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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is it getting worse?

Everywhere I go on the Internet, I seem to be running into a flood of spammy writers. And it's always "gimme gimme"
Buy my book. Crit my story. Review my book. Like my page. And they don't ever seem to give back anything. They don't chat unless it is to subtly mention their books. I don't mind people posting things about their writing - "I've just published" or "I'm stuck" or whatever. That can be fine. It's the one sided stuff that gets me down.

I'm sorry to be so negative, I usually try not to rant but I honestly want to know -- is it just the corners of the Internet that I happen to inhabit, or is it like this everywhere?

I think that's why I like it so much over here. At leas the moderators keep things under control.
 

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I was wondering about that too - whether I'm just noticing because I'm hanging out at more writing places or if it is getting worse.
 
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You're not the only person to notice this. A couple of the technical boards I'm on, which were nothing to do with books at all, were getting like that until the mods stepped in and I'm seeing it elsewhere. Several of the boards have now limited it to one area - like this one - or just banned advertising outright.

I think part of the problem is that several "how to" books on marketing say that joining a forum to mention your books is the best way to promote, while not mentioning you need to contribute or that it can really annoy the regulars.
 

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I've been feeling the same way about Twitter recently because it's become a big self-promo medium.

I enjoy the tweets of some authors and other folks, but the PlzRT, Freebie, and buy me are getting old.
 

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Honestly it was the first thing I noticed in the selfpubbing circles once I started lurking here and on other writer's boards - people mistaking their peers and colleagues for their potential audience.  Prior to becoming interested in putting my stuff on the kindle, I was very active in webcomics communities and it was the same way, beginning artists thinking that the best place to promote their work was on the forums where all the webcomics creators would congregate.

That is not how it is done! One lesson I am grateful to have learned from webcomics is this: you do your best work, you keep doing it, you make it available, and your audience will find you. 90% of 'marketing' is just showing up on time with your work done. You don't have to spend a lot of effort hassling people to look at it.

I haven't especially noticed Twitter to be a spam-riddled medium, but I've been using it to connect with friends for years now. Every once in a while, though, I'll click on a selfpubber's twitter feed and it's nothing but them using it as a bullhorn to shout links to their amazon profiles into an empty room, followed only by other selfpubbers, rather than using it as a platform for interacting with their readers - or 'building engagement', if you like those social media marketing buzzwords.  If you want to know how to use twitter effectively as an author, maybe have a look at how Chuck Wendig or Holly Black do it.
 

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I only really got started in November, and started using Twitter as a "writer" then.  So I suppose I'm kind of an outsider looking in, and I get the impression that Twitter is just a complete waste of time; there's no or very few readers there (reflected in the amount of writers who have 25,000 followers but also follow 24,500 others).  Any promotions you do tweet just get buried under a landslide of the same.

Then there's the "automatic" retweets from some users which is very nice, but it happens so quickly that it doesn't seem genuine.  I've had the occasional in-joke or UK-centric comment retweeted when I know full it has no relevance to the re-tweeter.

I did a few when I got started, but now I can't bring myself to promote on Twitter at all unless, as already stated, it's a milestone of some description that you then shut up about.
 

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Twitter is about conversation, not about yelling into space with a megaphone. You can get loyal readers on Twitter, but not by constantly tweeting Buy my book! Not even by tweeting much about your books at all. Nor by stupidly retweeting all the promos all your friends are auto-tweeting every hour.
 

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humblenations said:
I was just saying this the other day to a friend in the real word. Twitter is not being used properly. How can you have 25,000 following you and you follow the same - it just won't work! You couldn't read anything any one else says and no one is listening to you.
Good point, and I'm a sinner first, and a sinner last.

I have just around 160 followers, many of whom are writers who followed me possibly because I signed up for the KB mutual follow thread, and I felt obliged to follow them back.

But I tweet not with these 160 in mind (though they get mine, and I get theirs), but to anyone out there searching for certain hashtags, keywords, or books on certain subjects. And sometimes, I tweet for fun--and enjoy it when I do: I get into a pleasant mood, am turned on by what someone said, get playful . . . so it's not all about my books.

And I don't actively look to follow writers, or to get followers--it just happened. I do have around 20 readers (I guess) who follow me because they liked a book of mine. But I court none.
 

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I use two separate twitter accounts. One for personal interaction with friends and the other as a writer.

Reading this thread I'm very tempted to just unfollow all the people apart from those that I already know or that are interesting. Maybe I should just start over and get interested in twitter again. Right now I'm seeing nothing but crappy written marketing tweets or stupid "encouraging quotes". Although that would at first leave me with a LOT of followers, though that might not matter much, they will unfollow me soon anyway.

It might even make me interested in the #amwriting hashtag again, that used to be fun until everything I saw on my writer feed was spam.

The only "spam" things I do are #FollowFriday (cool people that I know), #mentionmonday(for blog posts that are interesting) and #writingwednesday(blog posts that are very writer specific), for all of that I've got a list on my computer where I take the tweets from and I don't even always participate.

Other than that...
On FB I've hidden all the people that only post about their books and marketing. I try to keep a bit of a balance between book posts and random updates and posts about my blog (which are often about other things than my book).
On G+ I will unfollow people who only post about their books. I have no patience with people on G+, G+ is my little piece of the internet that is always good and wholesome for my emotional state.

I don't hang around the internet a lot apart from there. A bit here on KB and actually, not a whole lot of other places any more, I just can't seem to find the right hangout spot any more. So I don't run into a lot of marketing stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Google+ is my best.  But now with communities, it's not so great at the moment.  The main stream has dried up while everyone is playing in their communities, and I've yet to find a community that really is for readers and not just more and more writers self promoting.

That said, I still like G+ best  :)

 

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Hi all,

very interesting subject. The problem being, that "everybody" always talks about using social media to connect, to spread the word. Of course, when "everybody" then does just that, it will become all the more difficult to sort through the pile. While some individuals were very successful (and/or lucky) witht their online marketing efforts, times on the web are changing so quickly that yesterdays successful approaches could lead nowhere today. So keeping it honest in terms of participating instead of pure marketing is - I think - a good suggestion mentioned a few times before.
All the best,

Yves
 

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maritafowler said:
I've been feeling the same way about Twitter recently because it's become a big self-promo medium.

I enjoy the tweets of some authors and other folks, but the PlzRT, Freebie, and buy me are getting old.
Twitter depresses me. At first I thought it was fun and spent a bit of time there, now I maybe drop in once a day for a few minutes and when I do it's nothing but annoying "buy me" tweets. I honestly don't understand how writers can tweet their books over and over again. I got peeved one day and actually counted the tweets of a few authors and they were sending over 50 tweets a day with most of them variations of "buy my book" or even more annoying quotes of other people saying how great their book is.
 

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The amount of spam on Twitter is extraordinary. Honestly, there are folks out there who auto-tweet "buy my book" every eight minutes! If you're serious about using Twitter, I think you have to filter in some way.

You can do it on the front end: when someone follows you, really examine their feed before following back. If it's spammy, don't follow back.

Or you can use TweetDeck to filter the spammers out. Create a private list of your followers whose tweets are actually worth reading b/c they're not 95% spam, then use TweetDeck to look just at those folks while the main feed of spammy tweets runs off to the side. That way you'll catch the tweets of the people who're using the medium effectively -- to converse with others. You can talk back to them and not get buried in the spam. Go back and survey the main feed occasionally to see if you've missed some good tweeters.

TweetDeck is also great for following hashtagged conversations.
 

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Becca Mills said:
You can do it on the front end: when someone follows you, really examine their feed before following back. If it's spammy, don't follow back.
This. I even go a step further -- I check a feed and only follow if I'm interested or entertained by the things they say. We're not obligated to follow back. Amusingly, I was once followed by someone whose Twitter description said they'd unfollow anyone who didn't follow back. I was SORELY tempted to message this person directly and suggest they go ahead and unfollow me.
 

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Fredster said:
This. I even go a step further -- I check a feed and only follow if I'm interested or entertained by the things they say. We're not obligated to follow back. Amusingly, I was once followed by someone whose Twitter description said they'd unfollow anyone who didn't follow back. I was SORELY tempted to message this person directly and suggest they go ahead and unfollow me.
Good lord. I've seen the opposite in people's descriptions ("I follow back!") but never the preemptive threat of unfollowing. Heh.
 

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This was a huge, huge problem for me on Twitter because I used to follow people who followed me to be polite. That was before I understood how Twitter works. I used to have my feed scrolling by, and it was like an endless advertisement--absolutely awful. So I began to unfollow people when I saw their "buy, buy, buy" tweets. My feed has since gotten much quieter and much more fun.

I also do like another poster said--I check out a person's recent tweets. If I see a lot of links or spammy looking stuff, I won't follow them back. I've met a lot of really nice book bloggers and readers on Twitter, but that's because I spend my time talking about things that actually matter to me (and reading and writing are a part of that).
 

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Twitter does seem like a popularity contest, with many followers "following" someone in the hopes of a follow back, only to unfollow them almost immediately to boost their own numbers. I block people continuously. I also detest the "buy followers" tweets. I agree with an earlier post that a balance of promotion and social interaction is a good way to go - I don't mind promotional tweets from people who also interact/share info or ideas, etc.

Regarding the OP, yes, I think it has got worse. Some of the discussion threads on FB are bombarded with nothing but promo, many by the same offenders. I try to keep all my promo in the appropriate places and use the discussion boards to share info and connect.
 

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On Twitter I follow all people who state in their profile they are:
A) A writer
B) A reader or book lover
C) A book blogger


I don't care if they shout buy me all day long, I want as many of those three types of people available to me as I can get.  Now, I do have personal favorites that I look for in my stream and tend to tune out the rest unless they post a pic or a video (I almost always look at those) - so you can still have your "friends" on there.  And it someone I'm following is constantly tweeting about contests like every second, I unfollow them.

But I participate in a lot of book blog hops, so I tend to look the other way.  If they're a reader, i want a way to reach them, and Twitter might not be the most intimate way after you get a certain number of followers, it still has potential.
 

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The spammy marketing people on twitter haven't done their analysis. They just listened to the general 'advice' and are probably just getting started with their first book or two. Twitter doesn't really sell books unless you are a big platform author already and get a fresh twitter account. Building from the bottom up doesn't work (yes, there are exceptions in the lottery too). I check in with my twitter feed once a month, mostly. While I don't mind the general book promo (sometimes I do see something interesting) I'll unfollow for other things - constant sports team banter and game scores drive me nuts but some love that type of content though (shrug).
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Facebook is the same way - great if you already have a platform but a poor choice to build up from ground zero. Most on FB are casual book readers with passion for many other non-reading hobbies. Then with FB's change this last fall - only 16% of your followers will get to see your content unless you pay the toll - so what's the point?
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In the end, does anyone have solid evidence, hard data, that either of these two platforms produce real sales growth? For starting-out writers? And the techniques to use (obviously not being spammy)?
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Rule of thumb, any place where the population is mostly writers is worthless for marketing.

Not only do writers have no money, half of them can't even read.
 
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