New “etiquette” for authors: Do’s and Don’ts for marketing your book online

Here’s a collection of really great pointers for new (and old) authors who are eager and anxious to get the word out and sell their books. The evolving  world of “Social Marketing”  has its own standards and practices and creates traps and opportunities to misstep. Shelley Hitz has some solid advice to help us avoid them.


What NOT to Post When Marketing Your Book – 8 Common Mistakes to Avoid

by Shelley Hitz

Have you heard of the popular TV show, “What Not to Wear”?

Well, in this blog post, I am not going to cover fashion, but instead I will be focusing on what NOT to post when marketing your book on social media.  The idea for this post came while I was on Facebook one day.

I am in a lot of Facebook groups for networking and marketing purposes and I see the craziest things posted within these groups. Unfortunately, many authors are pushing, pushing, pushing their books on social media instead of engaging their readers and pulling them in.

I have compiled 8 of the most common mistakes I see authors making when marketing their books on social media below:

#1:  “Buy My Book”

“Buy my book” is a phrase you want to avoid using very often, if at all, in your social media marketing efforts.

“Buy my book” is a phrase you want to avoid using very often, if at all, in your social media marketing efforts.

However, this phrase can be used as a call to action on your website when you list your books on your book page. You do have a book page on your website, right?  If you don’t, I highly recommend that you add one to make it easy for your visitors to find out more about your books.

Here are a few examples of phrases you can use on your book page:

  • “Get Your Copy Here”
  • “Get it Now”
  • “Buy Here.”

But remember that on social media you want to be social and engage your readersinstead of simply trying to get a sale.  The goal of marketing is to build a relationship with your readers so they grow to know, like and trust you.  If you are constantly asking them to buy something, they will most likely tune you out.

#2:  “You Will Love My Book”

I saw a Facebook post in one of my groups that started with this phrase… “I am sure you will love my book …”

Really?  How do you know?  Many of these groups are general groups and so the people reading your post may not be interested in your book’s genre or topic.

In addition, telling someone they will love your book feels pushy and manipulative.

#3:  “I Hope You’ll Read Mine Book”

Here is another actual post I saw in a Facebook group… “I hope you’ll read mine book.”

Is anyone else cringing right now?

Granted, I sometimes post typos as well and understand that no one is perfect.  However, I do encourage you to take a moment to proofread your posts to avoid critical mistakes like this one.

Honestly, would you want to read this author’s book?  I know I would not.  I can just imagine a book filled with errors and typos, that is, unless they have an excellent editor.  But, you get my point.

#4:  The Lonely Link

Something else I recommend when marketing your book on social media is to avoid posting a lonely link without any introductory text. Even though there is usually a preview with a title and description that automatically comes up, you still want to personalize the link you are sharing.

Otherwise, to me, it screams laziness because the author didn’t even take time to write a couple of sentences about why they are sharing this link with me.

Don’t make this mistake. Take a few moments to introduce and personalize any links that you share on social media.

Here are a few questions to consider before posting a link:

  • Why should this audience visit your blog post?
  • What benefit is in it for them?
  • What is your purpose in sharing this link with this particular audience?

#5:  Copying and Pasting a Tweet onto Other Platforms

Avoid posting your tweets formatted specifically for Twitter on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, etc.  I can spot a tweet when I see one.  It usually has a bunch of hashtags, a shortened link and often times has a twitter @ reply within it.  For a Facebook super-user like myself, it is a major turn off to see these “tweets” posted within Facebook and I often ignore them.

When on Facebook, post for Facebook.   What do I mean by this?  Take a moment to remove the @replies and most of the hashtags.  I also recommend not using shortened links like or as some Facebook users may be hesitant to click on them.

#6:  Posting Multiple URL’s

As I was scrolling through my Facebook groups today, I saw several posts that listed multiple links to their books for each country’s Amazon store.  However, instead of listing every single Amazon store URL in your post, I encourage you to create a smart URL that redirects to the appropriate country based on where the person is using the internet.  You can use a free resource called SmartURL to create this link here:

For example, put your main Amazon link first.  Then, simply add the additional countries and their corresponding Amazon URL’s when you create the link.

Just know that the free version of SmartURL may change your affiliate links into theirs.  A paid version where you can keep your own affiliate links is coming soon per their website FAQ’s.

#7:  Using All Caps

I assume that most authors know by now that typing in ALL CAPS is similar to screaming at someone in person.   However, I keep seeing posts that are written entirely in all caps.  WHO WANTS TO BE SCREAMED AT BY AN AUTHOR?  Not me!

If you want to emphasize certain words with all caps, go for it.  But, please avoid typing your entire post in all caps.  Please.

#8:  Repetitive Posts

There are certain authors that post the same things about their books over and over and over on social media.  Every week I will see certain authors posting similar posts with a similar blurb about their books in the same groups.

Granted, repetition is good in marketing.  They say it takes the average consumer seeing something seven times before they buy.  However, please avoid posting the exact same thing over and over.  This will turn your prospective readers away in a hurry.   Plus it says that you are not creative enough to think of something new to say.

So What Should You Post When Marketing Your Book?

Let me give you a few ideas of what to post when marketing you book on social media.

Ask an engaging question. You could share a little about your upcoming book and ask their opinion. For example, if you write fiction, you could ask if they prefer an epilogue or not. If you write nonfiction you could ask what questions they have on a certain topic, etc.

You could also ask for feedback on book covers (if you are willing to reveal the options you are working with). Post about a sale, a giveaway or an informative blog post you have written.

Let other people boast about your book for you so that you do not have to.  Share a snippet from one of your reviews instead of tooting your own horn.

Share a free excerpt or a link to a PDF of the first chapter of your book. Or simply post several paragraphs of an excerpt that is engaging to get them interested in reading more. Share about a significant milestone in your career as an author.

This can generate “likes” and short comments like “Congrats!”  However, I have seen authors that overdo this and it gets old quickly.  So use this type of post sparingly with major milestones only.

Let’s Get Creative

Instead of blending in with all the other authors online, I encourage you to take time to be creative with your posts.  Pay attention to which posts get the most likes and comments.  Most likely it will be a post that is social in nature and engages the reader in some way.  Not only is it rewarding to engage your readers, but you will also get a better return for investment of your time in the long run.

Shelley Hitz

Owner at

Shelley Hitz is an award-winning and internationally best-selling author. She is the owner of and is passionate about helping authors succeed in publishing and marketing their books. And she teaches from personal experience. Shelley has been writing and publishing books since 2008 and has published over 30 books including print, eBook and audio book formats. She consistently ranks in the top 100 authors for her category on

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