A Tale Of Four Reader Groups by Deatri King-Bey

DeatriI enjoy four reading groups on Facebook. I participate in them and have gotten to know the other participants well. Three of them focus on my favorite genres and one of them is for people who love their Nooks (Yes, I’m a proud Nookie). Do I promote in these groups? Not much. I’m mainly there because I’m a read-aholic and have always liked to talk book.

Of the four groups, two of them had restrictions on promoting and two didn’t.  All four had great member participation until recently. A few months ago, the two groups that didn’t have restrictions gained a few members who loved to post promo after promo. A new trend in social media is authors hiring “readers” to promote their titles in reading groups, so the promos increased even more. Why do I bring this up?

Because the readers in both of those groups began complaining about… Guess what? Yep, you’ve got it, too much promoting in the readers’ groups. It didn’t matter if it was authors filling up the groups or surrogates of the authors filling up the groups, readers were turned off and slowly stopped participating. So about two months ago members of one of the groups that had become overrun with promos began posting threads complaining about too many promos and they contacted the admins. The admin listened to the members and set up limits on posting promos. Slowly the group began to come to life again.

Let’s move on to the second group that had a drop in participation (non-promo participation). Again, the members began to complain. They missed how much fun they used to have in the group before it became overrun with promos. Calls to “Take Back Our Group” rang out loud and clear. Next thing you know, the admins decided it was time to start limiting promotions.

Seeing what was going on in the two groups that didn’t have promos limited, I decided to take a little tour of the numerous reader groups I belong to on Facebook but rarely enter and guess what I found. In the groups that didn’t limit promos, quite a few of them were having some form of the “too many promos” discussion.

I do not want any of you to be caught in the backlash that is coming. I know you have to promote, but readers are tiring from promos. They want interaction with authors without feeling bombarded by “buy my book,” “review my book,” “like my page,” “read my blog,” “listen to me on blog talk radio,” … and image after image after image of your cover.

Promotion is a necessity, but you must also be mindful of how your promotions are being received by the readers in the group. You know, the people you want to purchase and spread the word about your titles. Bad news spreads much faster than good news, and you do not want to be known as bad news.

So what to do, what to do? How do you promote in groups without becoming bad news.

  • When you join a group, read the guidelines and follow them. You’d think this was a given wouldn’t you? Unfortunately, it isn’t.
  • Look at the membership of the group and watch the group posts for a while. If the group is mostly authors, is this your target audience? Probably not. If the group feed has more promos than reader related posts, then if the readers haven’t pulled away yet, they probably will soon.
  • Know your genre and only join groups that fit your target audience. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard authors say, “My book is for all readers.” News flash, the majority of readers like certain genres and group together by those genres. Can you join a group with a focus on women’s fiction and find a few horror lovers in there. Of course you can, but why waste your time trying to find those few horror lovers or trying to convert the women’s fiction readers when you should be spending that time in a horror lover’s group?
  • When you join a group, actually join the group. I know we are all busy, so don’t join 100 groups. Instead join a few groups in your genre and actually participate in them. Get to know the readers and let them get to know you. Talk about more than yourself and your book(s). Join discussions and start them. That way when you release a title, the group members will be more willing to purchase your book and spread the word about it. You’ll get a lot more bang for your buck by joining a few groups you enjoy than doing drive by promos in numerous groups and you’ll save time.
    • Don’t fake the funk (SMILE). I’ve read in a few groups that readers do not like it when authors come in with “fake” participation questions. It’s really bad when the authors use programs such as Hootsuite to post the questions and promos in groups.
    • Though I write fiction, I’m realistic most of the time (SMILE). Even I have joined groups that I have no intention on participating in. When my new title is out, sometimes I do a promote by (that’s like a drive by shooting except you go from group to group and post your promo). This only takes a few minutes so you may get lucky and pick up a sell here and there. From speaking with readers in groups, they would rather an author do this than the fake participation questions and bombarding their groups with numerous promos.
    • When it’s time to promote your title in the groups you’ve been participating, show restraint and don’t be redundant. Don’t continually post the same promo over and over (especially on the same day). One day maybe post a blurb and purchase links to your title. Another day a review, Another day a blog appearance. Another day an excerpt… There is also no need to put down someone else’s book to promote yours.

So there you have it.  There’s no big secret. Now go join groups in your genre and have a good time.

Deatri King-Bey

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13 thoughts on “A Tale Of Four Reader Groups by Deatri King-Bey

  1. Krystol Diggs

    I thought this article was very helpful. I learned a lot because I used to be one of those annoying people promoting everywhere. I have learned the error of the way. Thanks for the article. I will definitely share this.

  2. Norlita Brown

    I have to say that I don’t respond well in the groups because of three reasons, one as you have stated, they are flooded with promos, two: many times people aren’t open to hearing helpful input that you may post or respond to their post with, and lastly: there are several that are reading books that I would love to discuss but I don’t have the time on my hands to read the books they are reading, especially as quickly as they are reading them. I do feel that this was a very well written blog. Great job!

  3. Dwan Abrams

    This was so on point! I have to agree with Shelia. I rarely join groups voluntarily, and when I do I participate. I belong to so many groups that other people have added me to. The bad part is that the groups aren’t usually anything I’d even want to join. Ugh! I think it’s time to leave those groups.

  4. N. L. Armitage

    As I stated previously in another post, this kind of thing is difficult for me, because I actually prefer to build a relationship with people before going into what I’m doing/sharing about it. Understandably, face to face situations are much different to navigate sometimes, compared to online interactions. I try to proceed online as I would with someone face to face, by getting to know them, then if the opportune moment comes to mention my work (if the subject we’re on is somehow related), I will. I’m usually a talkative person, so the opportunity oftentimes presents itself. Usually people express interest in wanting to read it, perhaps in part because of the way I express what it’s about and how I feel about it. At least that’s what I think based on how I can become interested in something because the way it is told to me. If a person is excited about what they are talking about, it makes me interested, too. In the past, I would mostly mention my work just for conversation, but now since I am finally in earnest about preparing to release it, I do feel a greater sense of urgency. It’s hard to talk about it in the same way as I would face to face, because it does not translate so well without body language. Using only words, it would perhaps sound more like, “My work is so awesome that you just have to read it!” LOL I feel confident that people will enjoy it, but I feel limited in expressing that online.

  5. Imani Wisdom

    I appreciate you posting this topic. This is one of many reasons why I don’t care for groups. You’ve also shed a lot of clarity and useful tips when an author should promote their work. Kudos on your insight.

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