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


what-not-to-postHave 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”

[pullquote position=”right”]”Buy my book” is a phrase you want to avoid using very often, if at all, in your social media marketing efforts. [/pullquote] 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 readers instead 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 bit.ly or ow.ly 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:  http://manage.smarturl.it/


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
Shelley Hitz is an award-winning and internationally best-selling author. She is the owner of TrainingAuthors.com 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 Amazon.com.
Shelley Hitz
Shelley Hitz


  1. Thanks for the post, Shelly! I haven’t marketed my novels very much, so your pointers are much appreciated.

  2. Thank you much for sharing the smart link tool. I always wondered how I could add my Amazon link, especially when I have most buyers in the USA or UK. Great points about what not to write too.

    Thank you

  3. While I have been writing for a very long time, Jagged Edges is my debut novel, and I am most grateful for the helpful article you have written. Shelley, I love the use of the bold print for each topic, the short but helpful suggestions, and the ease with which all can be comprehended. I LOVE the fact that you did not use a lot of tech terms that I do not understand.

  4. Excellent suggestions for avoiding social media promotional blunders. Thanks for posting. WB

  5. I want to second what everyone else has said about the smart URL tip. It’s the most useful thing I’ve found on the Web all week.

    • Graham,
      Don’t you love it when you learn something new that you can put to use right away? I’m always learning new things and then enjoy sharing what I’m learning with others. Have a great day!

  6. Jerry Ellis says

    Good morning, Shelley. You’re offering good smart pointers for those new to publishing and marketing. It’s a jungle out there where the PR lions devour the rabbits of marketing so any insightful tips help offer safer paths through the thick brush. I especially like your point about engaging your audience to pull potential readers/buyers into your domain. We are, after all, prey to feeling that our thoughts matter to someone. I see here that you’re good to respond to everyone who notes you. I tip my hat to that. I do the same at my site on Facebook called Native Defender, where I daily post Native American history, vintage photos and questions to liven my followers’ hearts and minds. I’m lucky and have impassioned followers, growing daily. I also got lucky when Random House nominated one of my eight books, Walking the Trail, One Man’s Journey Along the Cherokee Trail of Tears, for a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award, now read by over a half million. Old hat as it is, I feel we can never under estimate the great power of word-of-mouth about a book, and this might be especially true in the wildfire world of social media. Thanks, Shelley, for your tips for they may help many spark more interest in their publications. I savor seeing writers have success. Who dares wish that authors are poor of money or spirit?

  7. Hi Shelley,
    Great info in this post. I’m printing it out to go into my keeper file.
    Question; should I be posting on my my personal FaceBook or our LittleKickerBooks page? I don’t really know how to post on our page so what little I do goes on my personal. That doesn’t seem as beneficial as it could be.
    BTW, we have three Little Kicker books out now and are nearly out with our first Little Kicker plush toy. Working with Binkley Toys out of Ontario, Canada, and they seem to really know their stuff.
    Glad to see you are still producing!

    • Sam,
      Glad you found it helpful! I would recommend posting mostly on your fan page but you could also post occasionally on your personal page updates as well. You should be able to simply go to your Facebook page URL logged into your account and post new updates directly from there.

      Sounds exciting about the Little Kicker toys…I hope it goes over well!

  8. liked your tips, specially the ones related to smart urls and your opinion from a reader point of view about posting a tweet on facebook, I have my facebook and twitter integrated and never thought that might be happening

    best regards

  9. Great post, Shelley. it’s amazing how many fledgling writers make those mistakes. Particularly in LinkedIn Groups. BTW, There’s a cool new program for marketing for authors called WritersCube. Very helpful…huge database. I’ve just begun to use it, but recommend it highly. http://www.about.writercube.com/

    • Thanks Roxie! And as it gets more competitive with more and more new authors coming on the scene everyday, it is important to differentiate yourself from others. Your potential readers will see the difference when you choose to engage and interact with them. 🙂

  10. Great article. An author recently tweeted so much of her new book that I didn’t even have to purchase it. I hope the book did very well, but I thought that was an odd way to try to make a sale.

    • Iva, thank you! I have heard of a few authors tweeting their book out. If it is a first book in a series, it may generate fans for the rest of the books. But, it would be interesting to see what that particular author’s goal was with that campaign

  11. Great article, looking forward to reading more. I hope to write a book soon so will be looking for more marketing tips.

    p.s. I know you from Kim Roach’s group and I still have not found time to read your book – hopefully soon!

  12. Hi Shelley,

    Thanks for the word on smartURL, which I had not heard of before. A UK readership/following is growing for me, and this resource will come in handy.

    Great article!

  13. Jimel Razdan says

    I think it’s important to keep in mind that Facebook is moving more and more toward using hashtags. They’ve even now included this in their FAQs as a way to reach broader audiences:


    • Jimel,
      I totally understand that and have started using hashtags on Facebook. What I don’t recommend is simply copying and pasting your tweet to Facebook without any consideration of it being posted on another platform. I also see some that import their tweets onto Facebook including all of their @replies. That is definitely not recommended!

  14. Great examples of book marketing on social media platforms, Shelley! Another tip I’d add is to find and interact with the current top authors in your niche, starting before you put pen to paper. Watch how they handle their social media postings and how they interact with their audiences on each site. Best results are obtained through different types of interactions on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, YouTube, etc. and there’s no one-solution-fits-all formula. Plus, each niche has a different ambiance on social media sites and what’s perfectly acceptable in one niche could be very jarring in another. As with most things, it’s wiser to learn by modeling a pro than through trial-and-error…

    • Doug,
      Thank you so much! And yes, great tip about finding and interacting with other successful authors in your niche. I like to say “success leaves clues”!

  15. Oops, was trying to edit, go ahead and delete the first one if you’d like Denise/Ellen.

  16. Shelley, you and I are in a couple of the same groups, so you may or may not have seen this particular post. It’s a perfect example of point #1 above, but the author took it even farther, all the way to begging. More than once, she begged people to buy. There was no other way to interpret what she’d posted.

    Granted the proceeds were going to a charity, and I’m sure her zeal behind it was genuine, but I can hardly imagine a bigger turn off, especially because it was done more than once.

    Another good rule of thumb is, if you wouldn’t respond to what you are about to post in a positive way if someone else wrote it, it’s time to go back to the drawing board.

    • Cheryl,
      I think I did see the post you mentioned and it is a great example of what I was sharing in this post. We definitely do NOT want to come across as begging for sales, likes, subscribers, etc. We want to pull people in and get them excited about what we have to offer! 🙂