I’m talking about posting on social media, of course.
I know a lot of authors who are afraid to post anything remotely resembling “buy my book,” thanks to well-meaning book advisors.
I really think these gurus are talking about the obnoxious posts, though. I don’t equate a buy link, which may or may not also say something about your book, such as its Amazon rank or a special offer, with the “hey you, buy my book now, dammit!” kinds of posts.
We all know that Facebook, in particular, controls what we see. I see things in my newsfeed, and my pages feed, and if I get tired of the pages posts, I just skim over them. The single most annoying thing FB has done, IMHO, is treat posts that we like or comment on as “new,” even if it happened days ago, whenever someone else likes or comments.
Speaking of, “days ago” on social media is like last month in real time. Don’t go there. So you missed something. Big deal. If it’s personal or important, send the poster a private message.
But one thing to keep in mind, and I’ve never seen this mentioned, is that the more writing groups you belong to, and similar, the more often you may see a post. Unless it’s a new release, you might be wise to stick to posting only on your own page. Seeing multiples in one day can be aggravating.
Now, a brief disclaimer, in that most of these irritating posts come from pages. Pages are sometimes in your Facebook newsfeed, yes, as are groups, but there’s this nifty thing on the left sidebar called, oddly enough, “Pages.” This is where commercial stuff is listed, like a newsfeed. You can’t, however, adjust it to “most recent” like you can with your newsfeed. All those page likes? That’s where they are. The problem comes when people have personal pages, with friends as opposed to likes, and use it as a commercial page.
So here’s my top ten list of promotional posts guaranteed to annoy me:
- Wow! Look at me! These are the ones in which the poster is ostensibly sharing good fortune, in the writing world, by telling us about a new speaking engagement or interview or even a book. It’s not that we don’t care about their good fortune or wish them well, but when they repeat this information every day for a week or worse, have ANOTHER good fortune post every two days, I, for one, begin to wonder. Do we mere mortals dare to interact with such gods?
- Hey, you don’t know me but . . . People who join those aforementioned writers’ groups and never interact with anyone until they casually say “buy my book.” THOSE are the bad “buy my book” posts. Who are you and why should we care? Or those people who, well, don’t even belong there: like in groups who specify a particular genre, such as horror, and a children’s writer comes along to post about her book. Or one which is, ostensibly, for a certain city or real-life group, and someone joins from another country and posts in another language.
- Repeat comments. These are posters who feel the need to continue a conversation, ad finitum, responding to every single comment. I don’t necessarily mean the original poster, but someone who wants to talk about ALL the comments. Over and over. Remember, please, how FB thinks it must notify you and bump those posts every single time—and yes, you can turn off notifications, but if it was your post to begin with, you may want to keep up on things.
- Late to the game. Again, scroll up and read that one paragraph. So maybe you aren’t on social media very often. That’s okay, but if you’re trying to build your brand and sell books, you should probably at least glance at FB every day. Or Twitter, or whatever your venue of choice. Speaking of Twitter, that is totally up-to-the-minute, which is why I’m seldom there—I can’t keep up! Facebook, on the other hand, is a bit slower. But not so slow that you need to comment or like something from, oh, three days ago. We’ve all moved on . . .
- Over-the-top spousal support. This gets old fast. I get that your spouse loves your work, and supports your career, and that’s great! But when all I see are testimonials from that spouse, I begin to wonder. Isn’t there anyone else who’s ever read your book? Your spouse is SUPPOSED to love your book—they can share that, but maybe not every two days on your page, ya know?
- Bestsellers and experts. Integrity. You have to have it. You make up stuff when you’re writing fiction, but you absolutely can’t make up your marketing. You’ve heard of truth-in-advertising, right? What happens when a product makes a claim, you purchase it, and it fails to live up to that promise? Yeah, that’s right—you trash it on social media. Same thing goes for authors. Do NOT claim to be a “bestselling author” without qualifying that statement with something like “on Amazon for two days when it was free,” or putting “NY Times” before it—and that damn well better be the case. Or you will be found out. You will be ridiculed. “Expert” status is the same thing. Don’t claim to be a grammar guru if you can’t write an error-free status update. Don’t claim to be a marketing expert unless you’ve sold more than a few books. To your mom. Don’t bombard us with bull. We’ll know.
- Whining. Oh, you can be cute and funny, even sarcastic. No problem here! But stop with the Debbie Downer posts. No one wants to hang around someone who’s always moaning about something. They’ll probably pass on your book, too.
- Scams. Do your homework before you repeat bogus posts, such as the “I’m checking to see who really reads my posts” or the one about Facebook privacy. Those have been around forever, we’ve all seen them 20 times, they are inaccurate and ridiculous, and no one cares.
- Threats to leave social media. Again, no one cares if you do or don’t. They might say they do, but what do you expect? Exactly. You expect everyone around to rally and beg you not to go. What would happen if someone said, “Okay, buh-bye, see ya!” You’d pretty much have to leave then, right? So yeah, don’t do it. You look silly.
- Repeats. Stop repeating the same damn thing. We get it, you wrote a book, you want us to buy it. Maybe we will, if it looks interesting. Me, if I’m not interested, I’m not buying it—not even on the off chance that you’ll buy mine. Same thing with page likes—I’m not going to “like” your page, just because you may or did “like” mine. Oops, sidetrack! So mix it up a bit: tell us something about the book, something relevant, use bits of different reviews and not the same one over and over, and give us a link. That’s it. Every few days—once a month, and we won’t notice; every day, and you’ll get blocked or dropped.
What annoys YOU about social media posts from authors?