I find myself chagrined.
A couple of weeks ago, another author posted a comment on one of my Social Media Monday posts, in which he thanked me for the information and then proceeded to tell me he thought I would like his book and I should check it out at ‘x’ buy link. I was, to put it mildly, flabbergasted at the nerve. And more than a little annoyed.
If you’re raising an eyebrow and wondering what the problem is, let me ‘splain.
Leaving a blatantly self-promotional comment on a fellow author’s blog, without his/her permission/invitation, is just plain rude. Especially when that fellow author is providing you with a service. (Heck, leaving that kind of comment on any blog without invitation is rude, and I’m pretty sure many book reviewers will agree with me on this.) Think of it this way: if you were attending a performance, would you walk up onto the stage, take the microphone from the performer, introduce yourself, and proceed to tell him/her — and their audience — to buy your book? Of course not!
Unfortunately, too many people fail to see the connection between online behaviors and real-life ones, and all too often, authors fall into that “too many people” category because they don’t understand the nature of social media. So today on Social Media Monday, we’re going to go back to some of the basics of online etiquette.
First of all, if you’re fairly new to the whole social media thing, welcome! Online is a fabulous place to be, and it really isn’t as difficult as some of you might be imagining. Generally speaking, online etiquette can be summed up in one “golden rule”: Don’t do or say anything online that you wouldn’t do or say in a real-life public place.
- Remember that social media is about being social. Yes, you’ve written a book, and yes, you’re trying to market it, but you’re not likely to take a bullhorn down to a street corner in order to blare “buy my book” messages to total strangers, and you shouldn’t be doing that on Twitter or Facebook, either. Instead, focus on building community. Talk to people. Get to know them. Be nice. Be approachable. Offer help if you’re able. Be a human being rather than a sales pitch. People with whom you’ve built relationships are far more likely to be interested in your books than the ones on the receiving end of a bullhorn message.
- Do comment on blogs you read (bloggers love comments…it makes us feel less like we’re talking to ourselves! Hint, hint! 😉 ), but don’t hijack the platform for your own message
- If there’s a particular blog you love and you’d like the chance to promote yourself/your book there, ask! Many bloggers, myself included, welcome guests. (Check out A Writer’s Guide to Book Blogger Etiquette for tips on doing this.)
- Avoid negativity. The online world is more interconnected than many people understand, and too many authors have found themselves in seriously hot water after making ill-considered comments. Bad review? Ignore it. Snarky discussion going on about another writer/blogger/personality? Walk away (figuratively speaking). Gossip isn’t a good thing in the real world, and it’s even worse in the virtual one. Always remember that what you say online can and and very likely will come back to haunt you.
And that’s it. Lecture over. Questions? Comments? Have I missed anything? Let me know below — and remember to share this post using the buttons below!
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