Authors, Really, Don’t Do These Things….

postNow, before I begin this post, I need to declare that I’ve probably committed a few of these less blatant faux pas myself during my start in publishing. To a new author, you think it’s not quite a big deal, but they really are. The more you’re immersed in the publishing social media industry, the more you learn the do’s and dont’s. What irks me are not the newbies, but the people who have been publishing for years who continue to make these mistakes or these “not cool” actions. I’ve spoken to authors directly about it and many of them have listed why they do them. One told me “they were too lazy to do anything else.” Another told me that they were too desperate and figured “why not?”

Well, the why not and too lazy won’t help any of us be successful and more than that, it won’t help us with our other fellow authors helping us. So here are some things I see, some of my biggest pet peeves. If you see yourself consistently doing any of these, please just take a moment and rethink them.

#1) For goodness sake, on your author page, please don’t guilt readers, friends or family to buy your book. Please don’t tell everyone you’re broke and that you need to pay your bills and it would really help if you could purchase a book for them. This is your public author page. Be professional and respectful. It’s one thing to suggest they buy your book and explain you’ve just launched it and would love their support, or ask for reviews, promote blogs and other things, but when you start resorting to guilt to purchase? Not cool and you certainly won’t get a fan base invested in your work.

#2) Please don’t go to another author’s page and promote YOUR book or services. (someone did it to me yesterday – an author I actually know on social media) You want to tell an author you now do book covers? Then email them or IM them – don’t go to their author page and put a big photo of YOUR book or services on their page. Just not cool and you can be sure I’ll delete it pronto. That page is mine. Meaning, if I want to promote another author, I do it because “I” want to, not because someone else used my platform to meet new people.

#3) Please don’t spam your twitter followers with ONLY “Buy my book” tweets or a post about your book. Or for that matter, just post other people’s book tweets. It’s lovely of you to do that to support them, but you want to be known for more than just being a book spammer. Follow some conversations, ask questions, retweet other people. Work with the hashtags. Anything, but just spamming. Talk to people. You must do this if you wish to have more engaged fans.

#4) Please don’t ask someone to retweet your book if you’ve NEVER once done anything for them. If you don’t speak to these people ever, you don’t buy their book, you don’t promote them, you don’t do a review, don’t expect them to just do a dedicated campaign for you. And then if they don’t do this “dedicated campaign,” don’t then stalk them on social media and ask them WHY they haven’t looked at your book yet. Trust me, my reading list for author friends, which is 15 deep, comes first. And another thing, when I read a friend’s book, I do not expect them to buy and read mine just out of courtesy. I chose to read that book. My time is so limited between work, family, commuting, and my own writing that I simply have no time.

#5) In the same vein, please don’t ask another author to do anything for you on twitter if you don’t even follow them back. I have so many authors asking me to do things for them, retweet their books, BUY a book, review a book, yet they don’t follow me and have never once engaged me, promoted me or listed me. Am I petty? No, it’s a courtesy. IM me on the side, go to my web page and seek me out and email me if you have a question – but tagging me so my followers see you just to promote yourself? Not cool. I’ll respond much better privately, trust me.

#6) Please don’t send me publicly anything dirty, racist or ultra religious. Even if it’s a joke and you think the joke is funny and I’ll enjoy it. I have a great sense of humor… but PRIVATELY. But, if it’s on my public feed, I’ll delete or block it. My son saw something really lewd on my feed last night as I was doing a tweet and when I checked it, this photo was right below it. He was appalled and fled the room. I was utterly embarrassed as I stared at the blatant close-up of a woman’s naked “hooha” being “serviced.” I had to assure my son that it wasn’t my post. He didn’t quite believe me thinking that if it was on my computer, it must be mine. BLOCKED and REPORTED.

#5) Lastly, this is a biggie on Facebook and it bothers me the most: FOLLOW THE RULES ON A PAGE. If it is a tweeting page, please make sure MOST of your requests are tweets. If it is a likes page, make sure most of the requests are likes. If it is a horror blog and they don’t allow book promotions – DON’T PROMOTE YOUR HORROR BOOK. It’s one thing if authors ask other authors on those pages occasionally to help them do something because they’ve become friends and they’ve all supported each other, but it’s something else when people continually abuse the rules on a page for their own self promotion yet the admins are too kind to do anything about it.

Maybe I’m just overly sensitive. Maybe I’m a just a stickler for rules. But, I do think with the internet being so impersonal we must put the “personal” back into it.


28 thoughts on “Authors, Really, Don’t Do These Things….

  1. I feel so relieved. I was quite fearful reading the beginning of the post, dreading that I would find all sorts of things that I do wrong. Now having read through all of the rules, I can say I don’t do any of those things. Whew.

    • You’re pretty awesome then… I was guilty of spamming – there was a time all I did was tweet books, my own and others and didn’t speak to anyone – now I try to mix it up so that I’m not so one dimensional.

  2. You made some excellent points! Especially about the guilt trip / begging aspect. I’ve seen a lot of this lately, and because I’m a cold-hearted sort I just unfollow or block them. I don’t appreciate that kind of not-so-subtle emotional blackmail. And as far as lewd material of any kind goes, no. The person that posted that to your feed needs what we call here an ‘ass-kicking.’ Great post!

  3. Really good and informative. As I started to read, I thought goodness, I hope I can’t be accused of these offences. With hand on heart, I’m sure I don’t.
    I like to promote other authors, and let them know when I’ve bought their book, to bless them.
    I RT and favourite when I like something, which is quite often.
    Nethertheless, twitter, Facebook, Google+ and other sites are my author platform, and within reason I will use them. But never on someone else’s page.
    Good article, thanks for sharing. 😊

  4. I’ve seen several authors begging for sales and alluding to their financial problems on Facebook, of all places, lately. It blows my mind that any “professional” would resort to such a sad tactic, and while I’m voracious enough of a reader to try many of my colleagues’ work out, such ploys leave me cold and ensure that I’ll never buy their book. If you want to be a professional, act like a professional.

    • Totally agree – and when they beg it leaves a strange feeling in your gut. The real thing is… that $1 royalty isn’t going to pay your bills with the 20 people you guilted at that moment. You need to find your real readers, not your family and close friends who took pity on you. Heck, in that case, I’ll just hand you $20.

  5. I couldn’t agree more. I’ve blocked a few people on twitter who post lewd pictures or constantly spam book links and nothing else.
    And yeah, the guilt trip does work on me. I think my mom broke that aspect of me. 😉

    • The guilt trip works on me… to a point… when that same person begs me to buy one of their books, but hasn’t even bothered to get mine when it’s FREE or 99 cents, well, I don’t jump to get theirs. I’ll help everyone, but I think guilt really is a bad way to do things. Thanks so much for commenting!

  6. You said it all, Elyse. I friend several “unknowns” on Twitter and FB and have been burned with some extremely graphic offers. They are immediately unfriended and blocked. I want my feeds to be professional. IF authors don’t follow rules, they are slitting their own throats. I follow guidelines as closely as possible – that includes not only submissions, but also other author pages, too. Thanks for speaking up.

  7. #3…I was guilty of that one…I had RoundTeam retweeting hashtags. I had a ton of scheduled tweets…OMG. BUT I wised up cleaned up my Twitter by finding those authors who follow me back. I support them, in turn they support me. I keep the retweeting to minimum and tweet things I find interesting or have conversations with others. My experience on Twitter is much better now, and I am sure the people who follow me appreciate it.

    • There was a time I only did book posts – I know I was spamming everyone. It was why I actually took myself off the tweet group because I’d scheduled hundreds of book posts, not mine, every month and I realized my own voice wasn’t coming through. I still tweet people, but it’s a much more manageable level now. Thanks for commenting!

  8. Yes, these are the “rules” but please realize we’re all human and it’s important to relax a bit, too, and not get too serious if someone “offends” us. There are many newbies out there who don’t know any better, or people with experience who choose to promote in a different vein. Social media is rife with trolls and hurt feelings, let’s not add to it.

    • Oh, no, you are totally right about newbies – I even made note of that in the blog that people can get passes. I’m talking about the folks that seriously should know better, but don’t care, you know?

  9. Pingback: Authors, Really, Don’t Do These Things…. | julizpow

  10. Can we add, please don’t send automated DMs on twitter? If you wouldn’t walk up to a stranger at a party and say – “Hi, nice to meet you! Subscribe to my website, Follow me on Facebook, and Buy my book!” – you probably shouldn’t greet your new followers that way!

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