If you use sites like Facebook and Twitter as promotional tools, as I do myself, there are certain things you should and shouldn’t say in public. This is my rather tongue in cheek list of Dos and Don’ts.
- Don’t ever say Buy My Book – yes I know I do this, but it’s boring and annoying and I am trying to give it up. Or at least be slightly more subtle.
- Don’t put up posts stating what a terribly hard and underpaid job writing is – no one wants to know that. As far as they’re concerned you are living the dream. At least have the grace to pretend you are!
- Don’t write posts confessing you’re just about to go into rehab or are being treated for depression – unless you’re writing the kind of book that is being inspiring about such things and offering solutions/cures. In which case, fill your boots.
- Don’t put up photographs of your aunt/uncle/second cousin’s funeral flowers. This may be OK if you use social media just for friends, but it’s not terribly professional if your posts are public. Or at least I don’t think it is. I have enough heartbreak of my own without anyone else’s. Is that harsh?
- Don’t put up shocking photos of battered animals or cruelly treated livestock with petitions attached. Please. For same reasons as number 4.
- Do talk about things other than writing. Pets, family, cakes, the weird man you saw on the way to the shop – all make excellent subject matter.
- Do take the mickey out of yourself as much as you like. This is always fun and quite entertaining. And fun is what most people expect from social media.
- Do put up entertaining/helpful quotes from other writers – or make some up yourself. Be upbeat and amusing.
- Do freely share writing help/advice you have come across or learned yourself from your writing experience.
- Do share any pictures/jokes/promos from other friends if you think they’re of interest to your followers..
The most helpful advice I ever received about writing was from a very experienced Mills & Boon author. “Never forget,” she said with a gracious smile, “that we are in the entertainment business.”
I think her advice was very pertinent for social media too.