Rules of Facebook Etiquette for Authors

A few weeks ago, I put out a call for topic ideas so that I could make sure I’m answering real questions and concerns Rules ofon my Social Media Monday series. Somewhat to my surprise — because I honestly had no idea this was even an issue — I received a request from blogger Kelsey (Kelsey’s Cluttered Bookshelf) for a post on author etiquette for Facebook.

It turns out that many authors are spamming bloggers’ groups and Facebook pages with what amounts to “buy my book” advertisements, and the bloggers–rightfully so, in my opinion–resent the heck out of that. Even if a blogger’s Facebook page is set to allow posts (or a group is open), it’s not an invitation for an author to treat it as a free advertising platform. In fact, doing so will likely get you banned, and you’ll probably lose more sales than you’ll gain.

So how should you behave as an author on someone else’s group or page? To make sure I had as complete an answer as possible, I put the question out to a number of book bloggers, and with their help, came up with the following list of rules I hope you’ll find helpful.

Rules of Facebook Etiquette for Authors

  1. Don’t spam. When you join a blogger’s Facebook group or visit their page, do so as a reader, not as an author. If you connect with other readers as one of them (and play by the rules), chances are that one or more of them will eventually check out your books, because “friendships sell books far better than spammy check out my book comments” (Chelsea, Vampire Book Club).
  2. Do read the group rules and abide by them. Sally from The Qwillery points out that some bloggers prefer to keep their Facebook pages/groups as author-free zones. Respect that and steer clear of those places. The Internet is huge, and you can find plenty of other places to hang out. (Please note that Sally and the other bloggers mentioned in this post do allow authors on their blogs and Facebook pages/groups as long as they’re polite and abide by the guidelines. 😉 )
  3. If you’re not sure of the posting rules, ask. Don’t assume it’s okay to post a link to your book just because the rules don’t specify otherwise.
  4. Don’t engage with the page/group owner (or anyone else on the page/group) over a negative review. In fact, don’t ever engage with a blogger anywhere over a negative review. (For more on that topic, check out How to Respond to a Negative Review.)
  5. Don’t spam. If you’ve been an active member of a community for a while and you have something going on in your author world you think others would be interested in (a new release, giveaway, sale, etc.), Sharon Stogner of I Smell Sheep and Chelsea both suggest that you privately message the group administrator/page owner to ask permission to put up a link. (I would add that if the answer is no, accept it graciously.)
  6. Know that if you don’t follow the rules, there will be consequences. As Sharon says, “At best you will get a message telling you [to] follow the rules for posting. At worst you will be deleted and blocked and when the blogger is hanging out in one of the many private blogger groups your name might come up.” (Trust me when I add that the latter bit won’t be in a positive light… 😯 )

In closing –and I cannot stress this enough — remember that being on Facebook as an author is about building community and not about climbing up on your soapbox at every opportunity. Join conversations as a person and not just as an author. If you’re on a Facebook page or in a group for genuine interaction, I promise you’ll get far more out of the experience than you ever could by imitating the stereotypical used car salesman. 😉

P.S. Have I missed anything? Leave me a note in the comments — I’ll happily add to the list!

P.P.S. Check out my other social media etiquette articles! Basic Online Etiquette for Authors; Twitterquette: 5 Tips for Authors; and A Writer’s Guide to Book Blogger Etiquette.

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4 responses to “Rules of Facebook Etiquette for Authors”

  1. D. D. Syrdal Avatar

    Absolutely astounding how many people still need to be told these things.

    1. Linda Avatar

      I think many are still new to social media, very enthusiastic, and having to figure things out the hard way…as I initially did, lol. Hopefully articles such as mine can help them avoid some of the more glaring errors.

  2. Mysterious Bibliophile Avatar

    These are definitely solid rules. With social media, the line between socializing and promoting oneself can be tricky.

    1. Linda Avatar

      Tricky, yes, but I think that if the focus is on community and interaction, the promotion happens more organically than many expect or realize. The key is patience. Thanks for reading! 🙂

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