What is Litsy? It’s a wonderful, new-ish social media platform all about books: reviews, reading challenges and games, giveaways, etc. I recommend it to readers, but I especially recommend it to authors, because it’s high interaction and relatively easy to gain a following. To get a feel for how high and how easy, keep reading.
Last month, I started the #LitsyTips hashtag (on Litsy), and a bunch of Littens (yes, we call ourselves Littens) chimed in. This post is a cumulation of those tips, and in them, you’ll learn how to gain a following and interaction quickly. P.S. If you are a current Litten who follows back new users, add your @handle in the comments so that readers of this post know who to add to get started.
At the moment, Litsy is only available as an app on the iOS and Android operating systems. I’ll be your iPhone/iOS expert for this post (@raimeygallant), and Trish (@TrishB) and Julia (@julesG) will be your Android OS experts. Throughout these tips, they weigh in whenever there’s a difference in how Android functions as opposed to iOS. Thanks for being here, Trish and Julia. “Thanks for having us.” (They didn’t really say that.)
Without further ado, here are your #LitsyTips:
Tip 1: Litsy doesn’t rank posts by popularity. It’s chronological, so the more followers you have, the more interaction you’ll get.
Tip 2: Interaction on Litsy is less about the hashtags than Bookstagram/Instagram (with a few exceptions, more on that below), and more about how many followers you have.
Tip 3: My current follower-to-following ratio is 1:2. Approximately 50 percent of people followed me back (still true as of Dec 2018.) Don’t be afraid of users not following you back. You need to add people to gain a following. Litsy has a relatively high follow-back rate at the moment as compared to other sites, so the time to gain a following on Litsy is now. As with every social media site, follow-back rates decline over time, and we can expect this to be true of Litsy as well. I explain below how my strategy was to only follow recently active users.
Tip 4: Start by adding people who post regularly and who have at least a couple hundred followers. Then you want to scroll through your recent home feed, and click into their likes. Add the people who have liked a post within the past few hours. These users are recently active and most likely to follow you back. Pretty soon, you’ll be following people who have 100+ likes on their posts. Especially click into their recent posts and follow the “likers.”
Tip 5: Another strategy for finding followers likely to follow you back is to click into the followers of recently active users with a fair amount of them. If you see in your home feed someone got 50 likes, for instance, click into their profile, click into their followers, and add anyone you’re not yet following from the top of that list, which is chronological by who followed them most recently.
Tip 6: As of December 2018, the “Follow Suggested Users” option has been revamped, and seems to be really effective. Per Litsy, “The new [feature] is full of fresh, active members you’ll want to follow. It’s partially personalized according to what you read. And it’s new every day.” I’ve watched what happens when new users follow all 150 people on this list, and the follow-back rate is high. I’ve also noticed that new users who follow all 150 tend to get a lot of welcome messages if they get their first post up right away. Access the feature by pressing the home icon at the bottom of the screen and then pressing the icon of a human with a plus sign beside her.
Tip 7: As far as I’m aware, unlike other social media sites, Litsy hasn’t implemented any follow or interaction limits yet. You could technically add 1,000 people today using the follow method I describe in earlier tips, and have somewhere close to 500 followers within the week.
Tip 8: Try to return likes and comments as much as possible. This is a two-way street of encouragement. This is probably the most important part. Litsy is about interaction. You are likely to get a lot more followers if you interact (comment, like) people’s posts regularly. (Julia) I think this is the most important, if you never write comments or join in conversation then you won’t get the most out of the site. (Trish)
Tip 9: Do you have to post everyday? No. Some people do. Unlike other social media sites, where if you stop posting for a period, the platform will stop ranking your posts higher in their algorithm, Litsy is democratically chronological, which I love. You can post as often or as seldom as you like, but this said, you’ll get to know the community more, the more often you post. You’ll be more recognizable.
Tip 10: Litsy allows you to post three different types of posts: Reviews, Quotes, and Blurbs. I found the term blurbs confusing at first, because a blurb can mean a book summary in some circles. Litsy means blurb in a different way. Basically, you can post anything you want in a blurb: your mood, a shout-out to another user, a contest, anything. It doesn’t mean book summary, but you could do that too. It’s a catch-all term for posts that are “book-adjacent,” such as: “Check out this awesome cake I baked while audiobooking Michelle Obama’s Becoming!”
Tip 11: If you are giving away the ending, every type of post from tip 10 lets you select the spoiler alert option. The only problem with using this is that it hides the content of your post, and people have to click on the option to view the content should they wish to. This reduces the amount of interaction the post receives. A workaround is to post nothing revealing in the main post, but after you do post it, go and add a spoiler comment to your post. To do this, choose the skull and crossbones icon before hitting send. Lo and behold, now everyone can view your main post, and the spoiler is hidden in a comment for those who wish to read it. It’s a good idea to point out in your main post that there’s a spoiler in the comments, because the comment thread only shows the most current.
Tip 12: Some people are confused about images, because they’re not sure how to make them, especially if they don’t have a physical copy of the book, or if they want to review a book they already gave away. I use screenshots of the book cover, which is fair use (according to me, but I’m not a lawyer), because I’m promoting the book. You can also snap a photo of the cover or page you’re reading on your e-reader, or you can snap a shot of something random. Generally speaking, the people who create images for Litsy games or events WANT you to steal and share their image, so center their image and use the screenshot function on your phone. Litsy will help you crop it to your liking when you re-upload it. There is no re-share function, so to re-share/boost a post, the only option is to screenshot an image and share it from scratch. The crop option on Android can be awful and lose half your picture. I use an app called square sized and then upload that to Litsy – it keeps the whole picture, then. (Trish)
Tip 13: If you don’t know how something works on Litsy or what the etiquette is, ask someone in their comments.
Tip 14: Because Litsy is an app only, there is currently no way to add a linkable icon on your website (or anywhere else.) You can do what I did in the left-hand sidebar of my site. Scroll up to see.
Tip 15: Long hold any comment and then choose reply. This automatically tags the person you’re replying to without having to search and tag them manually.
Tip 16: If you are curious about a book, click the book title if you see it in your home feed, or search by author or title. There is usually a back cover summary at the top. Then scroll down to see all the reviews and blurbs about that book in reverse chronological order.
Tip 17: Near the bottom of every post in your home feed, you’ll see an icon of a stack of books. Click this to add the book to one of your three stacks: To Read, Am Reading, Have Read. You can also rate/review the book here if you’ve read it. On your profile page, below your followers, there’s a bar with 3 options. You can toggle between your feed of posts, your stack of To-Reads, and your stack of Have-Reads/Bailed. It’s useful to keep this up-to-date if you’re going to take part in any book swaps/postal exchanges. (Trish)
Tip 18: If you want to add all the books you’ve ever read to your stack, it’s easiest to use the search icon, and search by author or title, then add each book.
Tip 19: You don’t have to tag someone in a reply to their own post, but if they commented on your post, you need to tag them, or they won’t see it.
Tip 20: You can edit any of your posts or comments, even if they’re made in reply to someone else’s post. To edit your post, click the ellipsis at the bottom of your post. To edit a comment on your post or someone else’s, click the comment if you can see it, or if you can’t because there are more comments hiding the one you want to edit, click near the bottom of the post where it says ‘comments’, then scroll to your comment and click on it. You can’t edit comments on Android. You can only “Delete” it, “Mark as Spoiler” or “Cancel”. (Julia)
Tip 21: The lightning-bolt icon on the bottom bar is your notifications. This is where you can see chronologically who has added you, liked your posts, added books from your posts to their stacks, and who has commented on your posts or tagged you. This is what I scroll through to return likes and comments (as much as I possibly can.)
Tip 22: At the bottom of each post, there’s an arrow icon, which can be used to retrieve a link for that post to send it in a message or post it on another social media site. These links aren’t interactable (just made that word up); they’re readable only.
Tip 23: Follow @LitsyHappenings for upcoming events, and tag this user if you want a repost of your own Litsy event. You can also search the #LitsyHappenings hashtag. Other accounts that share info about events include @LitsySwaps @LitsyPenPals @LitsyGetsGraphic and @LitsyBuddyRead.
Tip 24: When you first join Litsy, and you don’t have a lot of followers yet, look out for Litsy games (one of the hashtag exceptions I was talking about.) There are reading bingos, this-or-that or get-to-know-you questions, and month-long photo challenges, among others. If you see a game, but can’t figure out how it works, ask the person playing, and they’ll explain. Use the game’s hashtag, so other players can find you and interact with you. The photo challenges are great fun. I always try to do several at the same time. Checking the hashtag is also a way to find new people to follow, who might follow you back. (Julia)
Tip 25: When playing the monthly photo challenge games, no, you don’t have to post every day, just as often as you want. You’ll get more interaction if you use both the game hashtag as well as that day’s hashtag by simply turning that day’s theme into a hashtag verbatim. For instance, if on the third day of the month, the theme is ‘Wind and Fire’, the hashtag would be #WindAndFire.
Tip 26: Several users run successful, real-world interaction events in the form of meetups or partnering users as pen pals or for book swaps/exchanges. These look super fun, so look out for them and sign up! The people who participate in these events rave about them. They don’t only look fun, they are! (Julia) These are brilliant – but have costs associated so don’t blow the bank by signing up to 4 running at the same time! (Trish)
Tip 27: Many users run successful and fun read-a-thons and read-a-longs. Look out for these hashtags, because there’s no better way to get through lotsa pages than when 50+ Littens are cheering you on.
Tip 28: Can you start your own Litsy event or game? Yes. The more followers you have, and the more well-thought-out your game is, the more likely you are to be successful. Be warned however that a lot of people are running events and games already, and so some of the game/event types may not fare as well if the environment gets too cluttered.
Tip 29: If you recommend a friend join Litsy, give them your handle so they can add you, and tell them to post something right away. Once they post, you can add the #LitsyWelcomeWagon hashtag in their post’s comments, and don’t forget to tag @LitsyWelcomeWagon. Adding both the welcome wagon hashtag and account will increase the likelihood that the new Litten will receive visits from the volunteer welcomers. And in one of your own posts, you can tag your friend and ask your followers to follow them and go comment on their page. Also direct your friend to this post, to this series of Listy how-to videos by @chelleo, or to the @LitsyWelcomeWagon account so they can get their bearings.
Tip 30: Be part of the #LitsyWelcomeWagon. Follow @LitsyWelcomeWagon, which posts 2-3 times a day, and if you happen by one of their posts and have a spare minute, visit the pages of the new Littens being welcomed, and drop a quick welcome comment of your own. You can also search the #LitsyWelcomeWagon hashtag and add welcome messages on the feed.
Tip 31: To follow back peeps who have followed you (and please do!), there are two methods: 1) Check your notifications. For users that show as having added you, there will either be a triangle beside their name (which means you’re already following them, or a button with a plus sign that says ‘follow’ so you can easily follow them back. 2) On your profile page, click into your followers to find those you’re not yet following back.
Tip 32: You’ll be astounded at how fast some Littens plow through books. Don’t think there’s something wrong with you because you don’t seem to read as fast as other users. Everyone has their own pace and non-literary commitments. Also, some of us Littens are big into audiobooks, so it’s possible we’re listening to a lot of our TBR. Reading is not a competitor sport, so don’t worry. Further, you are not obliged to buy all the books you see posted about. Do not strain your bank account unnecessarily, get a library card instead. (Julia)
Tip 33: We are Littens, and we’re kinda proud of it. I think it’s because it sounds like kittens, and those who have pets love to share pictures of their reading buddies, especially using the #CatsOfLitsy and #DogsOfLitsy hashtags.
Tip 34: Litsy gets easier as you use it. As with any new-to-you social media site, it may seem overwhelming at first, but once you have ten or so posts under your belt, you’ll get the hang of it.
Tip 35: Your ‘Litfluence’ is a tabulation of how influential you are on Litsy (as pictured.) Littens also joke about being under the ‘litfluence,’ because we’re constantly reading reviews that make us want to reach for our credit card.
Tip 36: Because upcoming, self-published, and non-English books are not always available in Litsy’s database, you can add books via this form. The form won’t work if the book’s ISBN is already in the database under a different name.
Julia aka @julesG: I’m 37 years old and live in Germany, with my two kids and our new Siamese kitten. I have an MA/MSc in English, History and Chemistry and have been working as a teacher of English as a second language for the past 17 years. I read about 100 books a year and I have written several books myself, but am nowhere near ready to publish one of them.
Trish aka @TrishB: Been on Litsy for over a year now after seeing it referenced on Bookriot – had to wait as it was initially only on iOS. So happy when it went to Android too. Avid reader (obviously), love the people and the community on Litsy.
I wrote this post for the monthly Insecure Writers Support Group blog hop. To continue hopping or to join the hop, click here. (There are more than 200 of us, and it’s fun!)
Have you joined Litsy yet? Are you considering? Remember to add your handle in the comments if you plan to follow people back.