Authors ask: when is it okay to self promote?
Nope, wrong question.
Step back and consider why it is necessary to ask this question.
Is it because writers are insecure, and we are people-pleasers, and don’t want to upset anyone?
And because we don’t want to upset anyone, we are likely to self sensor, and because we don’t want other people to get ahead doing things that we feel uncomfortable doing, we tell other people not to do it either?
Man, that’s toxic stuff.
So let’s get this out there:
As long as you own the account, self-promote however many times you damn well please.
Promoting on other people’s accounts, though… there is a special place in hell reserved for that.
Right. Now that’s out of the way…
On the other side of the equation, there is definitely a thing as too much self promotion. Accounts that constantly promote their own products are boring, and nobody wants to engage with them.
There are those marketers who teach things like the sandwich method, and other silly metaphors, that favour mixing “engagement” posts with promotion.
Maybe if you’re running a corporate social media policy. For a writer, if you have to plan it this way, then social media is probably not for you. You cannot manufacture “engagement”. You’re a writer, words are our means of communication. Chatting to people about writing or your books should be a natural thing.
Many authors come down on the side of not self promoting enough. They are so fearful of upsetting people, and they might have had a negative comment or two, and they have let that influence their entire behaviour.
The thing is, when you put something online, no matter how innocuous, there will always be people who hate it, and who feel like lashing out at something out of their own impotence. It’s just that your post happen to be in the way of their anger.
But unfortunately, ignoring such comments is very hard to do.
Yoda says: ignore them, you must.
You can definitely sell books through social media.
I have been active on Threads for a couple of months now, and I have seen many sales through links that I tracks through the platform.
But, you will also see a lot of really desperate self promotion.
Despair tend to put people off. It’s up there with constant whining, always blaming others and constant begging as attributes that will drive many people away.
If you don’t do any of that, interact normally, and mention your books on occasion when you have news, no matter how small, then it’s perfectly okay to post about it.
Not only that, you’re a writer, this is your career, so you should post about your books. The people who read those posts are your readers. They want to know this stuff. They will go to the website of their choice and they will buy your books.
I’ve got two months’ worth of proof that this works.