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Anne R. Allen's Blog


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Anne writes funny mysteries and how-to-books for writers. She also writes poetry and short stories on occasion. Oh, yes, and she blogs. She's a contributor to Writer's Digest and the Novel and Short Story Writer's Market for 2016. 

Her bestselling Camilla Randall Mystery Series features perennially down-on-her-luck former socialite Camilla Randall—who is a magnet for murder, mayhem and Mr. Wrong, but always solves the mystery in her quirky, but oh-so-polite way.

Anne lives on the Central Coast of California, near San Luis Obispo, the town Oprah called "The Happiest City in America."

Anne blogs at Anne R. Allen's Blog...with Ruth Harris 
and at Anne R. Allen's Books

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Tweet THIS, Not That! 12 Things Not to do on Twitter

This Week Twitter rolled out its new "mute" function for mobile phones. Muting will soon be available on all devices including your PC. That means you'll be able to mute anybody who tweets too often or annoys you with spam. 

So it will be more important than ever to avoid annoying your Tweeps. 

Here's some straight talk on the subject from Molly Greene, social media guru, blog coach, mystery novelist, and author of the handbook Blog It! The Author's Guide to Building an Online Brand.

I've learned a ton from reading her blog, so I was jazzed that she agreed to come to visit and tell us how to behave ourselves on Twitter.

And in case you think these are just "suggestions," pay attention to what Molly says about the Twitter Terms of Service. If you mis-use Twitter, your account may be suspended and you'll lose all your followers and have to start again from scratch. 

I've seen some of those "How I Made Millions with Kindle" books that tell authors to do all of the things Molly warns against. Keep in mind those books were based on successes in 2007-09 when ebooks were new and Twitter wasn't overrun with indie authors and marketers. What worked then has been so overdone, it doesn't work any more. And could get you suspended. 

Remember the first commandment of social media etiquette: Thou Shalt Not Spam. Short version: if it annoys you when it's done to you, it's spam. Spam isn't defined by what you can get away with; it's defined by how it makes your target feel...Anne

Tweet THIS, Not That!

by Molly Greene

If you’ve spent much time on Twitter, you’re probably already aware that all kinds of people hang out there. Authors, spammers, celebrities, ranters, self-help advocates, you name it. All sorts of folk hawking their products and services jostle shoulders in our feeds. 

It reminds me of eavesdropping on a thousand conversations all at once. And it’s easy to pick out personalities from a few simple tweets, because true character shines through. Am I right? 

Think of that next time you compose a 140-character sound bite.

Unfortunately, members of the self-publishing industry are notorious for utilizing aggressive book sale tactics on the platform. Every day authors jump onto TweetDeck and Hootsuite and program in a million tweets to try and sell their books – and often, this very practice is offered up to clients by book marketing consultants and social media experts who claim to be “in the know.”

I’m here today to refute that claim. While it’s perfectly acceptable to tweet a certain number of self-promotional messages, it’s not okay to tweet that promo directly to others. Unfortunately, I get a least one @mention a day from someone who isn’t following me, yet insists I buy their book and RT the message. Here are a couple of recent examples:

·       @mollygreene From Parochial School to the VC-infested jungles of Vietnam, http://amzn.link recounts my experiences in UNIFORMS SF! #RT
·       @mollygreene “Remember TEN-B. Throat, Eyes, Nose and Balls. 1 day your life might depend on it.” THE MACHAIR CROW at http://amzn.link
·       @mollygreene Special #BookBub #99cents Feature -Post Pattern on sale today! http://amzn.link #amreading #kindle #RT

I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and say that I don’t believe these authors understand that this behavior is irritating – and spam to boot. 

And the tweets are nearly worthless, since marketing your book solely to other authors is a no-win game. (Especially an author who's not even in your genre! Send me tweets about heavy-duty gore and violence, and it's an automatic unfollow...Anne.)

Twitter is not a direct-sale platform, and Twitter rules call foul:

 “If you send large numbers of unsolicited @replies or @mentions in an aggressive attempt to bring attention to a service or link.” ...Twitter Terms of Service

That means repeatedly tweeting or DM-ing a demand for others to visit your blog (instead of simply providing links to valuable content), like your Facebook page (rather than simply providing value in your posts), or buy your books is not only deeply annoying, it can get your Twitter account suspended.

Examples of tweets you should NEVER send:

1.  Thanks for the follow @suesmith! Visit my Facebook page (or blog) and like me (or subscribe) there, too: www.bloglink oh, and buy my book! 

2. Thanks for the follow! You can read all about me here: bloglink 

3. Looking for a great read @suesmith? Buy my book: http://amzn.link 

4. Free today! #Free #Kindle #eBook #Giveaway #YoullLoveIt #BestNovelEver #MustRead #RT 

5. nice blog post @suesmith, now here’s mine – read and retweet: www.bloglink 

6. Why did you block me @suesmith? 

7. @suesmith just unfollowed me 

8. Hi @suesmith! I just followed you – follow me back now 

9. [Insert] angry rant about any event, person (including literary agents!), situation, or disappointment 

10. [Insert] unsolicited, sarcastic, buttinsky comment about my profile, tweet, blog post or conversation with another tweep 

11. [Insert any all-encompassing message in all caps] HI EVERYONE! HOW ARE YOU? HAPPY MONDAY, TWITTERVERSE! 

12. [Insert any horribly mis-spelled message] I no your gong to luv my buk!

All these behaviors will just irritate folks or get you blocked. 

So why are these types of messages a drag to read on Twitter? Because spamming with strings of hashtags, tweeting about who has unfollowed you, begging for retweets, bragging about your social authority, demanding follows, insisting people pay attention to your books, Facebook page, or blog content … all this is about you.

What should you do instead?

It’s easy to tell people what they’re doing wrong, harder to advise about what is right. But if you look at Twitter like you look at life, you’ll see that the same rules apply. 

Twitter works best when you put others first. 

How? Be a giver, not a taker. Be a resource. 

1. Tweet valuable content that will be of interest to your targeted followers. 

2. Add to the conversation by reaching out and complimenting others on the content they share. 

3. Shine the light on others. Then your fans and followers may flatter you by sharing your links and content with their own followers.

4. Thank those generous followers by sharing the RT love.

If you don’t have anything nice to tweet, don’t tweet anything at all

You are going to come across people on Twitter you won’t particularly like or admire. They might even pick a fight with you, challenge your position on something, hurl insults or badger or stalk you. 

In short, you’ll meet a small percentage of folks who hide behind social media and spew offensive things. Take the high road. Do not engage them. Do not add fuel to their fire by responding or adding to the drama. 

DO NOT retweet their unkind remarks in hopes others will take notice and come to your aid.


Apply the 80/20 rule for self-promotion

Nobody’s saying you can’t self-promote or share sale links to your books on Twitter. 

But if your feed is over-weighted with calls to purchase your goods, be forewarned that followers will grow weary of your spiel and unfollow you. 

The 80/20 rule applies: post 80% helpful content + RTs of your follower’s content + personal, “live” convos with others, and use the remaining 20% for self-promotion.

Readers, what do you love and hate about Twitter? How do you feel about auto DMs, crabby tweets, and aggressive book sale tactics? How do you balance interaction and self-promotion on social media?

Molly Greene is a blogger and author of Blog It! The author’s guide to building a successful online brand, and the Gen Delacourt Mystery series, which includes Mark of the LoonRapunzel, and Paint Me Gone. She blogs about her life and self-publishing topics at Molly-Greene.com and she spends time on Twitter  (@mollygreene) • Facebook and Google+  Stop by and say hello!


PS from Anne: This week I found another helpful tip for writers using Twitter. If you're aiming for a traditional publishing career and you're submitting to agents, the hashtag #MSWL can be a great short-cut to finding the right agents to query.

#MSWL stands for Manuscript Wish List. Agents tweet what they're looking for (and sometimes what they're tired of) so you can get a peek into the minds of those agents you're so carefully researching. (You are researching carefully before querying, right?) Here's an overview of the #MSWL community from DS Mosier on the Publishing Cohorts blog.

Other Twitter hashtags for queriers are #querytip and #askagent. But DO NOT send book promos for a manuscript or self-published book with those hashtags. Seriously, when I checked the hashtag right now, I saw a bunch of tweets that looked just like Molly's "Twitter Don'ts"! Mostly that stuff gets ignored, but some agent just might see your tweet and remember you. Not in a good way. 

Coming up on the blog

June 8th: Nina Badzin: social media expert and freelance writer: regular contributor to Brain, ChildKveller, and the HuffPo.

June 22: Nathan Bransford: Yes. That Nathan Bransford (squee!) Blog god, former agent, children's author, and author of How to Write a Novel.

July 20th: Janice Hardy: host of Fiction University and bestselling YA author. Repped by uber-agent Kristen Nelson.

August 10th Jami Gold: editor, writing teacher, award-winning paranormal romance author, and awesome blogger.

September 14th Barbara Silkstone: bestselling indie author and owner of the Second Act Cafe.

And of course NYT million-seller Ruth Harris will continue her information-packed posts on the last Sunday of each month. 


Molly Greene's great blog guide for authors is available on Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon CA , Kobo, and Nook

Blog It! The Author's Guide to Building a Successful Online Brand by Molly Greene

"Molly's book taught me so much. When I read it, I was pretty much blogged out. I'd said everything I had to say about the art and craft of writing and publishing. But Molly re-energized me with her concrete solutions for bloggers in need of new topics. I had to stop reading to jot down ideas for posts, that's how fast this book works.

Blog It! is easy to follow and packed with pertinent information. Molly gives clear, concise instructions for beginning bloggers and those of us in need of a blog-lift. I'd recommend this book to any blogger, from seasoned pro to newbie to not quite there yet."...Cynthia Harrison

and also...


Due to a weird glitch, Anne's funny mystery SHERWOOD LTD. is FREE right now on Amazon US. (I'm not sure if it's free in other countries, since they don't show the price) It climbed to the top 200 free books over the weekend: #3 in Humor and #21 in Romantic Comedy. So if you haven't read #3 in Camilla's misadventures (great to read as a stand-alone) and you want a fun summer read, grab it while it's free. My publisher is working on restoring the price, but he has no idea when it will go back up to $3.99

Camilla's hilarious misadventures with merry band of  outlaw indie publishers in the English Midlands, where she falls for a self-styled Robin Hood who may or may not be trying to kill her.

"Good Manners for Bad Times author Camilla Randall (Dr. Manners) could use a publisher, or, at least, the cash advance from a publisher. Currently broke and homeless, she would welcome opportunity knocking on her nonexistent door. Eventually it does. Sort of. From across the Atlantic, the upscale pornography press, Sherwood, Limited, is looking to become respectable. Free residency in their Lincolnshire factory is included. How can any well mannered person decline?" ...Kathleen Keena


Amazon’s literary journal Day One is seeking submissions. According to Carmen Johnson, Day One’s editor, the litzine is looking for “fresh and compelling short fiction and poetry by emerging writers.” This includes stories that are less than 20,000 words by authors that have never been published, and poems by poets who have never published before. To submit works, writers/poets can email their work as a word document, along with a brief description and author bio to dayone-submissions @amazon.com.

Drue Heinz Literature Prize for a collection of short fiction and/or novellas. Prize of $15,000 and publication by the University of Pittsburgh Press. Author must have been previously published in print journals. Deadline June 30.

The Saturday Evening Post "Celebrate America" Short fiction contest. $10 ENTRY FEE. The winning story will be published in the Jan/Feb 2015 edition of The Saturday Evening Post, and the author will receive a $500 payment. Five runners-up will each receive a $100 cash payment and will also have their stories published online. Stories must be between 1,500 and 5,000 words in. All stories must be previously unpublished (excluding personal websites and blogs). Deadline July 1.

WRITERS VILLAGE SUMMER SHORT FICTION CONTEST $24 ENTRY FEE. $4,800 First prize. Second prize $800, third prize $400 and 15 runner up prizes of $80. The top 50 contestants also get a free critique of their stories. Judges include Lawrence Block, a Grand Master of the Mystery Writers of America, and Jill Dawson, Orange and Whitbread-shortlisted author of eight novels. Winning stories showcased online. Any genre of fiction may be submitted up to 3,000 words, except playscripts and poetry. Entries are welcomed world-wide. Deadline June 30.

The Golden Quill Awards: Entry fee $15. Two categories: Short fiction/memoir (1000 words) and Poetry (40 lines max) $750 1st prize, $400 2nd prize in each category. Sponsored by the SLO Nightwriters and the Central Coast Writers Conference. Deadline June 30th.

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Blogger Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I don't think I even Tweet five percent promotional stuff.
Some of those Tweets are unbelievable in that someone would actually send them.
I still get a lot of Direct Messages from new followers asking me to buy their book or like their Facebook page. (Those are fun, because I reply that I'm not on Facebook.)
What about Tweeting one-line book blurbs with a link to the book? I still see a lot of those.

May 18, 2014 at 10:14 AM  
Blogger Molly Greene said...

Hi Alex! INMHO tweeting the occasional book blurb + sale link is okay, as long as it isn't DMed or sent directly to other tweeps with their @ handle in the tweet itself. I'm not sure how well it works, and if that's all someone has in their feed others may not follow them. Just my two cents!

May 18, 2014 at 10:21 AM  
Blogger Linda Maye Adams said...

Writers are some of the worst culprits of spam, it seems like. If there's a hash tag even related to writing, it will get spammed by writers promoting books. Other offenses include giving bad quotes from their book; telling me not to buy a book without reading a sample first (this sounds like a reverse psychology technique to get me to buy); and promoting a book of yours that you have under a pen name as if you're recommending it.

May 18, 2014 at 10:24 AM  
Blogger Molly Greene said...

Linda, you've covered the list! Sometimes I think we writers make such a sad presentation on Twitter because we don't have a lot of viable marketing alternatives. Or at least we don't think so.

May 18, 2014 at 10:47 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Thanks, Molly, for such a clear set of guidelines! I'm with Alex and the DMs asking me to "like" their FB page. Sorry, guys, I'm not on FB.

May 18, 2014 at 10:53 AM  
Blogger Molly Greene said...

I know, Ruth, right? So we followed you on Twitter but that's not enough? That's actually a testament to how hard it is to get FB LIkes ... a lot of people have given up. Good for you for not being on FB, although it can be a good way to interact with readers - many authors are using their personal profile page to do that now, though, not their business pages. (Biz pages requires "likes," personal pages require "friends.")

May 18, 2014 at 11:07 AM  
Blogger Prudence said...

As naive as cab be, I appreciate your direction, thank you! and I have and will pass this on! xoDebi in Canada

May 18, 2014 at 12:07 PM  
Blogger Collette Cameron said...

I'm clapping my hands here. Well said. I can't tell you how many of the things on your never send list I've had sent to me. I did tweet this though!

May 18, 2014 at 12:11 PM  
Blogger Molly Greene said...

Thank you, Prudence!

May 18, 2014 at 12:28 PM  
Blogger Molly Greene said...

Thanks, Collette. I've been active on Twitter for years, so I've seen it all. More than once. A hundred times! Thanks for the share.

May 18, 2014 at 12:29 PM  
Blogger fOIS In The City said...

Thanks for the great post, Molly. I mostly avoid Twitter. I don't think I have anything to add and all I'd be doing is roaming around like a clueless fool. Maybe I'll think of some positive ways to communicate. Your post certainly outlines all of that :)

May 18, 2014 at 12:42 PM  
Blogger Wm. L. Hahn said...

Hey Molly, I knew anyone Anne recommended wouldn't be wasting my time. I mean, I'm not even ON Twitter, and I must say, nothing you wrote here enticed me in the least. Ugh- so much complication around the tagging, the retweeting, transferring the @ handle of a third person- all this PLUS fewer characters than I've already used to complain about it? I'm an epic fantasy guy, takes me more than 160 to say good morning.

But everything you say makes such good sense, everywhere and with everyone- common sense only in the frequency with which it should be used, I guess. I have no magic answers, but my entire marketing has been about getting to know people as they respond to me, one at a time and hopefully for keeps. Takes ages, just like the tales I write! Thanks again.

May 18, 2014 at 12:49 PM  
Blogger Molly Greene said...

There's lots of things you can do to add to the conversation! The truth is, I've met really wonderful people on Twitter - authors and writers who've become a great support and education system. Twitter changed my life - for the better!

May 18, 2014 at 12:56 PM  
Blogger Molly Greene said...

Twitter has its pitfalls but it's not all bad! Wonderful people hang out there too, you just have to look. The 140 character count keeps engagements short and sweet and to the point - and like most social media platforms, it works best when it IS about connection. I think you'd like it!!!

May 18, 2014 at 1:00 PM  
Blogger S B James said...

I like to use Twitter to connect with other authors. I fully grasp the concept that trying to sell my book to other authors is rather useless. I've had to unfollow a few people because of the endless spew of spam from them. They keep trying to sell books and/or courses. There are others I follow that tweet often but at least they are either inspiring quotes or links to useful blog posts, things like that.
I always appreciate this blog and look forward to the posts every week!

May 18, 2014 at 1:04 PM  
Blogger Molly Greene said...

Hey there SB, I agree! I've connected with great authors and made life-long friends via Twitter. And Anne's blog rocks - that's why I'm thrilled to be her guest today. Thanks so much for the read and comment!

May 18, 2014 at 1:11 PM  
Blogger G. B. Miller said...

I do not Tweet, but if I did, I probably would send out enough vitriol to paint a line from coast to coast (very, very long story). Suffice to say, it's a sad state of affairs if you have to write an informative post about common sense tactics on Twitter.

Father Nature's Corner

May 18, 2014 at 1:38 PM  
Blogger Molly Greene said...

GB, I'm not sure if you intended to but your comment made me chuckle. Folks will find a way to misuse almost anything!

May 18, 2014 at 1:47 PM  
Blogger Anastasia Vitsky said...

What I appreciate about Twitter is not having to skim long, boring emails that boil down to, "Buy my book!" At least on Twitter, people waste less of our time with the same message.

I wish Twitter would allow us to program an auto-unfollow feature for certain tweets. I've gotten spammed with every example you give.

One question, though. How do you feel about Triberr? I've used it (problems and all) for a while because it's a way to get RTed by authors with similar audiences. The problem, though, is that people get tired of me RTing other authors' blog posts. Do you think Triberr is worth the annoyance to our followers?

May 18, 2014 at 2:08 PM  
Blogger Molly Greene said...

Anastasia, that's a really good question. Triberr can be both a blessing and a curse, and I think it all hinges on the size of your group and the quality and frequency of their posts. if your Triberr group is composed of bloggers whose content will not be of any interest to your target Twitter follower, tweeting their posts will work against you - in which case, you might consider shifting to Twitter lists to RT content and tweets. I always tell my blog coach clients to create their own tribe on Twitter. Hope this helps!

May 18, 2014 at 2:23 PM  
Blogger Sasha A. Palmer said...

Hi Molly, thank you for the post.

I've tried to love or at least like Twitter, but sadly I just don't feel any chemistry. Some day maybe.

I realize that there's a lot of great info out there, many great connections, but I just cannot go through a zillion of tweets searching. My loss.

Spamming people with "buy my book!" tweets is bad, but I feel that getting "download my free book" DMs is equally bad if not worse - a true invasion of privacy.

And I'm not on Facebook, either, makes me happy I'm not the only one who is not.

Anne, I grabbed your book on Amazon, thank you :-)

May 18, 2014 at 2:33 PM  
Blogger Molly Greene said...

I understand how you feel, Sasha! I avoid all of it (except the DMs) by not watching my home feed. I just keep track of my faves using Twitter lists and my notification feed - the only way I can keep myself from falling down the rabbit hole.

May 18, 2014 at 2:46 PM  
Blogger Belinda Pollard said...

It also shows how worthless FB Likes have become. If people who've never heard of someone or read their book "like" a page, what's the value of that endorsement???

May 18, 2014 at 3:13 PM  
Blogger Belinda Pollard said...

Molly & Anne, I've had people (strangers) be offended because I ignored their demand to tweet their book. Because they'd RTed something of mine, they felt that I was now obligated to RT them. The problem is, they're not making this up in their own heads... someone, somewhere, maybe at a writing seminar, has told them that's how it works. *sigh*

I absolutely will NEVER tweet a book I haven't read. What value would my tweets have if I did that? In fact, I rarely tweet someone's book at all, and when I do it's completely spontaneous, and has never yet been in response to an author's request.

I really wish we could get past this whole attitude of "gaming the system" that seems to have developed around social media, and get back to tweeting what we really think, from the heart. Oh dear, I sound like Pollyanna. ;-) Better get back to work!! :-D

May 18, 2014 at 3:22 PM  
Blogger Sasha A. Palmer said...

I'll have to learn about Twitter lists and the notification feed. This might be the way for me to fall in love with Twitter after all. Thank you, Molly.

May 18, 2014 at 3:32 PM  
Blogger Molly Greene said...

It feels odd and awkward at first, but Twitter changed my life, Sasha! Best to you.

May 18, 2014 at 3:36 PM  
Blogger Molly Greene said...

*eye roll* - that's how i deal with that sort of stuff. People may THINK they're gaming the system, but it doesn't really fool anyone. And good manners is good manners no matter where you are, who you are, or what you're doing. Am I right??

May 18, 2014 at 3:39 PM  
OpenID paulfahey said...

Great post, Molly. Hopefully on balance I haven't done any of the bad things and done more of the good things. Thanks for pointing out the pitfalls of those of us in Twitterland. I'm bookmarking this for future reference.

May 18, 2014 at 4:23 PM  
Blogger Molly Greene said...

Paul, thank you so much! We're all learning as we go, and we're in this together. I've been called out (in a nice way) for RTing too many tweets myself - just so you all don't think I'm perfect. NOT!

May 18, 2014 at 4:53 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Belinda, I have to jump in here, because I've just had a run-in with the author of one of those books that tells authors to spam and blackmail other authors into promoting them.

This woman told me I was an ignorant moron to refuse to tweet books I haven't read. She says everybody is obligated to promote her books because she's been in marketing since the last ice age, which makes the rest of us her minions. (Yeah. Not exactly a charmer.)

I Googled this person and sure enough, she wrote one of those "How I made a zillion dollars a month on Kindle" things back in 2011.

To her, spam is defined by "what you can get away with" not by how much it annoys people.

But spam is "unwanted advertising" pure and simple, and only the recipient knows if it's wanted. So do not let ANYBODY blackmail you into promoting their books (or worse, reviewing them.) Authors who follow her advice are the reason we have scary anti-author vigilante groups on Amazon and Goodreads.

May 18, 2014 at 4:54 PM  
Blogger Connie Brentford said...

I completely agree with Molly on this post. There are so many wonderful things that you can tweet around the setting and research you've done for your book without "MY BOOK" tweets. If your profile is set up correctly, all the info should be there for the curious reader. Authors need to be interesting and engaging on social media beyond the books they write. If you have a character who is adopting a child from China why not post interesting articles on Chinese adoption with the appropriate hash tags? Build your audience based on the settings, themes and subjects in your books. Write posts that resonate and the right audience will come to you and stick with you. They will buy your books and they will tell others about you. Frankly, writers should OWN social media. They wake up each morning better prepared to string words together than most people. If you can't impress and engage someone on social media why would they buy anything else you've written?

May 18, 2014 at 5:20 PM  
Blogger Molly Greene said...

Oh my gosh, Connie! What a fabulous point you've made, and I'm telling the truth when I say I've honestly never heard another writer say it better. You're right, we're supposed to be the creatives. Kudos to you for hitting the nail on the head. I do often suggest that authors use topics in their fiction books as categories and subjects to write about on their blogs, but I'm totally going to borrow that phrase from you ... just shared it on Facebook!

May 18, 2014 at 5:33 PM  
Blogger Molly Greene said...

Yikes! The hair just went up on the back of my neck, Anne - there must be evil lurking nearby. I'm so sorry too hear this!

May 18, 2014 at 5:42 PM  
Blogger Nicole said...

Yes! All good reminders. Luckily, I haven't run into too many of these myself yet. It sounds like you've got some great guest bloggers coming up!

May 18, 2014 at 6:12 PM  
Blogger Julie Musil said...

Great advice. The wise advice "Do unto others" applies for social media as well!

I rarely tweet promo. I mainly tweet links that will help other writers. Just like I'm about to tweet this post :)

May 18, 2014 at 6:53 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Connie--What wonderful wisdom in this comment! Thanks for sharing this, because it's great advice for every single author out there. Draw in people who are interested in your setting, historical period and storyline by sharing content related to those things. Not by begging, bullying or blackmailing. Build great content and they will come. :-)

May 18, 2014 at 7:39 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Nicole--I'm so honored that these social media superstars are coming to visit the blog! You're lucky you haven't run into the spam-bullies, but forewarned is forearmed!

May 18, 2014 at 7:40 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Julie--You're right: the only rule of social media is the Golden one. If it would annoy you, don't do it to somebody else. :-) Some promo is great. I LOVE it when my favorite author has a sale and lets me know about it. But somebody who writes violent, gory stuff, or porn--I don't want it on my timeline and I know my friends don't want it either. We need to find our own "tribe" and share what interests them.

May 18, 2014 at 7:44 PM  
Blogger Nina Badzin said...

I tend to end up unfollowing people are big triberr users. It feels like they are tweeting out posts and "recommending" them yet often times have not read that post. It all starts to feel like white noise and very inauthentic.

May 18, 2014 at 8:32 PM  
Blogger Nina Badzin said...

Great post and I agree with all the advice. (I used to write the Twitter column for Writer Unboxed.) By the way, everything you wrote also applies to bloggers hoping to get visits to their blog via Twitter. (which I know you mentioned, Molly.) I've been getting lots of posts tweeted AT me recently and I cannot stand it. I find it especially obnoxious when it comes from people who do not read my blog. It's not okay to ignore someone's writing then demand they come see yours. I don't know why anyone would think that's acceptable.

May 18, 2014 at 8:35 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Nina--Thanks so much for stopping by! I learned so much from your Twitter column at Writer Unboxed.

And oh, those demanding bloggers. Sigh. I've even had them come here and leave a comment demanding that I follow them and read their blogs when they make it quite clear they haven't read the post they are commenting on. You wonder what's going on in their tiny minds. What they don't realize is how often we DO remember them. And not in a way that will help their careers one bit. Making enemies is not a good marketing strategy.

May 18, 2014 at 9:00 PM  
Blogger Toni Leland said...

Hi Anne and Molly! Enjoyed this post very much, although my use of Twitter is limited. When i DO tweet something, it's usually a link to fascinating information like Monarch Butterflies or gardening, which have nothing to do with my novels. But I've found that people who follow those links often become curious about who I am, and then they discover my creative writing. (A bit of stealthy PR.)

May 19, 2014 at 5:23 AM  
Blogger Marsha said...

Hey, ladies. I actualy stumbled on this blog from Twitter. I was about to RT and thought, Oh, good topic. I'll check it out. I find the world of Twitter a bit mystifying. I've tried to learn the rules, which of course, as with everything technological, are always changing. Just when I think I've figured out how to efficiently thank all those who RT my tweets or RTs using the @ and their name, it seems I shouldn't be doing that. I've never DM (I almost had to ask what that meant and one of the commenters wrote it out. LOL) someone unless I know them. My second book just released, so more of my tweets have been about that than usual. As you can tell, I'm long winded, and the 140 character rule, doesn't work well for me. :) A couple of questions:
1) Can I thank folks just by RTing their posts? or Favoriting their RT of mine rather than sending a Thank you post?
2) What about RTing fellow authors whose books I haven't read? Just because I don't read their genre, doesn't mean I don't know them or want to be supportive.
3) What makes people follow someone? Because of all the Tweets and RTS I've done, (I have a friend who's been pushing me), I have people follow me and I wonder: what made them follow me? I have just around 550 followers, nothing compared to most folks. I write romantic suspense. It's great for my ego and I'll check them out and RT some of their Tweets if they look interesting, but I wonder what they saw? If I knew I could do more. :)
4) One last question. As a writer, too, how Molly do you manage your time? I've been on the interent (FB, Twitter, Author Loops and other blogs for the last 3 hours!
4) FB (with all it's flaws) is so much more user friendly for this user. But I'm "connecting" for what it's worth with more folks at Twitter. Great post. I'll check out your book, Molly and I'll add your blog to those I follow, Anne. And I'll FB and tweet this.

May 19, 2014 at 9:01 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Toni--You've made an important point. Tweeting things that are interesting to your demographic--even if they have nothing to do with your novels--is a great idea. Stuff about butterflies and gardening will draw a certain kind of person. If you write ultra-violent thrillers about serial killers on Mars, those tweets may not help your marketing campaign, but if you write romance, cozies, womens' fiction, or environmental thrillers, you're drawing your target audience.

May 19, 2014 at 9:17 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Marsha--These are great questions, and I hope if Molly stops by today she'll give you her own answers. Here are mine:

1) I used to thank people for RTing my posts, but now I just favorite them unless they've made a personal recommendation like "I love this post by @annerallen"

2) I don't RT books by authors whose work I don't know--either from reading their blogs or their books. A tweet is a recommendation, so I have an obligation to my Tweeps to vet something before I pass it along.

3) I follow people who RT me and people with interesting tweets, but I think most people go by Twitter's recommendations that come emails every day: Those "suggestions based on ...."

4) I think managing our social media time is a problem for all authors these days. (I'm an author too. I write romantic comedy mysteries and I co-wrote a handbook for writers that includes this very topic .It's called HOW TO BE A WRITER IN THE E-AGE: A SELF HELP GUIDE. It touches on keeping your eyes on the writing prize and not getting distracted by marketing. It's only $2.99 right now.) For me, I find a regular schedule works best. I write on my WIP at certain times of day and don't go online during those hours. Then I limit my social media time to an hour or two a day.

Facebook and Twitter have different uses for me. Twitter is more useful for connecting with other writers, and Facebook is better for truly social stuff.

May 19, 2014 at 9:32 AM  
Blogger Molly Greene said...

Anne and Nina, I thought I'd heard it all, but I was wrong! I haven't had anyone leave a blog comment demanding anything - I'm guessing the traffic you two command must also bring its share of "the shameful ones."

May 19, 2014 at 10:22 AM  
Blogger Molly Greene said...

Marsha, great questions, and Anne, great replies.

1) It does become impossible to thank every RTer from a time management perspective. I use several methods as time allows -- favorite great tweets, RT some, thank a few super-supportive folks directly, and/or send out a single "thank you" tweet that contains the @handles of a whole group of supporters.

2) I also do not tweet or RT authors I do not "know" from their books or their blogs, and I do sometimes feel overwhelmed by direct requests from authors to do so. Argggh!

3) Ditto - Anne's method is exactly what I do, as well.

4) Anne and I are kindred spirits, I'm also a real stickler for a routine, and I have even been known to turn off the WiFi so I can't get online on those days I feel like procrastinating. Once in a while I have a "free" day and I hang out on social media to see what everybody's been up to. And I feel the same about Twitter - different uses. Twitter is wonderful for drawing traffic to your blog, Facebook for actually being social.

Best of luck to you, Marsha. Anne's book will help, and I hope I have, as well!

May 19, 2014 at 10:36 AM  
Blogger Jennifer Jensen said...

I've been out of the blogosphere and twitterverse for a while (finally finishing my degree, not writing), and these are spot on. Unfortunately, I've been guilty of one of these in the past, but I think I have a better handle on it now. And guess what - I started following you both long ago! Of course I haven't read any tweets lately . . . *grin* Anyway, thanks for a great post, Molly, and great comments from both of you.

May 19, 2014 at 1:08 PM  
Blogger Molly Greene said...

Hi there, Jennifer! Lucky you to take a break from social media for a while, it will all be there when you're ready to go back. Huge congratulations on working on your education, and best to you in all you do!

May 19, 2014 at 2:01 PM  
Blogger TP Hogan said...

I'm not a regular Twitter user, popping in every other day or so is more than I can handle. You are dead right about how many tweets are about 'buy my book'. When you finally wade past those (and the 'my cat sneezed' ones) and find someone who is honestly excited about a book, or a blog post they've just read, or imparts info on how, when and why they write what they write, it's like finding a rare gem in a dark pit. It just about makes my day sometimes.
Thank you Molly for pointing out and reminding me that Twitter is not supposed to be streams and streams of 'buy my book' and should be about authors connecting with potential readers, and befriending other authors. It gave me hope.
(Three cheers and a big round of applause!)

May 19, 2014 at 3:10 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

TP--Thanks much for reminding us of the REAL reason to Tweet about books: when you finish that book that electrifies you and you're dying to share the experience. Or when you see that a favorite author's book has been reduced to $1.99 today. Twitter works when you are actually "sharing" and not broadcasting.

And it's the same with blogs. Most of the blogs I follow I learned about on Twitter from people who read and vet the blogs they tweet. Mystery author Elizabeth S.Craig tweets all the best articles about writing. I followed her and it turned into an education in the publishing business.

May 19, 2014 at 3:26 PM  
Blogger Molly Greene said...

Well said Anne, and I'm so glad the post resonated with you, TP!

May 19, 2014 at 6:04 PM  
Blogger Michael Di Gesu said...

HI, Anne,

This was great... I really appreciate the twitter feeds for agent queries, because I am on the verge of querying my second novel now. I am researching like mad and it would be great to have an inside view on what the agents are really looking for now.

And thanks also for the news on writers contests and also for featuring Molly Greene! I can use some fresh ideas on how to punch up my blog....

Have a terrific week!


May 19, 2014 at 6:23 PM  
Blogger Marsha said...

Thanks, Anne & Molly..Great answers. I appreciate this and I will check out Anne's blog. I really work best with a schedule, and I haven't had one since publishing. Just bouncing form most urgent to most urgent. LOL These ideas will help. Thanks again. Off to get Anne's book. :)

May 20, 2014 at 6:33 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Michael--Great to see you! Congrats on finishing book two. It's the perfect time to start querying. I found #MSWL enlightening. It might be discouraging to authors working in one of the more saturated genres like YA Dystopian, but that will be the wish list of one agent--not all of them.

May 20, 2014 at 9:48 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Michael-I just saw that #MSWL has its own web page now. http://www.mswishlist.com/ Enlightening stuff.

May 20, 2014 at 10:04 AM  
Blogger Sarah Brentyn said...

I'm getting tired of people telling me what I CANNOT do on Twitter without being helpful in any way. (Especially because each time I read a post about what I'm not supposed to do, it's different.) So I really appreciate your insights into what we SHOULD do instead. That is key.

I will say that you've included a few things I've read elsewhere and I don't know why people are still doing those things. (i.e. The DM with demands in them.) I recently followed someone who then sent me a THANKS FOR FOLLOWING ME! LIKE ME ON FB! but...they didn't follow me back so, even if I had wanted to DM them, I couldn't. Um...unfollowed.

Thanks for the post, Molly! Great advice in it and in your comment replies.

Anne: I don't know if I've thanked you lately (or ever!) for the links you always include at the end of your posts. They are wonderful and helpful and supportive of us, your fellow writers. I always check out the contest and submission opportunities and I truly appreciate you compiling them here for us.

OH! And the #MSWL hashtage tip...awesome. Thanks!

May 20, 2014 at 11:21 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Sarah--That's one of the reasons I liked this post so much. It isn't anti-Twitter, and it tells you great ways to use it for establishing platform. Just don't annoy people :-)

And you're so right about those people who ask for FB likes. They NEVER like you back. I did a little experiment for a couple of weeks, liking them just to see what happened. NOT ONE liked back, even when I sent them a link. So now I always delete any response to a follow. And often unfollow if they demand anything.

So glad to hear the Opportunity Alerts are helpful. I hope somebody will contact me telling me they've won a contest or placed in a magazine I've mentioned one of these days.

#MSWL is eye-opening, isn't it?

May 20, 2014 at 11:31 AM  
Blogger Sarah Brentyn said...

Thanks, Marsha, for addressing this:

1) Can I thank folks just by RTing their posts? or Favoriting their RT of mine rather than sending a Thank you post?

I've been meaning to ask that. Some people ignore when I RT them. Others just favorite it. Some favorite, RT, AND reply with a "thanks!". If I don't thank them, I feel rude. A lot of people's timelines are loaded with "Thanks for the RT", "Thanks for the mention", "Thanks...", "Thanks..." and I have to scroll way down to get to any real tweets by them. I'm such a please and thank you kind of person IRL that not thanking seems rude. I'm lost with this one. I usually favorite (because I truly do appreciate it) but sometimes feel that's not enough.

May 20, 2014 at 11:38 AM  
Blogger Molly Greene said...

Sarah, I agree - it's frustrating to read posts about what not to do without a few tips about what to do instead! And I agree, Anne's blog is a huge resource for us all.

May 20, 2014 at 1:15 PM  
Blogger Rita Gardner said...

Thanks for the advice - appreciated.

May 23, 2014 at 11:15 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Here's a comment that arrived via email from Aya Walksfar:

Thanks for the great content on Twitter Don'ts. I try hard to not do those things, but it is always good to reaffirm that I am following a sensible path, especially with so many "twitter gurus" saying 'here, let me help you spam everyone for only $9.99 per month' or something of that nature. It seems so desirable. "We can guarantee you thousands of new followers". But you and Molly help me stay grounded. Thanks again. "

May 24, 2014 at 9:19 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Rita--I think Molly did a fantastic job helping us know how to use Twitter without annoying people. :-)

May 24, 2014 at 9:20 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Aya--Thanks much for the email. You make an important point. Authors don't do this stuff because they all woke up one morning and decided to spam Twitter. They do it because publicists and marketers say it's a good way to sell books. And they even charge money for doing it. And it's all pretty pointless.

I wrote about all those fake "likes" and phony followers in March. They do NOTHING for anybody's business, unless you happen to be in business selling phony likes and followers. For more on this, search for my March post on "Building Platform: What Most Authors Are Getting Wrong".

May 24, 2014 at 9:27 PM  
Blogger Eileen Goudge said...

Great advice. I breathed a sigh of relief after reading it, realizing I wasn't a Twitter offender. I've only been the recipient of some of those offenses, and yes, they are annoying. To paraphrase the golden rule, Tweet unto others what one would have Tweeted to oneself.

May 30, 2014 at 3:44 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Eileen. Love your Golden Rule of Twitter. So true. In social media, it really ALL boils down to the Golden Rule.

May 30, 2014 at 9:57 AM  
Blogger Rosalind Minett said...

Loved Nina's article about her detour, although I gulped hard when she told the agent she didn't want to bother with her novel after all. Ouch, that hurt! But Anne, you have to scroll so far down to comment, rather than immediately after the element you're commenting on. Is this fixable? Or am I a thick Brit?

June 10, 2014 at 3:37 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Rosalind--You did scroll down a long way--to a post from last month! When you get to the bottom of a post you want to comment on, hit the link that says "46 Comments" or whatever the number is. That will open another window where you can see all the comments. You will have to scroll to the end of the comments, which varies by the number of comments. All blogs work this way,as far as I know.

I related to Nina's decision because many times agents want a complete rewrite of a book--often changing the genre and themes. And it can be a year's worth of work, with no guarantee of acceptance. I have turned down agents who asked me to do that too. To me, it meant I needed another agent, not another book, but it can be a daunting proposition.

I will repost your comment in the thread of Nina's piece. Next time if you're scrolling reaaaaally far down, check to make sure you're in the right thread. :-)

June 10, 2014 at 8:55 AM  
Blogger sincerly4you said...

I'm new to twitter. When wattpad suggests that I link my updates is that wrong? Should I stop? I don't know how to' like' someone and where do I place the #?

June 27, 2014 at 9:44 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Sincerely--I don't know much about Wattpad, so I'm not sure what you mean. But I think they're talking about your profile, not an individual tweet. Most people put a link to their website or blog in their Twitter profile. That's a good thing. You want people to find you. Having your Wattpad page link there would be good too. It's also good to tweet updates to your blog or Wattpad page or whatever. Tweeting news is always fine. Just don't tweet the exact same thing many times a day for weeks and weeks.

Twitter doesn't have a "like" function. You have to "follow". Every profile has a Follow button in the right hand corner. To follow somebody, you click on that button and it will turn blue.

You put a hashtag at the beginning of a word or phrase like #writetip or #amwriting.

Hope that helps. I know it can all seem baffling at first.

June 28, 2014 at 9:18 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Sincerely--I just realized you may be talking about "liking" a tweet. The way you do that is hit "favorite". That's like a FB "Like."

June 28, 2014 at 9:29 AM  

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