Category Archives: Grow Your Author Platform

10 Social Media Book Marketing Strategies Writers Should Avoid | Web Design Relief

These days, the life of an author is often divided between writing books and online marketing on social media. But do you know what kinds of posts and book promotions are unwelcome—or even prohibited— on social media platforms? At Web Design Relief, we know that even innocent efforts to attract new fans and friends may run afoul of the powers that be. And if your accounts are suspended, blocked, or banned, you’ll be cut off from your most powerful online marketing tools. Here’s how to play it safe when promoting your book on social media.

Social Media Book Marketing Strategies That Writers Should Avoid

Using Disallowed Strategies In Social Media Contests

A contest is a great way to create excitement about your book. And while it may be tempting to require your fans or followers to “tag their friends” or “share this post” as a way to submit a contest entry into your book giveaway, this option is expressly forbidden according to Facebook Promotion Guidelines.

Joining Too Many Groups On Facebook

There are thousands of public and private groups on Facebook that cater to book lovers of every genre. As an author, these are great places to do some online marketing by connecting with avid readers. However, if you join too many Facebook groups in a short period of time, Facebook is likely to red-flag you as a potential spammer. Best advice: Don’t join more than a few groups a day.

Sending Too Many Friend Requests

You want to build a big community, so it’s natural you’ll request new friends. However, if you send out too many friend requests in a short amount of time on Facebook or Instagram, these platforms may flag you as a possible bot. Rather than sending all your friend requests at once, do a few every day to avoid having your accounts blocked or suspended.

Furthermore, to avoid being labeled a book marketing spammer, it’s best to send requests to people with whom you already share friends, groups, or interests. If too many of your friend requests are rejected, those individuals may mark your requests as “spam.”

Posting Too Often And Too Quickly

As an author, you’re told to post multiple times a day and respond as quickly as possible to anyone who comments in order to keep your followers engaged. But if you upload the same exact post to multiple places within minutes, Facebook and Instagram will recognize this behavior as similar to that of a spam-bot. The platforms are likely to squash such activity with a suspension or a shadow ban.

Post frequently, and answer fast, but make sure to leave at least a few minutes between shares and posts so you don’t mimic the behavior of a software macro.

Automating Your Posting

There are many programs available that offer to help you automate your book marketing strategy on Pinterest and Instagram, but buyer beware: At the time of this article, both of these platforms prohibit the use of automated systems. Data scrapers are also banned from Instagram and Pinterest, so you’ll just have to gather the links or images you need for your next blog post yourself.

Facebook will allow you to schedule multiple posts in advance, and you can schedule Tweets on Twitter using programs like Hootsuite without any issues.

Putting Links In The Wrong Place In Pinterest

Pinterest has very specific rules as to where you can put the link associated with the picture you’re posting on your board. Click “edit” on a posted picture and insert the link in the box labeled “link.” You can be suspended or banned for putting your link anywhere else in the metadata.

Posting Violent Or Gory Content

Attention, authors writing serial killer or noir thriller novels! Community standards vary in terminology across social media platforms, but content that is perceived to incite violence, such as terrorist activity, hate speech, criminal activity, and cruel or insensitive content that’s directed to particular victims or classes of victims, etc., is prohibited. Most platforms also strive to stop and pull down images of graphic violence, including gory surgical procedures, and ban or suspend the accounts of those who post it.

Posting Pornographic Content

Attention, writers of erotica! You won’t be banned for sharing a photo of the naked sculpture of Michelangelo’s David, or for sharing a post that includes non-sexual nudity for educational or medical purposes, but remember to be mindful of the community standards of each platform when it comes to what is considered lewd or pornographic content. Most platforms will ban users who post prohibited content such as:

  • Child nudity or any sexually exploitive photos of children
  • Sexual violence
  • Nude or pornographic posts that target people with the intention of degrading or shaming them
  • Posts of private pictures for the purpose of harassment

Posting Copyrighted Content

Don’t pull random photos or graphics from the Internet to create your posts. While authors may gasp in horror at the suggestion that they would ever copy someone else’s intellectual property, copyright infringement happens often online—particularly when it comes to graphics and photos. Make sure the images you post are yours, that you’ve attributed them if necessary, and you have the right to use them. Limit your photos to those found on sites offering royalty-free images like Shutterstock. Multiple violations won’t only get you in trouble with the copyright owners, but they might land you in Facebook Jail or get you banned from Pinterest or suspended from Twitter.

Posting Hacked Materials

Twitter specifically prohibits posting hacked information that would expose personal identity content, trade secrets, or anything that might put people in danger. You’re not allowed to post a link to hacked materials, either.

If you do run afoul of social media platform rules, they’ll usually send a warning or, at worst, briefly suspend the account before taking more drastic action. Avoid this fate by protecting your accounts, and all the hard work you’ve done to grow them, by being aware of community standards and avoiding spam-like behaviors. In the end, the best way to avoid the Facebook Sheriff is to tailor your posts for high engagement by focusing on what makes you and your work unique and wonderful.


Question: What is your favorite social media platform and how do you use it?

How To Create A “Book Me” Page On Your Author Website To Get More Speaking Gigs| Web Design Relief

Networking, shaking hands, and meeting new people is a great way to drum up interest in the speaking or book signing events you can offer as an author. But your author website can be equally effective at nabbing you some new invitations to speak—if you’re using it right. Imagine: You could be lounging around in sweatpants, binge-watching Netflix, while your author website is hard at work scoring new book promo invitations and more speaking gigs on your behalf.

The marketing experts at Web Design Relief know that when you create an effective “book me” page on your author website, it will help you…

  • Get more invitations to speak at (or call in to) book clubs
  • Get more nibbles to give readings at libraries and local coffee shops
  • Get more invites from teachers who might want you to speak in classrooms
  • Get more requests from writing groups for seminars and lectures
  • Get more invitations to book fairs and festivals, book signings, and other events
  • Get more inquiries about teaching online classes or participating in author forums

By expanding your reach through author speaking gigs and appearances, you grow your audience and potentially sell more books. An exciting, effective “book me” page on your author website can help make that happen!

9 Tips For Getting More Speaking Gigs Using Your Author Website

Pinpoint your target audience. Are you hoping to score more invitations from book groups made up of casual readers? Or are publishing pros your target market (like booksellers, writing groups, librarians, etc.)? If your answer was something like “uh, both?” then you might want to consider creating two separate web pages: one customized for each audience. Or consider dividing your “book me” page into different sections. Why? Writing group organizers and librarians may be looking for different takeaway value from your speaking gigs than casual book readers.

Define your call to action. What action step do you want website visitors to take when they stop by to consider booking a speaking gig or call-in with you? Do you want them to reach out to you directly using your contact form? Or would you rather add them to your author mailing list (and then reach out to your subscribers regularly to let them know about new offerings)? Once you know exactly the step you want your visitor to take, be sure to make it easy for them to take that step.

Make the most of your headshot. People who are interested in meeting you might be more inclined to reach out if your author headshot (photo) shows a friendly, approachable face—you know, the face of a person who is going to be interesting, clever, and thoughtful. If your writing style is more serious or eerie and sinister, feel free to turn down the wattage on your grin for a look that’s more mysterious and intriguing. Whatever the mood of your author brand, use your author headshot to boost your personal interest factor. Learn more: Your Author Headshot: How To Create A Flattering (And Affordable!) Portrait For Print And Online.

List your offerings. Create an easy-to-skim list of seminars, lectures, classes, readings, call-ins, and other presentations that you can present to audiences. Bonus points if you’re mixing up both digital and real-time offers like FaceTime book club appearances for faraway readers as well as readings for local library crowds. Some tips:

  • Come up with catchy titles for your talks
  • Keep descriptions short and punchy
  • Put a new spin on perennial favorite topics whenever possible
  • Give audiences what they want (offer a big takeaway value)
  • Let people who want more details about your presentations know that additional info is available upon request

Sweeten the pot. Many writers try to tempt audiences to book a seminar/reading with them by offering extra enticements to participants. Here are some examples:

  • Offer a gift basket with book-related items and goodies for book club groups.
  • Host a fabulous prize giveaway that attendees can opt to enter (plus, you can collect email addresses for your subscriber list).
  • Give a free critique to one lucky listener/attendee (great for writers groups).
  • Volunteer to donate a portion of any proceeds to a related charity (aka cause marketing for authors).

Promise promo. Sometimes, overworked organizers aren’t able to drum up a lot of pre-event promo—but they LOVE the idea that you might enthusiastically drive new visitors through their doors. You might want to note on your author website that all of your events come with a free prewritten press release, flyers, social media promotion, etc.

Brag by number. If you’ve hosted events with huge numbers of attendees or you have a healthy social media following in your region, organizers would be interested in your fledgling fame and promotional reach. They may be more inclined to host your event if they sense you already have a strong following.

Let’s go to the video. Posting a small snippet of a presentation you’ve given—or even a video of yourself inviting others to reach out to you—can go a long way toward demonstrating your likeability factor. But don’t stress about it! Your video doesn’t have to be fancy to be effective. In fact, some companies have deliberately dropped high-production, slick videos in favor of clips that have a homemade, authentic vibe. But if video makes you look nervous and uptight (because, hey, we can’t all be nightly news anchors), then just skip it and embrace a medium that works for you.

Picture this. You know what they say: A picture is worth a thousand words. A photo or two of you at your events either with fans, standing in front of a crowd, signing books, etc., could hint at the promise that a great time will be had by all.

Be Smart, Be Safe, But Be Easy To Contact

Make it easy for event organizers to contact you—the more hoops people have to jump through in order to connect with you directly, the more likely they’ll say “forget it” before they manage to knock on your door.

That said, we do not recommend publishing your personal email address on your author website. First of all, you’ll want to protect your privacy. But secondly, spammers will be flooding your published email address, and you won’t be able to tell which emails are from humans and which are from spambots. So you might miss out on an important contact.

Instead of broadcasting your personal email address, invite visitors to fill out a contact form, preferably with a CAPTCHA-type security measure in place to vanquish web-trolling robots. Then, be sure to take careful precautions when moving forward with any author speaking gig: Only agree to visit reputable, safe organizations or restrict in-person lectures to public places.

Once your book promotion event is booked, brush up on your book signing etiquette, pack your books and your enthusiasm, and go have some fun!


Question: What strategy do you find is most effective for nabbing author speaking gigs?

Online Book Marketing Isn’t Working? Here’s What To Adjust | Web Design Relief

As a marketing-savvy author, you know building a social media platform is vital to your writing career. That’s why you post frequently, respond to all comments, and monitor your social media platforms throughout the day. But at Web Design Relief, our experts know that sometimes your online book marketing strategies don’t show any real results. What should you do when the number of your fans and followers flatlines—despite all your best efforts?

Updated Tips, Tricks, And Adjustments To Tweak Your Online Book Marketing Strategies

Ask Your Social Media Followers A Question

One of the best ways to increase engagement with your current followers and fans is to ask questions! Quick, easy-to-answer multiple-choice queries grease the ease of engagement. E-books or print? Vampires or werewolves? Coffee or tea? Sometimes a simple question gets the best results.

Another way to keep your fans engaged is to always be upbeat, even when sharing less-than-happy news. A positive outlook is always appealing. Fans and followers will respond to your optimism.

Share Eye-Catching Images In Your Posts

Data suggests that across social media platforms, posts with graphics get more attention than those without. If the thought of wrestling with the knotty tangle of photo copyright restrictions makes you twitch, consider checking out some free or low-cost graphic-design-tool websites such as Canva or BookBrush to create the most eye-catching posts you can. Another good strategy is to post your own graphic quotes using Quozio.

Take Advantage Of Available Data Analytics For Book Promotion

Numbers and statistics might make your head spin, but they can help you determine what to post for maximum engagement, and when to post for maximum exposure.

  • For Facebook, go to the Insights tab on your business page for information about which posts have the greatest reach and data about when your followers are most active.
  • For Twitter, check out impressions and engagements of a particular tweet by clicking on the three vertical bars icon under the tweet. Or check out “Analytics” on the drop-down menu beneath your Twitter profile picture.
  • Instagram business profiles have an “Insights” feature that will give data on posts, stories, and your audience.

Boost Your Best Efforts

Using data from the analytics above, you can magnify your reach on Facebook by boosting your best posts. Facebook allows you to pay to “boost” posts so that they will be seen by more of your followers, their friends, and other possible targets based on age, gender, location, interests, etc. You can choose the duration and the budget, which can be as short as one day and as affordable as one dollar per day. You can also pay to boost Tweets and Instagram posts too!

Be Innovative About Book Marketing And Book Promotion

Although one of the ultimate goals for building a social media following is to sell your books, constant posts that scream “buy my book!” will only drive followers away.

Instead, promote your book by building interest in you as a writer and the story itself. What first interested you in the setting or the premise of the book? Where did the first germ of the idea come from? Share stories about how you came up with character names, or why you hope your nonfiction will help people with a specific problem. The more your followers feel involved with the story and the process, the more likely they’ll respond when you finally do ask them to buy your book.

Plan And Schedule Your Book Promotion Efforts

It can be exhausting to spend every day coming up with new, fresh, interesting content and the graphics to go with it. To make better use of your time, do your social media post planning all at once and then take advantage of schedule-ahead options:

  • Facebook author pages allow you to schedule your posts. Use the drop-down menu of the “Publish” button on your post to access the scheduling feature.
  • Check out TweetDeck for scheduling Twitter posts.
  • Look into Hootsuite for scheduling across multiple social media platforms.

Online book marketing can easily become overwhelming. Many companies hire whole departments of social media professionals to promote their brands. But there’s only one you, so be sure to avoid social media burnout by focusing on what’s really important: writing more books.


Question: Of your recent social media posts on any platform, which post has had the largest level of engagement, discussion, or sharing?

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