Book Promotion: Do This, Not That – July 2018

by | Jul 19, 2018

By Amy Collins

A slightly different take on DTNT this month… Please, authors, if you are on social media or TRYING to get on social media, read this month’s edition of DO THIS NOT THAT.

What I Did

I unfollowed and deleted a romance author from all of my social media platforms.

Why I Did It

This author is a terrific lady whom I have spent time with on the phone and in person. Her genre (historical romance) is one of my favorites. I like her characters, I have read her books in the past, and I like her personally. SO WHY would I unfollow her everywhere?

What She Did

This charming and talented author posted several times a day about her book. Relentless, constant posts about her book, and nothing else. Her posts were teasers about her next book, excerpts and character dialog lines. The posts were clever, but overwhelming. After a few weeks, I could not take any more. I felt beaten about the head and shoulders with her promotion of her books.

How I Felt

I felt terrible and guilty, but I was seeing 5-6 posts a day about this one book and it was too much. I started to feel annoyed and quit while I was ahead.

How Would YOU Have Felt?

Be honest… how do you feel when you are being “sold” relentlessly?

What She Should Have Done Instead

She should have varied her type of posts and mixed the approaches with the promo posts. Let me set you a sample schedule:


  • Share an article about a romance-comedy movie that is releasing soon.
  • Share a blog that reviews a best-selling romance author.
  • Post a picture of her dog, cat, kid, garden. SOMETHING personal.
  • Share a fun meme poking fun at romance novel covers.


  • Retweet tweet posted by best-selling romance author.
  • Pose a question to followers like: “How many hours a week do you spend reading?”
  • Post a rave line from a reviewer of HER book.


  • Thank folks who answered question and give the results/answers.
  • Google US standard reading habits and post article about average reading habits.
  • Post a link to an interview about HER book.
  • Post a funny complaint about her husband or kids. (NOTHING SERIOUS… lighthearted)


  • Another funny meme that is connected in theme to her book topic.
  • Post an article about authors who write romance.
  • Post a visual picture advertising a line from the book and the cover.


  • Support another author by posting an interview or review of THEIR book.
  • Ask another question such as “What are your pet peeves in novels?”
  • Tell folks what she plans on doing that weekend.


  • Send an Amazon link to her book quoting a recent Amazon 5 star review.

What She Should Do Now

I would be thrilled to reconnect online if her social media outreach was not so self-centered and self-focused. The most popular people at a party are those who entertain and make people feel good. Those at the party who only talk about themselves are branded bores and people tend to wander away from them. They are rarely invited to more parties. The same is true in social media.

What I Recommend to ALL Of Us

We need to remember that social media exists to entertain and educate. If we are only blarting about our books, we are neither entertaining nor educational. We are boring. REALLY boring. I would ask that we all work on scheduling and balancing our online persona and outreach. It is NOT insincere to plan our social media posts… it is actually quite respectful to our followers when we put some thought into what would make THEIR time on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other platforms.

I would love to connect with you on Social Media, PLEASE find me on Twitter at @newshelvesbooks and on Facebook at AmyCollinsNewShelves. I am also on Instagram at NewShelves. I would love to follow you and see how your posts are unfolding!
Photo: Bigstockphoto

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  1. Jackie Weger

    I must say, this is an amazing conversation. I don’t see anyone in here who is advocating promoting only one’s own books. I promote up to a dozen authors in my newsletter every month. Always have from the get go. My subscribers appreciate having an array of books to choose from. They told me so. I do not have any products or services to sell~only fiction books, but! If I, or any colleague has used a service to his or her satisfaction, the contact and service is listed on my website. What works for me may be different for another. I allow for author choice and different mileage.

    Now, I know this is Joel’s site and I’m responding to a guest post, which I thought was nicely done. Still, I think I stumbled into the wrong arena and perhaps did not add to the discussion.

  2. Jackie Weger

    Amy: As usual, I’m a day late and a dollar short, but your sage advice is dead on. Over the past year with so many disruptions in our indie universe, I’ve noticed a kind of frenzy from some of my favorite authors who are trying to keep their books front and center. I get it and I don’t mean it in an unkind way. I follow all my favs on Amazon and Bookbub, download their books, tweet their new releases and books in promotion. And still, my mailbox is filled daily. Next come the new authors following suit. Once wonders who they are listening to or who is handing out all of the advice that makes this kind of saturation so overwhelming.

    I’m a romance writer, too. It’s all I can do to get out a single newsletter ten times a year and post a blog or two a month. Sharing: I ran a survey with my subscribers and golly! They spoke reams. I learned I am so not as savvy as I once thought.

    There is some awful advice in our universe, too. I took a course on newsletters and the instructor and other students said: Only promote one’s own books. My subscribers said otherwise. They want recommendations about books I enjoy and especially they want to hear about new releases and books on sale. So that’s what I share with my subscribers.

    Very good post. I hope it gets a wealth of traction.

    Best, Jackie Weger

    • Amy Collins

      I don’t know who told everyone to set up a newsletter, but I would cheerfully shave their left eyebrows for not giving them a better and deeper understanding of WHAT READERS want and need.

      • Jackie Weger

        Amy: They won’t listen to you unless you threaten to pluck nose hairs out with tweezers. So called experts tell us what our readers want. Instead, I asked my subscribers. They were honest and I learned what I needed to know from my readers/subscribers–who are the real Experts.

        As to why authors have newsletters: I can only speak for myself. Our commercial newsletter promoters are not transparent. We are not told their open and click through rates. So what if they advertise 100K subscribers and charge us a pretty penny? We don’t know when they last scrubbed their lists. I run every single one of my subscriber audiences through a bulk- email checker several time a year and new subscribers get the same check.

        Too often commercial promoters do not nurture their subscribers. Savvy authors do nurture their fans and subscribers. Those of us who have newsletters learned a lot. We learned about open and click through rates. We check our click through rates against our sales and downloads. We’re business folk. We have to know this stuff. Moreover, if we have a decent newsletter server, it rates our open and click through rates. We can analyse the data to learn ehow we might improve, whether it’s the slug line or content.

        On the other hand, ignore all I have to say because I’m not a household name or a best selling author. No glory here, but writing has paid my way since 1980.

        Take care. Hope you have a great summer.

    • Joan Stewart

      Only promoting your own books in a newsletter is horrible advice, and the quickest way to see a dwindling list.

      I publish my newsletter twice a week. Most of what I promote are free articles and blog posts, and products and services, including books, from my competitors. My readers love this because they know I will always keep them in the loop when I find a resource they know will fit their needs, even if it isn’t mine. This goes a long way toward creating trust.

      If you use a reputable email service, give your readers solid content, and email at least every other week, an ezine is one of the very best ways to sell books, other products and services, and promote your expertise as an author. I got dozens of invitations for paid speaking engagements and consulting through my free newsletter. These brought in far more revenue than any ebooks I sold.

  3. Judith Garcia

    Blarting? Great word!

    • Amy Collins


  4. Joan Stewart

    The only thing I hate more than authors promoting their books on social media is authors who promote their politics. Every time you rant about whether Trump should or shouldn’t be impeached, or whether his Supreme Court nominee should or shouldn’t be confirmed, or whether the wall should or shouldn’t be built, you risk losing followers and potential readers. I don’t spend much time on Facebook but I’m now starting to unfollow anyone who posts anything political, even people with whom I agree. Twitter too.

    • Jen

      Charles Schultz published a Peanuts comic where Linus says there’s three things he’s learned to never discuss with people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin. Unless you’re marketing a very specific kind of book to a very specific audience, I think authors would be best served to follow Linus’s advice.

      • Joan Stewart

        Jen, I agree with you about promoting to a very specific political audience if your book is perfect for that audience. You can also search for Facebook and LinkedIn groups devoted to that political topic and share opinions and other content from the book. In this day and age of a deeply divided country, I doubt that any author will change the mind of anyone who’s on the other side. If you try, you will lose followers in the process.

    • Amy Collins

      That is why I keep my political and personal items on a completely separate page from my book world Facebook profile. None of my author or publishing folks wants to hear what I think about politics.

  5. Kathy Steinemann

    Excellent advice, Amy.

    Personal posts can sometimes become too personal, though. We have to keep some secrets.

    Another annoyance: people who post blurbs and links to their books on my Facebook timeline. I know, I know, the answer is to change my privacy settings. But I don’t want to do that.

    • Amy Collins

      MY favorite peeve is when an author “tags” me and 40 other people in her post announcement. I HATE that!

      • Kathy Steinemann


        If anyone tags me in a multiple-tag post intended to increase book sales, I remove the tag and report the post to Facebook as spam. Too many authors have dozens of these on their timelines, obscuring their personal posts.

  6. Bill Peschel

    You see these kinds of people on Twitter, whose account is wall-to-wall ads for their books.

    I can only assume they received bad advice, because why would anyone follow that account (although I did at first, after all, they followed me!)

    Then I realized it wasn’t worth it.

    • Amy Collins

      But WE can treat Twitter with more care and our fellow twits with more respect. I’m looking for you on Twitter now!

  7. W. HIll

    I wouldn’t want to hear from my best friend every day let alone an author and that includes the none ‘buy my book’ related stuff!



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