Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Social Media: How Much Is Too Much? by Kathy Ide

Social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) has become an important tool in the author's marketing toolbox. But are you using it, or abusing it? Today, author Kathy Ide provides a few problems that can crop up in our social media plan. -- Sandy

Kathy: When my Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors released last January, I started doing what “everybody” (including my agent and my publisher) told me I’m supposed to do: talk about it! In every social media venue, multiple times a day, several days a week. Which is easy, because I truly believe it’s a great resource for writers and editors. (A belief that, fortunately, is being confirmed by my readers!)

Truth to tell, all this social media blitzing is kinda fun! Especially when I read a positive review on Amazon or someone’s blog. Or when I see that people are retweeting one of my posts or chatting about my book on their Facebook pages. Or when others ask me to do a guest post or a Q&A interview for their blogs.

But I have to say … there are a few downsides to this exciting world of book promotion through social media.

• Problem #1
I had a super-crazy-busy schedule before my book came out. And with everything a person can do on social media, that makes for a really long to-do list … on top of all the to-do lists I already had! Since my “day job” is freelance editing, I have to make time to work on my clients’ manuscripts. And I really love doing that. But it would be easy to spend all day every day doing nothing but promote my book!

• Problem #2
I know people who are always hawking their wares on social media. And it gets irritating really fast. If I see a flurry of messages from someone that say, “Buy my book!” or “Got a great review on my book!” or “Please post a review about my book,” I’m going to be clicking that little X that hides their messages. And I do not want to become that kind of person myself! I mean, what’s the point of having thousands of friends, fans, and followers if they all hide your messages, right?

• Problem #3
I’ve been hearing some disparaging opinions lately about the effectiveness of social media for book promotion. But with a book like mine, the target audience is writers and editors—who are strongly encouraged to be heavily involved in social media!

• Problem #4
Before I had this book to promote, I posted things on my social media venues that I thought would be helpful to people. Like writing tips. And publishing industry news. And my observations of trends in the book world. Well, I’ve been tossing in a few of those kinds of things among all those book-promotion posts. But I think they got lost in the barrage!

• Problem #5
I have a new book coming out in June (see my bio for details). Okay, that’s a great “problem” to have. But I don’t want to just jump from pitching one book to pitching another one.

Possible Solution 
I want to get back to posting the kinds of things that drew people to sign up to follow me in the first place. Oh, I’ll still post stuff about my books from time to time. But I don’t want to overdo it. And I don’t think my followers want me to, either.

Your Thoughts? How often should authors post announcements and information about their own books? How can an author get the word out about his or her book in ways that don’t come across as blatant self-promotion?


Kathy Ide is an author/ghostwriter, editor/mentor, and writers’ conference speaker. Her new book, 21 Days of Grace: Stories that Celebrate God’s Unconditional Love, the first in a series of Fiction-Lover’s Devotionals, releases June 1, 2015, and is available for preorder now at Amazon and To find out more, visit


  1. I agree! Tough line to walk, and I don't enjoy seeing multiple posts that never vary. Yes, tell me about your book but don't let that be the only things. So what you're heading back to I believe is important. It builds relationship, and that's what readers/people are looking for.

    1. Absolutely agree, Susan. When someone follows me on Twitter, the first thing I do is look at their tweets. If it's nothing but personal promotion, I tend not to follow back. If it's a mixture of personal promotion, retweeting or promoting others, and miscellaneous info, I'll follow back.

    2. It's definitely a fine line to walk! I got back to posting writing tips after promoting my Proofreading Secrets book. But now I have a new book to promote! I truly believe this book will be a tremendous blessing to readers, so it's hard not to talk about it all the time ... in person and in my social media! :-)

  2. Balance is key. Unfortunately, not every one will agree on what is balanced and what is too much.

    Personally, I tend to go heavy handed during a giveaway or special promotion. Other than that, I don't "talk up" my book so much as I share various things about it.

    I sat down and tackled the same issue a few months back as I looked into becoming more active on Twitter and my weekly blog. I asked myself: Who am I? What do I want my readers to know about me?
    The answer for me became simple: 1) I love history and I want to share those details with my readers. 2) I'm a reader. Not only am I a writer, but I'm a fan. I want to share what I'm reading with my new friends. 3) I'm a writer....and now so are some of my new friends. I want to share encouragement or advice with other authors. 4) I'm a Christian. In everything I do, I want to point people back to Christ. 5) And lastly, I'm the author of a specific book. I want to share my work and the behind the scenes details of it with my fans. As a fan, I am to be a fan friendly author.
    The next step became applying who I am into my blog posts and tweets. I created a "schedule" for daily tweets. I idea is to tweet something in 3 different categories each day: Bible verse, as a reader, and as an author. (Don't go checking up on me because I've kinda grown inactive on Twitter again. Lol But I'll be back!) When I was scheduling tweets, the system worked really well. I tweeted a bible verse daily. Tweeted either a quote from the book I was reading, or shared the book I was reading. And then I tweeted something from the author's side of things. Sometimes (very rarely) that would be something about my own book, but mostly, it was either a quote from another author or just an update on my own work in progress.
    As for the blog, I did something similar. I created a themed schedule. Since I post only once a week, I've dedicated each week to a certain theme so I can share all of me without growing unbalanced. Here's what my schedule looks like: Week 1: About the book - I'm not talking up my book in these posts, but rather sharing fun details behind the story. Character profiles, details behind the cover, historical details mentioned in the story, etc.Week 2: Christian - I post a religious message. Week 3: About the author - This one is a little more flexible. I share more details about me and my life, the books I've read so far this year, crafts that I've tried, etc. Week 4: History - My 1st 2 novels are about the Civil War and I have a LOAD of fun details and interesting letters that I've found over the years.

    Anyways, I didn't share all these details so that I could toot my own horn, but so that I could share something that might be useful to you. For me, having a themed schedule in front of me was a time saver. I didn't have to think about what I wanted to post, but rather, just find something to plug into each category. This may help you save time and stay balanced in the type of things you post.

    1. Wow! What a great system, Anita. Except for my blog, I try to do the same things on Twitter and FB. I'm really trying to be better on my FB page at sharing more varied posts. Like you, I want to share more of what I'm interested in. It's a work-in-progress. :)

      This month, Edie Melson is conducting an informative course for ACFW. A great one for members to check out.

    2. These are terrific tips, Anita! One reader of this blog told me she was disappointed there weren't more details in my article on ways to avoid "social media abuse." I couldn't have come up with a better list!

      As you mentioned, I too have a schedule of categories for my SM posts. I make sure there are some with Bible verses that speak to me, and writing tips, fun facts about writing or books, quotes from writers or about writing. I want my followers to enjoy reading my posts, not just say, "There she goes again, talking about her book."

  3. Thanks, Kathy and Anita for your suggestions. I like the idea about writing and scheduling themed tweets. I think I'll schedule an hour a week to write and schedule as many as I can.


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