September 22nd, 2013


some thoughts on author promo: 8 ways not to be a spammer

But I'm a real person with a real book; how can my tweets be spam?

I've just been having this discussion on Twitter, and I wanted to give an answer. But it's difficult to sum up in 144 words, and this kid's not the only one asking the question. Almost all authors are asking it.

When I first saw the tweet, it had a whiff of spam, but I thought perhaps the person tweeting was genuinely a kid, and I like to support young people making their own books. So I clicked on his profile and saw his tweets. He'd been tweeting exactly the same thing directly at loads of people. If it had been an adult, I would have ignored him; if he'd tweeted me twice, I would have blocked him or possibly reported him for spamming. But I know what it's like, that fine line between trying to promote my book and trying not to overload people with too much information they don't want.

So let's look at his profile:

Not bad. A head shot, which helps us know who's tweeting. A peek at what I assume is the book's front cover, or at least an image that gives the title and helps convey the atmosphere of the book. And he's been followed by one of my publishers, Scholastic UK, which is heartening. He's also put that he's based in London, like me, which is helpful because I realise he's local, and makes me more inclined to engage with him.

But the number one tip I'd give him is that he needs a web link in his profile: it's impossible to find out about his book with a direct click. I've seen loads of authors on Twitter who make this mistake. People browsing the Internet are lazy; unless they have a burning reason, they don't want to take the extra time to do a search engine hunt for your book.

The link doesn't have to go to a big expensive website. It can go straight to a free blog (such as Wordpress, Blogger, Tumblr, LiveJournal, etc) with a single blog post on it. The most important thing about that web page/ blog post is that it have:

*The name of the book
*The cover of the book
*A brief blurb: what's it about?
(And what makes it different from all the other books?)
*A link to somewhere I can buy it
, whether it be a bookshop, a bookshop website, a newsagent that stocks it, a fair you're selling it at, anything. Wherever people can get hold of a copy.

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