Tumblr for Writers 101

Posted by February 24th, 2014

Digital marketer Lauren Hesse shares great Tumblr tips for writers. She’ll help you decide whether Tumblr is the right author platform vehicle for you!

tumblr for writers 2

Having worked in digital marketing from the inside of a publishing house, I know that when writers and authors think about managing blogs that comes to mind are sites like WordPress. While long form blog posts are fantastic and a wonderful way to instantly publish your writing, I am a huge proponent of Tumblr as a blogging platform. The site is a social media powerhouse for sharing photos, videos, quotes and long form writing. 

So how do you know if Tumblr is right for you?

Know the platform.

Lauren Hesse

Tumblr has the capability to share seven different types of media: text, photos, quotes, links, chats, audio and video. Uploading original videos, photos, links, blog entries and audio (including tracks from Spotify and Soundcloud) are as easy as tweeting or uploading to Facebook. As for quotes and chat, these functions allow you to attribute quotes or share dialogue between two people or characters, the perfect teaser to the writing you may be working on. While Tumblr may not be strictly for long form writing, it’s a great place to share both text and interactive visuals and has a huge capability for viral sharing and engagement.

The best thing about Tumblr is that it’s easy to use. By clicking the icons in your “dashboard” you can post anything you like directly to your blog.

Think about your audience.

Tumblr’s demographics are constantly changing. The site may have catered to a younger audience several years ago but it is now is growing in popularity among the 20+ age group. By exploring the verticals that Tumblr sets out, you can see that writers, artists, creative types and pop culture junkies of all ages and geographic locations are flocking to the site to share what they make and admire.

If you’re writing in a certain genre, explore the blogs by searching key terms. More and more reviewers are interested in Tumblr, along with fellow writers. Thrill seekers, romance junkies and fantasy fanatics can find a digital home on Tumblr.

Know the best practices.

Knowing the “dos” and “don’ts” of Tumblr can help you decide if the platform is the right choice for you to share your writing, market yourself as a writer, or find people to connect to within your community. Here are a few great ways to optimize your Tumblr posts:

Like and Reblog: Much like “liking” on Facebook and “retweeting” on Twitter, Tumblr allows you to give the thumbs up to what you’re enjoying on their platform. “Liking,” indicated by the small heart icon below a post, sends a notification to the owner of a Tumblr that you dig their post. “Reblogging,” indicated by the icon that looks like a retweet sign, will allow you to post the same content on your blog, giving credit to the original creator. Both are fantastic ways to network and build content on your own blog.

Post Original Content: While reblogging is great, if you’re sharing dynamic content, you always want it to be sourced back to you. Photos and videos seem to be the most shared media on Tumblr, and if you have a great post that gets a lot of shares, all of the credit and links will be going back to you. When you’re creating an original post, be sure to link to something relevant: your author website, your other social media accounts, or your Book Country profile.

Tag your posts: By adding tags like #lit, #books and #writing, you can instantly connect to a vast archive of writers and readers. Know that some of the tags are curated, meaning that people at Tumblr monitor who’s using the tag and will promote (for free) certain posts to the Tumblr community. These tags will show up at the bottom of your posts and if your post is featured, the tag will be highlighted in blue. Watch out for posts with the blue tags to get a sense of editorial taste.

Following the right people: By following blogs that interest you, you start to network on Tumblr. The community is really fun and often times if you follow someone you like and engage with them, they’ll do the same for you!

Make yourself accessible: Tumblr allows you to have a Q&A section where people can ask questions. Click “yes” when prompted, “Allow people to ask questions?” It’s a great space to open yourself up for interactions with other Tumblr users.

Think outside the writer’s world: While aligning yourself with your literary interests is great, don’t be afraid to show personality. We’re writers to the core but we also have interest in other things. Don’t think that a Tumblr promoting your work can’t also be posting about Dr. Who, your apartment decorating, or a great recipe that you’re dying to try.

Learn by example.

Doubleday Tumblr

Tumblr does a fantastic job of pinpointing key influencers. Just look at the curated Books Spotlight, Writer’s Spotlight or browse Tumblr Book News to see what’s trending.

A lot of great authors use Tumblr successfully. Some of my favorites include Emma Straub, Heidi Julavits, and Chuck Palahniuk. It’s also a good idea to follow literary sites like The Millions and The Rumpus along with sites that started on Tumblr like Last Night’s Reading and Slaughterhouse 90210. Feel free to check out the Doubleday Books Tumblr, too.

No matter the approach, the most important thing is to have fun. Tumblr provides you with a platform to blend both your writing and your personality so log in and give it a try.


About Lauren Hesse:

BookCountryPhoto_Hesse_1Lauren works as an Assistant Manager in Digital Marketing at Doubleday. She runs the Doubleday Tumblr along with their other social media properties. She’s passionate about bringing great books to readers through online initiatives and loves the spaces where the literary community exists online.

Lauren also mentors with Girls Write Now, an organization that pairs professional writers with high school girls in New York City. She works with GWN’s Digital Media program where she works with a mentee to bring stories to life using digital media including audio, websites and blogging. Connect with Lauren on Tumblr and Twitter.

Are you on Tumblr? Share your Tumblr in the Tumblr Roll Call discussion thread on Book Country!

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7 thoughts on “Tumblr for Writers 101

  1. C

    You listed authors and literary blogs and even publisher’s blogs, but I think at least an honourable mention for writing prompt and advice blogs like yeahwriters and cleverhelp would be appropriate. Writing prompt and advice blogs are a massive wealth of knowledge on Tumblr, and they are, in my opinion, just as important to the writing community on Tumblr as any of the influences you listed in your article.
    Thank you for this wonderful article! I know it will be a great help to the writers of Tumblr!

  2. Pingback: Connect with teens on Tumblr and Wattpad, by Vicki Renner | Freshly Squeezed

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