C h a z z W r i t e s . c o m

The publishing revolution already happened.

How to stop hurting yourself on #Twitter

I’m in a bind. I hate scolds, but occasionally I fall into that category. Usually, I stay silent when a righteous rebuke is all lined up for the tee off. Not today.

CASUAL INDIGNITIES AT THE MALL

When the cashier at A&W refers to the restaurant as “the store” and my dinner as “your chicken product”, I’m embarrassed to be there. I bite my tongue and swear again I’ll learn how to cook.

When I redeem  a lotto ticket and the counter guy says, “You’re a gambler! Come around to this counter, not that one!” Even though no one else is in the store (and, no matter what, I AM F#$@!%! NEXT!) I say, “Sure.” Then I walk around to the other counter. The controlling nit doesn’t move. I get a lousy two bucks and my dose of humiliation. I swear never to return to this inconvenience store and never again shall I lay eyes on the smug bonehead who runs his petty fiefdom with an iron fist of passive aggression. 

I try to be a nice guy. But the rage…these urges. No wonder I write about killing people. Crime fiction is my passive aggression at work.

BUT NOW…THE CALL TO END TWITTER PROMO MADNESS

It’s time to assert. I try to appear somewhat adorable and mask my true whiny/murderous nature, but the time to stay silent and patient has passed. I’ve asked this before. I’ve reasoned and cajoled. I’ve stopped short of insisting. I said please and thank you. I’ve led, but few followed. It’s time to say it again and to get tougher:

Authors, stop just tweeting Amazon links! Please!  Stop it!

Okay, there are times to do it. If you’re launching a book or doing something different and new, fine. Free days on Amazon spawn a lot of lookalike tweets and we can’t help that. Tweet away! I don’t believe in spam per se, but I do believe in dumb and dumb is dangerous.

It is, of course, entirely up to you what you decide to commit on social media. However…

I’M STEPPING UP BY STEPPING DOWN

I won’t be retweeting those repetitive tweets from now on. To interest readers, you need to offer fresh content and many of my fellow aspirants aren’t doing that. The practice does not help your book and it hurts my Twitter following. I have to tweet content, not air to grow my cult. You do, too.

I’ve retweeted many authors, happily and generously. Well…lately it’s been less happy because I’m too often asked to sow the same seeds in the same field. That’s not healthy for us or the crops. And consumers? They hate it. It tastes like rerun roadkill when they see the same tweet repeatedly. Grow your reader farm: Tweet and retweet more randomly.

Book promotion laziness has fallen into too many Twitter streams. For instance, how about more of a clue what your book is about and/or what genre it is? I know it’s only 140 characters, so be clever and craft your message so we understand. Use hashtags or a short quote. Telling is not selling.

Not everybody’s on board with using fresh, imaginative tweets to seduce new readers so I must participate less. It should be that the more I take part, the more followers I gain. I don’t see that in my stats at the moment.

WHAT WORKS ON TWITTER

What I see is, the more I tweet and retweet fresh content that’s funny or useful, the more followers I gain. The more I retweet stale links, the more Follow drop off I suffer. I want to help with RTs and I often do, but I won’t do so if what you want me to retweet hurts me.

HOW TWITTER FAILS AS ADVERTISING

Unless your title screams exactly what your book is about and you’re hitting the Twitter browser at just the right time, broadcasting your title and a link isn’t effective. This is exactly what it’s not like:

“Oh, there’s an Amazon link to a book called Survive Your Ambulance Ride! and I happen to be having a heart attack right now! Tis kismet! Uh-oh! I can’t feel my left arm! Quick, Helen! Before calling 911, help me click that Buy link! Good thing I have one-click buying! Um…oh, god, the blinding pain! How’s your speed reading, Helen?”

THE MYTH OF HELPFUL REPETITION

Small business owners have always been told that, for ads to be effective, they have to be seen over and over, between nine and twenty-seven times, depending on how greedy the salesperson is. The people telling them that were selling Yellow Pages advertising (or, as I now call it: Yellowed Pages.)

The Crazy Expensive Repetitive Advertising Model might even have been true then. We have more choices now. When I detect you’re trying to skate by on the same bland tweets, it feels less like a marketing plan and more like blackmail: “Buy my book and maybe I’ll stop asking you to buy my book.”

Good news: You can run as many ads for your books as you like, but bury that ad in new, better and varying content. For instance, the content always changes on this blog, but I hope my book covers at least look familiar by now, right? Right?! (What’s left of Chazz’s soul dies a little more under the crush of ice-cold anonymity.)

SOLUTION: GET SOMETHING NEW TO TWEET

Write a new blog post (with plenty of links to your books). Go ahead and go crazy. It’s your blog. Just make the posts helpful or funny and new. We all love New.

Write about the setting for your latest novel (especially if it’s exotic and you had angry monkey sex in a hot tub under a palm tree on your last vacation there.) Tell us what true events inspired you. Get on a podcast and tweet about that. Write a guest post. Reblog more for easy, fresh content your readers will appreciate (and the original blogger will thank you for.) Stop depending on the same tweet to get us to buy that same book. Change it up! Rotate tweets at least! Say something amusing, interesting, offensive, odd, surreal, whatever! Anything! Just stop pounding that same key hoping for a new note. Resolve now to tweet new stuff.

And for Thor’s sake, for readers and for your career,

write a new book!

~ Robert Chazz Chute has recoiled, turtle-like and appalled, at having published this post. He wishes it wasn’t needed. He feels bad making anyone feel bad. He’s distancing himself from this post even now by writing this in the third person. Sure, he means well, but who cares about that? You can hear his latest rant about something else entirely at the All That Chazz podcast. 

Filed under: Publicity & Promotion, Twitter, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

6 Responses

  1. Very well said. I’ve often stopped following authors because all they ever posted about was to tell me to buy their book. Surely the writer has a personality and original thoughts and opinions. I’d like to hear those too :

  2. Marcie Brock says:

    Though I don’t share your particular frustration on this one (Twitter specifically), I get it. I’m more aggravated by those who can never stop pitching their books – ever. it’s as though they live in a world where their book is the only one – and only thing that exists. No other people, no interesting interactions to share, nothing else under the sun going on but promoting their book. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, blog – it’s all about their stupid book … For God’s sake, show me you have another side! Then I might, just might, take an interest in your book.

  3. Love this piece of great work, It’s important to avoid tweeting repetitively to avoid annoying readers/ and bring their interests up by posting something new and value to them.

    Thank You – Ferb

  4. [...] ← How to stop hurting yourself on #Twitter 02/06/2013 · 6:59 AM ↓ Jump to Comments [...]

  5. Terry Tyler says:

    Good post, and it’s something I’m always telling people about when they confide in me that their book isn’t selling – no, of course it’s not, if all you do is tweet Title Of Book by Name of Author and the links… why should anyone want to click on that? It’s as if the fact that it’s by THEM is supposed to make it attractive, all by itself. I do tweet my books A LOT, but I’m not going to apologise for that because I also retweet other people A LOT, and interact A LOT, and I tweet my blogs (some of which are about useful/interesting stuff for writers, some of which are on subjects totally non-writing related). I do try to find different aspects of my books to tweet about every single bloody day – not easy!! I know what you mean; I’ve seen the same tweets regurgitated over and over again by some authors, for the same book, for months on end… I get bored with seeing mine after a few days, and my books are endlessly fascinating to me, so I can imagine how others must feel seeing the same thing over and over again!

    I agree with Marcie’s comment above – my current thing-I-am-getting-fed-up-with is the way more and more people tweet to you ‘thanks for the follow, why not check out link-link-link. No interaction, no nothing. The worst one I’ve seen like that recently was on Goodreads – I reviewed someone else’s book, and the next day saw that there was a comment underneath it. It was from another writer saying nothing about the book I’d reviewed, or the review itself, but suggesting that I might like her book too, as it was related. It wasn’t actually related at all – she hadn’t even bothered to read the review. Ghastly.

  6. I’ve actually stopped reading my twitter feed. There’s nothing of interest and it’s become a waste of time. Makes me sad inside.

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