This entry is part 5 of 12 in the series Book Promotion

Promoting on Facebook is something every writer should do. If you haven’t used Facebook at all, I would say it’s really to your detriment. But if you post on Facebook improperly, posting in groups can actually hurt your reputation as a writer. It can push people away. Here’s how to be sure you’re doing it the right way.

The Internet is the most cost effective and time efficient manner of marketing, communicating, and networking.

Who gets results promoting on Facebook is what I want to tackle. Right now.

It’s now possible to be an active member of a writer’s club even if you never leave your cellar. Ever. You can Skype and Google video meetings and communicate live, for free. This is amazing, because it makes it that much easier for us to share ideas and information.

But it’s also easier for us to get spammed and constantly bombarded with information. Much of the time we are so swamped with real-world life and overwhelmed by the hundreds of info-emails and such that we start to filter out absolutely anything that is remotely non-essential.

promoting on facebook

Artwork by Junsung Back.

If you want people to pay attention, you need to be attentive.

We delete messages without opening them, or we relegate them to a “read later when I have nothing better to do” electronic file. And as we do this, we shrug internally knowing we’ll probably never get to them.

If you have a book you want to tell people about, how then do you share this without being relegated to the trash? There is a way, and knowing this – what is essentially Internet Etiquette – will mean that the messages you post on platforms like Facebook will become that much more effective.

The Social Media Norm (& why it doesn’t work)

Almost daily, a random person will plunk down a random post about their new book, now available on Amazon. We’ve all seen these, and many of us have posted these. (I admit to doing this myself! But no more.)

This is rarely if ever going to inspire any sales. People don’t care. They don’t know you, they don’t know your project or why they should want it – it’s just more noise.

So how do we post about our work on Facebook (and other platforms) so that people will actually want to read about it? How do we stir up word-of-mouth so that it actually gets around? That’s what I want to discuss here: things to do and things to NOT do when promoting your work and ultimately yourself on Facebook.

1. Be You

If people know more about you, they’re much more likely to care about the creative things you’re doing. Anything you’re doing, for that matter. People like to befriend interesting people. We are tribal animals, designed for communication.

So don’t just jump into a Facebook Group and announce, “Get my book! Ta-da!”

Be Vested

Recently, a writer posted an interesting comment in the GreatStorybook Group on Facebook. She wrote, “I keep reading that I’m supposed to have a blog so that people will like me. But I don’t like writing on my blog. How much do I have to do?”

This is absolutely a valid concern. But the thing is this: if you don’t enjoy it, don’t do it. Have your website, yes – but don’t make it a regular blog if you hate blogging. Why? People will know.

If you feel like writing for a blog is just grunt work, you won’t write the type of material anyone would want to read anyway. Better that you just not do that – because it won’t help you at all. It’s sort of like trying really hard to shoot yourself in the foot, and then ask, “Do I really have to shoot my foot off? I kind of like these shoes.”

Really Join

Instead, actually and genuinely join in the writing community. Look for posts by others – and read them. Are they interesting? Funny? Find out who in the group is of a similar feather and actually click “Like” if you like what they wrote.

This is a little nudge, a foot in the door, to say, “Hi, you seem interesting.” It’s a way to start a potential friendship. It’s a small connection to another person, a beginning.

If you have something to add, or you disagree with a post (or with another comment to the post), then leave a comment. People who like what you wrote may well contact you, reach out to you. This is how you get to know others who are interested in what you’re doing. You let them know who you are, what you like.

2. Do Not Bumper-Sticker Your Comments

What you should absolutely refrain from doing is ending every little comment you leave with a link to your personal website or your Amazon Page. It’s spam. It’s rude and tacky.

Note: If you have a helpful link that you can share with someone in a comment, and it happens to be from your own website – no problem. But if you’re simply tacking your Homepage URL to the end of every comment you leave behind, that’s seriously not OK.

Make no mistake: people feel it when the only reason you left a comment at all was so that you could leave behind your calling card. Not cool. I call this bumper-stickering and it really bugs. When I see it on the pages I’ve created, I have to carefully consider whether to delete it as spam or let it pass. Most often, I end up deleting these.

When you stop thinking of posts as a way to make a sale, that’s the beginning of realizing the real point is to make contacts.

You want to network with like-minded people, with other creative souls who might be able to exchange some really interesting information with you. You’ll find too that it is very rewarding to help others, maybe people you’ve never clapped eyes on – but people will start to ask you questions if you make yourself available.

Once you’ve made some relationships and networked with other interesting people, posted questions and advice in a group – THEN it’s time to consider posting something about your book. Only then. And by then, several people will already know something about it because they’ll already know about this aspect of you.

People will feel familiar with you and your work, so that a post from you about your project will not feel like spam at all. Instead, it will feel like a friendly update about what’s new with you and your work, the creative stuff you love to do and are excited to share.

3. A Great FB Poster is someone who does these things:

1. Use a headline. You can use Caps or ALL CAPS if you want. But it should definitely express what type of post you’re sharing. If you’re not sure what to use, click around on Facebook and see what others are doing. What are the headlines that grab your attention? Most likely they are ones that give an idea of the topic but don’t spell everything out, so that you’ll want to read more. Take queues from them.

Here are some headline examples I’ve seen and liked so much that I use them too:

  • DID YOU KNOW??? And then add more content here.
  • FRESHLY UPDATED: Article on a specific list of things, like agents or publishers looking for manuscripts.
  • WORTH THE 5 MINUTE READ!! And then provide what the article is about.

2. Keep the post to 8 sentences or less. Do not post a really long, 3-5 paragraph explanation of your project. That type of information is for a website dedicated to your project, not a post. Be economical in your use of words. Choose words wisely and to their greatest impact.

If you don’t have a website and you’ve no tack at all on technie stuff, I highly recommend using It’s easy to use (you can get a great website up within a day’s time), it’s entirely FREE (for real) and looks really sharp, too. Even though it’s a Flash-based website creator, they’ve somehow arranged with Google a way to make their websites actually show up in searchengine results. Great stuff.

3. Use correct spelling and grammar! PLEASE. There’s perhaps nothing so off-putting than a writer’s post filled with writing errors. These are anti-posts because they push people away. The best way to avoid easy-to-make writing mistakes is by first writing a draft of your post in Word. Do a spellcheck but also double check after that, in case the program missed something. It happens. Then cut-&-paste into your social media outlets.

4. Always, always, always – and I mean always – include a URL that links people to either your Amazon Page or your personal website. (Again: leave a link at the end of every Post – but not on Comments!) Please!!! Do not ever leave it up to everyone else to do a Google search or search you on Amazon to try and figure out who you are and where your book might be found. I cannot even count the number of times I’ve seen posts that simply announce a book on sale but give no link whatsoever for that book.

The reason this is so prevalent I think is that we writers tend to regard our writing as something other than a product. It is in fact more than that – it’s a soulful thing to do, to write. But what we’re bringing to the market is in the end a product. It’s for sale.

Many writers feel a little shy or even ashamed about needing to market their own work. WHY??? There’s no shame in selling your own product. That’s what Levi did, what Ford did, what Hilton did. They came up with something and sold it. Get comfortable with that.

Even best-selling novelists need to market their own work. Oh yes they do.

Even if published through a major publishing house, authors must market their books. They push, they read, they sign, they buy advertising space in magazines – you name it. If you want your work to get out there, make sure you do so in a manner that makes it as easy as possible for readers to find your work. Give us a link.

4. What NOT to include in a FB Post:

1. Don’t include your number or your email address. If people want to contact you personally, they will click through to your website or your Facebook Page (where they can then send you a little message).

2. Don’t list how many award nominations you’ve gotten. If you haven’t actually won anything, don’t do this. Do not promote your book by listing all the award nominations it has received.

If you have won awards, then simply include something like, “award-winning book,” or “from award-winning author.” Don’t name which awards you’ve won – not if you’re posting about your own work.

The only exception to this is if you’re announcing that you just won a specific award – which you should certainly do! Don’t be shy about sharing good news about your writing career – be it a book award, a book review, an interview, or a book event you’re going to be joining in some way.

It’s perfectly OK to share the not-so-great news about your work. For example, if you just got a rejection letter from a publisher or an agent – that is worth sharing. It’s also not just another “BUY HERE, NOW” kind of blurb, but a genuine post about what you’re experiencing.

3. Don’t tell us how much your mom loves it (unless it’s tongue-in-cheek). Seriously. Unless you’re genuinely making a joke, this is the type of thing you mention in a private email to someone. It isn’t for a Post. This isn’t newsworthy.

4. Don’t post an angry rant about how much better your book is than anything else on the market. I’ve seen this, amazingly. If your post is snooty and angry, that is how people will remember you and anything you’ve written. Be authentically you, of course – but on a good day, not when you’re in a foul mood.

Be genuine and people will be drawn to that.

Remember The Golden Rule

The Internet is not so much an anonymous platform as it is a tool for enhanced networking. With that in mind, it’s much easier to see the importance of the words we leave behind. Just be thoughtful about it.

Keep creating, no matter what.


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K.C. Hill
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