9 Facebook Posts by Authors We Don't Need to See in 2017

Social media is a weird place nowadays. Between cats, politics, uneducated opinions, and selfies, Facebook is a strange land where anything and everything can happen. Unfortunately, not all of it is good. Actually, scratch that: most of it is bad. Yes, there are scientific breakthroughs, superb films, interesting discussions, hilarious memes, and fun, enlightening articles to be found on Facebook, but when it comes to authors, they sometimes tend to do a series of things that annoy the hell out of regular people and fellow authors alike. The world is an ugly place, and these posts are not helping anyone. Here are the posts I hope we stop seeing in 2017:

Vaguebooking

I'm happy when something good happens to fellow writers. Seriously. We're all screaming for attention, and when someone gets it, I'm truly happy for them. I'm not happy that maybe you sold something to a great editor but there is no contract yet and maybe you didn't. Screw all that. The only thing sadder than fake news is no news. Announce things once you can share the details and we'll celebrate together. Until then, don't. Seriously, what am I supposed to do with this vague probability? Kinda be somewhat glad it may have happened? Mildly excited about the possibility of reading something that may or may not be up my alley at some unknown point in the future? Stop vaguebooking. And yes, hip vaguebooking that is very aware of what it is still counts as vaguebooking.

You're a writer and you wrote some words, so what? You want a fucking sticker or something?

Fake blurbs

I know 80% of the authors reading this have never done this, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't tell the other 20% to cut out that nonsense. You've seen them, putting words like "Exciting!" and phrases like "The best book I've read this year!" on their posts without attribution. Listen, maybe it's the journalist in me, but I need attribution and proof at all times. Stop making awful infomercial phrases to slap on your book posts. Get some real blurbs and use those. If Stephen King says your book is "not entirely awful," his name alone will sell more books that the ghost of all your insecurities and that blurb that compared your writing to half a dozen literary giants. Cut it out.

Complaining about editing

If you really hate editing that much, maybe the writing thing is not for you. You write, you revise, and you edit. Then, most of the time, you do it all over again. Taking editing seriously and considering it a crucial part of the process is the difference between clean, tight prose that commands attention and the kind of forgettable book that contains two typos and a misspelled word in the first three pages. No one finds your crying about editing funny or cute. Your eyes are tired? Get back to it tomorrow. And if they are so tired, maybe coming to Facebook is not the brightest idea.

Constant invitations and reminders to digital book releases in Timbuktu

Here's how it should go: your book comes out, you tell people about it in an exciting/thankful post, and then, over the course of a few weeks, share a few reviews and the link to your book a couple of times. Stop inviting me to a "release party" on a fucking Tuesday at 8:00am. I'm not going. No one is going. It's not really an event. It doesn't make me want to buy your book. It's not fun and I hate getting seventeen reminders.

Word counts

If I ever shared a word count post, it would go something like this: "Wrote 2,000 words today. I will probably delete 1,800 of them tomorrow. Some ideas haven't fully coagulated yet. Actually, I'm kinda angry at my performance today. I hate myself right now. I think I hate this story, but I can't stop writing it. It's the damn voices. Anyway, like I said on Twitter yesterday, being a writer is like standing alone in the rain while kicking water uphill and screaming 'Why are you making me do this? Pay attention to me!' Hope it goes better tomorrow. I wonder if these words will ever see the light of day..." Sure, your posts are not like that, but they convey the same information. You're a writer and you wrote some words, so what? You want a fucking sticker or something? Go work.

Hating on other genres and successful authors

Oh, you think hardcore horror sucks? That's great. Don't read it. Think every adult who reads YA is an idiot? In the famous words of The Dude, "Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man." There is a long list of successful authors I'd love to punch in the face and a long list of authors who I don't dislike but feel do not deserve their massive success. However, I know that I'm a petty, hateful human, so I take measures and ensure that the time and effort I spend online are focused on positive things like sharing authors I love and trying to help other authors make it our of the dark hole of anonymity. Ultimately, focusing on spreading hate just makes you less likeable and makes you sound bitter. Oh, I'm not saying you shouldn't be bitter, just that maybe hitting your potential readers constantly with that might not be the best strategy. Tell us about cool stuff you dig and everyone will be happier. (NOTE: this doesn't apply to authors who, like Max Booth II, Keith Rawson and yours truly, also wear reviewer hats regularly.)

Hashtag vomit

#If #reading #this #hurts #your #brain, #please #know #that #the #same #goes #for #your #boring #blessed #author #writing# writinglife #amwriting #amediting #coffeeandwriting #post. Stop. Abusing. Hashtags.

Self deprecating/angry plugs

Listen, you worked hard on your book and finally got it published. That's great. Tell me about the plot and some elements you think might interest me. That's how you get me to click on a link. These "this blows but you should read it anyway" and "buy my damn book right now, you maggots!" posts do the exact opposite. I'm sure self-deprecation was refreshing when no one had done it before, but now it's nothing more than a sad joke. "I'm a hack, but buy my book anyway" or "Just buy my book already!" don't work. Those posts aren't humorous or interesting or unique or witty. Stop writing them. They only contribute to making the rest of us hate you as much as you say you hate yourself.

Play-by-play updates

You're writing a story. We'd love to read it once it's done. We don't need to know that today you wrote a short scene in which the main character gets hit by a car and then kisses her boyfriend. If you put the whole thing up in chunks, why would I be interested in reading it once it's published? Just stop.


There you have it. And you know there are more annoying things authors do, but we don't have all day. Now go on and be entertaining and charming. When people like you, the odds of them checking out your work are greater. Or maybe not. I just read that on Facebook one time.

Gabino Iglesias

Column by Gabino Iglesias

Gabino Iglesias is a writer, journalist, and book reviewer living in Austin, TX. He’s the author of ZERO SAINTS, HUNGRY DARKNESS, and GUTMOUTH. His reviews have appeared in Electric Literature, The Rumpus, 3AM Magazine, Marginalia, The Collagist, Heavy Feather Review, Crimespree, Out of the Gutter, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, HorrorTalk, Verbicide, and many other print and online venues. 

To leave a comment Login with Facebook or create a free account.

Comments

Chris Norbury's picture
Chris Norbury from Minnesota is reading A new book every few days February 6, 2017 - 7:45am

I liked this column. Thanks for the laugh on a Monday morning. However, your title begs the question, "What types of FB posts by authors do we NEED to see in 2017?"

I'm half-serious, anyway, because as a relatively new author, I seem to get bombarded with advice from experts to be active on one's chose social media (FB, or Twitter, or blogging, or whatever). This means almost daily drivel, i.m.o. I can't/won't do that, mainly because I believe that very few writers, let alone the general public, are so erudite and witty and insightful that they can fill a blog or Facebook or whatever with prosaic gems on a daily, or even weekly, basis.

But I see the need for some sort of regular communication with readers/fans/prospective customers just because the competition for book buyers is so fierce in this day and age of indie publishers flooding the market with books. So what are some of the best ideas for topics and discussion for authors to post on their social media? 

 

Chris

smithreynolds's picture
smithreynolds from Spokane, WA USA is reading The writing on the wall. February 6, 2017 - 10:24am

You Rock. Favorite sentence. "Go work."  

Glenn Rolfe's picture
Glenn Rolfe February 6, 2017 - 3:05pm

With the exception of the obvious "bad taste" ones (hating, faking, sef-depricating), I enjoy seeing these things from young authors. Sharing word counts can be inspirational to some of us. I like seeing someone either having a hard day (500 words) or an explosion of creativity (say, 10K words). I also enjoying vague booking. It is meant to be fun and exciting for your friends and fans that care. People will always complain about editing. It is part of the game. Invitations to release parties are part of building...yoiu know what, you already know the reason.

Hashtags...they used to bug me, because I didn't get them. Now I do. They're just another way for us to have fun. 

I think you might need some more stickers. 

Paul Ebbstwo's picture
Paul Ebbstwo February 7, 2017 - 5:36am

Well that was 1800 words of #SHIT. You know the reason I've never heard of the #PERSON writing this? It's #BECAUSE they have nothing better to say than what they have written in this #ARTICLE I post word counts for self motivation, and use #HASHTAGS so I can find the posts again when I need to. What this so-called article #FAILS to do is understand why #AUTHORS use social #MEDIA. Not all of us are trying to trick you into buying something you don't want, but it's #FUCKING lonely at this desk and I #LIKE to engage with people about what I #WRITE and what I #READ and what I #WATCH. Next.

Beverly Bambury's picture
Beverly Bambury February 7, 2017 - 7:20am

Great read. Especially the editing part. There is not even close to enough tight, clean prose in this world. 

Linden's picture
Linden from Military Brat/Expat is reading Winston Churchill: The Valiant Years February 12, 2017 - 4:02pm

Kinda, well, yeaah.