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.
- Seven tips about book marketing very few will heed (chazzwrites.com)
- The art of the retweet: does time of day matter? (polarisprinc.com)
- Get More Retweets [Infographic] (pamorama.net)
- How To Retweet: 8 Ways To Avoid Being A Lazy Retweeter (marketingthink.com)
- Reblogged Vs. Retweet: A Case for the Former (zemanta.com)