your book finally comes out — let your followers know! It’s a great place to let them know about any interviews, blog posts, accolades or other news about your book

A note about posting: If you want to post everyday, that’s great. Three or four times is week is what to shoot for, but try for at least once a week. Otherwise, it looks as if your account is inactive.

5. Be responsive! If someone comments back on a picture, respond with a friendly “Thank you!” or if a question is asked, answer back. You can set your notifications to alert you whenever there’s action on your account, but if you find that too instrusive, just check once a day or so.  And FYI, while you can look at Instagram and like posts, you can’t post from a computer — only a smartphone or tablet.

Okay! Here are some links to help you get started:




Share and share alike.


Share and share alike.

Here’s a link to a great infographic to help you determine the best sizes for graphics to create shareable posts on social media. Compelling photos, videos, stories, or links can spread across social media rapidly, increasing your exposure. One idea is to take quotes from your book and create graphic images to post. There are several sites online that offer a free way to combine cool images with your own quotes, but you can also use any photo editing application you have on your computer or tablet. Have you tried this? Let us know how it worked, and any tips you have you can share!

A social experiment – social media tips from authors

From TheWriteLife.com, here’s a nice article that includes author’s tips on using social media to sell more books. Here were some of my takeaways:

  • Do the stuff you like, don’t do the rest. If you hate LinkedIn but love Twitter, do that. If you can’t stand Facebook but love to blog, do that. If you love it you’ll keep it up and build your platform from there.
  • You don’t have to do them all. If you jump into 20 forms of social media, you run the risk of burning out and giving up.
  • Be yourself. ‘Nuf said.

Check out the advice from these authors and post your own tips and tricks in the comments!

St. Isidore, pray for us!