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Social Media Marketing for Authors: How Much Is Too Much?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013
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No statistics. No experts.

Let’s chat about authors using social media to market their books.

As an author, how much do you use social media as a marketing tool?

As a reader, at what point do you unfriend/unfollow an author because it seems like all they ever do is use social media to shill for their latest project?

Let’s look at social media across the board, but focus especially on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, as these are the three largest. Let’s be honest, but remember not to bash any authors by name and to keep our discourse here civil.

  1. Judy permalink
    Tuesday, April 2, 2013 11:39 am

    I read Facebook at least daily, tried Twitter and felt it was a waste of time, and haven’t figured out enough about Pinterest to bother enrolling, although I enjoy postings from others on Facebook.

    Sorry, authors, I read your blogs for the writing hints, which are generally outstanding. I have yet to buy a single book based on an author’s blog. As a retired teacher, I know some people can write, but teach, and some outstanding writing instructors aren’t really good writers.

    I do have one author who emails everyone on his mailing list when a new book is coming out. I pay attention to those. Another author sends me snail mail when her new book is coming out. I value those letters, too.

    I do use an author’s webpage, not to keep current with his or her new books, but to find out more about titles other readers recommend, ones advertised in bookstore ads, etc. Often, Lifeway or Barnes & Noble will mention a soon-to-be-published books or a new title. I either go to the author’s website or to Amazon to find out more about the book.

    Oh, wait. If an author has mentioned an upcoming book on Facebook with enough background for me to know the genre and a little of the plot, I do look for more info on those titles.

    I no longer pay much attention to the testimonials unless an author I’ve read and liked gives them. Sorry to be cynical, but my good friends praise my writing, too. I think their praise may say more about their kind hearts than the quality of my work. Particularly with first-time published writers, I figure most of the testimonials are from people who love the author, so I take them with a grain of salt.

    So what do I rely on? The biggest aid to me other than the ones I’ve already listed is reading an excerpt from the book.


  2. Judy permalink
    Tuesday, April 2, 2013 11:46 am

    Sorry. I know some people can write, but can’t teach. (Some can do both.)


  3. Tuesday, April 2, 2013 3:34 pm

    I’m a reader/reviewer and freelance editor, so that’s the basis for my answers.

    I don’t follow many writers on Facebook – I tend to either follow their blogs, or follow on Twitter. Some authors automatically post Tweets to Facebook so I get them twice – if too many did this, I might unfollow, but at the moment not many do so I don’t bother. Even then I’d only unfollow one, probably Facebook.

    On Twitter, I unfollow an author when I notice that their last ten posts in a row have been promotional. In that case, when I looked at their tweet history I couldn’t find a single informational post.

    This is why I no longer automatically refollow those who follow me – if an author has only followed me so that I will refollow and get their spam, I’m not interested.

    I’m not currently active on Pinterest – I have an account, but don’t really go there much.


    • Tuesday, April 2, 2013 3:54 pm

      Have you noticed when looking at Twitter users’ profiles that come in the e-mail notification of new followers that a lot of them are using their profile “bio” as promotional blurbs now, too?

      Also, I hate it when I follow someone on Twitter and I get a PM that not just thanks me for following them but directs me to click a link to their latest blog post or their newest release. Auto unfollow there, for me.



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