The Dos and Don’ts of Social Media Self-Promotion

Let’s face it, as authors in the 21st Century we’re expected to have a presence on social media. Long gone are the days when our publishers handled all our promotions for us, and even if you’re lucky enough to get a deal with one of the big publishers, chances are you’ll be expected to have your own Twitter account or Facebook author page or blog where you post about your experiences as a writer, the latest movie you saw, your favorite brownie recipes, and so on. Of course there are exceptions, and a few authors out there manage to maintain their mystique and stay off of social media, but for most of us, an Internet presence is part and parcel of the game.

Which means that self-promotion is a necessary evil. Nobody wants to be the “Buy my book” guy, but we all do want people to buy our books, and if we’re going to move copies, we know that we’re going to have to promote them ourselves, at least some of the time. Unfortunately, there’s a fine line between engaging in self-promotion that helps to build readers and sell books, and engaging in self-promotion that annoys potential readers and puts people off. Here are a few tips to help you navigate the pitfalls of self-promotion in social media and online.

DO be genuine. This doesn’t mean that you’ve always got to be upbeat and cheerful, it just means that you do have to be yourself. If you’re engaging in selling just for the purposes of selling, it’s going to become obvious. Ultimately, social media is about connections, and it lets readers feel closer to their favorite authors than ever before. Let your real self shine through, and people will connect with that.

DON’T invite people to like your author page. At least, not until you’ve gotten to know them a little bit. Nothing turns people off faster than accepting a friend request and then immediately getting hit with an invitation to “like” that person’s latest project.

DO add value. What does that mean? It means post about things besides self-promotion. Pass on cool links, talk about things that interest you, give your audience something that they want, and that they can’t get somewhere else, and they’ll be a lot more receptive to those inevitable links to buy your latest book.

DON’T be belligerent. Treat your readers with kindness and respect. Sure, you want all of your Twitter followers to buy your book, but you can’t realistically expect them to, so don’t get angry when they don’t. Be grateful for those who do, and let it go at that. There’s a saying about how you’ll get more flies with honey than with vinegar, and that goes for selling books as well.

DO develop relationships. Don’t just talk to your readers, talk with them. Engage in discussions with other writers online, talk with your readers, ask them questions, answer the questions that they ask you. Again, social media is all about connections, and building connections goes both ways.

DON’T engage with bad reviews. There are times to engage, and there are times to back away. When you receive a negative review is one of those back away times. Negative reviews are a part of the writing life, and arguing with them doesn’t do anybody any good. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and anyone talking about your book–even negatively–is a whole lot better than no one talking about it.

Those are just a few tips for what to do and what not to do when it comes to self-promotion on social media. One of the best ways that you can promote yourself and your books online is to have a sharp-looking website with a regularly-updated blog full of useful, interesting information. If your website could use a makeover, contact Clockpunk Studios today to see how we can help make your web presence shine.

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