Thursday, June 4, 2020

Dear O'Abby - How Much is Too Much?

Dear O'Abby, 

I have a friend who 90 to 95% of her posts are sale ads for her books.
Every other author and website I see suggests a max of 30% ads for your books, but mostly staying engaged with others and posting engaging content.

The thing is, my friend does actually earn a few grand a month in book sales.

So I'm curious as to who is right? Is filling Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest almost entirely with ads for your books really the way to go?



Dear Bemused,

This is a good question.  I would tend to agree with you that having over 90% of your social media devoted to advertising is too much.  But then you mention that your author friend's books sell well enough for her to earn a few grand a month from the sales.

From that we have to assume that she's doing something right.  

The most important thing to remember is the reasons why people use social media - to be entertained, educated, informed and to feel heard and connected.  Most people don't use social media to be sold things.  They tend to scroll past anything that looks like an ad - I know I do!

Clever social media users manage to make the majority of their ads look like something else. They aren't screams for attention saying "buy my book".  At least, not all their posts.  No, smart social media users engage with their followers in a variety of ways.  They are in conversation with their followers on a variety of topics depending on what their interests and expertise might be.  And it's very possible to slip a reference to that upcoming book release into that conversation.

While you do want people to recognize your book cover if they come across it, splashing it continually across your social media feeds is not necessarily the best way to boost sales.  Images are important, but people are more likely to scroll past posts which feature your book cover prominently while they may pause if the image is something cute, topical or plain striking. 

Remember that it's called social media for a reason - because it's social.  That means you need to socialize with your followers.  Let them get to know you.  That doesn't mean you have to share everything about yourself, warts and all, but be genuine.  Share as much as you're comfortable with and no more, but make sure what you share feels authentic.  

And finally, there's the connection part.  People who feel included are more likely to engage with your content so bring them in.  Ask questions and respond to people who answer them.  Get to know your followers so you can make sure you post more of the content they like.  The more they like you, the more likely it is that they will buy your books.

Not sure if that really answers your question, but without knowing a little more about your friend and what she writes and how she advertises, it's a little difficult to know whether she's doing too much or not. If you want to get more specific, email O'Abby at and we can take a closer look.

Just to add something else to this in light of everything going on this week.  Whenever you are advertising, be sensitive to what is happening in the world and if something huge blows up, pull your ads until things settle down.  You don't want to look tone-deaf or insensitive.  That's no way to build a following.




Jill said...

So much going on now on the streets and in the media, this is a good lesson.

KayMDiv said...

I think too much advertising takes away from the meat of your content.