platform building

Choosing the Right Social Media Site for You and Your Readers

By Marcy Kennedy (@MarcyKennedy)

When it comes to how to spread the word about your book, you’ll hear widely divergent opinions. Don’t bother with promotion. Promote in every possible way. Do real life events—forget about social media. Don’t bother with real life events—stick to blogging and social media. Buy ads. Don’t buy ads.

The one thing everyone can agree on is that indie writers need a way to let potential readers know their books exist. We don’t have access to a publisher’s ready-made audience. My experience (backed up by discussions I’ve had with other authors who’ve used the same methods) is that social media does help build your audience.

Thanks to social media, I’ve grown my blog and newsletter, moved my books into the top ranks of their respective lists when they released, and have grown my business to the point where I work full-time as a writer, editor, and writing instructor. I wasn’t able to achieve those things by networking in real life. My reach was too small.

But social media can also be a giant waste of time. The key to social media is to choose the right site for you and then learn how to use that site in a time-effective way that builds relationships. Spam never works.

The first step to using social media effectively is to figure out what site is best for you and for meeting up with your potential readers. So today I want to give you a quick overview of some of the major social media sites, how they’re different, and who they’re best for.

To read the rest of this post, head over to Janice Hardy’s Fiction University!

Interested in more ways to improve your writing? Grammar for Fiction Writers, is now available from Amazon, Kobo, or Smashwords. (You might also be interested in checking out Mastering Showing and Telling in Your Fiction.)

Both books are available in print and ebook forms.

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Top 5 Mistakes Writers Make on Facebook and How to Avoid Them

Lisa Hall-WilsonI have a very special guest to introduce to you today. My long-time friend, critique partner, and co-writer on my Amazon novel is here to talk to you about Facebook.

Lisa Hall-Wilson is passionate about making the world a better place one get-off-your-butt-and-do-something article at a time. She’s a call-it-as-she-sees-it truth teller and freelance writer, history nut, and dog-owning cat lover. She writes dark fantasy, makes Facebook a happy place for writers, and blogs Through The Fire because no experience is wasted when you share it to help others. She tweets, but Facebook is where she hangs out (

Take it away, Lisa…


I can’t believe I’ve never guest-posted here before. *waves* If you hang out with Marcy at all, you know she loves Twitter. Twitter is her happy place. If I need to get a message to Marcy fast, I send her a Tweet. Facebook is my happy place.

How are your Facebook manners?

There are a number of unwritten rules about using Facebook to build author platform that writers indiscriminately break and abuse all the time. And they’re not trying to be rude, they just don’t know–they’ve been listening to traditional marketers, but I want to suggest a different way. A lot of the methods authors use to sell their books on Facebook feel like spam, are annoying, and aren’t effective. Here are my top 5 Facebook etiquette rules writers break (and yes, these have all been done to me):

#5 – Sending out mass private messages to all of your friends to announce your new book. After all 300 of your friends have congratulated you on your book release, your ego is puffed up and I’m ready to hurt somebody because my message box has exploded. If people have notifications from Facebook sent to their email, you’ve also inundated their email as well. And the only thing they can do is leave the conversation, and that action is made visible to everyone. Seriously, this is what a status update is for.

But not all my friends will see that status update. No, but here’s the reality. Not all of your friends WANT to read your book. Hard to believe, I know. Spamming them won’t help your cause.

#4 – Posting the same link to your Amazon page over and over. The squeaky wheel does not get the grease–they get ignored. Create a custom tab, write blog posts that offer value, and mention your book at the bottom of post. Facebook is not a great place to sell books. For writers, Facebook offers the most value in driving traffic to a blog or website, in building brand awareness, and creating community/tribe.

#3 – Requesting to be added as a friend indiscriminately. Privacy is super important to Facebook users, and getting friend requests from people they’ve barely connected with online is akin to what happened to poor Bilbo in The Hobbit when he opened the door and dwarves kept falling uninvited into his quiet, ordered, everything-makes-sense life.

If you send a friend request to someone who doesn’t have any, or many, mutual friends, Facebook will ask if they know you. They’ll honestly say they don’t know you, and you’ll be reported for spam, because to everyone on Facebook who isn’t a writer, friends are people they’ve met face to face. And I get how extroverts see this as just being friendly, but consider Facebook your shy, has-five-locks-on-the-front-door neighbor. Build a relationship first in groups, on blogs, and on public status updates. Don’t be that first date who suddenly grows an extra pair of hands on the dance floor.

And you know what? No one wants to feel like they’ve been friended just so you can sell them something. They’re looking for genuine, authentic interactions.

#2 – Creating a fake event about your book, and then force-inviting all your friends. It doesn’t really matter how subtle or crafty you think you’re being. It’s transparent what’s actually going on, and it’s spam. Force-inviting all your friends to someone else’s fake book event is also spam (and yes, this has also happened to me).

But wait, it gets worse. Events with no end date are my personal pet peeve because the spam just keeps coming…forever. Keeping those who have declined visible isn’t cool. You can’t even sneak out the back door to avoid hurting feelings. Traditional marketing says this is how you promote an event. Facebook users call this intrusive, annoying, and report you for spam. I get force-invited to fake events weekly. WEEKLY!

#1 – Posting too often. Blitz posting on Facebook is like having dinner with friends and there’s that one guy who keeps interrupting everybody and monopolizing the conversation. Yeah, annoying, right? How long before you just ignore them? Or worse, you avoid gatherings where that guy will be. Don’t be that guy. Sharing photos seems to be the worst offender, but it happens with status updates too.

Sharing too frequently monopolizes newsfeeds and hurts your Edgerank. When you post a dozen photos in a short period of time and you get 3 likes on each photo, it is less effective than if you posted the best one and got two dozen likes and comments. You’re undercutting your Edgerank.

Posting too often is a one-way highway to Facebook hinterland. Once you’ve been hidden, how do you reach that person and let them know you’ve reformed your ways? You can’t.

What other annoying marketing ploys do writers use on Facebook?

I’m doing a Facebook blitz this week to help promote my six-week class, Using Facebook to Build Author Platform. Yesterday I was on Jenny Hansen’s More Cowbell blog posting about how to drive more traffic to your blog with Facebook, and tomorrow I’m over at Jami Gold’s blog talking about whether you should have a page or use your profile to build platform.

As thanks for hanging out, I’m giving away a free written critique of a Facebook author/writer page to one commenter on each blog. Leave a comment on each blog to triple your chances of winning! Winners will be selected on Friday.

Marcy here again: I hope you’ll check out the newly released mini-books in my Busy Writer’s Guides series–Strong Female Characters and How to Write Faster–both currently available for 99 cents.

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