How can you be spooking your readers? By abandoning your Facebook page, being an egghead, or leaving your LinkedIn profile unfinished.
As a child, I would frighten easily. I never entered a haunted house, and I hated clowns.
More accurately, clowns scared the bejeezus out of me.
And on Halloween one year, I visited neighborhood and when I knocked, instead of seeing a welcoming parent answer the door, a horrifying wolf did. (In reality, it was a tall boy wearing a scary wolf mask.)
I dashed down the stairs and across the street and narrowly escaped being hit by a car.
Do you have similar stories?
Now that we’ve all grown up, you might think that it would be difficult to scare others, especially your readers. Well, that’s not exactly true.
You may not frighten them to the point they scream with horror, but you can do things that will chase them away.
Let’s look at eleven situations that might be scaring off your readers, especially new readers.
11 Ways You Might be Spooking Your Readers
- Did you create a Facebook author page and then abandon it? Like a creaky, abandoned house filled with spider webs, your deserted Facebook page can appear neglected. Why would anyone stick around, Like it, or write a comment if you rarely – if ever – post anything on it. Readers will instead dash off as quickly as they can click on a more enticing page.
- How many LinkedIn profiles have you encountered that seem forsaken? There may be a name there, a few details about prior employment, but that’s it. LinkedIn is the social media network most valued by professionals and great for nonfiction writers. So dress it up. Add your image and books you’ve written and book trailers; upload your blog posts to LinkedIn’s publishing platform; and include your skills and keywords when you complete your summary.
- Do you occasionally use profanity in your tweets or Facebook posts? That will definitely scare off your readers. You are your brand so unless you wrote a book about profanity, avoid its use. Otherwise, you may offend your readers.
- Are you an egghead – someone who uses the default egg on Twitter as an avatar instead of a professionally taken picture of you? Dump the egg and upload your picture. And don’t even consider using a picture of your dog, cat or book cover. People want to connect with you because you are your brand and the author of your popular books.
- I know someone who posted a text-based image using these words, meant “kiss my _ss.” You should have seen the nasty comments on her Twitter Timeline. It’s important to know and understand your audience. What may appear funny to you may offend the next person. So post humorous memes with a degree of caution.
- Do share pictures of your meals Facebook or Instagram? Unless you write cookbooks or frequently eat at stupendous restaurants where the chef has amazing presentation skills, don’t do it. I’ve seen too many pictures of meals on Facebook that I would never want to eat or have to look at again. Seriously.
- Are your tweets all about you? Your blog, your website, your author central page, your books, your discounts, your blog tours, your BookBub specials, etc.? Keep the mix to 80/20 or your readers will become bored with you and your tweets.
- Do you neglect to include images with your blog posts? Neglecting to do this may not scare off your readers but they will be less inclined to read your posts.
- While I’m on the topic of images, don’t forget to post them on social media. They will increase engagement dramatically.
- Does your email opt-in use the word subscribe? That will definitely scare off readers who might otherwise want to download a freebie chapter and turn over their email address in return. Saying that your newsletter is free is no longer an incentive to entice someone to sign up for your email marketing program. And unless your opt-in stresses the benefit of your sign-up freebie, well, your email list won’t grow. Take the time to create a giveaway that your readers will clamor for. For fiction writers, this can include a short story, an early novel, or the first chapter to your newest novel.
- Do you have an auto-responder set up on your Twitter account so that every time someone follows you they receive a message inviting them to read your book, buy your books, or subscribe to your blog? Want to know the truth about these auto-responders? They’re annoying. And they’re spooking your readers and worse, your prospective readers. Instead, when someone new follows you retweet them, comment on their blog, or buy one of their books and leave a review.
Please add to the conversation. How else can authors scare off their readers on social media?
I am an author and social media consultant. My focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online and building their platform. I also do content writing and offer email marketing services.
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