Dear Author, You're Annoying.
An Inky Round Table discussion
Barb: As my first novel was released just last week, I, like so many other writers, are struggling with how best to use social media for book promotion. But as readers, we're all bombarded with messages every day through Facebook or Twitter. So today on Inkwell, a few Inkies are talking about all those things that writers do to try to get noticed and sell books, but that might be working against them by annoying potential readers.
We'd like to invite our readers into the discussion. What annoys you? Or you could spin it positive and say what you like to see and what you think works.
Deb: I see frequent tweets that are redundant and seem to be auto-generated self promotion. Yes, we have to promote our stories, but automatically generated tweets that take the place of chatty comments bug me.
I understand that you have to shoot a bunch of arrows to hit the target but for those of us who have noticed you are trying to sell that book... I'd rather hear what you had for lunch.
If you don't have time to tweet, don't use it as a tool.
I'm struggling sometimes with what to post. I do want to share with my friends when I'm doing interviews or giveaways--after all, that benefits them too. But sometimes I feel even that can go overboard.
Deb: Well, certainly with a new release you have to use every opportunity! those don't bother me (certainly not Bloom and Doom!). The abundant tweets I'm thinking of are the same book title and sentence a year later. once in awhile? But not week after week. Okay, maybe it's worse when it's a book I picked up and couldn't finish. Oops
Susie: I agree. If I see eight tweets in a row promoting an author's book and the author never tweets anything else, I tune out.
Lisa: My pet promotional peeve is when authors assume that everyone in the contact list wants to receive their promotional e-mails or newsletters. Please don't sign me up for stuff. If I want to sign up I will. But you can rest assured that getting an unwanted e-mail will not prompt me to go buy the latest release.
Suzie: I totally agree with you, Lisa. Don't sign me up without asking first.
Niki: I'll pick on Pinterest... Please don't flood my Pinterest feed with multiple mentions of your book release. One, two, even five posts won't bother me, but when my whole screen is covered with posts relating to your book, it makes me not want to read it. Spread them out, tease me with them, make them stand out!
Jen: There's one author I see on Twitter that only ever tweets about her own books. She either posts quotes from the books, or pieces of reviews. Since she never tweets anything else, I have zero interest in her work.
Suzie: There's one lady on my Facebook like that, too, Jen. It gets so exhausting.
DeAnna: Okay, I guess I'm odd man out, but I really, REALLY don't care what my favorite author had for lunch. I don't care what my dad had for lunch, so why should I care what someone I don't even know had?
But I'm not much of a social media person. I tweet and FB because I'm "supposed" to. I don't read other people's stuff unless I just happen to see it. I always reply to anything people post TO me, but other than that, I don't. Who has time for this? How can anyone possibly read the tons and tons of information that scrolls through on twitter or FB or any of the other sites? I mean, if you do it and nothing else 24/7, okay. But really?
Okay, now you can all cast asparagus on me.
Barb: No asparagus, DeAnna. I think that goes along well with what my agent told me. I don't have to do everything. If I focus on doing what I like then I'll do it more consistently.
For me, I like the interaction of Facebook. I probably need to spend less time on it, but it keeps me from feeling so isolated when I'm home alone all day. I even like the games sometimes (I've cut waaay back. Honest.)
Related to that are the writers who are determined that nobody else has fun on Facebook. They'll rant because someone dared to send them a game invitation (Some of them are generated automatically. If you don't want to get them, you can block them.) It's like the person who walked into a party and says, "Is someone having fun here? We'll need to put a stop to that. Oh, by the way, BUY MY BOOK!"
DeAnna: Heh heh . . . no, I think the people who like it should go for it. And I do enjoy chatting with people . . . IF they happen to say something to me (besides "buy my book"), but I have trouble thinking anyone would be interested in what shoes I'm wearing or what I'm fixing for dinner. And I'm certainly not interested in it enough to post about it. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
I have plenty of time sucks that I actually enjoy. Especially if you're supposed to say 9 non-marketing things for every 1 marketing thing you say. Not that I don't think that's a great idea, but who really has time for that?
Barb: This is probably a leading question, but what do you all think of the "I'll like your page if you like my page" strategy?
Lisa: I've always disliked that. It feels shady. Just playing the numbers, not legit.
Suzie: I agree with Lisa. I don't like it. My friend had a promo blog post where she would enter people in a drawing for "liking" her page. What's to stop them from un"liking" the page as soon as the drawing is over.
What does it even mean if thirty people like me because I liked them? To me it's empty.
So, writers and readers. Time to add your thoughts. What do you like to see? What do you hate to see? What works? What's just annoying? We know you have an opinion. Share.