If you’re on my Facebook friends list—Shameless plug, you can find my author page HERE-–then you know I’m an Oversharer. I just can’t seem to resist the seductive lure of Social Media, and in truth, I’ve sold many books because of it.
It’s hard to know, though, when I’ve gone from “engaging” to “annoying” with regard to any sort of promotional posts. Too much self-promotion can work against us, since potential readers will either hit the “unlike” button or hide our posts to avoid seeing another round of “buy my book” posts in their feeds.
How do we use Facebook to generate interest without overdoing it? Let’s ask our seasoned authors, whose websites can be viewed by clicking their names:
Collette Cameron is an Amazon bestselling (3 times Amazon Kindle top 100) and award-winning author of Regency and Scottish romance. If that’s not enough to convince you she knows what she’s doing, how about this? She won the 2013 Sneak Peek Contest, was a 2014 RONE Nominee, a double RONE Finalist in 2015, Aspen Gold Finalist 2015, and 2015 Wisconsin RWA Write Touch Reader’s Choice Winner. At this time, she has nine books under her belt with contracts for four more. She self-published a series, has four group projects already published and two more coming out in early 2016.
Tema Merback ‘s first book was a National Jewish Book Award Finalist entitled “In the Face of Evil,” the story of her mother’s survival of the Holocaust. It took her four years to write, but it was worth it, as it continues to be one of the highest rated books on Amazon and Goodreads. With her hot romance and suspense, she went the self-publishing route. She also writes under a nom de plume, Belle Ami.
Tina Susedik writes romantic mysteries, children’s books, and history books using her real name and erotic romance as Anita Kidesu. Her novel, “Riding for Love” was a finalist in the 2014 BTS awards. She has eleven books and two short stories in print, with two more on the horizon.
Catherine Castle writes sweet and inspirational romance. She has published one novel under the pen name of Catherine Castle and three as a coauthor with her husband. Her books consistently win awards, including the 2014 Beverly Hills Book Award Winner for Inspirational Romance, and a RONE in 2014 for inspirational romance. She was a finalist in the 2014 EPIC awards for an action/adventure romance and was a 2014 Carolyn Readers Choice Award finalist.
Ryan Jo Summers writes romance she calls “a mishmash of inspirational, time travel, shape shifting, paranormal, mystery, any and all combinations of the above.” She has three novels out now and another three coming in 2016. She blogs at https://www.summersrye.wordpress.com
Stacy Hoff writes contemporary romance. She has two anthology stories and three full-length novels to her credit, along with a 2015 “Rising Star” nomination from BTS emag’s Red Carpet Awards.
Jessica Jefferson is a bestselling author of historical romance. Her fifth novel is about to hit the market.
Samanthya Wyatt is a Golden Rose finalist. She writes both historical and contemporary romance, and has four books out at this time.
Petie McCarty is the author of five books, with the sixth coming in December. She writes contemporary paranormal romance for Desert Breeze and Soul Mate Publishing.
Do you find Facebook Reader/Writer and Self-Promotion groups helpful at all, or do you think the barrage of self-promotion turns readers away?
Collette: Most of these groups have turned into purely promotion sites that only authors visit. There are few exceptions. I know some Facebook groups that restrict promo and encourage interaction based on the groups purpose. There are also some groups out there intended strictly for promotion and my street team members often post to them for me.
Tema: I can only speak for myself. I receive so many self-promotion e-mails that I feel inundated and overwhelmed. Most of them I just delete. Except for Soul Mate sisters, that is.
Tina: Personally, if an author is constantly tweeting or posting on FB to ‘buy my book, buy my book,’ I get turned off. I don’t even read the posts. I think a mix between posting things about your writing and posting links to your books is good. Readers like to know what we’re writing or what problems we’re having with writing. I’ve been following Jude Deveraux on FB and it’s refreshing for me to see that a multi, multi published authors goes through the same trials and tribulations I do. Readers also enjoy hearing little personal things about yourself, but please, don’t publish your views on religion, politics, or anything controversial.
Catherine: Facebook flummoxes me, and because I have a page, not a profile, I can’t participate in any Facebook closed groups. So, I’m not much help on this question.
Ryan Jo: I belong to several on line FB groups and honestly, trying to keep up with them all, respond even briefly to the other posts and remember which ones allow what within the rules is too much for me. And as a reader, I tend to shy away from constant barrage.
Samanthya: I love Facebook parties. I have found some new authors and some new fans. I think you can get carried away with self-promotion, and a lot of author contacts are other authors. I’m not sure how to hook readers, but if you have more books out there, more opportunity for someone to find you.
Petie: Please don’t crucify me for this opinion, but I truly think most of the promos posted on Facebook group pages end up authors marketing and promoting to other authors doing the same thing who have no budget to buy all the books or even have the inclination. I’ve gone down the Facebook feed for some of the groups, and all the posts are ads from authors. I don’t ever recall seeing a post from a reader.
Post a message about your book, wait ten minutes, and then go back to the group feed and see how far down the list your post has already dropped. That’s how fast authors are putting up new ads. So how can readers — if there are some actually reading the posts — absorb all those ads and pay attention to yours tucked within the mass of others?
Should we waste our time on these promos? You have to decide if it’s a time suck or not. If creating the promo only takes a few minutes to do, then what could it hurt? If it’s taking a while and taking you away from your writing, then you might want to rethink the effort.
Since Facebook changed the way Newsfeeds are sorted, do you worry that too much self-promotion will work against you in terms of your followers either unliking your page or hiding your posts?
Collette: I personally avoid self-promotion unless I have a new release, sale, giveaway, or win a contest. I don’t want to spam my friends and followers because I hate it myself.
Tema: I definitely think there is a point of no return, too much just looks like desperation. Reviews are more important, I want to focus more on getting those “anointing” reviews that are far more meaningful to readers.
Catherine: Again, Facebook perplexes me, and they will do whatever they want, whether I like it or not. So why worry? I’d rather blog or Tweet anyway.
Stacy: Never post on your own page too much self-endorsement. Think of FB not a static billboard to shout out your product, but an opportunity to talk to real-life people. Would you want to hang out with someone who only talks about him/herself? Exactly! So be interactive on FB and post things that will be interesting and useful to others.
Samanthya: I must admit I don’t have a lot of traffic on my Author Page. But I have a ton of friends on my regular page. People like more fun posts or pretty pictures than an author constantly posting promo material. So I post a lot of fun stuff on my Facebook page.
Petie: Have you ever unliked someone’s page because they inundated you with their self-promotion? However much that was, you’ll want your quantity to be far less or you risk the same fate. No one likes to be inundated with “buy me” posts.
Have you found a great way to use Social Media? What do you think works (or doesn’t)? Weigh in!
Up Next Week: What every writer should do before getting a contract.