We all get them, even the ones that send them receive them from others. And it’s funny to watch how trends, like the tide, they ebb and flow. Most of us who have been around the social media/marketing world a while (ummm, say more than two years) saw a surge – quite a few of us even amongst those guilty at one time or another – until realizing maybe it wasn’t such a good idea since it had the opposite effect. It turned people off instead and didn’t amount to additional sales.
Okay, by now I’m sure you’re wondering what the it is I’m talking about. Get on with it, I hear you say in my head. Well, the it or “wham,” for purposes of the blog post title I’m referring to, consists of a “Hi” in front of the comma followed by … “buy my book”. Perhaps not so blunt but that’s what it boils down to. I’m talking about those auto-messages delivered in your Twitter DM box; and/or, those timeline posts placed on your Facebook page by who was, only fifteen minutes ago, a stranger.
I’m not a blind Follow-back type of person. If I follow or friend you back, it’s because I’ve looked at your profile and something you said piqued my interest enough to want to follow your timeline, get to know you per se. If I’m intrigued enough, I might even check your author page on Amazon and Click to View and Sample one of your books.
But, (and you knew there was going to be one of those coming, right?) in the meantime, a DM has appeared in the Inbox and when opened, instead of seeing such pleasantries as a “Thanks for the follow, I look forward to sharing tweets with you,” it is more along the lines of:
Thanks for the follow. Please–
- Like my Facebook page
- If you like reading (insert genre) then you’ll love my book
- Read a sample of my book and let me know what you think
- Support my kickstarter campaign
- Retweet the following message…
All of these were culled from direct messages received on my twitter account.
It’s disappointing, really. It feels similar to strolling through a mall, passing one of those kiosks, and, not wanting to be rude to the sales person staring a hole right through you, you flash them a courtesy smile of acknowledgment. Wham. You gave them an audience and they shout out, “would you like to try…”. EXCEPT, in a mall, well, you are there to buy stuff but on Twitter and Facebook, you go there to interact, learn, peruse, promote yourself and others.
I get it. Marketing is absolutely key in self-publishing. Even if you go traditional publishing, a large part will still fall on the shoulders of the author to self-promote. There are no free rides on this branch of being a writer. As my good friend and best-selling author, R.S. Guthrie, has said on marketing: “Writing the book is the easy part.” Marketing and branding–that takes work.
There are plenty of tools, websites, and books around on marketing and branding all to educate and school you on what works and what doesn’t. I didn’t write this blog to set out any rules or go into promotional etiquette. I wrote this blog post only as a vehicle to say that if you are that person that uses auto tweets when someone follows or friends you, try to be a little genuine and be who you really are–A writer who has poured their heart and love into a collection of words you want to share with that reader who will treat it with respect and the enthusiasm it deserves.
A few ways to find that readership base and make that happen is to join #Triberr, make friends by interacting, form a Street Team. Be sincere and offer to help your fellow author. We all share the same hopes and dreams when it comes to our books. Don’t be one-dimensional whose sole purpose is to promote only yourself. Reciprocity, and kindness, both go a looooong way in this business.