Monday, July 8, 2019

It's All About the Hashtags

By Marcie Bridges

I hear it all the time: “I’m a writer … not a marketer.”

Many authors assume that once they have achieved the coveted contract with a publisher, the marketing aspect of their book is strictly in the hands of the publisher.

I hate to break it to you, dear authors, but the majority of promotion for your book is on your shoulders. Publishers cannot get as personal with your readers as you can. Publishers cannot go to a library and read a chapter from your book and converse with the public for you. Publishers cannot go to bookstores and do your book signing. No, these special occasions are just for you.

Which brings us to social media. The idea of social media is just what it implies. It is meant to be “social.”

Your publisher can put your book out on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, but they cannot build the kind of relationship with your followers you can.

Now, you don’t want to inundate your followers or friends by asking them all the time to buy your products, but you can use social media as a tool to get the word out about your book or books.

The best way to build your following is to apply hashtags. A hashtag, which is the number symbol (#), goes before keywords in each social media status you share. Hashtags create a group for followers to join and interact with.

If you are a fiction writer, you most definitely should always be using the hashtag #fiction or #fictionwriter. The same goes with #non-fiction.

You can also get extremely specific in your hashtags. If you write romance novels, by all means add that to your status. For example, Land of My Dreams by Norma Gail would contain #fiction #romance #Christianromance.  Or you might have The Perils of a Pastor’s Wife by Nan Jones as #pastorswives #inspiration #ministryhelp.  Do you have a book on parenting you want to advertise on Instagram? For Praying for the Prodigal by Andrea Merrell you would use #prayer #prodigal #children #encouragement #parents. And that’s just for starters.

There are all kinds of hashtags you can use. Use your imagination, especially on Instagram. With Instagram you can have up to 30 hashtags with your post. But be careful with Facebook and Twitter where they only encourage up to 3 hashtags for each post. 

A great way to build your hashtag list is to make a spreadsheet with a list of hashtags for each of your social media accounts. It will take some time, but in the end, it will be worth the effort. At one time, I built a list for our LPC authors and had four pages each for fiction and non-fiction categories.

So, now it’s your turn. What hashtags will you use for your 
book? We'd love to hear your suggestions.

(Photos courtesy of, David Castillo Dominici, and Chris Sharp.)


Marcie Bridges is a lover of God, people, poetry, and chocolate. She is a freelance editor as well as the Author Care Representative of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas (LPC). Marcie’s deepest passion is sharing her faith through poetry. She is the author of Broken and Spilled Out: An Offering of Poetry and Prayers for the Hurting Soul. She lives in Western N.C. with her husband, Mark, and two daughters. You can contact Marcie through her website: or at


Check out Marcie's book, Broken and Spilled Out.

Are you feeling broken? Needing a place to find rest for your weary, worn-out soul? Broken and Spilled Out: An Offering of Poetry and Prayers for the Hurting Soul is a collection of poems Marcie has written chronicling her journey from places of brokenness to healing. You will also find places to rest and pour out your own prayerful thoughts within the pages of this heart-stirring book.


  1. Thanks SO MUCH for this post!! I tend to totally space out the hashtags!! I took a minute and created a few for my new story, One for the Price of Two, Book 1 in my new series, FourSquare.

    1. You're welcome, Robin. Glad it was a help. Just remember that the rule of thumb is only three hashtags per post. Blessings!

  2. I am finally remembering to use hashtags more and more. Thank you for this great reminder. :-)

    1. So glad we could help. Thanks so much for stopping by, Melissa. Blessings!

  3. Thanks for sharing. I don't know much about hashtags and this really helped explain it in terms I could understand.