Some social media platforms go through phases of high growth and popularity, followed by only certain crowds sticking with it. This is the case with Tumblr for writers. While there has been some fluctuation with Tumblr as a platform, the writers who have remained faithful have flourished.
But Tumblr isn’t like many other social media platforms, and you can’t hop on expecting to sell a ton of books just by posting pictures and the link. That type of book marketing doesn’t work.
In order to market your book with Tumblr, you have to get a bit more creative, and focus on one aspect more than any other—which I’ll cover below.
Here’s everything you’ll learn about Tumblr for writers:
What is Tumblr?
Tumblr is a not really a social media app, but more of a social networking and microblogging platform that allows its users to share a variety of content types, including long-form writing, quotes, images, and videos.
Each Tumblr profile gets an extension of the website, written in a profilename.tumblr.com format, which appears as a webpage with all the content a user has created or shared (called “reblogging”). The type of audience and users you’ll find on Tumblr are often alternative types, including a large LGBTQ+ audience.
This is how Tumblr describes themselves:
6+ Benefits of Tumblr for Writers
You’re probably here looking for another avenue to market and sell more books. While this is technically an avenue to sell books, it’s not the main benefit. The book sales are a result of the main benefit:
Building a community of fans.
This is they key to Tumblr and why it differs more than other social media platforms. Yes, you can build followers and people can be fans of your work on Facebook or Twitter or even TikTok, but the quality of that relationship differs.
The culture of Tumblr as a whole is more about connections, honesty, and safe place to just be a human. The followers gained on Tumblr will know more about the real you, and therefore will want to support your work to support you not just to read your latest book.
That’s the main benefit, and I’ll get into more detail about how that’s done in a later section.
Here are additional benefits of Tumblr for writers:
- Detailed, long-form blog posts, sneak peeks, behind-the-scenes, and other written content
- Polls for character names, titles, feedback, etc.
- Q&A in the form of a message box and answer system
- Easy image sharing, reblogging, and discussion
- Tags to help organize your content and allow it to be seen by more people
Just like with any other platform, Tumblr can take some time to see the true benefits, and consistency and an active presence is important for developing the community and fan base necessary for long-term book sales.
Examples of Popular Writers on Tumblr
Tumblr works, depending on the person, your audience, and how much you actually enjoy the platform. I always say, choose a book marketing platform you actually enjoy using. If you don’t like it, you won’t use it, and you’ll have a hard time creating an audience to sell books.
That said, these authors found that they enjoyed the platform and have grown significantly in part due to their loyal and active fan base there.
- Neil Gaiman: Renowned author Neil Gaiman utilizes Tumblr to share insights into his creative process, snippets from his works, and engaging with his fans. Gaiman’s Tumblr presence provides a behind-the-scenes look at the life of a prolific writer, attracting followers with a genuine connection to the man behind the words.
- Rainbow Rowell: Bestselling author Rainbow Rowell maintains an active Tumblr presence where she interacts with her readers, shares writing advice, and provides glimpses into her personal life. Rowell’s profile serves as a testament to the power of connecting authentically with your audience.
- John Green: The beloved author of “The Fault in Our Stars,” John Green, uses Tumblr to engage with his dedicated fanbase. Green’s Tumblr is a mix of personal musings, responses to fan questions, and updates on his projects, creating a sense of community among his followers.
There have been countless others, but these are great ones to look at for examples of using Tumblr for writers.
How to Use Tumblr to Market Your Book
Now that you get what it is and how it’s worked for others, let’s put together a plan that can help you use Tumblr for writers. Remember that this, like any other platform or endeavor worth pursuing, is the a long-term game.
Don’t expect major results overnight. Enjoy the process!
1. Focus on community
This is the key to using Tumblr for writers, as I mentioned above. The more you actively engaged with your audience—replying to their comments, reblogging things they tag you in—the more you’ll establish a reputation as an author who talks to their fans.
The reason this is so effective is because it’s so rare. Fans love being able to interact with the person creating their favorite characters and worlds. It’s not often they have a direct line to the maker of those things, so being present, seen, and active goes a long way in creating good will with your readership.
Here are some ways you can create community with Tumblr for writers:
- Ask public questions and invite conversation
- Create polls to gauge interest in your work, but also about books and reading in general
- Reply and reblog your fans often
- Create a consistent schedule for an “event” that’s unique to you (more about this below)
Just spending time on the platform will give you plenty more ideas for using Tumblr for writers.
2. Create something “niche” to you
Everyone has their own “thing” on Tumblr—authors do, at least. Sometimes that’s very poetic one-liners. Sometimes that’s in-depth and meaningful life thoughts that go along with what you weave into your stories. It just depends on what’s authentic to you.
Because that’s what makes the difference. Authenticity.
What’s something you do or think about most often? It doesn’t have to be about your book. Tumblr is about the person behind the book, not always the book itself.
Do you like to do deep-dives into philosophical questions?
Do you like to rate movies in your genre?
Do you review books?
Some of these are more basic, so you always want to see how you can make them more specific to you and something you’re already doing. It shouldn’t be more work. It should be an extension of something already present in your life.
For me? I’m not on Tumblr anymore and have made the transition to Substack, but the example still holds true. On my Substack newsletter, I do detailed fiction content from the perspective of the author. Author analyses, if you will, to showcase what certain authors are brilliant at and how it works for readers.
While not specific to Tumblr for writers, these ideas are highly specific, unique, entertaining, and gets fans to return for the next “installment”.
3. Curate Content Strategically
Share excerpts from your works and create teasers that pique readers’ interest.
Utilize multimedia elements such as images, GIFs, and videos to make your posts visually appealing, but make sure they’re relevant to your niche (or “vibe” if you will). Posting content that’s wildly outside of your norm can shock followers and make them not want to follow anymore.
They follow you for a reason, and there’s a responsibility in that trust.
Showcase your personality by sharing personal anecdotes, writing challenges, or glimpses into your writing process. Most of the time, you can choose a few specific areas to create content around and stick to those.
4. Utilize Tags Effectively
Use relevant tags to increase the discoverability of your posts. There’s a space for these in each post, and the culture of Tumblr begs for a couple actual and relevant tags, and some that are a mashup and ramble meant to be funny and intriguing.
Here’s an example of what that looks like in practice on Tumblr for writers:
You can see here that there are only two tags that are for search purposes. The others are more commentary and you wouldn’t find much—if anything—else present at these tags if you clicked on them.
This is one of the quirks of culture on Tumblr for writers to keep in mind.
Research and incorporate popular writing-related tags to expand your reach within the writing community.
5. Share Writing Tips and Advice
Create content that provides value to your audience, such as writing tips, advice on overcoming writer’s block, or insights into your writing journey. This is, of course, assuming you’re going after an audience of writers, which is always a good idea no matter how you use social media to market your books.
Because writers are readers. All of them. So by sharing behind-the-scenes, advice, and general insights, you’ll be gathering groups of writers to your Tumblr. After all, there is a large audience on Tumblr for writers.
Establish yourself as an authority in your genre by sharing your expertise.
6. Collaborate with Other Writers
Connect with fellow writers on Tumblr and consider collaborations such as joint writing challenges, guest blog posts, or mutual shoutouts. Cross posting (writing something on another’s Tumblr) is a strong way to introduce you and your work to their audience.
Not everyone will cross over, because audiences vary so much, but you’ll definitely find plenty of opportunity to connect with other authors because they all know the benefits of Tumblr for writers.
Collaborative efforts can introduce your profile to new audiences and strengthen your ties within the writing community.
7. Promote Your Book
You can promote your book! The core idea isn’t to make your entire Tumblr about your book. That’s too salesy, spammy, and the culture on Tumblr for writers is not about that. That said, you can still design eye-catching graphics or GIFs to promote your book releases.
Share behind-the-scenes content related to your book, such as cover reveals, character sketches, or snippets from the editing process. You can also link out to your book and ask your audience to check it out.
In fact, one of the best benefits of Tumblr for writers is getting people for your launch team, and allowing anonymous feedback of your book.
This is an example of what that might look like, but if you go to her full page, she doesn’t only post about her book, and it’s a good idea to understand how to use Tumblr for writers.
8. Track Analytics and Iterate
To take full advantage of Tumblr for writers, and for anyone really, use analytics to track the performance of your posts. You’ll start to see who’s loving your content and what’s most popular with your audience. Obviously, make sure it’s the same content that’s in alignment with what you want to share.
Analyze which content resonates most with your audience and refine your strategy accordingly. Create tests to discover how to use Tumblr for writers more effectively.
Social media in general is a powerful tool to market books, and there’s ample opportunity on Tumblr for writers. Keep focused on the goal and remember that there are more avenues to book promotion and marketing than just social media. If you want to learn more tactics, check out this free class teaching you just that: