How Authors Must Bring Social Back To Social Media

By Rachel Thompson

Are you one of those writers who signs every tweet or Facebook share with your blog link? How about a hashtag that only you knows what it means? Do you only fav or share your own stuff exclusively? Or how about replying to a tweet or share with one of your own articles?

Well, stop. Stop it now.


Let’s deconstruct.


See, you have this thing called a bio. It’s 160 characters (on Twitter), even longer on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, etc. There’s even a place to enter your website. We all want to sell millions of books, but one of the best ways to NOT even have a chance is to constantly push your books/blogs/articles in people’s faces.

Some people disagree with me on this: they strongly feel that Twitter, Facebook and all the rest are free advertising. And that’s where, I feel, they’re dead wrong. Social media is social. It’s not a one-way broadcast ‘Look at me!’ tool. Sure, an occasional tweet about your book is fine — but every single time? Just, no.

Instead: be sure to have your links on your various bios (room for two on Twitter), and if you have a promotion or want to share a quote, say ‘link on bio,’ at the end of the tweet instead of always providing a link. We know to look at your bio. We’ve been well-trained.


I spent fifteen years in soul-sucking Big Pharma — sales and marketing, even a stint in advertising. I did quite well, even though I hated it! Why? Because I focused on building relationships with my doctors and their staff. I treated them as people. It’s no different now in connecting with readers. We chat, I share and retweet them, I read their bio and tweets so I learn their interests. It takes mere seconds to check out someone’s stream or wall and to see if it’s a good fit.

I cringe every time I get someone who responds to me (or others) with a random reply that touts their own work. It’s kind of sad, really. Have you no other way to interact than to barrage us with ME, ME, ME?

Most people will unfollow and perhaps report you for spam — it’s not only poor etiquette, it’s also incredibly selfish. Here’s an example from my stream today:

@AllAboutMeAuthor: I’ll keep en eye out for it. Am excited: my new book just featured on blah blah blog. Please share.’

Instead: I’m a big believer in the coaching technique of offering an APB (Alternate Positive Behavior) — so what could this author have done differently? She could have:

  • DM’d me privately asking me to retweet/share
  • not provided a reply to my  conversation with another tweep with a comment that’s all about her (more on relevance below)
  • created goodwill by sharing my and the other tweep’s tweets and then approached us for a shout out.


Let’s say you’re at a dinner party talking with the hostess about her beautiful home, and a friend interrupts the conversation to tell you about her failed boob job. Inappropriate, right? Certainly the timing is off, but it’s also irrelevant to the conversation you were already having. No doubt you’d feel taken aback and her rudeness, and the hostess has already mentally relegated her to the kid’s table.

Most people relate to the party example because they’d never dream of being that rude. Yet, they will interject into conversations on Twitter to self-promote — what is that? Why do we understand how to relate to people in real life, yet throw in random promotion for no reason at all on social media?

Instead: If you’re going to join into a conversation on social media, be sure your comments are relevant to the topic discussed. Blatant self-promotion in the middle of someone’s wall will get you unfollowed or unfriended real quick. Don’t be that guy (or girl). If you can’t add to the conversation, then observe.

There are many ways to develop your platform and paying attention to interacting with people in more ways than solely on social media (your site, your blog, advertising, reviews, giveaways and more), but also using it in the best way possible — to connect with readers!