#WriterWednesday: Tips for using Tumblr

It’s Writer Wednesday, let’s talk writerly things.

I don’t know how many of you use tumblr. I decided to try tumblr as a way to see if I could get followers and advertise my book on a space meant for shareable images, sort of like instagram. To me, I know that tumblr is one of those spaces where science fiction, fantasy and werewolf fans are. They’re there, sharing Guardian of the Galaxy gifs, werewolf art off of deviantart and posting meta about how funny humans are to aliens and what if dwarves were just avid geologists and talked in a Minnesotan accent. Not that these meta posts have really gone anywhere as far as I can tell other than hysterical what if scenarios in reblogs.

That and there are the pictures and the writing advice blogs and it gets easy to be overwhelmed with information. I mean, I literally had a folder of 300 forest pictures and half of them I couldn’t remember why I saved them. (I did a culling.)

While I have gained some followers on tumblr mostly reblogging other peoples things, I haven’t gained much traction on the whole reason why I went to tumblr in the first place. To sell books. And it’s took a couple reblogs from a writing community to figure out why.

Tumblr blacklists most external links from their search function.

Okay, let’s be clear. Tumblr’s search function is incredibly unreliable. You can search for something general or specific and not get what you want. What isn’t as known and doesn’t really come up unless you’re a content creator whose livelihood depends on marketing yourself on as many platforms as possible to sell your independent merchandise… is that most external links are blacklisted. Deviantart, Kickstarter, Amazon and Patreon are blacklisted external links. (Patreon may now be a white listed link and show up in search but maybe not.)

Instagram and Youtube are fine. So if you’re posting a marketing image on your instagram or making a book trailer, those will come up in search just fine. If you add a link to your deviantart, Kickstarter, Amazon or Patreon to the Instagram or Youtube link so people know where to FIND the book you’re trying to sell without having to jump through hoops of five links. Then, it’s not going to show up in search.

Here is a list of blacklisted and whitelisted links.

Tip One: Use Redirect links for any black listed external links so your posts will show up in searches.

Step One: Edit your Theme

Step Two: Add a page

Add a page to your tumblr blog and call it something simple like /patreon or /kickstarter

Step Three: Click on the Standard Layout Drop Down Box and switch to “Redirect Link”

Step Three: Create a Redirect Link

Using your username.tumblr.com/patreon link, create a redirect link in the second field to your actual patreon and set it for when you use that generic tumblr link in your post it will redirect to your actual patreon instead. So now when you use that link in your posts, it will automatically redirect  to where you want the person to go and show up in searches.

For more information and pictures. Check out this blog post.

Tip Two: Create a Special Tag for your stuff.

Now, there really is only one way to see if this works. And the only way you’re going to be able to see if it works is if you create a special tag in your tag list in order to search for it. For instance, if I was going to search for my book the Lone Prospect on Tumblr, then I better have “the lone prospect” as a tag or even Heaven’s Heathens. (And I do.)

Guess what, because all my links for the Lone Prospect are direct links to Amazon. They don’t show up in direct search. Glumness. (But by creating redirect pages I can fix this.)

But… BUT…

Tip Three: Prioritize your First Five Tags.

Tumblr search prioritizes your first five tags over everything else in the blog post, then it will search the next fifteen tags before looking at content.

That means, the first five tags of a tumblr post are the most important in order to get views. Choose what you think people are going to search for first in the first five tags and then put your special tags after those. For instance, werewolves, science fiction, fantasy, book and kindle could be my first five tags and then I could put in heaven’s heathens, the lone prospect and writing say as the next three.(And I could have 12 more if I was feeling thorough like indieauthor and so on.) And depending on the day I decide to post, like friday, friday reads or fridayreads should be somewhere in my list as well.

Guess what, WordPress alphabetizing everything. If you’re using the Publicize function of wordpress to share on tumblr, then you’re better off coming up with five tags and leaving it at that.

Tip Four: Put External Links in your Blog Description

The great thing about your blog description is that it can be anything you want and about as long as you want. If you know html, it’s fairly simple to put your links into your blog description. (There is no handy button to do it for you.)

In order to put links into your description use arrow brackets and a href=”yourlinkhere.com” in front of the word you want to use as your link and after it use /a once again inside arrow brackets. (They are the brackets over the period and the comma on a standard keyboard.)

People may or may not go to your tumblr “blog” instead of just browsing through their dashboard. It’s best to cover all the bases right? Just like you’d do on any other website. -pokes at her wordpress-

As I’m doing the lead up to the next book of Heaven’s  Heathens I’m going to see if using any of this redirect stuff actually works by doing another advertising run of the Lone Prospect. (It should be fairly easy to tell. I haven’t had a sale in a month.) It doesn’t cost me anything but time after all. We’ll see.

Fingers crossed.

Hope this helps someone else!


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  1. #1 by Liz on June 8, 2017 - 4:44 pm

    I’ve been on Tumblr since forever as a fangirl but I also have other accounts for writer me. It’s not to get sales but to reblog writing links and inspiration. I’ve seen some new accounts pop up telling authors they can increase sales by posting their books for them but it doesn’t do much for sales as far as I can tell. Only the companies are making money off authors who pay them thinking they’d get some traction. It also doesn’t help that Tumblr hides the posts because of the links.


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