Tumblr Tips for Writers

By Jason Boog 

The Tumblr social network has helped countless writers connect with readers over the last few years. We finally decided to open a GalleyCat Tumblr page, a warehouse for all the opinions, videos, photos and other items that didn’t quite fit on our publishing blog.

We caught up with Tumblr literary outreach Rachel Fershleiser for some advice about using the network. She shared five useful tips for writers who want to explore the social network. You can read her link-filled advice below…

If you have a Tumblr post you think we should see, just add the ‘galleycat’ tag to your Tumblr post. We will use the tag as a source for our own posts. The Millions created a handy Tumblr directory for readers and writers as well.

How Authors Should Use Tumblr, A Five-Step Guide by Rachel Fershleiser

Tumblr is a blogging platform and a social network. Your posts get distributed and liked and reposted just like on Twitter, but instead of displaying 140 characters you can display unlimited text, images, animated gifs, photosets, audio files, videos, and more. You can follow whomever you like and get a beautiful dashboard that streams the content you’ve selected throughout the day. It’s a network of over 50 million blogs, and a great place to build a readership for your books or just your daily thoughts. My Tumblr tends to be about books, feminism, cooking, nail art, and Veronica Mars.

1. Don’t get fancy with your URL. firstnamelastname.tumblr.com will make it easy for people to find you and last longer than one book’s marketing campaign. You can still make the title of the blog You Rach You Lose or Release McCracken. Your Tumblr can be your main personal website or professional homepage. It’s free and doesn’t require any technical skill. Make sure you upload an image to be your avatar so you don’t have a creepy blue default profile and choose a theme from our theme garden to customize your look.

2. Find people to follow. You can start here. There are recommended blogs in “books” and “writers” and “poetry” plus maybe you have other interests! Food? Politics? Fashion? It’s all there. Some writers I love to follow are Neil Gaiman, John Green, Jami Attenberg, Emma Straub, Heidi Julavits, Nathan Englander, Lynda Barry, Elliot Holt, Alex Chee and Edan Lepucki. You can also see curated content in various community-edited topics at this link.

3. Go to the Goodies page and grab a Bookmarklet for your browser. This nifty little tool makes it incredibly quick and easy to incorporate blogging into your daily life and makes reading the internet a useful task. Click it whenever you want to blog something. Text that is highlighted will automatically be quoted. Photos will automatically be captured in the photo tab. Youtube pages will be ready to go on the video tab, no embed code required. Most importantly, credit will already be linked to the source. You can also add your response, analysis, commentary, etc.

4. Tag all your posts with relevant topics like “books” or “lit” or “Knopf” or “Rachel Fershleiser” or “Friday Night Lights.” These tags will help you get discovered beyond people who already follow you. You can search other people’s tags using the “search tags” field in the right side of your dashboard. Then you can hit track and they’ll stay in your sidebar and give you an alert when a new post arrives. Then you can like or reblog posts and those people will discover you, and your followers will discover them. Here are posts tagged Galleycat.

5. Like and reblog actively. You’ll get a sense of what’s popular in your community and people will start to notice you. Keep a balance of blogging about yourself or your writing and blogging about other people’s work and things you enjoy. This ensures you’re joining a conversation and not just shouting advertisements. You can also ask and answer questions — a great way to share book recommendations, brainstorm titles, and learn what’s on your readers’ minds.