Dear Authors: (Some of you, at least)

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Let me explain…

First, the definition of social, from

Main Entry: 1so·cial
Pronunciation: \ˈsō-shəl\
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English, from Latin socialis, from socius companion, ally, associate; akin to Old English secg man, companion, Latin sequi to follow — more at sue
Date: 14th century

1 : involving allies or confederates <the Social War between the Athenians and their allies>
2 a : marked by or passed in pleasant companionship with one’s friends or associates <leads a very full social life> b : sociable c : of, relating to, or designed for sociability <a social club>
3 : of or relating to human society, the interaction of the individual and the group, or the welfare of human beings as members of society <social institutions>
4 a : tending to form cooperative and interdependent relationships with others of one’s kind : gregarious b : living and breeding in more or less organized communities <social insects> c of a plant : tending to grow in groups or masses so as to form a pure stand

Social… involving allies.

Pleasant compansionship with friends.




Relating to the human society.


Interaction… yes, let’s bold that last bit.

Actually, let’s BOLD, UNDERLINE and REPEAT…


Dear Authors… if you’re not actually interacting out there on the social media platforms of twitter, goodreads, facebook, myspace, whatever fricking else there is…if all you’re doing is spamming the people you’re ‘friends’ with recommendations of your own books, you are doing it wrong.

And yeah, I can actually say this with some level of authority.

I’m not new to the internet and I’m not new to interacting with online readers.

Started out in epublishing and like  a lot of authors who started out in e, or digital publishing as everybody is calling in now, my ‘platform’ was interacting with readers, mainly through yahoo loops.

The one thing that annoyed the snot of me as a reader and a writer was the author who could not stop talking about her own books.  And guess what… it didn’t just annoy me.  It also annoyed readers-and no, not talking based on assumption, but on conversations I’ve had.  These are the authors who when they came on the loops, oddly enough, they could stop conversations.  Not because they were so witty or because everybody was awed and amazed by them, but because they could manage to silence fun conversations.   They would chatter endlessly about themselves, only themselves and always themselves but never with anybody.  It was a one-person love fest.

And it was boring.

In short…

Social Media is not about you.

Is it about promo?  Well, if you’re an author. Sure.

But there’s clever promo…which will win you readers.  It’s also fun.  It’s just talking, really.  Social media is just a conversation-you talk about books, life, gripe about losing weight (yes, I do that… a lot…) music.  It’s just a conversation.  It’s easy… and yes, it’s promo.  It’s clever, subtle promo, sure.  But it’s the only kind that I can actually tolerate for myself because I don’t have to stand out there and talk about me, myself and I-because that bores the hell out of me.

Social media isn’t about me.  It’s about us-so it has to involve others.  It has to be subtle for it to work.  So there’s subtle, clever promo…and there’s this kind of promo.

Seem it extreme?  Well, I’m sorry, but it’s not.  Not really. I hate to tell you this, when you use social media to spam people but never really interact with us?  Us meaning readers, writers…all of us, the people who make up the up the social part of social media?  You’re not getting it.  All you’re doing is beating us over the head with your books.  Does that mean you won’t get a few hits?  Of course not.  Sure you’ll get a few hits.

But it also means you’re going to annoy people.  You’re going to have people who just delete your messages without reading them, or if they are fed up like me?  They delete you and they might even go that extra step like me, mentally placing your name on Never To Be Bought List Simply Because You Annoy The Snot Out Of Me.  Yes.  I freely admit-if you hit me with book recs of your books on Goodreads, I delete you and yes, I do tend to keep track of the people who repeatedly spam me and I don’t buy their books. My TBB list is endless-if there’s a way to cull it down?  Why not?  This is one way to do it without me feeling guilty about giving a book a chance.  If you hit my inbox on facebook with messages about your latest and greatest, I remove you from my friends list.  There is no point in keeping you on my list, because you’re not there to interact.   You’re there to spam and I get enough spam in my email-I don’t need it on social media.

Want to get the best out of social media? Interact.  If you can’t invest the time to do that, then you’re not getting the benefit out of it anyway, because we really, really don’t react to that above selling tactic. We like being talked to-not hit over the head with a sledgehammer.

And yes… I realize this post is lacking in some subtlty itself, but sometimes, you just got to go with it.  Subtlty is a nice tactic for promo.  But when it comes to being deluged with BUY MY BOOK spam, subtle doesn’t seem to work.

19 Replies to “Social Media… UR DOING IT WRONG”

  1. You tell them. Unlike you, I can choose who I want to friend because I’m a reader. I only friend authors I’ve read or future authors because I’ve interacted with them first or it’s a recommendation from a friend. Yes, I do not want book spam in my FB messages box. Pls do it on your wall or as an update. Stay out of my message box with promo. Like Shiloh, you annoy me; I’ll unfriend you.

  2. Unlike you, I can choose who I want to friend because I’m a reader.

    Well, I might accept most friend reqs, but just because I accept, doesn’t mean I’ll keep… ;o) if they spam me, they are gone. I’ve had enough. O.o On Goodreads, you have the option of ‘blocking’, because one you remove, they can try to ‘friend’ again unless you block, so now once I unfriend over spamming, I also block. fed up? Yep. I am. :O|

  3. I’ve unfriended a couple of people for stuff like this, when all I ever get from them is spam. I hate to do it, but yeah. Not very social.

    On my personal (non-author) Facebook, an actual, real-life friend, a local politician, kept on sending me invitations to Tea Party events. This was happening daily. He was sending the invitations to his entire friend group without consideration as to whether or not individual friends would be interested. Hints and outright “please stop”s didn’t work, so I eventually unfriended him. We go in too many political/religious/social Facebook arguments anyway 🙂

  4. Great advice. I didn’t have a clue when I found out promoting came with the contract. Now I know and will interact because I care about people and there’s more to learn about them. I already know quite enough about me.


    Charmaine Gordon

  5. Sometimes the situation you describe feels like being forced to watch an infomercial. LOL Or being stuck at a party with someone who talks constantly while you just nod your head and sip your drink.

    People need to have social skills when they’re face-to-face, and they need to have them when they’re “virtual” or “digital”. Hopefully people will figure it out. If not, then maybe someone can invent “Virtual Etiquette” classes, or “Digital Charm School”. LOL

  6. Everything you said is SO true. There are some authors who literally tweet nothing but links to their books- but it’s not just writers. Website owners and bloggers can be just as bad. I think IF they don’t have time to interact properly, then they should not do it. It actually hurts rather than helps.

  7. And I thought all those “forwards” of chain letters, old internet jokes and worst of all (to me)inspirational affirmations and sugary cutesy pix (baby animals and what have-you)were rock-bottom. And that the RL people who kept forwarding that junk after you’d told them time and again that you were plotting their uncomfortable demise were brain dead at best.
    Little did I know. At least those you can delete unread.
    But the constant spamming about a book you had little desire to read in the first place absolutely becomes like the scratch-skip of a vinyl record after awhile. Not only will I not read the book EVER, I begin to tune out the static so completely I’ll never hear anything else the spammer has to say. (In the unlikely event that they ever have anything else to say!)

  8. I don’t mind if you’ve contacted me first socially because of mutual friends, but if your first hi is to sell a book – big turnoff. I only accepted friending you becuase of the mutual friend to begin with.

  9. I agree so much. It annoys me to the point I will not read their book even if it’s free!
    It’s like one giant commercial for some people.

  10. I wasn’t kidding about your purse, btw (gorgeous!). But I do agree. Although I’m not new to the internet, I’m relatively new to the use of social media for marketing. And I’m astonished at the prevalence of what I’d call a simple lack of internet etiquette. This stuff is not new. The same rules have applied since the first list, since the first stupid urban legend chain email was forwarded…and some people just still don’t get that there are internet “manners”. I sometimes think people just don’t realize…it’s still PEOPLE, interacting.

  11. Thank you for this. I’ve been bombarded lately on Goodreads with those annoying emails–“I recommend MY BOOK” (which is usually something self-published with some horrible cover and name.) I un-friend those people immediately. That goes for the Tweeters who promo their book every other tweet, too *groan*.

  12. Well, there you have it. If you didn’t know, now you know. Great job expressing your thoughts on the need for interaction on social media sites. Thank you for that, Shiloh.

    Peace and love,
    Paula R.

  13. This was a great post from a reader perspective. You never know where your readers will come from. I bought your books after seeing a post at MSW. It was a best book you read this year post and your name and a bunch of other writers I had not read came up – I am always on the look out for good reads. I have since read Slave to Sensation and have several others in that series on my TBR pile. One random post can be all it takes.

  14. Brilliant. And I completely agree. I think GoodReads is the place where authors relentlessly bombard readers with recommendations yet decline to interact with these potential readers in any way. HUGE turnoff. Thank you for writing and posting it.

  15. Can I say it? Thank you. I have no idea what you write (but I’m going to find out) but thank you for making the point. This is well-received by me. Be my friend. Not my spammer. Excellent.

  16. I think this goes for other information too – some friends simply post links to humorous sites or their own business ventures. I try to post “my life and family updates” and comment on friends’ posts for the majority, with just a few “hey, check this out!” announcements – but on my Wall and not in messages.

    I love your work, too!
    Anna Small

  17. I have never gone to Goodreads, and I have never Tweeted, I really don’t understand the Tweet thing anyway. I have my fav authors, I will go to there sites and I have friended a few of them on Facebook.

    I loved this blog you made so many good points that I agree with. I think allot of people should read it..

    By the way I love your books!!!

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