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What Not to Post When Marketing a Book

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What Not to Post When Marketing a Book

December 2013

by Shelley Hitz

Have you heard of the popular TV show What Not to Wear? Well, I am focusing here on what not to post when marketing your book on social media. I am in a lot of Facebook groups for networking and marketing purposes, and I see the craziest things posted within these groups. Unfortunately, many authors and publishers are pushing, pushing, pushing their books on social media instead of engaging readers and pulling them in.

Here are eight of the most common mistakes I see people making.

#1: “Buy My Book”

“Buy my book” is a phrase you want to avoid using very often, if at all, in your social media marketing efforts.

This phrase can be used as a call to action on your Website when you list books on a book page, as can variants including:

● Get Your Copy Here

● Get It Now

● Buy Here

But remember that on social media you want to be social and engage readers instead of simply trying to get a sale. The goal of social marketing is to build relationships with readers so they grow to know, like, and trust you. If you are constantly asking them to buy something, they will most likely tune you out.

#2: “You Will Love My Book”

I saw a Facebook post in one of my groups that started with “I am sure you will love my book . . . ”

I thought, Really? How do you know? Many of these groups are general groups, and so the people reading your post may not be interested in your book’s genre or topic.

In addition, telling someone they will love your book feels pushy and manipulative.

#3: “I Hope You’ll Read Mine Book”

Here is another actual post I saw in a Facebook group: “I hope you’ll read mine book.”

Is anyone else cringing right now?

Granted, my posts sometimes have typos, and I understand that no one is perfect. However, I do encourage you to take a moment to proofread your posts to avoid critical mistakes like this one.

Honestly, would you want to read this author’s book? I know I would not. I can just imagine a book filled with errors and typos, unless the author hired an excellent editor. But you get my point.

#4: The Lonely Link

I recommend not posting a link without any introductory text. Even though a preview with a title and description may automatically come up, you still want to personalize any link you are sharing.

Otherwise, to me, the link screams laziness because the person who posted it didn’t even take time to write a couple of sentences about what this link might mean for me.

Take a few moments to introduce and personalize any links that you share on social media. Here are a few questions to consider:

● Why should this audience visit this site?

● What benefit does it offer them?

● What is my purpose in sharing this link with this particular audience?

#5: Copying and Pasting a Tweet onto Other Platforms

Avoid posting tweets formatted specifically for Twitter on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and the like. I can spot a tweet when I see one. It usually has a bunch of hashtags and a shortened link and often includes a twitter @reply. For a Facebook superuser like myself, it is a major turnoff to see these tweets posted within Facebook, and I often ignore them.

When on Facebook, post for Facebook. What do I mean by this? Take a moment to remove the @replies and most of the hashtags. I also recommend not using shortened links like bit.ly or ow.ly because some Facebook users may be hesitant to click on them.

#6: Posting Multiple URLs

As I was scrolling through my Facebook groups recently, I saw several posts that listed links to the posters’ books for each country’s Amazon store. Instead of listing every single Amazon store URL in a post, I encourage you to create a smart URL that redirects to the appropriate country based on where the user is accessing the Internet.

You can use a free resource called SmartURL to create this link at manage.smarturl.it.

But be aware that the free version of SmartURL may change your affiliate links into theirs. A paid version that will let you keep your own affiliate links is coming soon, per the Website FAQs.

#7: Using All Caps

I assume most people know by now that typing in ALL CAPS is similar to screaming at someone in person. However, I keep seeing posts written entirely in caps. WHO WANTS TO BE SCREAMED AT ABOUT A BOOK? Not me!

If you want to emphasize certain words with all caps, go for it. But please avoid typing your entire post in all caps. Please.

#8: Repetitive Posts

Some people post the same things about their books over and over and over on social media. Every week I see similar posts with a similar blurb from the same people in the same groups.

Granted, repetition is good in marketing. They say the average consumer has to see something seven times before buying. But posting the exact same thing over and over will turn your prospective readers away in a hurry. Plus, it signals that you are not creative enough to think of something new to say.

So What Should You Post?

Let me give you a few ideas of what to post when marketing your book on social media.

● Ask an engaging question. You could share a little about an upcoming book and ask for opinions. For example, if you publish fiction, you could ask if people like epilogues. If you publish nonfiction, you could ask what questions they have on a topic or topics it covers.

● You could also ask for feedback on book covers if you are willing to reveal the options you are working with.

● And you could post about a sale, a giveaway, or an informative blog post you have written.

● Let other people boast about your book for you so that you do not have to. Share a snippet from a review instead of tooting your own horn.

● Share a free excerpt or a link to a PDF of the first chapter of your book. Or simply post several paragraphs of an engaging excerpt to get people interested in reading more.

● Share the book’s back story.

● Share about a significant milestone in your career. This can generate “likes” and short comments like “Congrats!” But use this type of post only for major milestones; it gets old quickly.

Take time to be creative with your posts. Pay attention to which posts get the most likes and comments. Most likely they will be the ones that are social in nature and engage readers in some way. You will get a good return on investment of your time in them in the long run.

Shelley Hitz is the owner of TrainingAuthors.com. She reports that she is passionate about helping authors succeed in publishing and marketing their books; that she teaches from personal experience, having written and published more than 30 books since 2008 in print, e-book, and audiobook formats; and that she consistently ranks in the top 100 authors for her category on Amazon.com. To learn more: TrainingAuthors.com.


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