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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Annoying Author Tricks

Over the past month, I have been subjected to author promotion that left me using bad words. These writers come from all areas--self-published, small press, and traditional publishing--so it's not a case of one group running amok. Everyone seems to be running amok, and you can bet if it's annoying the hell out of me, it's annoying the readers who are subjected to this, too.

Since common sense seems to be completely absent, let me run through what not to do.

*Do not send a friend request in Facebook, and the very instant you see it's accepted, send an invitation to like your page or follow your blog. If I friended you, that would be one thing, but I didn't and it makes me immediately sorry that I approved you. This is my first impression of you and it isn't a positive one.

*Do not ever post promo for your book, requests to like your page, or invitations to follow your blog (or all three!) on another author's wall unless you are invited to do so. It is completely rude to do this, but it's pervasive enough that I was forced to lock down my wall. Some intrepid souls (who will promptly be deleted) respond to my posts with spammy comments. Don't do this.

*Do not add anyone to a group on Facebook without their permission. I call it being hijacked, and I promise you, if you do this to me, I will never buy any of your books. I will also immediately unfriend you on the theory that if you do this once, you'll do it again and I don't have time to deal with it.

*Do not send mass messages on Facebook asking me to buy your book, vote for your book at some obscure website, or anything else. Don't do this even in a one-on-one message. This is called spam and no one likes a spammer.

*Speaking of spam, don't add anyone to your email newsletter list who doesn't ask you to do it for them. I can't even believe I still have to list this, but it happened just a week or two ago and I don't have a positive opinion of the author in question. This is also illegal. If you use a professional newsletter service, they will have a FAQ to explain this. Read it. Believe it.

*Do not harvest email addresses and then send out email asking me to buy your book, vote for your book at some obscure website, or anything else. Again, this is spam. This is another thing I can't believe I have to mention, but some author I never heard of did just this very thing the same day I received the author newsletter I didn't want.

*Do not use Twitter to do nothing but promote yourself. Twitter is about having conversations. If 90% of your tweets are promo either for yourself or RTs of other authors' promo so that they will retweet your promo in return, you clearly do not understand Twitter. I have an author in my stream right now that's doing this very thing. Maybe 5% of her tweets are non-promo. Maybe, but that might be stretching it. There are reasons why I haven't deleted her, but I promise you, I've stopped reading her tweets.

*Do not send me FB event invitations asking me to buy your book, vote for your book at some obscure website, or anything else. I will allow that readers have some interest in this information, however, while I read, my time is so limited and I have so many author friends, that I don't need more reading material. Facebook offers this awesome feature called lists. It allows you to tag everyone of your friends and only send stuff to the people who want to hear about it. Use this.

If you're doing these things, there is a very good chance you're aggravating readers. Before doing something, think about how you'd react if another author did it to you. And be honest with yourself because you're not doing yourself any favors if your promotion is angering people.