Last year I heard about a new social media app for bookworms called Litsy, from Writer’s Unboxed. Then I heard about Litsy again on Publisher’s Weekly, who heralded it as the Instagram for books. Needless to say, I ignored it, I really didn’t need to sign up to anymore social media sites. Seriously, I have signed up and abandoned more social media sites than I care to count. However, last month, I got an email announcing that Litsy had been purchased by LibraryThing. Remember them? They were the number three site for bookworms but they kind of fell off the map. So why on earth would LibraryThing buy Litsy? Perhaps they were going to merge platforms, Lord knows LibraryThing’s website is clunky and slow. Plus, most companies buy others for either resources or in order to eliminate competition. I’m assuming it’s the first and not the latter. Anyway, I was intrigued and had to find out what was going on, so shamelessly, I signed up for yet another social media account. *Sigh*
What Makes Litsy Different
Unlike Goodreads and LibraryThing, Litsy is a mobile app like Instagram and Snapchat but with books, of course. What sets Litsy apart is their book recommendations based on real users rather than algorithms. This can be a relief for those who are tired of algorithms and keyword based gate keeping.
Litsy is heavy on images and pretty easy to use, if you can figure out Instagram and Snapchat, Litsy will be a breeze. Once you setup your account, you can choose to start posting reviews, pictures, quotes or even blurbs but be sure your text comes with a picture of some sort. You can find free images to accompany your posts here:
Here Are A Few Tips: Don’t forget to upload a picture of your own book cover if it’s not in their database. You can check that out by going to their search engine and typing either your author name or book title.
Also whatever you do, don’t forget to become a community member of your genre, that’s what social media is all about, so join a book club, or start one of your own.
What Do You Post?
Here is a list of things of ideas on what to post:
- Share a short quote from your book
- Upload pics of your book cover
- Hold giveaways
- Give a review on a book you enjoyed.
- Ask a question or for a book recommendation
Problems Authors Might Have With Litsy
Litsy is new and therefore still finding it’s way in the online world, so authors are going to have to grow and evolve along side it. This could be a dealbreaker for some who have come to expect certain sophistication and privileges with more mature social media sites. Here are more cons:
- The community size is much smaller compared to Goodreads
- There is a limit of 300 characters per post
- Members of the site sometimes refer to themselves as Littens. No, I’m not kidding.
- There is no syncing between LibraryThing and Litsy yet.
- Their database is small making it difficult to find certain books and authors.
- People are given a score based on their account activity kind of like Snapchat. This is how they measure influence.
My Personal Experience
I used Litsy for about a month, okay, I lurked for about a month and during that time I followed a lot of interesting people who were passionate readers. Though the community is small, it is engaged. However, you have to get used to the idea of relying on images and not words to get your message across, this means I won’t be posting too often. I don’t have the time to stage a photo shoot with my book nor do I want to scour the internet for images. I’ll use Litsy for only strategic marketing or promotional purposes.
Also as I was writing this article, Litsy announced they were going to be offline for maintenance purposes and it would only affect the app for about two hours. However, once the site was back up, there were major issues, people couldn’t see their notifications, or search the database for basic information. It took a better chunk of the day for them to get the site back up and running normally again. And since their site only allows 300 character posts, they had to take a screenshot of a Facebook post along with an apology. Apparently, even their admins and support staff aren’t immune to the rules.
I’ve never experienced anything like this with an app before. I’m hoping this isn’t a frequent thing with Litsy.
All in all, I think Litsy is a great addition to the online book world. Mainly, because they reach the younger demographic that live on their phones and love to take selfies. Honestly, I believe Litsy could be a good thing for authors writing in the YA and romance genres since their demographic is mostly young and female. However, like Snapchat, Litsy may take some getting used to but I think it could be worth it for those having a hard time targeting Millennials and Gen Z using other channels.
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