March 29, 2016

Promoting your mystery book on social media: a newbies’ guide

by Graham Dickson

mystery blogYou did it, your book is finished!  It’s a moment worthy of celebration. But if you have dreams of finally setting your laptop aside for awhile, it’s time to think again: In today’s book world, the reality is that you’ll be busier than ever, looking for online ways to market your book. This is the next step for the savvy self-publisher.

In this ongoing blog series we offer genre-specific advice on selling your book on social media. Today, we focus on mystery titles.

When it comes to mystery, there are countless groups online ferociously devoted to the genre. Your task is to find these forums and engage with them. When using social media, it’s important that members feel you are a dedicated participant, not someone solely interested in promoting your book. So you will need to join in the conversations going on in each forum. Once you’ve established yourself, you can let members know of your book, even giving out special offers and so on.

Below are many useful resources. Feel free to share your favorites with us and we will add them to the list.


Facebook is invaluable for those marketing on a budget. You’ll want to start by creating a business page devoted to your mystery title. After that, you have to get people to like your page— the hard part. There are numerous webinars, books, and blogs devoted to how to do this.  Facebook has an easy step-by-step guide to help you out with this:

Keep in mind that Facebook has now become monetized, which means that while you can reach a small segment of your Facebook friends with any post, to reach a larger audience, you’ll have to pay small sums of money. Facebook calls this “boosting” your post.  Once you post something on your page, Facebook will ask you: “would you like to “boost this post?”  If you say “yes,” a box will pop up allowing you to decide how much you would like to spend and telling you how far your reach will go based on how much you spend. Once “boosted,” Facebook will send the item out to like-minded pages, where it will appear on those timelines. It’s a sure way to get your book on the feeds of people interested in your topic and to begin reaching out to those beyond your immediate circle.

One way you can start finding those people yourself is to join the Facebook groups that draw readers of your genre.  Below are a few of our favorite Facebook groups for the mystery genre: This is the official Facebook page of the Mystery Writers of America. It contains official news and articles from the society. It can be a valuable tool to connect with a larger community that is already established. Be forewarned: They have stringent membership requirements for self-published authors. This group was created for authors in these genres to post books, reviews & promotions and connect with readers. WARNING! Any off-topic book posts will be deleted and authors banned from the group. Please post only within genres or sub sets of crime, thriller, mystery and suspense. Post favorite books, reviews, articles and promotions. This is the Facebook page of Booked: The Crime Fiction Club, a group of like-minded crime fiction addicts who discuss the fine line between fact and fiction in popular crime fiction novels. Tell about your latest read; share your favorite books and authors and any insights you have on the topic of crime fiction.  This is a special group designed for authors and readers of mystery and thrillers to interact, post their work, chat about their favorites, ask questions, and inspire others. This is a great place to find good books to read and also a fantastic place for authors to promote their work! Authors are invited to promote any of their titles or to post about books they have enjoyed. You can post as much as you like and also  include links to your books, blogs, websites etc. This site, Pimp Your Books, is a place you can promote your books or discuss your favorite books and authors.


With posts limited to 280 characters, you’ll have to be clever —and brief— in order to effectively use this medium. And don’t forget that you’ll use up several characters if you want to link to your website. Moral of story: Think small. (Note: If you are linking your post to another site, make sure to use a link-shortening service like takes a long url address and reduces it to only a few characters, freeing up valuable real estate on your limited character allowance.)

Remember to use hashtags. These can make a huge difference in how many people see your tweet. A hashtag is used to show what the post is about or related to, preceded by the pound sign (#books, #TrueCrime, etc.). Each hashtag has its own Twitter “address” so people interested in science fiction, for example, might simply visit #mystery and look at all of the posts with this hashtag.  Using multiple relevant hashtags, while not going overboard, is paramount to a successful Twitter presence. If you’re offering a Kindle deal for your book, be sure to add the hashtag #kindledeals, as many readers look there for inexpensive books.

Here are some relevant hashtags:



Reddit is an actionable community that is divided into convenient “subreddits,” prefaced by the letter “r.” This allows you to promote to a wide audience, such as r/books, or to a more specialized community, such as r/truecrimepodcasts. Each page or “subreddit” is basically a chat space that focuses on a particular subject.  Visitors can initiate a topic or simply respond to comments that others have posted.  The more people who respond, the higher on the page that discussion goes.  Here’s reddit’s description of itself:

Make sure to look at the right sidebar on every subreddit you visit, where you’ll find related subreddits as well as the page rules. Some pages allow self-promotion; some strictly forbid it, and others have special times or threads for self-promotion.

While Facebook undoubtedly reaches more people, it does not allow for this sort of specialization. We’re offering a few suggestions on the site here, but once you start poking around, you’ll find plenty more threads to get involved with.  This is a community dedicated to lovers of the written word. It’s a good place to start on reddit in order to get a feel for the world of books on the site.  While there are no direct promotions allowed on this page (remember: you can always see each subreddit’s rules on the right side their homepage), they do have a “new releases” section where you can promote your book. Here’s the link:

There are two rules for this group: 1. The books must have been published within the last three months, and 2. No direct sales links are allowed. You’ll see a number of options on the sidebar, including subreddits for: Authors, Writing, Genres, etc.

Sadly, mystery is an underrepresented genre on Reddit. There are next to no mystery writing subreddits, and the ones that do exist are tragically under-populated. Sticking to r/books and r/self publish seems to be the best strategy on Reddit for mystery authors.


Pinterest is a site of virtual bulletin boards. Each board is theme-based. You can find boards on everything from bathroom remodels to Indian recipes to science fiction books.

Each board features images of the topic at hand; clicking on an image brings up more information. For example, on a book board, if you click on the image of a book jacket, that might take you to a review of the book or the author’s website, the book’s Amazon page and so on.

The site is used for sharing information, but too much self-promotion is frowned upon.  So, when you set up your Pinterest board, you may want to set up a board devoted to a larger topic, such as self-published mystery fiction or favorite classic detective books, and allow others to share their titles with you. Join in the fun of creating interesting boards that not only will promote sales, but will also be fun and engaging to others.

In addition to creating your own boards, be sure to search out other boards where you can share your pins (your images) and connect with others in the mystery community.  Here are a few that we like and share our pins with:


One last platform to consider when promoting online is Goodreads. Goodreads is a website owned by Amazon that allows individuals to freely search the extensive user-populated database of books, annotations, and reviews. Users can sign up and post their titles, as well as create lists of their favorite book suggestions. They can also create surveys/polls, blogs, and discussions. READ THE RULES BEFORE POSTING! Authors who only post promotions and do not participate in discourse in the community will be ejected. If you’re a cozy mystery writer/reader, this is a great group to join.  You can promote your book here, but you also have to be active in the group apart from self-promotion or you will be considered a spammer.  This large group includes many bestselling mystery authors and avid mystery fans. It offers sections for promotions and giveaways. Get to know them! Visit their “Author’s Corner” where you can share your book and any promotions.

We hope you find these links helpful. They will certainly keep you busy for a while, but once you get involved with the social media world, you’ll find this is only the beginning.  Next stop: Instagram, Snapchat, Vine…

Graham Dickson is a student at the University of Colorado Denver majoring in marketing and minoring in German. He is an intern at BlueInk Review.

BlueInk Review is a fee-based book review service devoted to self-published titles exclusively. For more news and writing and marketing tips, sign up for our mailing list. And be sure and visit us at

2 thoughts on “Promoting your mystery book on social media: a newbies’ guide

  1. Donna Toot Merritt says:

    Thank you for your informative page. I will become a dedicated reader. I have just had my first book “The Bird That Sang at Midnight” ( A Nice Little Mystery) published and now the work begins…promoting.
    I am looking forward to educating myself in this field.

  2. When it comes to mystery, there are countless groups online ferociously devoted to the genre. Your task is to find these forums and engage with them. When using social media, it’s important that members feel you are a dedicated participant, not someone solely interested in promoting your book.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *