As the title indicates, this is ranty. It does not apply to all authors. But I’m seeing enough of this behavior that it motivated me to post. I could either rant on my little blog or purge my follow list. Guess which I chose to do? In no particular order, things that get on my last nerve:
- When you squee about your BFF author’s new book, tell me what you like about it. Don’t just mindlessly retweet promo tweets. A lot of RTs are about stuff I don’t care about. I realize that’s the hazard of Twitter, but when noise completely obliterates signal, I’m out.
- For me to put up with Triberr retweets, I have to love you a lot. Enough to overcome my loathing of Triberr. Good luck with that. I’m not sure I love TheHusband enough to put up with Triberr from him.
- Twitter is a form of public communication. Please do not talk to your co-author/editor/publisher about your WIP/contract/deadline/edits on Twitter. If I follow all of you, I am privy to this conversation whether I want to be or not. Mostly, I don’t. It has nothing to do with me and frankly, it’s private business talk. That’s what chat/IM/email are for.
- When you snark about other authors and talk about how crappy their work is? That might be an author whose books I enjoy. Yeah, you’re entitled to your opinion, and I’m entitled to unfollow you and avoid your books. It’s pretty much the same as my Triberr rule, but with a slightly more forgiving threshold. Opinions are fine. Repeatedly bashing people who are in the same line of work as you? Tacky.
- Please do not tell me about every GoodReads review of your book via a squeeing tweet. OK, the first few times newbie authors do it, it’s kind of cute. But after that? GR has millions of users. I expect you to have reviews there. I’ll probably go look at them (after all, I’m following you). I don’t need individual updates.
- Don’t tweet or retweet a link to a private GoodReads group without warning. It’s hard enough to open links on Twitter across different clients and platforms, and I don’t enjoy going through that to find out it’s a dead link for me. I know you didn’t mean it, but that tweet goes to all your followers, not just a few.
- Don’t complain-tweet about how sad you are because your free book isn’t in the Top Whatever at Amazon. I know it’s free, but money is not the only scarce resource in my world. And it is not my job to boost your Amazon ranking.
Of course authors have to do promo. I follow some authors whose tweets skew toward promo. But: (a) they don’t tweet all the time, and (b) they usually just send out promo when they have an announcement. Since I don’t do Facebook or subscribe to author newsletters, I find the Twitter updates useful. But they don’t show up all day every day. If they did, I’d unfollow the authors immediately, no matter how much I love their books.
If you spend a lot of time on Twitter, think about it this way:
- If you weren’t an author, would you be on Twitter? What would you talk about? Who would you follow? Who would you want following you?
Take the answers to those questions and tweet about that. To them. Do more of that kind of tweeting than promo tweets, RTs of other authors’ promo, and endless Buy My Book tweets. You’ll attract a ton of followers, because they will want to hear what you say. And they will check out your books.
Being a person who isn’t TMI, or complaining, or selling all the time, is the surest way to get me to buy your book there is. I want to buy your book. I’m always looking for new authors. And I love talking to authors. I just don’t like being talked at, treated primarily as a buyer of the product you’re selling, or feeling as if I’m inappropriately eavesdropping on a conversation.
There are some fabulous authors on Twitter, and there are some authors who tweet fabulously. And some are both. To all the authors in those groups, this reader-tweetaholic says thank you, thank you, thank you.
UPDATE: Alisha Rai posted on this topic a while back, complete with awesome illustrations. If I had seen this before I wrote, my post would have just been a link and three words: What She Said.