Here I go again. Jumping on the self-published authors soapbox, telling you that I read a lot of self-published fiction (both good and bad). This time, though, I’m going to go to the flip side:

What bothers me and will make me less likely to read your book if I haven’t picked it up all by my lonesome.

Now, the majority of self-published fiction that I have read I stumbled upon myself. I was digging through Amazon for something to read, probably saw a pretty cover and decided to see what it was about. If I read an author and enjoyed the book, I was willing to see what other authors they recommended. So when I read some Amanda Hocking and thought she was fun, I saw JL Bryan and decided I loved his Jenny Pox book. Heather Hildenbrand I stumbled upon. A book called Gravity by Melissa West popped up in my recommended reads.

All of the others I read but probably wouldn’t recommend that everyone read. (In fact, if I wasn’t trying to be so diplomatic, I could tell you of a book that I finished the other day that I highly recommend you never even try to read.)

But that tells you how I pick books. Pretty/decent cover? – Check. Recommended by another person I like? – Likely to help. Recommended by Amazon? – I’ll at least open up the page.

But here’s the way I don’t find books: By getting hassled to read or download an e-book, even if it’s for free.

I only joined Twitter a few months ago, in the thought that I could possibly meet like-minded people, connect to some real-life people I don’t see too often and who don’t have Facebook, and hopefully get on my way of having people know what’s up with my writing.

I think these are all great reasons to have a Twitter. Many authors use twitter to connect, and as we all know, the writer does much of the marketing now. The problem is that some authors only use Twitter to announce their book.

Your posts crowding up my homepage, telling me that your book is the best and I should read it, do not make me want to read your book. If it’s bad enough and that is literally the only thing I see you post, chances are I’ll want to unfollow you.

But I’ll take it one step further into what’s worse: Authors inflating their followers by following you, and then unfollowing you once you’ve returned the follow.

I’m not sure of Twitter etiquette. I still don’t know what to post sometimes (since much of what I’d be inclined to say/think is probably inappropriate to share with the masses!–I’m half-joking), and at times I get overwhelmed with so many statuses. I pick and choose what to respond to, and sometimes I worry I don’t fully get it. Perhaps it’s OK in the Twitterverse to follow someone, then unfollow them once it’s been returned.

My gut tells me, though, that it’s a scam and a poorly executed and poor platform-building plan.

So to anyone who may friend me to pad their followers, then remove me to make you look more popular:

I will figure it out and I will unfollow you. I haven’t read your book and given your clogging of my feed with posts about your book, and the fact that I don’t know you, I was never attached to you to begin with. And as someone who does read self-published fiction, you’ve actually lost a reader through book-selling harassment and unfavorable moral code, which means you’ve lost all of my friends I would have bugged to read your book if it was any good.

And before you, dear reader, say I’m being crazy about this–I don’t think so. I think you’ll find that many readers are the same. They prefer authors to have a blog they can read, a Twitter that says something about their life. Even though, yes, it will provide a cover reveal or a giveaway or a publication announcement, it will also provide something that makes them human.

So here’s a few simple rules:

  • Post about things that aren’t just your book.
  • Don’t post about your book every three hours.
  • Don’t follow, then unfollow people as soon as they’ve returned the follow.

This simply doesn’t work unless you’re J.K. Rowling. Hint: You’re not.

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