With all the talk of author brands, online platforms, and finding more outlets to promote work, Facebook seems like an ideal place for an author to connect and advertise. In many ways it is, but if you're not careful you will quickly turn into that annoying person on Facebook, who gets blocked or removed from your friend's news feeds. As an author that uses Facebook with other authorly friends, here are the six most annoying things (in my opinion) an author can do on Facebook.
1. Creating too many pages, and wanting your friends to like ALL of them.
Having multiple pages for pen names or keeping your personal page separate from your author page is often necessary. But don't go overboard. I know authors that on top of having a personal page and multiple pen name pages, they make pages for each book published. Way too much, especially when the author sends like/friend invites to their entire friend's list each time they make a new page. There are only so many things friends will like before you start getting ignored.
2. Word for word multiple postings and shares.
Posting things on your author page AND your personal page word for word will show up as repetitive clutter in friend's feeds that are linked to both your pages. I am guilty of doing this from time to time and I should stop, because it is annoying. Not to mention it doesn't give anyone a reason to like/friend an author page if you post everything to your personal page as well. If you want to promote works via other pen names or your personal page, spread it out and don't copy paste. It's easy: Post. Wait a day. Post with different wordage. But only on really important things like a new book or maybe a promo.
3. No content other than "buy my book."
Not only will you get boring to your friends, new people that check out your page (who may have already bought your book) won't want to subscribe to you on FB unless you provide more content. There are plenty of LOL cats relating to books, writing, or topics you write about (zombies, cooking, rodeos).
If you want to be more serious, do book reviews, post smart things people from history have said, or cats doing serious things. Linking other social networking accounts to automatically post to your FB can be good to up content but not if you post the same things on twitter that you post on FB. (I personally like the goodreads app. For FB, as it updates automatically and I post things there I don't post anywhere else.)
4. Abusing tagging and messaging
Just because someone liked your page/friends you doesn't mean they've signed up for the mailer too. Private messages are a little better, as these are private, but tagging means it'll show up on the tagged friend's wall.
Which, yeah, then people that aren't friends with you will see you have a new book! Awesome!
No, more like annoying because it feels like you're stealing the friend's opinion and using their space for advertising. Bad.
If a friend chooses to post: "New book by Authorly Awesome, read it!" Then great. But when you say "New book by Authorly Awesome, read it!" and stick it on their wall with the clever use of tags... ouch. Sure, people can untag themselves or remove themselves from messages, but really, do you want to wave something in front of their face and annoy them to a point of taking action? They probably won't check out what you're telling them about if that's the case. Especially if you just posted it on your author page. And again on your personal page. Oy.
5. Being too casual.
Personally, I would love to post naughty words and angry self-righteous rants on my personal page, but I don't. I'm super PC, because I'm paranoid. So I'm usually extra paranoid on my author pages. Keep in mind that strangers will be looking at your page even if they don't friend/like your page. So personal, heated drama should probably stay out of your updates. Life updates like moving or kidney failure are probably good if you can tie it into why your next book is late, but daily wallowing is bad. Also, keep it professional. Have a cleaner layout, use complete sentences. No pixilated pictures for your cover photo and do not make your Schnauzer your profile picture. Using profanity is up to you. Of course if it's in your book or your book has adult themes you don't want to present yourself as having a book full of gee-whiz and sexuality that goes as far as the midriff. Just use your best judgment.
6. Calling FB "advertising" or using it as your primary marketing tool.
Having an author page is not advertising. Maybe if you pay lots-o-money for those side ads, but there are debates as to how effective those actually are. And if you think just making a FB page for the book is a good enough marketing plan... um. It's not. And if you think all 437 friends on your personal page will buy your book, you are dreaming. From the local authors I know, and from my experience, only about 10% of your friends will actually buy. A little bit more will read/download free stuff like short stories or blog posts. And less than 10% will come to a live event. Facebook only goes so far and you will soon exhaust your pool of fans and annoy them into blocking you from their feeds/unliking your page if your only advertising is done there. Which defeats the purpose when you have a new book or an event to share.
In my experience FB is best when you have NEWS which is very rare. A new book is news. The first book signing is news. An award is news. Reminding friends to buy the book you published 8 months ago is not news. Reminders are okay, if you get an influx of likes/friends from say a blog post being featured or a book event you went to. But posting every week (or every month) about old books is a good way to turn off your audience. Constant posting is good to stay updated with content, but keep it minimal. A quote here, a link there, an lol cat once a week. That way when you have NEWS you can have a cluster of postings and not be annoying/actually have people pay attention.
FB is a double edged sword, and I will return to the topic to further depress authors in a post I have in the works: why FB will disappoint you as an author. Cheers.