A friend got a private message on Twitter this morning, and after she unfollowed the guy and reported him for spam she then forwarded the message to me. I’m sharing it with you today because I find it a particularly spammy form of marketing.
Hi, this is a survey of sorts, by me, not a bot. Have you read any of my books? If not, why haven’t you? If you have, what do you think?
Okay, it might not come across as all that spammy, but the thing is my friend is a pro in digital publishing. She isn’t a friend of that author, she is not a member of his fan club, nor did she decide to join a feedback group. So sending a bald faced query like this via a conversational channel like Twitter is at best questionable. (Oh, and the answer is obvious; I haven’t read his stuff because there’s so damn much other content to fill my time. So it is spam.)
And it’s not the first unwanted tweet I’ve gotten from an author. In fact, if you’re an author who follows me on Twitter and I don’t follow you back, this is why.
I’m sorry to tar all authors with such a broad brush, but the reality is that there is a small fraction of authors who spam on Twitter. The infractions range from using bots to send a “buy my book” private message to new followers to entreaties to retweet a sales pitch to folks who jump into conversations with references to their books.
Okay, I do understand that self-published authors need to do their own marketing but that doesn’t mean Twitter is the right place for it. The point of social media in general and Twitter in particular is to have a conversation. This same rule applies to Facebook as well as any other social media site. If all you’re saying is the same shit over and over again then you’re not actually conversing with me.
And that is why I’ve stopped following authors on Twitter (with a few exceptions). While I know it looks like I’ve made a poor decision the fact of the matter is a lot of people will do the same. Oh, they might not swear off all authors, but they will unfollow the spammy ones so that kind of behavior is self-defeating.