I am a very casual Twitter user. It can be fun! It’s a great place for authors. You can find all sorts of cool people there–published authors, self-published authors, querying authors, and hopeful newbies. No matter where you are in your journey, there’s a small community you can chat with.

But, alas, not all is perfect in Twitterland. There’s a great, supportive writing community… and some really annoying trends.

Annoying Case #1: The Author Who Only Ever Posts About Their Book

Their feeds are a ruin of promotion. BUY MY BOOK, $2.99 TODAY ONLY! Looking for epic fantasy? Read my book! Here are images of the book cover! Images of reviews! My favorite lines from the book! Snippets about the villain! Lines about the hero!

OK. Yes. It’s important for authors (particularly self-published ones) to promote their novels. And it’s a good idea for authors to be involved in social media. But that’s not the only thing you’re supposed to do.

Look. I follow other writers so I can talk about the writing experience–how much they wrote, what they’re proud of, what they’re working on, why they’re frustrated. I like reading about their lives. I want to listen to people.

And I firmly believe that’s what everyone means when they say that authors should use social media. They’re not telling you to follow every human being on earth and post BUY MY BOOK 10 times a day. They’re telling you to be personable. Make friends. Share your stories. Be interesting. Post mostly about things that make you sound like a normal human being. Then when you say, “Also, I wrote something!” your followers–who like you and like reading your posts–will also want to buy your stuff.

No one gets excited about reading the daily adventures of a spambot.

Annoying Case #2: The Automated Twitter Account

The only way a promotion-only account could be worse is if it’s partially (or completely) automated. These people aren’t even trying to be social. They write a boatload of tweets, plug them into an application, and let it do all their tweeting for them. Hurray! Now they never have to go on Twitter at all!

The absolute worst are applications that automatically DM you. “Thanks for following me! I hope you enjoy reading!” Is inoffensive, but irritating. I don’t like impersonal messages. But it becomes incredibly gross when the message is, “Thanks for following me! BUY MY BOOK ITS ON AMAZON RIGHT NOW 2.99!! REVIEW IT TOO PLZ”

And I can’t overstate this enough: That’s rude. Heck, I’d consider that spamming.

I won’t pretend to know how to properly market a novel online, but I do know that each novel has a target audience, and it isn’t “everyone who follows you on Twitter.” You don’t know why people follow you, whether they read your genre, or whether they’d be interested in your book. It’s unwise to assume that someone paying attention to you on a social media network, of all things, means they would be all right with you asking them for money.

There’s a reason ad agencies don’t promote new products by running down a busy street, grabbing random people, and saying HEY WE HAVE A THING ITS ONLY $5.00 AND MAYBE YOU LIKE THAT THING? MAYBE NOT? I DONT KNOW! BUT WILL YOU BUY IT?! And that’s pretty much when you do when you decide “I’m going to ask everyone who talks to me, follows me, or retweets me on Twitter to buy my book!”

Seriously. Don’t do that.

So, in conclusion: Automation makes me grumpy and spamming makes me ragey. I probably could have just TL;DRed this whole post with that.

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