The Basics of Reddit for Authors

At the request of an author, here is a quick visual guide to the bassics of social sharing platform Reddit.

Step 1: Sign up and Log in

Reddit’s site is a little on the dated side (at least on desktop), but the signup process is fairly straightforward. First, locate the Sign Up link in the upper right-hand corner.

Follow the instructions, entering a username, password, email, etc.

Log in from the same area.

Step 2: Upvote or Downvote Content

Reddit’s different sections are divided into what they call “subreddits” (i.e. the FreeEBOOKS subreddit, the Fantasy subreddit, etc.). Each of these will display a list of titles, some of which go to another site, while others display text on Reddit itself. Some will have thumbnails, etc., and all of them will have an up arrow (like ^) and a down arrow (like v) on the left-hand side of the title. These work similar to “like” and “dislike” buttons, except you “upvote” and “downvote.”

Once you upvote, the arrow should change colour, and the number between the two arrows should increase. This number is based on the total number of upvotes minus the total number of downvotes (so you may encounter situations where there is a 0 score for a post if it has been heavily downvoted). You can click the arrow again to return to a neutral position, or click the downvote arrow if you meant to downvote it instead (i.e. you’re not stuck with your first input). Comments can also be upvoted and downvoted.

In some subreddits, the arrow buttons are replaced by a graphic, such as in Fantasy, where a sword is displayed. While this makes it harder to use, you essentially just need to click the part of the image where the arrow would normally be. So, in the case of Fantasy, clicking the blade of the sword will upvote, while clicking the handle will downvote. For Fantasy, the sword also turns fiery when upvoted. Other subreddits might have similarly unique graphical quirks.

Note on downvoting: Unlike other platforms, you’re not really supposed to downvote things just because you dislike or disagree with them. They’re supposed to be off-topic, abusive, etc. This is often heavily abused by trolls and people downvoting other posts in order to boost the position of their own. Please read the “reddiquete” here: https://www.reddit.com/wiki/reddiquette

Why does voting matter?

The higher the score of a post, the higher it will appear on a subreddit, and the longer it will stay there. In a word: exposure.

Avoid spamming.

Don’t use Reddit purely for sharing your books or promotions. Upvote other content inbetween. Comment on things. It doesn’t mean you have to become super active there. Just engage with the platform a little each time you’re there. This will help prevent your account beging flagged as a spammer.

Also make sure to read the rules of each subreddit (they all have different requirements, just like Facebook groups) before posting something. Often times the links to submit content are in different places too, as the pages can be customised by moderators.

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