Day in and day out I see writers do things on Twitter that they absolutely should NOT DO (I'd like to think I know something about it since doing social media was what brought food to my table before I quit my career to write). There are things that you, as a writer, should NEVER do on Twitter, under any circumstances, no, not even for a minute, nada. The things I'm talking about are unspeakable. I have to go make myself fearless, acquire some courage to actually say these things out loud. Brrrr. Because, I know, as soon as I do, there will be a mob behind my door screaming for my blood, waiting to beat me up or to tear me to pieces (not sure about eating me, I'm pretty bony). All right, breathing in, breathing out, here we go:
Stop DM'ing me stuff - I never read it. Nobody does anymore, it's considered spam. Asking me to go like your Facebook page? Won't ever click on it unless I know you. Sending me a link to your free novel? Forget it, why would I be interested if I don't even know what it's about? Offering me free writing tips? I could care less. Who are you and why would I even bother asking you in the first place? What kind of credibility do you have with me? None. I just met you, so stop flashing free coupons in my face, it's rude. Oh, did you ask me to please review your book? I will make sure to steer clear of it, trust me. My favorite type is: "I'm looking forward to getting to know you, I'm looking forward to your tweets." No, you're not. You're busy writing your stuff, I'm a nobody to you, I'm a stranger and you don't give a damn, so why not be honest? Do me a favor, please, turn your automatic DM's off. Instead, send me a real human hello. I do get those sometimes - and every time I do, I bow, because it's a miracle.
Don't flood your timeline by overpromoting yourself - it turns people off. Yes, yes, I know, as a writer nowadays you HAVE to promote your book yourself, even if you've gone the traditional publishing route. But many times I see writers who get the idea backwards. They think that by flooding their twitter stream with posts about their fabulous book will get them more sales. Wrong. Number one, a Twitter page littered with self-promotion looks like, well, that awful word again, SPAM. Number two, after a while you start sounding like a mechanical doll, repeating yourself over and over again, which gets boring really quickly. What do you do to a neighbor that bugs you with the same request every week? One day you get so fed up, you want to shout at him and throw him off your porch (of course we know you're too nice to do it, but still, you fantasize about it, don't you?). Same happens online, except it's much MUCH easier to do it. People simply unfollow you. So please, instead, promote others, and vary it, which leads me to the next point.
Do not post links to bad book promo videos - just don't. This one is a pet peeve of mine because I've been a producer, a director, a screenwriter, and an owner of a start-up that made animations for businesses, so my demands for video or animation production values are very high. I understand that it's a tough thing to do, a video promotion for your book, but if you can't do it profesionally, DON'T DO IT AT ALL! (Wish these letters were bigger). You would be better off recording your humble self reading your 1st Chapter aloud than posting a horrible slow boring piece of a video that stretches out the beginning to bad music, rolls out text in stripes or stars that is nearly impossible to read over bad photographs and ends with more SPAM in the form of "Download your copy today!" Well, you can rest assured I never will. Please, take that video down, will you? And don't send it to anyone else on Twitter ever again.
Don't invite me to events out of town - I won't come! This one is hysterical. I would get tweets about book readings and events from all over the place, but NOT Seattle. I know those are automatic or sent by someone who didn't even check the city where I lived, so why bother? Save yourself time, save me time, don't do it. Because of course I will never come. Unless you are Neil Gaiman or J.K Rowling - because then I will sell the rest of my possessions (there are so few of them left, why not go all the way?) and come flying on the next airplane, for sure. Hey, a girl can dream, right?
Stop posting stuff that is hard to read. You know you're guilty of cramming every possible hashtag into your post, every link, every person you talked to. Don't. It's hard to read. In fact, it looks a little bit like spam and produces this learned reaction in me, as in, shudder. I typically steer clear of tweets like that because they are flashing blue at me and my eyes get watery from just looking at them, all linked-up to the max. Not a space wasted. Stop shouting at me in blue, I get it! Just throw a tag or two or a link or two, but don't cram your tweet full of them, please.
Don't rant about or respond to bad reviews. This should be common sense, no? I don't think I have to say anything else.
There, I feel better now. This topic has been bugging me for months. I'm sure there are more Twitter crimes that writers are responsible for, feel free to add more in the comments (and let's all have a collective laugh at ourselves). I've done a big share of these crimes myself before learning how to do it properly. There is really no complicated strategy that you have to follow, but one simple rule:
That's it. Give. And people will give back tenfold. Don't believe me? It's how the world operated before Twitter was invented. Still don't belive me??? Read this little book called The Go-Giver and tell me what you think. I'm all ears. Guess what, if you are not a robot, if you happen to be a real human being, you can even DM me!
P.S.: Oh, and please remove BEST-SELLING from your Twitter bio. I promise, I'll shut up now.