Monday, June 4, 2012

How do you Tumbl?

Tumblr: yet another Internet timesuck. Without the benefits of social networking of Twitter, and without the benefit of readers of Blogger. So how do writers turn this randomly eclectic collection of images, audio clips, quotes, links and videos to their use?

Before I elaborate, let me briefly detail the finer points of Tumblr: it’s a micro-blogging platform, which means that, rather than writing/creating original full-length content, the focus is on small pieces: single snapshots, a short inspirational message, a funny video of the day. What makes Tumblr so powerful is the ease of sharing: by encouraging users to “reblog” posts that interest them (“repinning” in Pinterest is the same concept), one photo can reach multitudes and multitudes of Tumblr users in one hour. It’s why it’s normal to have Tumblr followers in the two-hundreds within a week: like-minded bloggers find each other very easily on this platform.

So: how do writers use Tumblr?

1. A personal Tumblr. Obviously, a personal Tumblr is the simplest and most effortless way to use Tumblr. If you go this route, the Tumblr users you follow and are followed by will most likely be fellow writers or people you know who are interested in what you’re interested, and vice versa. Get started by finding blogs focused on your interests, be that cooking, soccer, greyhound racing or XHTML. (You’ll find all that and more on Tumblr, promise.)

2. A writing-related Tumblr. A quick search for the tag “writing” within Tumblr can turn up dozens upon dozens of gems in graphic, quote and video form in an instant. Reblog your favourites, and if you find writing-related tidbits on the Internet in other places, it’s easy to post it to Tumblr (providing a source, of course) to add to your collection. A writing-related Tumblr blog can be a place of inspiration, a space to vent frustration or a veritable community of like-minded writers.

3. A Tumblr related to your book. This is probably the most reader-/audience-focused approach. R J Anderson, author of Ultraviolet (yes, it’s YA, sorry!), has a Tumblr for quotes, images, etc. related to her book, and since her novel focuses on synesthesia, a lot of her content focuses on that condition, which makes for very interesting reading. If I were to create a Tumblr for my current WIP, Faking the Aurora Borealis, there would be a continuous stream of horseback riding-related content, since riding figures largely into FtAB. This type of Tumblr is perfect for readers looking for more insight into your novel, and plus it’s fun to dedicate a little bit of cyberspace solely to the masterpiece you’ve been working on for so long.

Now that I’ve laid out three methods to use Tumblr, I want to know: do you use Tumblr already? And how?



  1. I don't use tumbler or pinterest...yet. (hangs head in shame)

  2. Nope. I'm not getting on Tumblr or Pinterest. Blogging already cuts into my actual writing time, so I can't see making it work.

  3. And I'm not even on Twitter. True dinosaur.

  4. Oh Tumblr was such a big time suck for me for a while. I've weaned myself away from it now, but it's definitely fun. I use it for personal stuff. So it's just a collection of things I like.

    I've seen some authors use their tumblrs to answer questions through their ask boxes. So that's a pretty cool way to get insight into their books or clarification.

  5. I'm still feeling chuffed about being on Twitter. Now there's something else I'm missing out on?!!

    Thanks for educating me about Tumblr, Yahong. Always good to know about new(ish) things.

  6. I have never checked out Tumblr, I am always behind the curve.

  7. THANK YOU! I've been trying to figure out what Tumblr is for a long time and what it's good for.

    I was thinking about creating a Tumblr related to my next book, one that focuses on the real caged graves that inspired the book -- and other caged graves around the world. It sounds as if this might be a fairly good vehicle for that book promotion.

    If I can figure out how to use it. Do you give lessons? ;) At least I should bookmark this post.

  8. Thank you! Thank you! I signed up for it but haven't used it, though I can see how it would be useful for certain books. I'm with Diane. Lessons?


Thanks for adding to the mayhem!