The hardest part of writing a story, beyond the actual craft of it, is trying to get it into the hands of an audience. Being published with a small house, and having no budget for advertising, I can appreciate this as well as anyone.
Social media is one of the best ways to self-advertise, especially since it’s free. But, you can overdo a good thing. Or, in the case of some people, you can flog the bejesus out of it until you infuriate everyone you come in contact with, motivating them to pray for your untimely death.
When it comes to self promotion, there is a fine line between being informative, and being annoying. No, that’s a lie; the line is huge, pulsating and obvious. If you’re throwing out the release of a new novel, or perhaps an appearance or reading to people who know you, like you, follow you, or might want to read your stuff, that is cool. I dig it when authors I like announce the release date of their new work so I can go and pick up a copy.
On the other hand, if you stalk people on twitter, like a half-starving stray dog, and bombard them with messages about how awesome your latest book is, you will probably be thought a little annoying.
In fact, I’m annoyed right now. Can you tell?
A friend of mine, kc dyer, recently solicited opinions on twitter of what people wanted to see in posts. My answer was simple: I want to be entertained, inspired or educated. I’ve always found that if someone engages my interest through either making me think, making me want to write, or making me laugh my ass off, I will be motivated to move beyond their twitter feed, facebook page, or blog posts and spend my money on their published work.
Alternately, if someone posts the same review of their bloody book thirty-seven times in the space of three hours I actually begin fantasizing about learning their home address and leaving a burning bag of dog shit on their porch. Why? Because that is what they are doing to my twitter feed: covering it in shit, lighting it on fire, and making it stink.
There is nothing that will alienate people – your potential readers – faster than pissing them off. And nothing pisses people off more than being eye-raped by stupid posts saying “OH MY GOD, BUY MY BOOK BUY MY BOOK BUY MY BOOK!!! WHY DON’T YOU LOVE ME?!?!”
As one of my friends used to tell me growing up: Desperation is a stinky cologne.
So, please, tell me about your story, cause it might be awesome, and I might want to read it. But, please, for the suffering love of anything holy, stop molesting twitter; it didn’t do anything to you.