5 Things Writers Do on Facebook That Make Me Automatically Unfollow Them

By Jody Hedlund, @JodyHedlund

To be honest, I wish I didn't have to write a post like this. But lately I've had a slew of really annoying Facebook interactions and as a result have unfollowed some writers. Lest those writers think I'm calloused or too good to mingle, I thought I'd offer an explanation for my seemingly rude behavior.

First, I should start by saying that I have two Facebook accounts: my Personal Page and my Author Page. Obviously I have my author account as a place to share updates about my books, contests, and other reading related stuff. But my personal account is "public" and so I rarely turn down friend requests there, although creepy requests from strange males with strange names are usually a NO.

One of the main reasons that I accept most friend requests on my Personal Page is that when readers look me up on Facebook, they may run across my Personal Page first and send me a request without realizing that I have an Author Page. And since I like interacting with my readers and want to maintain an open and positive aura, I accept their requests rather than send them a message to go over to my Author Page instead.

Needless to say, having an open policy poses some problems. But then again, I have similar problems on my Author Page too.

What are these problems, you might ask? Basically the summary of the problem is "ad calls." An ad call involves annoying people that call your private phone number and try to sell you a product. Sometimes they're really pushy and the only way you can end the conversation is by hanging up on them.

There are writers on Facebook doing the same thing as the old-fashioned ad call. They look up people with the specific intention of selling their books. Unfollowing one of them on Facebook is a little bit like hanging up on an ad call. You hate to do it and be rude, but when people are pushy in your personal space, what choice do they leave you?

Here are the top 5 things writers do on Facebook that make me "hang up."

1. After accepting their friend request, they post on my timeline leaving a blurb about their book along with a link to an online bookstore.

2. After accepting a friend request, they send me a "personal" message explaining their life situation, what lead them to write their book, and how I might enjoy it. And of course, they leave either a link to an online bookstore or invite me to visit their website and learn more about their book.

3. After accepting a friend request, they tag me and about twenty other strangers in a comment that is–yep, you guessed it–about their book (or indirectly relates to it somehow). And not only do they tag me, but they continue to tag me on future posts.

4. They leave a message on my Author Page saying they "liked" my Facebook Page, and they would be obliged if I would head over and "like" theirs in return.

5. They tell me that my books look good and that they're looking forward to purchasing them. In the meantime, they suggest that I might enjoy purchasing their books too.

I want to point out that obviously, there are some VERY genuine writers that I've met on Facebook. The kinds of behaviors I've mentioned above are the exceptions rather than the rule. Most of the time, most writers get the idea that the effectiveness of ad calls or cold sales pitches died long ago, if they ever were effective.

However, for those who friend new people on Facebook simply to sell books, the "friendship" request feels more like a slap in the face, like you're showing interest in others for what you can gain rather than genuinely connecting.

So if you're offended that I unfriended you, please know that your tactics are offensive too.

What do YOU think? Have you ever had someone friend you on Facebook only to try to ram a product down your throat? How did that make you feel?


  1. Not too much trouble on FB but at least three times a week I'll get an auto-responder from a new Twitter account that I've connected with. Almost always in all caps they look like this: THANKS FOR FOLLOWING ME ON TWITTER. HERE'S A LINK TO EVERYTHING I HAVE TO SELL.

    I can't unfollow those people fast enough.

    1. Oh yes! I've had identical problems on Twitter too! Just as annoying!

  2. As a rule, I don't friend people who use a book cover as their profile picture :)

  3. I find this very annoying as well. It is worse on Twitter I find. Facebook is all about relationship building. I too enjoy the interaction with my readers and other authors. I belong to a couple of groups were we promote each other. I like that.

  4. Aww, Jody, one of the things I love about you is that you are so real and you share your life with your reader...not just jam your latest book down our throats. Though I have never met you, and may never, I feel I know you as a friend. I enjoy following you on social media for the advice you give writers, sharing bits about your life with your readers, and of course because you're a good writer. I feel you have connected with us as readers, done your best to be the best writer you can be, and that is by far the best way to sell books! Not by constant advertising and pushing.

    One of the things I've learned about you from social media, particularly Instagram, is that one of your cats looks almost EXACTLY like one of my sister's cats. Coloring, facial expressions, everything! It's fun to compare pics.

    Thank you for being so REAL and letting us into your life...not just for book sales but as friends!


    1. That's too funny about the cats, Shelly! I DO post a lot of cat pictures on Instagram and pictures of food! LOL Thanks for the very kind words of encouragement! :-)

  5. Oh, yes. Quick unfollow. I also find the new "friend" who suddenly wants to call on me as the expert, well, pretty unattractive.

  6. I got a friend request-- no message-- from a name I didn't recognize. Had to go through her photos to figure out we had taken a class together the previous semester. (I knew her only by first name at that time). I accepted, but never got One Single Personal Word from her. She just posted on her own page multiple times per day about the status of her first (vampire) novel that was soon to be published.
    I didn't think it was rude when I unfriended her. Not even a little bit.

  7. That's presumptuous of people to expect you to "like" their pages just because you "liked" theirs; that reminds me of people on Twitter who say stuff like "Follow me and I'll follow you." That makes it clear that they don't care about reading Tweets; they just want more followers. I'm not on Facebook, but I am on Twitter, and there are a lot of great writers I've "met" on there. But there are other writers and musicians who pressure me to promote their work on my Twitter page and my blog, and they'll unfollow if I don't. Some will claim that their books are "relevant" to my blog, and that's why I should promote them on my blog. But when I read their descriptions for their books, it's clear that they barely looked at my blog, because my blog has nothing to do with the content of their books.

  8. 4. They leave a message on my Author Page saying they "liked" my Facebook Page, and they would be obliged if I would head over and "like" theirs in return.

    This happens to me ALL THE TIME. And I've never, ever done that to other people. I will send an invite from my book page or I will post the link to my book page on my personal page. That way, people can decide for themselves if they want to like it.

    Know what's even worse? When I get unsolicited email newsletters from writers I've met at conferences. Why do people send me their newsletter if I haven't asked for it? Hmmmmmmmm ...

  9. I must admit this has never happened to me and I have 2000 fb followers on my author page. I'm grateful, too, because that would be a pain! I post often on my author page. I post mostly writing tips, encouragement, and a few times about my books. It's a great way to support other writers!

  10. I don't have this problem on Facebook, but I do get a lot of similar spam on Twitter, like asking me to follow them on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumbler and every other social media network under the sun. No. I chose to follow you on Twitter because that's where I want to follow you.

    I also get the authors who latch onto me as a book reviewer, wanting me to review their book ... which is nothing like anything I've reviewed before, has a cringe-worthy cover, and hasn't been near an editor.

  11. I don't hate unfollowing or unfriending people at all. Especially strangers. If you're rude to me, no way should I grin and bear it. Ciao.

  12. I have had several writiers send me their buy links, but I dont become offended by it. Just yesterday I was reading a post by a writer who said that "in order to sell your books, you do need to pursue potential buyers. This writer said dont be afraid to boldly go after sales". I dont click into these buy links I am sent, I just ignore them. I dont think getting irratated about something is going to do anyone any good. All the best with your books Jody. You also have a very nice website. All the best.

  13. I've had this experience on Twitter, but I haven't made my personal Facebook page public, so that cuts down drastically on that. Of course, it also limits what I can do with Facebook. For now, I'm okay with that.

  14. So many writer's blogs and writers are bent on the do and don't of social media it makes my head spin. I've written five books and had offers from traditional publishing which I rejected as predatory, and as such, I decided to self publish them all. But, if it takes living the social media none-life all the time to sell them, I guess I won't sell any books. The whole idea of social media overwhelms me. Five hours a day writing and as many hours promoting electronically just isn't worth it to me I like having a life beyond my writing chair. The old fashion face-to-face beating the pavement, which I'm good at, apparently doesn't cut it any more. I'm about ready to give up writing over all this pressure. Grabbing social media is like riding a tiger's tail-- how does one stay on while social media whips you around changing constantly? The more I look at social media the more I just want to give up.

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