don’t be stupid

Hi there. I’d like to take this time to talk with you about the fine products you can purchase from Amway.

Wait, wait — don’t close the door. I’m just kidding. I don’t want to sell you any Amway. I’m just making a point. You didn’t come to this blog expecting its author to sell you products from a multilevel marketing scam — er, company. If you did happen by in a search for substandard crapola you don’t need, then you might be a little confused. Also, your Google-fu is seriously fucked up.

Now then, back to my point: This is a writing blog. I may use it, on occasion, to pimp the stories I have for sale over at Smashwords. (See how I did that?) But here’s the thing: I know a lot of writers read my blog. Not nearly as many as those who read Chuck Wendig, but he’s actually funny. Foul-mouthed as hell, but funny. And smart. The bastard. It’s really not fucking fair that he’s talented, too.

(Apparently I can be fairly pottymouthed, too. Now if only talent was that easy to fake.)

Since it’s mostly writers (or maybe just my mom) who read my blog, I try to be relevant to them. I’m happy to review books and recommend authors that I enjoy and believe in. About 90 percent of stuff on this blog is writing or writing-related. But I try to be careful about how much shameless self-promotion I do. I know, I know, an author’s got to promote him- (or her-) self these days, and I’m not afraid to do that.

I just refuse to be stupid about it. And I wish other writers would do the same thing.

Let’s take Twitter for instance. I love Twitter. It’s my go-to social media app. You can have great conversations with a variety of people, and you can follow people who are relevant to your own interests. However, a lot of writers (especially indie writers) seem to use it horribly. Their only thought seems to be: Twitter? FREE MARKETING TOOL!

And who do they seem to be marketing to? Other writers. Does that seem right to you? Using Twitter to market your wares is fine, but you need to decide if you’re hitting your intended audience. Chances are, you’re not. You’d probably have more success selling Amway on a writing blog.

Before I go, a few more words on using Twitter for marketing your work:

If that’s all you use twitter for, please stop. Delete the app from your phone. Trash Hootsuite or Tweetdeck, whichever you use. Just back away from the keyboard. Twitter is best used as a way to add value for potential readers, to let them get a glimpse into your life. If you tweet a lot, it’s okay to market a lot. If you’re churning out 20 tweets a day, I’m okay with four or five of those messages pimping your wares. If you’re tweeting four times a day and three of those are marketing — why would I follow you? You’re adding no value to my already-clogged Twitter stream. You come off like a used-car salesman at the end of the month. No one likes the stench of desperation. It ruins that new-car smell.

And finally, I know I’ve covered it before, but please: If I follow you on Twitter and your first interaction with me is a direct message telling me where I can purchase your books, I will immediately unfollow you. That’s one of the dumbest, rudest ways any author — indie or commercial — can use social media.

Special thanks to Susi “Don’t Call Me Doc” Holliday and Anne-Mhairi “Bollocks” Simpson for inspiring this blog post. Hopefully it made sense. 🙂

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8 thoughts on “don’t be stupid

  1. I would love to leave a witty comment here – but I’m laughing too hard to type properly. I’d say this post is right on the point. I’m so thankful we’ve already spoken so when I finally get my book out there, I can tell you about it! 😉
    Seriously though, I unfollowed a few people just this week for this exact complaint as I clicked the red button to oblivion. I’m sure I can enjoy Twitter more now and only feel a slight twinge of regret when I see an RT of theirs that was clever.

    • I’m glad I finally said something funny or smart enough to get you to comment, dangit. 🙂 And when you *do* get your book out, make sure I get a review copy. 🙂

    • Haha Chuck does NOT sell Amway, at least that I’m aware of. He’s an urban fantasy writer published through Angry Robot Press … his website (linked above) has some great stuff for writers.

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