The Facebook author page: 10 status updates to embrace, 10 to avoid

This is a post by Novel Publicity President, Emlyn Chand

Facebook. It’s fun, isn’t it? But sometimes the lines between a personal profile and a professional page get a bit blurry. Are you supposed to use a page like a profile? If your page is to promote your brand or business, then it should be used to toot your promotional horn, right?


It’s okay if you’re confused. We’re all a bit confused, actually. Unlike Twitter, it takes time to learn how to use Facebook effectively. Believe me, I mastered Twitter within days, but Facebook took months—months!

The most visible part of your page is your wall. You’re primarily going to want to use that to interact with your fans. And let me slip in a minor rant about my number one Facebook pet peeve:  Your Facebook page is a Facebook page. It is not a satellite website. When your page goes directly to a log-in screen or a Static FBML welcome, you will lose fans. Plain and simple. Honor Facebook’s intended use.

Alright, now that that’s been taken care of, let’s move on. Here are my lists of 10 status updates to embrace and 10 to avoid. Mind you, these are conceptual. Take the lesson and apply it to your work and your life. Here goes…


10 status updates to embrace

1. I just had an amazing four-hour writing session today, thanks to a good night’s sleep and LOTS of coffee!

2. Here’s a micro-excerpt from my WIP (if you want to read it, great, but I’m not going to point out how amazing it is. You can decide for yourself).

3. Did you know that the protagonist in my first novel eats PlayDoh when he thinks no one is looking? Uh-oh, his love interest just found out! (Or some other fun and intriguing factoid from your novel or WIP)

4. Hey, writers of the world. I feel like throwing a tip out there today. My best writing advice is to set a time to write each day and stick to it no matter what!

5. I just read an amazing novel by a debut author. Seriously, if you have the chance to check out The Trust by Sean Keefer, you’ll definitely want to give it a read!

6. Hello, likers of this Facebook page. What are you doing today? Are you reading anything you think I might enjoy?

7. Wow, I just read this amazingly helpful post over on Terri Giuliano Long’s blog. It discusses the importance of belonging to a supportive writer’s group. Here’s the link, so go check it out if you get the chance:

8. Oh my gosh, such-and-such blogger just posted a very nice review of my novel. I feel so blessed to know so many talented and supportive writers—thank you!

9. I don’t want to talk about books today. Let’s talk about… Dogs! I have a super rambunctious and totally adorable Golden Retriever puppy named Polo. Any other dog people out there? Tell me about your pooch. We can compare notes!

10. Hey, all you fabulous likers of this page. I just want to thank you for sticking around and listening to my random musings. You guys are seriously the best!


10 status updates to avoid

1. Buy my book! Buy my book! Buy my book!

2. Do you have a friend who would like my book? Tell her to buy my book!

3. This person LOVED my book and wrote an awesome review

4. Please post a comment on my wall telling me why you LOVED my book. If you haven’t read it yet, buy a copy! I know it will become your all-time favorite!

5. I just sold another copy of my book – yay!

6. Tweet, tweet. I sent this awesome post across Twitter, and I included #FB so it would post here too!

7. I posted this already, but it’s so important that I need to post it again, and again, and again…

8. I am obsessed with myself and think it’s important to post a dozen updates per day even though nobody ever feels the need to respond to my announcements

9. Do you like Harry Potter/Pride & Prejudice/this other mega-super best seller? Well, MY book is even better! GUARANTEED!

10. I hate such-and-such author’s book; he really doesn’t know how to write. If I had written his book, it would have been SOOOO much better.


Who would you like better?

Did you notice any patterns? Your fans want to follow someone who is likeable, relatable, and fun, someone who has good things to say about others and is grateful. They don’t want to follow an egomaniac salesperson.

When it comes to self-promotion, less is more. If you promote yourself graciously, book sales will follow. Trust me on this one. How would you respond to each of the bad status updates? Would you buy the book or unlike the page?

Emlyn Chand, President of Novel PublicityAbout this post's author:

Emlyn Chand is the president of Novel Publicity and a YA author. She loves to hear and tell stories and emerged from the womb with a fountain pen grasped firmly in her left hand (true story). Her first novel Farsighted released in late 2011 and is of the YA genre. Learn more about Emlyn at or by connecting with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or GoodReads.


Sweet mercy, YES. This makes me want to cheer out loud. Reading (and internalizing) of this article should be mandatory for any author who wants to create a web presence. If people followed this advice, I wouldn’t be un-following authors on Twitter all the time.

Thank you so much!

    Emlyn Chand

    Oh, yay! Glad it helped, Lora. I felt it was time for something to be said. Too much blatant misuse of Facebook going ong!

Judi Window

Great pointers… and I love that you have office hours. May stop by to hangout next week… missed it today.

    Emlyn Chand

    Yes, please do come hang out with me. We have all kinds of fun during office hours 🙂

P.I. Barrington

I think it’s cool you have “office hours” to chat too! A very original idea! I’ve never video chatted myself but then I am technically challenged…great pointers (I’m working on Numbers #1, 6, and 7, LOL!)

    Emlyn Chand

    Hi, P.I. See you in office hours sometime? It’s great to meet everyone face-to-screen-to-face 🙂


Great writeup! A good example of a great author facebook is Jacqueline Carey. Personable, humble, interacts with fans, never spams or pushes people to buy a book (even with a release date upcoming). Loved her as an author, now I love her as a person too!

    Emlyn Chand

    That’s excellent and what we as authors should strive for. We want our fans to like us, not just our books. Sounds like Jacqueline’s doing a fantastic job!

Shireen Jeejeebhoy

This is great! You contrasted well the difference between good and boring FB statuses, which apply to tweets too. I was thinking about this topic last week when I began to notice how different journalist tweets are from writers tweets and how journalists are much more fun to follow. That led to a discussion with one of my followers about how to tweet about my books (I mostly tweet about non-writing stuff). You’ve given me food for thought.

    Emlyn Chand

    Thanks for the feedback, Shireen. Would you like to see a follow-up post specifically relevant to tweets? I could also cover the author’s blog.

    I’ve been blown away by the response to this article. It’s proven much more popular than I expected!

      Shireen Jeejeebhoy

      That’s a good idea Emlyn, especially on how and how often to tell new and old followers of where to buy the book sans boring them or having them unfollow you.

        Emlyn Chand

        Expect a post from me soon, maybe even next week 🙂

Tracy Krauss

OMG! this is so true!!! And I know that, although I try to be that ‘first person’, I sometimes fall into the other category, too. Part of it is that som many of our sites are inter-linked, but i see exactly what you mean. I just skim over all those ME ME ME posts so what makes me think other people aren’t doing the same with mine? Great post!

    Emlyn Chand

    Thanks, Tracy. It’s hard to know where the line is sometimes – okay, a lot of the time. Being an author is tricky, you have to balance art with professionalism with personality. It’s hard!

Koala Bear Writer

Awesome advice!!! Thanks. Made me think of the authors I’ve “liked” on FB — most are humble, honest people who follow the good advice here.

    Emlyn Chand

    Well, I actually did look at a handful of FB pages as live examples. Not that I’d ever say where my inspiration came from. We all have “bad author” days sometimes. The trick is to keep them few and far between.

Penny Zeller

Great post and so informative! I, too, would love to see one on what to and what not to tweet about for authors. Thanks for the helpful info!

    Emlyn Chand

    Alright, it seems I have my next assignment 🙂

Velda Brotherton

Thanks for some super hints on using our author facebook page. I hadn’t really started to do much posting there, but will follow your suggestions. Appreciate authors who share.


Are you kidding me? Any of those ten posts to “embrace” would make me discontinue following you. The ten posts to avoid are spot on, but the ten to embrace make you sound like a total prat.

Ruth Madison

I really love my welcome page! 🙁 It always seems to me that when fan pages have a graphic welcome that they seem more professional. Am I totally crazy?

    Emlyn Chand

    I personally detest FBML welcome pages, although you’ll notice on my author page that I have an FBML sub-tab ( I think people come to FB pages expecting an FB page, not a satellite website. The wall is where you see updates and can interact with the page. The welcome is just one giant advertisement 🙁

      Ruth Madison

      I suppose. The wall is easy to get to, though! For me, I like seeing the fancy welcome pages because it tells me that I’ve reached a business and not just a person. The wall looks mostly the same as if it was just a friend request, not a fan “like.”

      Ruth Madison

      Oh, and I also like when the welcome tab tells me what the person is about. Sometimes on walls, all the information about who a person is and what she does gets lost!

      Not to say that people should do them. You are much better at the marketing thing than I am. I’m just not ready to give mine up!

        Emlyn Chand

        I bet you there’s a huge divide as to whether welcome pages are preferred or not. Definitely seems to be a matter of personal opinion. In the end, I think being available for interaction is more important than presenting a static message.

chrisopher nadeau

I actually object more to the “embrace” portion of the list than the “avoid.”

Jay DiNitto

In summation: be tasteful, unobtrusive, not annoying.

In regards to #10 on the not to-do list, I find this is acceptable if the author isn’t living and it’s worded in such a way that is not antagonizing.


Great tips! I heard a good comparison the other day- if you’re watching a TV show with too many commercials you’re more inclined to change the channel right? Online you unlike or unfollow.

I would definitely like to see your tips on a good way to handle Twitter feeds.

    Emlyn Chand

    Great summary, Jay, and awesome analogy, Rina. I never delivered on my follow-up re: tweeting. Bad Emlyn. Now that you’ve reminded me, I’ve added it to my to-blog list 🙂

Rose Robbins

Thank you, this was REALLY helpful! I try not to be obnoxious on FB, but it’s one of those things I always kinda worry about. What is the right balance between promotion and just being entertaining, etc. Adding your blog to my list!

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