Twitter Etiquette For Authors

In the light of Tricia Drammeh’s excellent post titled Facebook Etiquette For Authors I decided to write one on Twitter etiquette.

I have heard countless complaints from many book bloggers and other authors about Twitter accounts set up like annoying spam bots. Here is a list of things which should help those new to Twitter:

1. Don’t set up automatic DM’s and replies. No matter what the internet marketers are telling you, setting up automatic DM’s and replies is a very bad idea. For the love of God, don’t do it. You are not the only person on Twitter and you are definitely not the only person I am following. Each time your spammy script sends a DM saying ‘Click my Facebook page! Here is my book!’ a little puppy dies. I am following over 1000 people and have over 1000 followers, I really don’t have the time to click every Facebook/Amazon page/book link sent via DM. It floods my inbox and cleaning them up wastes my precious time. There is a place to put your link on your Twitter bio and if you are an interesting enough person, if you actually interact with me, I will click it and seek out your books and subscribe to your blog myself.

2. Don’t set up automated, scheduled tweets constantly advertising your books. It’s irritating. Do advertise giveaways, valuable blog posts you wrote, book sale campaigns benefiting charity, but don’t spam links. Thousands of people are spamming links and no one is clicking them.

3. Don’t follow me back to send me your book or facebook page link and then immediately unfollow. That is outright rude and disrespectful. I go through my DM’s and if I see people following me back just to spam links and then unfollow, I block them for good.

4. Be a human being and talk to people. Look at Neil Gaiman’s Twitter feed for a good example. He talks to his readers all the time.

5. Make sure to put your web site or blog link on your bio. Also list your genre in your bio, so that the people looking for a specific genre can find you.

6. Don’t spam the hashtags. That is rude and irritates everyone. Tweet things relevant to the hashtag.

The less automated, the better. Automatic tweeting of new blog posts is ok, scheduling a few tweets to announce book launches, discounts and giveaways is ok, but setting up a Twitter bot is not. If a big shot celebrity author like Neil Gaiman can find the time to type tweets and talk to people with his extremely busy schedule, we the little people have no excuse for setting up spammy Twitter bots.

I followed celebrity authors and never not received a spammy automatic DM from a single one of them. Yet my DM inbox is full of spam from no-name indie authors. If you want to be successful, then make a point of acting like the successful people out there. I personally follow the example of authors like Neil Gaiman, George R.R. Martin and Patrick Rothfuss, not some no-name internet marketers who spread false information to make a quick buck.

21 thoughts on “Twitter Etiquette For Authors

  1. Excellent advice, Leona. Something I’ve noticed recently is that Tweeps are adding this to their profile: I follow back & unfollow those who don’t. So I immediately … don’t follow them. I do check every profile before I click to follow anyone who follows me. If I don’t see anything for me in what they offer (like that they promote other authors or have tweeted articles or links of interest in the past) then I pass on by. Better to have only a few hundred followers who actually are interested in me and can offer me something of value than thousands who are only in it for the numbers.

    And I’ll tell you what WILL get my attention and have me clicking “Follow” is if a Tweep were to send a tweet (not a DM) asking me about MY book, or making a positive comment about it, rather than trying to sell me their book first.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I also pay attention to profiles and go through my follow list quite often. I think a lot of the issues are caused by those marketers who sell fake followers to inflate the numbers. I also prefer a few hundred real people who offer some value and a chance to interact to thousands of botlike followers.


  2. Reblogged this on Tricia Drammeh and commented:
    This is a great follow up post to Facebook Etiquette for Authors. I wish I would have written this, but sadly, I’m sort of hopeless when it comes to Twitter. I’m so glad Leona put together this excellent post advising authors on the Do’s and Don’ts of Twitter. Personally, I know there are a few things I need to work on in terms of the way I interact on Twitter. I need to “talk” more and rely less on sharing links.

    I agree with Leona that it’s okay to automate some of your Tweets. (For example, the moment I publish this blog post, it’s going to shoot out a link on Twitter.) But don’t automate all your posts. And if all you’re doing is dumping links, you might as well automate. This is where I need to improve on my own Twitter Etiquette.

    So, I hope you enjoy Leona’s brilliant post. Please hop over to her blog to learn more about how to use Twitter.


  3. Great post! I am new to Twitter, so I haven’t yet encountered automatic replies, but I’m sure if I do it will prompt me to unfollow.

    Actually, what has really annoyed me so far is people who obviously bulk follow hundreds of other account every day just to try and get follows back. One person I encountered on Twitter talked about this as “growing their audience” and complained that Twitter was locking them out of their account because they were following too many people each day (and, by the sounds of it, acting like a spam bot). The thing is, if you already follow 50,000 people, and keep adding hundreds more every day, and never interact with those people other than to spam them about your book… well, I’d hardly call it “growing your audience” – it’s just collecting largely meaningless follows.

    Anyway, just my opinion from my brief Twitter experience so far. Now I only follow someone back if they look like they use their account for something other than purely self-promoting or spamming people about their book.


  4. Some good advice there Leona – I’m relatively new to Twitter but try to keep to what you’re aying there. I just try and make posts entertaining in some way – if I can’t offer “value” then think of a vaguely funny story etc. Good post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • DM means direct message. When two people follow each other they can send private messages, unfortunately some people just abuse this and use it to spam en masse.


  5. I’m a bit guilty about number 2 – not to the point of nausea, but having a son to look after this helps me set up some stuff in advance that I can’t tweet when he is up. I do though interact, follow, make sure to check my account around the clock, and such. I guess that balances it out, not sure though.

    Number 5 I never thought about that. Good advice.

    I also get a bit annoyed with DM myself, thought about doing it, but thanks to you I won’t. I honestly didn’t know this was frowned on because I get it so many times. The one I can’t stand is the buy Twitter Followers. Why would I buy Twitter Followers? If you can’t get loyal Followers the old fashioned way then I would rather not have them.

    Great post. Thanks for the advice.


  6. Thanks for posting this. When I see things like spam DM’s and non-stop tweets, I sometimes wonder, am I supposed to be doing these things too? I’m glad to see that I’m not.


    • People just do those things cause marketers tell them to do so or they see others doing it. Imagine receiving DM saying ‘click my Facebook page! check my book on Amazon!’ from 20-30 people a day. Hundreds and hundreds of them in a span of a few weeks. That is exactly what happens to me and a lot of other people active on Twitter. It’s so very annoying. Picking the interesting people in your niche/genre and actually starting up genuine conversations with them is what gets your links clicked, not spammy DM’s and automated tweets. I get a lot of traffic from Twitter to my blog posts and I never use automated tweets or DM’s.


  7. Great post, Leona!

    A large part of the issue (if not almost the whole) is this obsession with numbers, believing that having XX K followers. Although so many people get latched onto this idea that a higher number = better. Problem is that it’s so superficial. Just because someone has a high number means nothing. It becomes more about the quantity and not a focus on quality. Which is why I take a look at every Twitter account that follows mine and decide whether it’s interesting to me to follow. That way, I can spend time on the people who are using Twitter in a valuable way.

    Although one of my biggest pet peeves isn’t the DMs – although certainly, I find them a pain in the rear – but it’s those accounts that rely on those ridiculous Twitter apps that unfollow people if they don’t follow back. Nothing screams “follow grubbing” and “I’m obsessed with numbers!” like those stupid things. If someone likes an account, follow it. Don’t set up an app to automatically unfollow people who don’t follow back. It’s not at all in the spirit of social media. It’s not good for community building. It just makes the authors look rude and obnoxious.

    And for heaven’s sakes, people need to stop posting “BUY MY TWEET!” all day long. Twitter is SOCIAL media. A place to show who we are – the people behind the name. I agree that yes, automating some stuff is appropriate and so is advertising our books. But if that’s all they’ve got… might as well say “I’m a robot” on their profile and move on!

    Thanks for writing this post. Catch you on Twitter! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t have a high number of followers but there are people I talk regularly on Twitter. Engaging in actual conversation with real people who have the same interests and love the same genre means a lot more to me than having thousands of followers who don’t even say hi. I don’t just follow people, I talk to them if something catches my eye in their bio or one of their recent tweets.

      I really hate those automatic unfollow bot apps, they are annoying.


  8. Well, I think I just have to spam this blog post all over the Twitter. A startling number of the writers who pop up on my feed need this exact hit with the clue stick. (And nicely written! In fact, all your posts are nicely written, and I’ve seldom seen better advice. Thanks for taking the time to do it well.)

    Liked by 1 person

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