News for Authors

What’s New on Your Favorite Social Media Platforms?

by Neda Dallal|March, 2018

In the age of social media, our communication platforms are constantly in flux. In this article, we highlight recent updates to the most popular social media platforms, and how these changes will be relevant to you. Incorporating these updates into your social media routine might really help to extend your brand and increase awareness about your books!

We’ll focus on four central social platforms that authors tend to use: Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, and Facebook.



Twitter’s newest feature is the expansion to 280-character tweets in all languages except Japanese, Chinese, and Korean (languages that can already provide double the information in one character compared to English, Spanish, French, etc.). The 140-character length has been a long-contested feature of the platform, and doubling the length of tweets has given Twitter users more space to share bite-sized information.

But remember that you don’t have to use the extra characters. Twitter still runs on short, easily consumable information. Keep this in mind and adjust to your audience—if you find you get less engagement on longer tweets, opt to continue using threaded shorter tweets.

Alongside this change, Twitter users have seen an update to the interface. Rather than a character countdown from the beginning, now a circle fills as you approach the character limit. Once you have twenty or fewer characters remaining, a countdown appears. Additionally, Twitter has streamlined the process of writing long strings of tweets. Now, you can compose full threads and post all the tweets in one thread at the same time.



Instagram recently released two new features for Instagram Stories: Archive and Highlights. With Archive, your Stories (small video clips or photos that disappear twenty-four hours after posting) will be automatically archived—for your eyes only—once they expire. On your profile, there is an Archive button that will show you your post archive and allow you to switch to your Stories archive.

Highlights gives users the option to save Stories to their profile pages indefinitely (although you can only do so with Stories that have been posted since the latest update in December 2017). Up to 100 photos or videos can be added to Instagram Stories Highlights. But there’s no limit to how many Instagram Stories you can create—if you add more than 100 clips to your current Story, the earliest ones will be removed and added to your Archive. So if you’d like to capture all the photos from an author event and keep them on your Instagram page after the event ends, rest assured that you can do so with Highlights.

Instagram also announced that users will now have the ability to follow hashtags. Instead of regularly searching for a hashtag to find new content of interest, users can have the content delivered to them. Following a hashtag creates a feed where this content will appear. For authors, this change will increase the likelihood that your posts and mentions of you and your book will show up in more people’s feeds, and will allow for easy monitoring of your own brand hashtags.

Finally, the poll feature in Instagram Stories is a handy tool for authors wanting to get a sense of their fans’ feelings on certain topics. To use the poll feature, go to the Stories section of the app and tap the sticker icon with the happy face (top left corner). Then select the Poll sticker option, and create your poll!



Goodreads recently enhanced their giveaway program to deliver additional marketing benefits. Everyone who enters a giveaway automatically adds the book to their Want-to-Read list. Additionally, the author’s followers and anyone who has already added the book to a Want-to-Read list get a notification letting them know there’s a giveaway starting. Also, about eight weeks after a giveaway ends, winners receive an email from Goodreads reminding them to rate and review the book.

With the premium giveaway package, Goodreads offers a special “Featured” placement on the highly trafficked Giveaways homepage, which provides the giveaway with significantly more visibility and more entrants. Find out more about Goodreads Giveaways here, and check out some best practices here.

Another important update is that Kindle Notes & Highlights are now available on Goodreads. This feature allows authors to add notes and highlights to their own books, as well as any other book they care about. It makes for a vital space where authors can be an active part of the reading experience, and where readers want to see more content from authors. Our contact at Goodreads tells us that 79 percent of readers are interested in authors’ annotations.

Additionally, Goodreads recently launched the ability to easily select and share all the notes in a book at one time. Authors can decide which notes to share, can add spoiler alerts, and can access their notes across all books they have annotated in one place for easy editing. The right note brings immeasurable value to fans and a unique level of engagement for authors. Find out more about Kindle Notes & Highlights here.



In January, Facebook made the decision to change their News Feed algorithm to prioritize news from friends and family over content from businesses, brands, and media. For authors with Facebook pages, this could mean further decline in organic reach and traffic, the extent of which will depend on the type of content you produce and how people interact with it.

Influencers, Pages with Facebook Groups, and authors whose video strategy incorporates live videos will benefit from the algorithm change, while those that employ “engagement bait” (a tactic used in some Facebook posts that provokes people to like, share, or comment on the post for a boost in traffic) will be penalized. This can be a positive development, as many authors do successfully use Facebook to engage with fans and promote their content in a meaningful way.

While users will see less news media content on Facebook, it will not disappear entirely. The new algorithm will reduce the amount of news stories people see in their feed to 4 percent down from 5 percent, but the sites that do surface will be deemed “broadly trusted.” Based on ongoing quality surveys, news that is considered trustworthy, informative, and local by Facebook users will be prioritized.


Neda Dallal is the Coordinator for Publishing Development & Author Platforms at Penguin Random House.

Using Facebook and Twitter Analytics to Shape Your 2017 Social Media Goals

by Emily Hughes|December, 2016

Last month, we hosted a webinar on Facebook and Twitter Analytics. In this article, we discuss some of the takeaways from that webinar, as well as let you know how these ideas can help shape your 2017 social media goals. Read more

Verify Your Twitter Account

by Milena Schmidt|September, 2016

Twitter recently made headlines by allowing all its users to request a verified account on the platform. A verified account is easily identified by a blue checkmark, which means it has been recognized as authentic. Prior to this announcement, verification on Twitter was limited to very public figures, companies, brands, and a few exclusive others. Read more

Reaching Readers Through Social at Penguin Random House

by Emily Hughes|April, 2016

The social media teams at Penguin Random House work hard to amplify news about our books and authors in an ever-changing digital landscape. Read on to learn about the creative ways our teams use social media to grow your readership. Read more

New Year’s Resolution for Authors: Find Your Social Media Joy

by Brandi Larsen|January, 2016

With the zillions of sites available for people to connect, it’s forgivable for your head to swim when you think about where to focus your social media efforts. Read more

Picture-Perfect Social Media Profile Photos

by Milena Schmidt|December, 2015

A picture is said to speak a thousand words, and determining the best visual to use for your social media profiles can be a daunting task. We asked publicity and social media experts to share tips and best practices to help you literally put your best face forward, across different platforms. Read more

Twitter Fiction Festival 2015

by Milena Schmidt|May, 2015

Save the date and mark your calendars. #TwitterFiction Festival will return from May 11 through May 15, pushing the boundaries of storytelling to bring fiction to life on Twitter—and onstage during an exclusive live event in New York City.

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Birdwatching: New Twitter Analytics

by Emily Hughes|October, 2014

Twitter recently rolled out a new free analytics platform, which you can reach at Previously, Twitter offered only very basic analytics, but the revamped page offers much improved tools, similar to Facebook Insights.

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#TwitterFiction Festival Ignites Innovative Storytelling

by Milena Schmidt|April, 2014

Authors across numerous publishers, including Penguin Random House, recently transformed Twitter into a forum for experimental storytelling during #TwitterFiction Festival 2014. The festival, which took place March 12 through 16, was a partnership among the Association of American Publishers, Penguin Random House, and Twitter. It resulted in a five-day round-the-clock global literary event that reached 50 million people on Twitter.

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You Are What You Tweet: Twitter Dos and Don’ts

by Milena Schmidt|March, 2014

In an age where we are defined by social media, it’s constructive to make a good impression when engaging with others. Each platform comes with its own rules of etiquette, which leaves many people feeling like outsiders until they catch on. This can be true of Twitter, as new users decipher the use of RT or MT, and fret over whom to follow back. Play by the rules and use common sense, and you’ll have the best chance of being rewarded with responsive followers. Keep in mind: You are what you tweet.

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