Claim your name: First steps for authors on social media

claimYOURnameAuthors on social media often struggle in the beginning.

Aside from the fact that self-promotion seems daunting and distasteful, you must also contend with a vast number of social networks to choose from, each with their own best practices, unspoken rules and effectiveness. How can you possibly be expected to know where to start?

Good news! You don't need to figure out everything right away. You have plenty of time to try out different platforms. You may explore each one-by-one if you wish, trying them on for audience, ease of use and enjoyment. This is my best piece of advice for authors on social media.

Do this right now:

Claim your name on all the major social media platforms.

What does this mean? This means creating an account on all the major social networks, as well as any niche networks you think might be a good match for your work and your readers. This does not mean that you need to start using all these accounts right now. This simply means that if you do decide to try them out in the future, you will not suffer the annoyance of discovering your name is already taken.

These are the social media networks I suggest for all authors. Do you already have your name claimed on these sites?

There are many other social media or community sites that may also be a good match for you. Check out:

There are a billion more. Ask your readers where they spend their time online and what sites they like. That's where you need to be.

When you create your username, you will be very lucky if you can get your first name, or even your full name. Already taken? Don't worry, there are many ways you can craft a well-branded, professional username that will likely work across platforms. Let's say your name is Stephen King, you could try these public user names:

  1. Stephen
  2. StephenKing
  3. AuthorStephenKing
  4. StephenKing
  5. StephenWrites
  6. SKingAuthor
  7. theStephenKing
  8. RealStephen
  9. StephenSpeaks
  10. MeetStephen

If possible, you want to find a user name that you can use on as many social media platforms as possible. This will make it easier for people to find you.

Tip: DO NOT create profiles in the name of your book. You're an author for life, right? You are going to write many books, yes? It will be a big pain to have to start over again every time you publish something new.

Are you 8 for 8 for claiming your name on the primary social media accounts I listed? Do you know more social sites for authors and artists that I may add to the secondary list? Let me know in the comments below.

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8 years ago

I've been claiming my name for years. When I hear of a new platform, I sign up. I still have a MySpace account . . . perhaps someday it will be a thing again.

I've been claiming accounts with my name not for the eventual fame that surely will come my way, but because way back when I had an instance of someone using my name (ejdalise) as if they were me.

In those early days it was not as damaging as it might be today (low penetration), and it was used in a very narrow and specific area, but it was used maliciously.

Since then (going back more than a decade now) I've made sure I lock down my name on popular platforms. I suppose it also helps that my name is not John Smith or something equally common.

This post, then, has me smiling as I'm way ahead of the game.

. . . it's good to know I'm prepped for the onslaught of future fans wanting to know all about me. They will be able to find me pretty much everywhere.

Well, everywhere but Goodreads.


8 years ago

You are ahead of the game! My name has an unusual spelling, so I can get "Kelsye" if I move quick. Drives me nuts when someone gets it before me. Even more maddening is when I am the one that got it, but then years went by and I can't remember the login and the email I used is defunct for password retrieval. Ha!


8 years ago

I think I was on GMail pretty early on (I remember I had to get an invite), and I was smart enough to recognize the advantage of a single e-mail that could travel with me regardless of where I worked or lived or what internet provider I had.

. . . I was smarter back then . . .


8 years ago

Nice idea but doesn't help someone who is just coming in now.


8 years ago

What do you mean? Do you mean that it's difficult to get the name you want now because so many names are already taken? I agree that it is much more tricky.

If that's the case, I suggest finding a way to modify your name that makes it a more unique handle. Try to keep your first name, but use an adjective or a modifier that makes sense across platforms. For example, if your name is Jenny and you are a screenwriter, you could try JennyPensFilms or FlickChickJen or ScreenWriterJen. You can also try adding an adjective. TenaciousJen. Or go absurd. Jenlandia.

For your website URL, I do recommend using your full name, just add another word or use a unique domain (.something) if you need to.

Make sense?