What Part of Social Do You Not Understand?

Why are we still talking about this? There are probably a thousand blog posts and articles out there advising authors how to use Twitter and other social media. But, especially Twitter. I’ve even written about it. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are entire books dedicated to teaching authors to use social media for marketing.

So, for the love of Pete, can someone tell me why this is still an issue?!? I follow a fairly narrow group of people on Twitter: authors, publishers, bloggers (in various niches), autism/Asperger’s experts/moms (obviously there is some overlap there), and fitness experts (although I end up dumping the ones that are only spamming links). So, when I go through my Twitter feed to see what’s going on, what do I find? A few quotes, the occasional personal remark, quite a few links to author/writing/publishing blog posts. But at least 90% of my feed (and I’m probably being generous) is book links posted by the author. It makes it really hard to have a conversation when you haven’t said anything in the first place. And you can bet I’m not going to retweet someone else’s spammy ad.

Every few months, I get really frustrated and post something like this. It always gets a big response. People are tired of it.


  1. marked by or passed in pleasant companionship with friends or associates
  2. of or relating to human society, the interaction of the individual and the group
  3. tending to form cooperative and interdependent relationships with others

It annoys everyone, and is more likely to result in people unfollowing you, or at least ignoring you, than a sale.

And the new annoying trend is authors (and tour promoters) messaging bloggers through Facebook, asking for a review or for us to post about their book. I’m all for helping out and sharing information, and I’ll talk more about that in a minute. But, really folks, when you ignore our blogs (which are almost always linked from the very page you used to leave that PM) and leave messages on Facebook, it’s frustrating, annoying, and intrusive. Most of us have review policies on our blogs that spell out which genres we review and whether we’re even accepting books at the current time. When you contact us through Facebook, you’re telling us that you couldn’t be bothered to click over to our blog and read our review policy.

So why should we make the time to read your book?

Oh, you just want me to post about your book? Why would I? You’re a complete stranger who has never contacted me until you wanted me to use my hard-earned audience to advertise your book for you for free.

I know. That’s so harsh. Authors are people, too. And they’re on a budget. Aren’t book bloggers supposed to be there to help authors? Well, yeah. Sort of. And you know what? I do share about books on my Facebook pages and Twitter. So what’s the magic formula? How do I decide what to share?

It’s very simple, actually. Relationships. (You knew that whole “social” thing was there for a reason, right?) If I’ve read a book, and I find out it’s on sale or free, I’ll let everyone know. If  I’ve worked with an author, and they have news to share, I’ll spread the word. If I’m “friends” with an author — and that encompasses everything from having a few goofy conversations on Twitter to a close friend who wrote a book years after we first met — I’ll do anything I can to help. Posting promos on my blog, sharing on social networks, the whole deal.

So, consider this blog post number 1,001.

Stop spamming links.

Post fun stuff.

Build relationships.

Be social.