Okay—we need to talk about this.
This topic makes me so honestly frustrated that it’s hard to put into words. I’ve talked about it on Instagram a few times now (more like vented, really), and I’ve had words with various group admins (who surprisingly, some of which agreed with me).
But this has got to stop.
There is a difference between spammy promotion and value promotion.
👉 Spammy promotion? You’re probably familiar with it—it’s the kind of promo where people drop their links and run. You’ve probably seen it countless times in book promotion groups.
👉Value promotion? It’s the kind where you are teaching something. You are educating prospective clients on the value of working with you or buying from you—because those people have a genuine struggle that they need help with.
And look, I completely get why authors despise people selling to them. 98% of the time it’s a scam or a rip off trying to target new authors who don’t know any better.
But that’s not me. And that’s not a lot of other decent, skillful people who can help authors grow (such as RaeAnne from Lavender Prose, Mandi from Stone Ridge Books, Loni from Crit & Pen, and Jenn from Mixtus Media—just to name a few)
The 98% who do the wrong thing instill so much distrust in authors that they aren’t willing to accept promotions in Facebook groups-a place where many budding writers seeking help tend to hang out.
Now before I go any further, I completely respect Facebook groups that are just dedicated to writing. If you want a safe community for sharing writing, I respect the intention behind your group.
But if you have a group dedicated to help authors grow, sharing tips, etc… and then you don’t allow services to promote? Well, let me tell you why that’s doing your authors a MAJOR disservice…
1) It hurts businesses who can genuinely help authors (such as incredible editors and cover designers)
2) It robs aspiring authors of opportunities to grow—because suddenly they can’t find people to help them when they actually need it. They develop a toxic mindset that they must do it all themselves (which, firstly, NO successful business does this and publishing is a business, and secondly, did you want a one-way ticket to burnout? Because that’s your ticket).
Some groups have a weekly promo thread—but if authors have already been conditioned NOT to accept help, they ain’t gonna be looking in it! Plus, nobody wants to filter through an endless thread of promo posts just to find the one service they DO need because everyone was forced to dump their promotions on the same day. 🤷 That doesn’t even help authors understand who is offering the service and why they might be a good fit!
I honestly, genuinely believe that if I am selling from a place of value—people still learn a valuable shift even if they choose not to work with me. They discover the problem in their current situation or strategy.
I, like many other services, are offering authors the solution those authors need to move forward—but the choice is always theirs to invest or not. They can always walk away with their newfound knowledge and take the slow path figuring it out.
But what about the authors who DO want to invest in help and grow faster?
Why should they be denied the opportunity just because someone else doesn’t like it?
That’s not fair to them. That doesn’t help authors grow. That keeps them stuck wondering what their next step is, developing doubts because the advice given from other amateur authors in these groups isn’t working (what a surprise!)
I was recently booted and blocked from a Facebook group without warning (which, BTW, had zero rules about self-promoting) for sharing a writing training that could help writers.
A completely free writing training.
And yes, it’s a form of self-promotion—because duh, I’m a business, not a freaking charity! Sorry, but with the kind of value my programs deliver, you are privileged that I’m in your Facebook group delivering posts and trainings for free. #SorryNotSorry
Before it was removed, one writer reached out for info. She revealed to me how she was struggling and needed genuine help. Me, being a professional, could offer that help—and she was able to break the block.
She was so grateful.
But every other author in that group who could have been going through the same thing? They were robbed of that opportunity.
Yet apparently, this is helping authors?
I’m just saying, there’s a difference between posting:
“Hey, I’m an author coach! Message me so we can work together.”
“Hey, here’s a really valuable training for writers struggling with x. If it helps you and you want more help, we could be a great fit to work together.”
You might be thinking, “Well Pagan, if you hate these Facebook groups so much then why do you keep hanging out in them?”
^^^ because of exactly this.
Because of writers who are in these groups, who need help but don’t know where to turn. When I think of how many people are in these groups—I’m doing them a disservice when I don’t show up for them.
I post in Facebook groups, and I tangle with admins and offended authors—because it’s worth it to help that one person who truly needs me.
That’s my job.
Not my freelance hobby, or something I do in my free time to make a little extra cash. My full-time, got-years-of-experience job.
I don’t understand why it has to be such a problem, and why people are so hell-bent on censoring budding authors from recieving real help (aside from the obvious-actual spammers).
If you’re an aspiring author, listen to me…
it’s okay to ask for help on your author journey.
You may think it’s smarter, or more cost effective to do it all yourself, but most authors who do it this way spend:
- …years figuring it out,
- …losing book sales in the process
- …making their first impressions with unprofessional and non-credible brands, and
- …spending way more in the long run than it would have cost them upfront to just… hire help. 😬
You are not going to find the help you need to really leap to the next level in Facebook groups.
Yes, there are authors in there with great advice, but if someone has a detailed blog post that can help you with your problem, or a paid course? Sorry—that’s self-promotion, and that’s not allowed to be shared with you because it’s spammy. 🙄
(But of course, those group admins totally want to help you grow as an author-just so long as you’re okay with asking the same questions over and over until someone dies. 🙃)
Okay, not really, but come on—if someone has a business, and yet they are sharing blog posts and resources for free, freaking let them! They need to get something out of it, and it’s not an actual sale, at least let it be brand awareness so that authors can start finding legitimate services to help them grow.
Who cares if the person sharing posts and resources also happens to sell products and services? That doesn’t make them evil, or mean they have hidden intentions-especially if they’re not outright pressuring people to buy.
But boy, what a scandal that they have dedicated their lives to being of service to authors when all you can do is hoard aspiring authors in a Facebook group and hate on anyone who tries to help them reach their dreams.
Here’s a thought…
How about instead of constantly blocking service providers, we actually teach aspiring authors what to be wary of?
We stop censoring promotions like it’s some taboo thing to hire help and let authors make their own choices?
And how about we share resources and courses and services that can actually help them grow?
Because the amount of times I see authors asking the same questions in the same groups about “what to do next” or “where to find a service provider”…
…and the amount of comments I see where people are ‘following’ because heck, they don’t have a clue either! But surely SOMEONE has the answer… 🤦♀️
…it’s ACTUALLY ridiculous.
👉 If you want to grow, you need to invest in help.
👉 Find people who have been where you want to go.
👉 Ask people who do it for a living instead of hoping your fellow authors who have been exposed to the same restrictions as you will know better.
I started Paperback Kingdom because when I first published, I didn’t have the “know-how” to succeed in my venture.
And I tried to figure it all out by myself, and I failed.
And then I started investing in help, and I became a bestselling author, was invited to speak internationally, made front page news multiple times, was featured in Writer’s Digest, and did it all before I turned 22.
My goal as a coach was to bridge the information gap that was creating this toxic pattern of failure, wasted investments, and limiting beliefs in authors whenever they tried to launch but didn’t know how.
And now I know why this gap exists—because lost writers are flocking to Facebook groups and being ‘protected’ by the admins who won’t expose them to said help.
Well guess what?
I’m here to break this pattern.
Because it’s my JOB to help authors.
And I won’t let them suffer through this failure pattern any longer.
If you want to join a space that is both supportive and will introduce you to trusted coaches, book cover designers and editors who can help you on your author journey?
Consider joining my Facebook Group, The Paperback Podcast Community.
Written by Pagan Malcolm
Pagan is a copywriter and business coach helping writers understand the business side of publishing so that they can become serious authors.