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Thursday, October 21, 2010

You Might Be Obnoxious If...

This brave new world of social media has sent scads of authors into the wild, all trying to scream loudly enough to garner attention for their books. The unfortunate thing is that too many of these people seem to have no common sense on where the line is between promoting themselves and being obnoxious.

So here are some hints. (With apologies to Jeff Foxworthy.) You might be obnoxious if:

1. You promo yourself so much on Twitter that people who don't follow you are filtering out your tweets. Bonus points if most/all of your tweets are promotion related.

Yes, it's true. For the past two months, an author who I shall not name has been tweeting promo after promo after promo. Other authors who I do follow are retweeting these posts. Even with the new-style Twitter Retweet which means I only see a RT once, I still have been inundated. By an author I do not follow! I ended up blocking her on Twitter and filtering out anything with her name on Tweetdeck. I can't imagine actually following her.

2. Someone accepts your friend request on Facebook and you post your book cover on their wall, complete with review snippets, book summary, and links to your website and blog. Bonus points if you hop over as soon as FB notifies you of the acceptance.

This has happened. More than once. The first time an author does this, I remove the post. The second time they do it, I unfriend them. This is very tacky behavior.

3. You send your newsletter to someone who did not sign up for it. Bonus points for not including an unsubscribe link.

Do I even need to explain why this is wrong? First, if someone wants your newsletter, they know to request it. Secondly, I'm not your target audience. Yes, writers read, but we're still not your target audience.

4. Promo your blog post on published-author-only loops. Bonus points if you do it every time you blog. Double bonus points if your topic is of no interest to most published authors.

Do I need to say it again? Published authors are not your target audience. Really. I have to believe that after a couple times, few bother to click over anymore, but even if these blog promos are driving traffic to your site, it's not the traffic you're looking for. Numbers are less important than having the right kind of numbers. I can guarantee you, though, that there are people muttering about you and not in a positive way.

5. You send event invites on Facebook, MySpace, or some other social networking site a) for book signings (bonus points if they're 1500 miles away from me). b) For every guest blog you do. c) To tell me that your book is still available. Bonus points if you send private messages with this information.

Just don't. Facebook has a wonderful feature called LISTS. Sort your friends into lists. Put authors on one list. Do not send them your promo stuff. We did not friend you because we love your books. We friended you because you asked, and because networking is a good thing, we accepted. This doesn't mean I have any interest in your work. Sorry. If I love you more than any other author, I'll let you know and then you can add me to the Readers List.

6. Try to refriend me after I've unfriended you. Bonus points for resending friend requests over and over.

I only unfriend the obnoxious on Facebook. If you're no longer a friend, there's a reason for that. Don't send another friend request. Definitely don't repeatedly send friend requests. I've blocked two people permanently for this. It's beyond obnoxious and borders on stalkerish behavior.

There are a lot of other obnoxious things authors do in the name of promotion, but these are the things that have been happening a lot lately. If you're irritating me, how many other people are you irritating? Think about it.