Everyone knows what spam is, and it is an unfortunate part of our internet lives. Spam doesn’t exist in email only; it exists in social media. If you are on a lot of social media or on a platform any length of time you will see spam or be spammed.
Some of my author friends have written a piece about the infectious disease of spamming among authors, so I am picking up my sign and adding my piece. Indie and traditionally published authors alike are doing it. Some authors and readers are saying, “Enough already!” It’s better to nip the problem in the bud before it starts by not doing it in the first place. I am mostly talking about new authors when I say that. If you are spamming, then–stop it! Start over with a fresh start and change you MO. I will pass along knowledge I have learned and get some great tips to promote yourself here and recommend a friend’s (Rachel Thompson) blog Bad Readhead Media.com or follow on twitter @badreadheadmedia. There are plenty of other ways to promote yourself without spamming. Mark Levine also has some nice words to say on the subject by calling it “Tweet Pollution”.
For new authors the temptation to spam is most insidious. I know because I was a newbie not too long ago, but now I have a little age on me and a little wiser. Am I perfect? No. I try my best by not to spam. Anyway with that being said, the temptation to spam for a new author is strong since they enter into a superfluous spam zone aka Twitter. It doesn’t happen as often on Facebook or other social media, but it can, especially if you connect anything to Twitter.
When a new author opens their twitter account and starts following people, especially other authors in their genre, they are drowned with spam. I know since I’ve been there and it still happens today. They get an automated DM that says to “like my page” or “check out/buy my book”, etc, etc. Seasoned veterans say that’s not the way to do things. I was sorely tempted to start, but my gut said no. I trusted my instinct, so I was on the right path. Instead, I welcomed people with a personal DM until my load became too much. Then I equipped Social Oomph’s auto DMer (a later topic). I rotate between three or more branded messages to welcome the person and say something fun and branded, but with no link. Since I am from the backwoods and that is part of my brand (and an interesting fact) I mention that. If someone responds, I respond back. TrueTwit is a definite no-no (last week’s post).
Spamming also occurs in the stream with “Buy my book” in just about every tweet. My book is at X Amazon rank at every hour; sharing a milestone is okay here, but don’t browbeat us with it! After a while this kind of behavior makes you appear narcissistic. You may not be that kind of person, but most of us only see your Twitter-life.
Twitter has a field to add your website and your facebook page should have a link on the site. Other platforms have a space to add that in your bio. Put it on your blog on the ‘about’ page and put a widget right at their eyeballs (upper right works best). Stick it up everywhere! Doing guest posts or blog tours give you chances to share these links with folks since the host will ask you for them and your book links (another post, later).
Another twitter tip: You can put your book link (shortened) in your Twitter bio. People do read your bio, and if they want to check out your book, they’ll click on it. That’s the way it works everywhere else too. If people are interested they’ll find and click on the links. An occasional tweet is OK (1-3 times a week), but it is best to add content (without links)–and lots of it–to compensate. There is also clever ways to word it so it’s not so egregious.
What about promotions, guest posts, events, and milestones? It’s okay to share! But do so in moderation and don’t forget the content. You can rearrange a promo tweet into a content tweet by rephrasing and removing the link. I’ve learned to do this by being the Twitter Coordinator for two IBC streams. You can mention your host by inserting their Twitter handle (which they will appreciate). Since Twitter moves so fast it’s best to mention promotional (like giveaways, book launch, etc) stuff 2-3 times a day so people can catch it, but keep in mind content. Hootsuite helps you space out your stuff throughout the day so you can dock it and forget it (later). After a promotion you may want to halt any book promo tweets for a week or two and start back to restock on your “brownie points”.
Social media is all about talking and sharing and helping each other. Help stop spam before it starts and help new authors resist the urge to jump on the spamwagon by not spamming.