How NOT to Market Your Fiction on Twitter

Do not repeat this bad behavior, or people will unfollow you. Unfollow you, I say!

I’ve written before about how to use twitter to market your books. Well, a GREAT example of how NOT to use twitter fell into my lap today. I had to share.

A BIT OF BACKGROUND: every morning, I go through the new followers of some specific writers I’ve gotten to know on Twitter and really respect. I follow the people who follow them who I feel I have something in common with based on their bios, and then hope they’ll follow me back. Simple enough? Good?

Well, one of these people I followed–a fellow fantasy writer by her description, though she writes paranormal romance, which is not my subgenre at all–contacted me back this afternoon. Not with a followback. Not with a tweet to spark a conversation so we could get to know each other. Not with any kind of “Thanks for following.” So what did she tweet me? The tweet consisted of three parts.

  • MY TWITTER HANDLE. Required if I’m gonna see the tweet in my “interactions.” Fine.
  • A LINK TO AN INTERVIEW SHE GAVE. No explanation of what the link was. No description of anything. Just the link.
  • The word “RETWEET.” Not even asking, but demanding I, her follower minion, be a good little twitter-slave and retweet the link that for all I know could be to anything unless I risk clicking on it myself with no assurances of where it will lead me.

And remember: the woman didn’t even have the decency to follow me back before doing this! Needless to say, I unfollowed her in response. No retweet. She’s lucky I didn’t block her. Honestly, I’m not sure I didn’t.

PLEASE, use Twitter. It’s a wonderful tool. But use it directly. Don’t pull stunts like this. Do not spam your followers. It accomplishes nothing and it will only get your account frozen when people report you.

Ok. I’m done. This isn’t a crazy rare occurrence, unfortunately, which is why I wanted to share it.


24 responses to “How NOT to Market Your Fiction on Twitter

  1. Now that just sounds plain rude. People forget that interactions on twitter require the same decency as you’d expect in person. I think tweeps can support each other with a bit of give and take, and maybe even have some fun at the same time.

  2. There’s a lot that goes on on Twitter that I can’t imagine is effective. I really don’t like it, but I use it because it’s “a must”. I block a lot of people who, I guess, pay to spam me with stuff containing erotica and swearing. I totally ignore people who only ever promote their books (or unfollow if they are doing a particularly fine job of spamming me that day). It’s mostly a scrolling billboard.

  3. Apparently I have a lot more to learn about Twitter. I’m not using it effectively or really at all. It sounds very unpleasant.

  4. Another rude way is to make automated promises you don’t keep. I followed one author who sent me a DM thanking me for the following and requested that I like her FB page and she’ll like mine in return. Being a naive, new author on the Twitter scene and I did. She thanked me on the DM…but never got around to liking my FB page. After a few weeks of seeing her same automated tweets every hour – the kind that are literally “Buy my book!” – I unfollowed her and she unfollowed me too. Absolutely no grace!

    • ugh that’s the total worst. I also HATE true twit validation. I get that spammers are horrible, but why would you make it difficult for me to follow you? I just don’t follow true twits.

    • This nubie here is still figuring things out. Finding a lot of good things on Twitter, and a number of annoying things. I did fall the the ‘like my FB page and I’ll like yours’. It’s been about 4 days and I’m thinking of unfollowing her, on both Twitter and Facebook.
      You live. You learn.

  5. As a newbie I was shocked to get the erotica tweets – honestly did a double take – I mean really? In a tweet??? Now I am fairly ruthless about unfollowing anyone who is being disrespectful. Saying that I love those little micro conversations you have on twitter with random people who just happened to say something that catches your eye. That’s why I use twitter – and have connected with a lot of great writerly types. I hope you get many more of the good sort!

  6. Wow, that breaks every rule of twitter etiquette.

  7. Hi.

    I don’t like either this kind of direct messages, or any kind of direct message that promotes one’s stuff. When they are not rude, I simply ignore the messages. But at just a hint of being rude in any kind of way, I just unfollow.
    I used to send direct messages thanking persons for following me. I don’t do that anymore, because some people are annoyed of any direct message, even a “thank you” one.

    But I want to mention something, I keep in mind that sometimes accounts are hacked on Twitter and send out weird direct messages which are not the account owner’s doing. So I usually check it out before blaming the owner when I see something weird.

    • that’s a great point, I.J, about hackers! I did click on the link in the tweet I mentioned in this post and it took me to the tweeter’s website. Not a hacking in this case, but yes, hacking does happen a lot. Something to consider, for sure, before unfollowing someone.

      • You can check out links before you click them by entering them on Norton’s Safe Web site. If the site is new, they won’t have a report for it, but any site that has been on the web for a while has a good chance of being in their database. If any problems have been reported with a site, they’ll show you in the report. Norton Safe Web is free to use. I’ve avoided a few problem sites by making use of it. You can access it here:

        • thanks a ton for the tip! i never knew about that site before. great to know about it…. anyone with PCs and vulnerable to viruses can make good use of it. Macs too I’d think.

  8. Pingback: Marketing Fantasy When It’s Not About Vampires: Social Media Mayhem! | Creative Writing with the Crimson League

  9. Common sense and common decency don’t seem to be common enough, at least not online. I wonder if the authors who do such things would act in similar ways if they were face to face in real life? I bet not.

    • That’s a really good point, Andrew!!! No would do that face to face. I wonder what it is about being onlline that makes people feel like acting like that is okay, or will somehow get them clients.

  10. I had some one who followed me and said “if you don’t follow me back I’m going to unfollow you!” I though, please do!

  11. Pingback: How Authors Should Sell Themselves, Not Their Work, On Social Media | Creative Writing with the Crimson League

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