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Saturday, September 17, 2016

Five Things Authors Do Wrong on Social Media

Here are five things that authors do wrong on social media:


  1. You Don’t Have a Plan

    I know how difficult it is to go from a chosen profession as an author to a forced profession as a marketer, but only the most successful self-promoters will sell enough copies of their books to earn a decent living. Most authors hop on social media haphazardly, sometimes flooding their feeds and alternately ignoring them. You should always start with a plan or campaign: When will it start? When will it end? What is your message? What will you post to capture your readers’ interest? Even if you’re posting continuously, break it down into monthly campaigns. It will help you focus.

  2. You Confuse Number of Followers/Friends with Success

    It isn’t the quantity that matters. It’s the quality. If you have a million followers but only 10 buy your book, that won’t convert to success as an author.

  3. You’re Not Connecting with Your Ideal Audience

    This ties into Number 2 above. Take some time to look at your followers’ and friends’ feeds. Who are they? Where do they work? What are their hobbies? Are they buying your book? Tap into your ideal audience by finding out where they hang out and join them. Interact without the hard sell.

  4. You’re Not Listening

    Successful marketers engage in Social Listening. A lot of authors flood their social media with advertisements for their books without reading others’ posts or establishing relationships. And today, it’s all about relationships.

  5. You Give up Too Soon

    I’ve seen a lot of authors engage in a month-long campaign and then declare it a failure when book sales were not immediate. Consider your own buying habits. When was the last time you heard or read about a book that would interest you? Did you rush right out or click right through to buy the book immediately? Or did you make a note of it, planning to buy it sometime in the near future? Especially if books are sold through retailers such as independent book stores or brick-and-mortar chains, the sales might not be reflected in your royalties for another 3-6 months.

    Selling books is not a sprint; it’s a marathon. You can’t promote it for a month or six months or a year and then think it will grow legs and take off. Sure, some do. But we hear about those because they are not ordinary. The average author, whether traditional or self-published, must continue to market throughout their career.


Are you a successful author who has used social media to your advantage? What are your tips?

p.m.terrell is the critically acclaimed, multi-award-winning author of more than 20 books in several genres. She has been a full-time author since 2002, the founder of the Book 'Em North Carolina Writers Conference and Book Fair, and will soon be launching her advice column for authors of fiction, called The Novel Business. Learn more about her, read free excerpts from her books, and watch the book trailers at