Seven DON'Ts for Socially Savvy Authors

Getting ahead in the world of social media isn't easy, but it's even harder if you are doing things that self-sabotage your efforts. Here are seven things you can stop doing to help you bolster your social media efforts to find more fans and sell more books. 


1. Don't be spammy in direct messages (on any channel). Don't spam people in Direct Messages with automatic replies. Someone just followed you? Great. Thank them publicly if you feel like you must, but sending them an automatic reply begging them to follow you everywhere else, and oh, please, please buy my book, is just a turn-off. No one wants a salesperson yammering at them. Instead, be helpful and conversational. Earn trust first. 


2. Don't make it all about you or your book. In fact, only 10-20% of what you post should be about you. Otherwise, you should be finding ways to inform, educate, engage and entertain. 


3. Don't go wild with emojis. Including emojis is proven to help with engagement, but don't overdo them! There isn't a hard and fast rule on this, but keep it to just a few. Use too many and you might appear desperate, unknowledgeable and spammy. Plus, some people love them and some people hate them. 


4. Don't post too many quotes. Why? Because it's lazy. Once in a while is fine and it shows the world a bit about where you get your inspiration, but it would be better for you to be posting your own thoughts regularly versus the thoughts of someone else. 


5. Don't keep your social media accounts private. There is nothing more maddening to a fan than for them to be excited to follow an author on a social media channel, and then when they click through after finding the author in search, they find that the account is locked down. I see this a lot on Instagram. If you want to share only with a certain group of people and keep things private, don't use your author name. Keeping your account private only frustrates your followers, or, you appear unsavvy when the individual assumes you don't really understand how social media works. 


6. Don't go dormant for weeks, post a bit here and there, then go dormant again. Instead, stay engaged, post regularly and keep to a general schedule. If you go too long without posting (this could be as little as five days) people will start unfollowing you. 


And finally:

7. Don't post something that you might feel embarrassed by later. This should go without saying but recent media events show that if you are a jerk in social media, it could very well show up ten years later. The Internet does not forget.  




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About the Author

Crystal King is a 25-year marketing, social media and communications veteran, freelance writer and Pushcart-nominated poet. She is the author of the FEAST OF SORROW, about the ancient Roman gourmand, Apicius, and the forthcoming THE CHEF'S SECRET (February 12, 2019, Touchstone Books) about the famous Renaissance chef Bartolomeo Scappi. Currently Crystal works as a social media professor for HubSpot, a leading provider of Inbound marketing software. Crystal has taught classes in writing, creativity, and social media at Harvard Extension School, Boston University, Mass College of Art, UMass Boston and GrubStreet writing center. A former co-editor of the online literary arts journal Plum Ruby Review, Crystal received her MA in Critical and Creative Thinking from UMass Boston, where she developed a series of exercises and writing prompts to help fiction writers in media res. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or at her website:

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