Winning and losing at the Facebook promotion game

The secret to Facebook success is simple: follow the Rule of 4 C’s—consistently create compelling content!

If you’re an author who’s been watching a slow decline in your fans’ Facebook engagement then you probably already know some of the secrets to Facebook failure, but we’ll review them below. It’s never too late to change course!

With a gazillion users, Facebook is the world’s most popular social network, so you can’t blame your loss of engagement on “lack of audience.”

The answer is simple: you’re not creating content worth sharing. And worse, you might be annoying the hell out of your existing fans, the ones you so desperately need to keep in order to build a larger following.

9 ways to turn off your fans on Facebook

I know there are thousands of authors who are using Facebook the right way, winning new readers with engaging posts and videos (and I don’t really mean to suggest that YOU aren’t one of ’em). But if your Facebook fan interaction is on the decline, you might be guilty of one or more of the following social media sins:

1. Creating multiple events for a single reading/workshop/LitFest

If you’re involved in a literary event that involves multiple authors, do NOT all create separate events. Put your heads together and create one great Facebook event listing. First, it’ll look better when everyone is RSVPing in one place. Second, you’ll ensure that the intended audience isn’t getting multiple invites from multiple authors about one event.

2. Constantly asking for people to review your book or vote for you

It’s important to encourage your readers to leave reviews (hopefully positive ones) on Amazon and community book review sites, but don’t make a weekly habit of it. You’ll look desperate. Also, if you’re involved in some kind of literary competition that involves online voting, do NOT pester people every single day asking for more votes. Art is not a popularity contest.

3. Leaving your facebook page half-completed

Did you get all excited about Facebook at some point and then abandon it? Is it hard to tell from your page if you actually exist in the real world? If so, either complete the missing info and post some new content, or de-activate your page. It looks unprofessional.

4. Posting your stream of consciousness updates every 20 minutes

If you’re posting more than a few times a day, it better be good stuff! Don’t use your Facebook page as your personal profile. The few folks who might care what you’re up to every day will stop caring quick.

5. Incessant negativity

Every once in a while it’s ok to be honest and vulnerable on Facebook. You can vent your frustrations from time to time. But keep those kinds of posts as the exception. Bitching, whining, sour grapes, jealousy, and putting other writers down– no one needs a daily dose of that.


OK. WE GET IT!!!!! You have something really important to tell us. May I suggest instead you choose from the following list of words: excited, thrilled, stoked, psyched, amped, beside-ourselves, overjoyed, blitzed, inspired, amazed, flushed, or atingle?

7. Posting crappy photos that you’re not even in

Oh, great. Another highly pixelated image of… what is that? A pint glass next to a taco wrapper? Next!

Take great pics. And be sure to relate them somehow to your writing life (or travels) with the description.

8. Advertising by posting on someone else’s wall

Remember MySpace? This is the kinda nonsense that would happen on MySpace all the time– and why people stopped using it. Do NOT put your marketing messages on other people’s Facebook walls. That is what YOUR wall is for.

9. Begging for “likes”

It’s OK once in a while to ask your personal friends on Facebook to “like” your author page. Don’t make a weekly habit of the practice, though. Your page won’t get “liked,” and you might find that even your personal Facebook profile is losing friends.


I’m sure I forgot a few good examples of bad Facebook practices. What annoys you on Facebook? Let us know in the comments section below.

Image of angry computer lady from Shutterstock.


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9 Things Authors Do That irritate Their Facebook Fans


Chris Robley

About Chris Robley

Chris Robley has written 602 posts in this blog.

is an award-winning poet, songwriter, performer, and music producer who now lives in Portland, Maine after more than a decade in Portland, Oregon. His music has been praised by NPR, the LA Times, the Boston Globe, and others. Skyscraper Magazine said he is “one of the best short-story musicians to come along in quite some time.” Robley’s poetry has been published or is forthcoming in POETRY, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Beloit Poetry Journal, RHINO, Magma Poetry, and more. He is the 2013 winner of Boulevard's Poetry Prize for Emerging Writers and the 2014 recipient of a Maine Literary Award in the category of "Short Works Poetry."

5 thoughts on “9 Things Authors Do That Irritate Their Facebook Fans

  1. Angie Young says:

    Another one I would like to add. Give book review bloggers your books to read without expecting them to also do a giveaway for you. Every once in a while a blogger is more than happy to do a giveaway for an author. But when you have 10 book bloggers all hosting giveaways for the same book, it’s both nerve wracking to the blogger trying to get their contest to stand out, and it’s confusing for the readers trying to figure out just which all blogs are hosting giveaways and if they have entered them or not.

  2. Sandy Wren says:

    As a Young Adult librarian in a large public high school, I am privy to the opinions of the voracious teen readers among us. These are the teens who have made John Green a best selling YA author, “discovered” Veronica Roth, made graphic novels into more than comic books, and are leading a swing away from fantasy and dystopian novels back to reality fiction. They are not only literate, they are also very tech-savvy. One of the pet peeves they have about author blogs, web sites, twitter feeds, and so on is the “spoilers” — when the author gives away a key plot component, or even the ending of the new book they have not yet read. “Hel-LO!” they say, “I just wanted to get a bit more information about the book, and two weeks after it is out you are answering questions about alternative endings?!” Have a little respect, YA authors, your audience has a lot of respect for you!

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