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Anne R. Allen's Blog


My Photo

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, April 5, 2015

How NOT to be a Spammer: A Guide for Authors

by Anne R. Allen

Internet spam! Everybody hates it, right?

Not only is it annoying, but vigilante groups can be cruel in enforcing anti-spam rules.

But here's the thing: not everybody defines "spam" the same way.

I thought I knew what was acceptable on social media. I know that it is social and shouldn't be be used for direct marketing. But I have sometimes blundered into spam territory when I'm only trying to be helpful.

That's because the rules are different for each social media site, forum, and group. And finding those rules can require tech savvy and knowledge of legalese (and good eyesight: they're usually written in a flyspeck font.)

Here are the rules I've managed to discover, mostly by breaking them. As Ruth and I say, we make the mistakes so you don't have to.

How Not to Spam with Newsletters

1) Never, ever, ever ever put somebody on a mailing list who did not sign up specifically for that newsletter.

2) Send them only when you have actual news to put in the letter. That is: a new book or a sale or a big presentation, like an appearance at a national writers' conference. Don't send notices of every personal appearance, since most readers won't live nearby and will be annoyed.

3) Make them short and sweet and provide unique content. One author whose newsletter I do subscribe to is Elizabeth S. Craig's. She only sends them when she has a new book and they always include a great recipe.

4) Never send a whiny plea begging people to buy your book to "help you get ahead." I got one of those yesterday. Advertising that you're an amateur doesn't make people want to read your work.

5) Always provide an unsubscribe button, so people don't have to face your wrath if they want to trim down what shows up in their inboxes.

How not to Spam on Facebook

1) Don't link to your blog or website from anything but your own page or a designated thread. Links to your blog or website are considered spam on Facebook, no matter how useful. They'll put you in Facebook jail (freeze you out of your own page) if you post links to your blog more than a few times a week, even in a private group.

This happened to me. Somebody in a group asks at least once a week about using song lyrics in fiction. So I used to post a link to our guest blog piece from Michael Murphy that tells you how to get rights to song lyrics .

But I was wrong on that. Unwritten Facebook rules say you can't do that, and a self-appointed vigilante will click the "report for spam" button and you're off Facebook for a week or more and your blog is flagged forever as "spam." Much hoop-jumping is required to get reinstated. Don't take the chance.

2) At the moment Facebook still seems to be okay with links to your book buy page on Amazon or other retail sites as long as you post them on your personal page or promotional Facebook pages like Free Books R Us. Nook and Kindle Readers, or Free Today on Amazon.

3) Don't friend more than a few people a day. Even though Facebook is constantly hounding you to "friend" people, it's a trap. If you actually do what they say, you'll end up in Facebook jail.

4) Don't post a promotion of your book in a group without reading the rules first. Many groups will kick you out for it.

5) Posting promos on somebody else's Facebook page is serious spam. It's a violation of personal space. Nothing will make people unfriend you faster.

6) Never market through a FB direct message. If you're not friends with the person, it will go in the "other" folder with all the proposals of marriage from men with poor English skills and a photo they stole from some CEO's bio page, which means the recipient isn't likely to see it anyway.

And besides, it's rude. Never use personal messaging for advertising. A direct message is like a phone call. Do you like getting unsolicited "cold calls" from marketers? Yeah. Nobody else does, either.

7) Never add somebody to a group without permission. There's been a trend to add random people to book launch "parties" and other "love my book" groups. Your targets will start to get dozens of notifications about you and your book which will be unwanted 99% of the time. Facebook won't punish you for it, but you're likely to get unfriended. And lose possible sales.

8) Note: Facebook is constantly adding limits to what you can do on your author page, so a "personal" page is necessary if you want to interact anywhere but on your own page. But use the personal page to make friends, not just to advertise.

How not to Spam on Twitter

1) Never send those automated direct messages that say, "Now that you've followed me, go like my Facebook and author pages, follow my blog, buy my book and pick up my dry cleaning, minion! Mwahahah."

They're against the Terms of Service as well as causing an auto-unfollow from practically everybody. For more on why not to use automatic direct messaging, here's a great post from social media consultant Rachel Thompson: Death to the Auto-DM on Twitter. She says a recent study showed the Auto-DM causes a 245% increase in the unfollow rate.

2) Do NOT send direct messages to people you don't have a relationship with. Not even to say "thanks for the follow." A follow is not a relationship. If you must thank for a follow, sent it in a @Tweet. (Not an automated one.)

3) Don't tweet your book more than a few times a week unless you have news like a great review or a sale or freebie run. Otherwise, it's just noise that gets ignored.

4) Don't tweet somebody else's book link just because they ask. Make sure it's in a genre your Tweeps will enjoy.

5) Unpublished authors, don't ever tweet published authors asking us to read and evaluate your work on your blog or Wattpad or whatever. People who evaluate your work are called editors. They cost money. Working authors are very, very busy. We can't afford to give strangers hundreds of dollars worth of critique for free. Don't ask us to do this on any kind of social media. If you want critique, I highly recommend CritiqueCircle.com

How not to Spam on Amazon

1) A link to your own book or website in a review is spam. It can get you banned from Amazon. You can have a title in your signature and post as "Susie Scrivener, author of Scribblings," but without a link.

2) Do not mention your book in the Amazon Forums. Better yet, don't go there. It's troll habitat and very anti-author.

3) Link to your blog ONLY in a designated thread in Kindleboard forums, even if your blog is full of useful information to writers. I learned that the hard way.

How not to Spam on Blogs

1) Never, ever subscribe to a blog via email just so you can hit "reply" and send an ad for your book. It's happened to me a couple of times. It's insulting and pointless. The ad doesn't go to the mailing list. It goes to the blogger—who will put you on their list of authors to avoid, especially if the genre has nothing to do with the blogger's interests. Remember this is about making friends, not enemies.

2) Don't link to your buy page from a blog comment. I don't mind links to a blog or webpage in the comments here—in fact I find them useful. But some people don't like links of any kind from a blog comment, and they'll delete the comment as spam, so be wary.

3) Don't talk up your book or blog in a comment unless it's relevant to the conversation.
  • "I respect your opinion on prologues, but I've got testimonials from readers who love prologues—the longer the better—over at my blog today" is great. 
  • "This discussion of Marcel Proust reminds me of my book, Fangs for the Memories, a zombipocolyptic vampire erotic romance, $3.99 on Smashwords." Not so much.

How not to Spam in Forums

1) Lurk. Every forum is different. So never say anything in a forum until you've unearthed every rule and hung out for a good long time.

2) Beware "share" buttons. I made the mistake a couple of years ago by sending out my blog link to a number of sites via the "share" button Blogger provides. This sent it to forums where it should not have gone on Reddit, StumbleUpon and Digg. A nice moderator from Reddit informed me all my posts had been deleted as spam.

3) Do not post book promotions or pimp your blog except in designated threads. You will be criticized and deleted.

4) Better yet, stay out of book-related forums unless they're small and well-moderated.  The bigger and older the site, the more likely it will have resident trolls, bad-tempered vigilantes and anti-author groups. The Kindleboards can be snarky, but they do provide up-to-date information and are generally safe if you behave yourself. But the Amazon forums are toxic: stay away. Absolute Write is a good place to check for information about bad-faith publishers or bogus agents, but you're better off lurking rather than commenting. The tone is very anti-indie and full of trollish types.

Personally, I prefer Facebook and Google Plus writing groups to forums. My favorites are Google Plus for Writers and Tom Winton's Authors Helping Authors on Facebook.

How not to Spam on Goodreads

1) Don't join a group just to promote your book. Spend a long time talking about other authors' books before you bring up your own. In fact, on Goodreads, it's best not to mention you're an author at all. Take off your author hat and discuss books you've read, not ones you've written.

2) Don't send mass friend requests. This is true on almost all sites. You will be flagged as a spammer.

3) Don't thank a reviewer or someone who has put your book on their "shelf." The Goodreads author guidelines prohibit it.

4) And especially: never, ever, ever engage with somebody who has given you a bad review or put you on a hate "shelf." Not for any reason. Goodreads reviews are notoriously unpleasant, unhelpful, and snarky. But authors need to learn to live with them.

How not to Spam on Google+

Google Plus users tend to be into tech and business, which means they're usually too busy to engage in a whole lot of childish behavior, so you don't have to be as afraid of troll-vigilantes as on Facebook and Goodreads. But:

1) Posting the same link on more than one page can get you marked as a spammer by Google Plus algorithms. Here's what Google Plus expert Johnny Base says "do not post the same posts ever to "the public" and [community] groups: that will be looked at as spam."

2) Posting a link without at least 100 words of introduction anyplace but your own page can mark you as a spammer. Google Plus wants original content, not just linkage. Johnny Base says, "if you post a blog link [to a community page], please add a comment as to why it is relevant to the group. don't just post 'please read my new blog post'."

How not to Spam on Pinterest

1) Don't create pins with misleading links to trick people into visiting your boards. Truth in advertising is required here.

I officially have joined Pinterest (Facebook joined me up when I tried to look at somebody's board.) But I haven't actually done anything there. So if anybody has more info on Pinterest spam, please leave it in the comments.

How not to Spam on Tsū

So what's tsū? It's a new social media platform that's a little like Facebook in its interface. Except they pay you. You get royalties if your posts are popular. So far I've made one penny. But I have to admit I haven't spent any time there. They have very specific rules about spam. 

1) Don't over-hashtag or make irrelevant, self-serving comments

2) Follow the rules:
  • You can make 24 Posts per day
  • You can only share 8 posts per day
  • You can only follow 1,000 people and have 5,000 friends
  • You can only hold up to 50 Pending friend requests
  • In a single post you can only use 10 @ mentions
  • In a single post you can only use 10 # hashtags
In order to join, you have to be invited. Anybody who reads this blog can consider this an invitation. Use the "short code" http://www.tsu.co/annerallen

BTW, if you've ever wondered why unsolicited Internet advertising is named after a perfectly innocent meat product, blame Monty Python. In a famous 1970 sketch, the customers in a café are drowned out by a chorus of Vikings singing "Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam... Lovely Spam! Wonderful Spam!" 

The most important thing to remember to avoid being a spammer is to lurk a while on each site and check the rules before posting. Remember that drive-by promotions, selfish behavior, and deceptive practices are going to be frowned on everywhere. 

What about you, scriveners? Do you have any other sites to add? Have you ever been criticized or punished for spamming when you didn't realize you'd broken the rules? What kind of spam bothers you most? Anybody here on Tsu?  

If you want some info on how to use social media correctly to sell books, here's my post on HOW DO I SELL MY BOOK. And I'm one of 18 people who blog about book marketing interviewed for this piece on BOOK MARKETING SECRETS. I don't know if I've ever been called a "one of the world's foremost thought-leaders" before. But there are some good tips! 

If you happen to live in the San Luis Obispo area, I will be speaking to the SLO Nightwriters on April 14th at 6:30 PM on the subject of author bullying and how we can fight it with a combination of good social media manners and reporting offenses. Directions at the SLO Nightwriters website


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Golden Quill Awards Writing Contest: Flash, Poetry, and Short fiction categories. Entry fee $20 for stories and poetry, $15 for flash fiction. The theme is TRANSFORMATION. Deadline July 15.

MARK TWAIN HUMOR CONTEST  Entry fees: $12 Young Author or $22 Adult. 7,000 words (or fewer) of any original work of humor writing. Submissions must be in English. Submissions are not required to be in the style of Mark Twain or about Mark Twain. 1st Prize: $1,000 (Adult), $600 (Young Author). Other cash prizes! Deadline July 10, 2015

Saturday Evening Post Great American Fiction Contest. Entry fee $10. Your story should in some way touch upon the publication’s mission: Celebrating America — past, present, and future. Think Norman Rockwell. No profanity or graphic sex. Any genre. No previously published stories, but they can have appeared on your blog. Between 1,500 and 5,000 words. Deadline July 1, 2015

PULP LITERATURE'S The Hummingbird Prize for Flash Fiction $10-$15 ENTRY FEE. Winner published in Winter 2016. First Prize: $300 (Runner up: $75). For unpublished short fiction up to 1,000 words in length. Contest Opens May 1, 2015 and closes June 15, 2015

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Writer's Digest Writing Compeition. This is their biggie. First prize is $5000 plus your photo on the cover of Writer's Digest. Entry fees are a little pricey at $25 for a story, $15 for a poem but there are lots of big prizes. Categories for many genres of fiction, Creative nonfic, essays, screenplays, and poetry. Early Bird deadline May 4th.

WOW Spring Flash Fiction Contest: Fee $10, or $20 with critique. The critique is a fantastic deal. These quarterly contests are judged by an agent. 750 words.  First prize is $350 plus a $500 publishing package, publication and an interview. 20 prizes in all. Enter early. They only take the first 300 entries. Deadline May 31.

The 2015 Bulwer Litton Bad Writing Contest. Wretched Writers Welcome! This is the "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" Bad Writing Contest! Write the worst opening line you can come up with (about 50-60 words). Must be a single sentence. NO FEE. Small cash prize. Deadline April 15

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Blogger Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Wow, I never knew there were so many ways to spam.
I still get a lot of direct messages from new followers on Twitter, asking to connect on Facebook. I have fun with it and just tell them sorry, I'm not on Facebook.
And bonus points for mentioning the Monty Python skit!

April 5, 2015 at 10:18 AM  
Blogger Keith said...

Thanks for this, Anne. I'll share this with the hope it will sink in this time (I doubt it). I go out of my way to support fellow authors but quickly grow tired of the people on Facebook that post promotions daily or the people on LinkedIn who send direct messages telling me to read their blogs. Shaming doesn't appear to work so I simply unfriend, unfollow or block them. One other underhanded trick that infuriates me to no end is being tagged or mentioned in a promotional post that has nothing to do with me. Promotion is difficult and authors should promote themselves, but not like Aunt Emily who always tries to sell you Tupperware or vitamins at family gatherings.

April 5, 2015 at 10:21 AM  
Blogger The Hostess with the Mostest said...

Too many rules!

April 5, 2015 at 10:32 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Alex--I didn't either, until I stumbled into spam territory by mistake. I fear those Twitter DMs are escalating. I'm getting more now than every.

It's one of the great Python skits of all time!

April 5, 2015 at 10:58 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Keith--Thanks for the important addition. "Tagging" people who aren't actually in a photo is more than spam: it's totally unethical. Makes me furious!! It's an automatic unfriend. I mostly avoid LinkedIn. They don't seem to have any anti-spam rules, so it's just a free-for-all. LOL about Aunt Emily. There's always one, isn't there? Or the brother in law who's always hawking insurance at family gatherings...

April 5, 2015 at 11:03 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Hostess--It's hard to keep up with them, but it's better to know what the rules are than get put in Facebook jail or get attacked with one-star reviews by the vigilantes.

April 5, 2015 at 11:05 AM  
Blogger Linda Maye Adams said...

Also, these for Twitter:

Don't follow every author under the sun because they're an author. I get a lot of follows like these, and somehow, they think I must be an audience for their book merely because I'm a writer.

Don't spam authors for reviews because they're a writer. I had a newbie writer do that. She never bothered to even see what I read (read: it wasn't her genre), and when I looked at her stream, she'd done it to about 20 other writers. That just screams "I'm desperate."

By the way, writers can get nailed on forums for signatures that violate the terms of service. One writer contacted me as a warning because she'd gotten flagged for spam for having her site in her signature block, which I also did. I looked at her site and instantly knew why: Her site screamed "Buy my book!" Big cover shot of her book, links to "Buy my book," links to "I'm available for agent representation." No actual content unless you intended to buy the book. How you have the stuff up on your personal website matters.

April 5, 2015 at 11:12 AM  
Blogger Linda Maye Adams said...

Linked in also never struck me as really being something for writers. It was more focused on networking for jobs.

April 5, 2015 at 11:14 AM  
Blogger Melodie Campbell said...

Great advice, always, Anne - and I particularly like your point about 'lurking' first, to get the feel of the forum. I have to say I'm astonished by all the uncomfortable new ways to self-promote - things I never thought of, for sure! Thanks for this.

April 5, 2015 at 12:09 PM  
Blogger mindprinter said...

Boy is this ever news! I knew some of these no-nos but certainly not all. I do my best not to spam others as I hate it when it happens to me. I've probably done some of this as well. Thanks, Anne. Another great can't do without post. Have fun at your presentation. It will be wonderful as always. Congrats on Sherwood Ltd. being part of that Bad Brit set.

April 5, 2015 at 12:09 PM  
Blogger Melodie Campbell said...

Keith, I have to agree with you that being tagged for someone's promotion is the worst kind of bad behaviour. I am astonished that it happens, and yet it certainly does.
Anne - I get upset when people tag me for a photo I'm in, but have never seen! But that is more a vanity issue . Still, I think it's the height of nerve.

April 5, 2015 at 12:12 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Linda--Great additions! It's so annoying when people are obviously carpet-bombing people with review requests (or anything else). That's so obviously spam.

I did NOT know that having your website link in your signature can be considered spam. But if your website is spammy, then I understand how it can happen.

Did somebody really say "I'm available for agent representation" on a website? *cringe* You're so right that a website needs to be professional.

April 5, 2015 at 12:18 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Melodie--"Uncomfortable" is a great word for a lot of spam. If it makes the recipient feel uncomfortable, it's not going to sell books, people!

April 5, 2015 at 12:20 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Geez, what a PITA. More and more I find social media a big annoying waste of time. Twitter is good for breaking news and some of the people I follow are truly funny. I only tweet if I find an interesting or amusing article to link to. Once in a blue moon I'll tweet a sale or special but I find even that a waste of effort.

OK back to my cave. ;-)

April 5, 2015 at 12:21 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Mindprinter--Some of this is intuitive Golden Rule stuff, but some is kind of off the wall, like no links to your own blog from FB. But that's because some people have spammy blogs, as Linda Maye said above.

April 5, 2015 at 12:22 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Ruth--You're right. Unfortunately, bad author behavior has made people put these rules in place. Each social media site has its advantages and disadvantages, but I think Twitter is most useful for spreading and getting information. But you have to wade through a lot of spam.

April 5, 2015 at 12:24 PM  
Blogger ZR Southcombe said...

Thanks for sharing such detailed ideas about what constitutes as spam. Based on the writers I meet, I think many of us have the perspective of 'if it CAN be done, that means it's OKAY to do it'.

On the comment from Ruth - I use lists to wade through the Twitter spam, and have become more careful about who I follow / follow back. That does it for the most part :-)

April 5, 2015 at 1:09 PM  
Blogger Jean Joachim said...

Great post! I agree with everything you've said.

April 5, 2015 at 1:16 PM  
Blogger Barry Knister said...

I leave comments at several good websites like yours, but that's about it. I don't "do" Twitter anymore, nor do I want to exploit my Facebook friends--who happen to actually BE friends. Neither do I want to get into mutual back-scratching groups that oblige me to speak well of books I either haven't read or didn't like. What I really want is to locate those READER sites that seem compatible with what I write. And as I'm sure you know, locating such sites is time-consuming, but has the potential to be very helpful.

April 5, 2015 at 1:22 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

ZR--I think people are also getting some bad advice from marketers who don't understand you can't sell books as if they were veg-o-matics or collapsible hoses. You can't bully people into reading. I know list help with Twitter. but I think Ruth is reacting to the general spamminess there.

April 5, 2015 at 1:39 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Jean--Thanks. Nice to see you came over from the Tom Winton group!

April 5, 2015 at 1:40 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Barry--We can only do what we have time to do without going nuts. We need to figure out where we feel most comfortable, then concentrate our efforts there. Definitely finding reader groups rather than spending all our soc. med. time with other writers is a wiser use of our time.

April 5, 2015 at 1:44 PM  
Blogger Nina Badzin said...

No, seriously. What is with putting me in Facebook groups I did not ask to join? What's more awkward is when it is an online friend (well, it always is) and I feel bad leaving the group. UGH! I hate being put in that position.

April 5, 2015 at 1:48 PM  
Blogger Sugarbeat said...

Happy Sunday Anne,
Thanks so much for your clear and concise advice again. To add my 2 cents about Facebook. I find that many of us haven't ACTUALLY read the rules on Facebook. We follow the advice of other well meaning people. A few months ago, in order to answer a question, I found myself reading the TOS (found here: https://www.facebook.com/legal/terms if anyone is interested). The TOS are actually pretty easy reading! The one rule that I find people constantly break is the one about posting book news on their personal timeline. The rule as stated in the TOS is: You will not use your personal timeline primarily for your own commercial gain, and will use a Facebook Page for such purposes. Facebook seems to be actively shutting people down for this infringement. Just trying to be helpful....going back to my Easter chocolate now :)

April 5, 2015 at 1:52 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

This was a great post! I learned so much from it. Thanks. I've bookmarked it.

April 5, 2015 at 2:19 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Thanks, too, for all the great links for contests.

April 5, 2015 at 2:20 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Nina--I should have put that one in the piece. It's not exactly spam, but it's sooooo annoying to have to "leave" a group you never joined in the first place.

April 5, 2015 at 2:24 PM  
Blogger Allan J. Emerson said...

Really useful info Anne. As a befuddled newbie to social media, I've been trying to learn a) what the various sites are and how to use them, and b) what's acceptable on each. Your post pulls that info together and it's good to see it all in one place.

Your blog always give solid value for time spent reading it--I always come away with knowledge I didn't have before.

April 5, 2015 at 2:25 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Sugarbeat--Facebook has changed their TOS and made them much stricter in 2015 (If you found that page of 10,000+ words in flyspeck font easy to read, you must be way younger than me.) :-)

"Primarily for your own commercial gain" isn't terribly clear. What is "primarily"? The occasional mention of your WIP? A link to your weekly blogpost? The announcement of a new book twice a year? Only FB knows how they're going to interpret that and authors can get blindsided.

April 5, 2015 at 2:32 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Elizabeth--Thanks for stopping by!

April 5, 2015 at 2:32 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Elizabeth--I'm glad you like our "opportunities". Getting short fiction and creative nonfiction published helps a career in so many ways.

April 5, 2015 at 2:33 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Allan--We're all pretty befuddled. I'm still not clear on what's allowed on the new FB now, as you'll see in my response to Sugarbeat.

I'm so glad you find the blog useful!

April 5, 2015 at 2:35 PM  
Blogger Kristiana Gregory said...

Ooooh, I cringed reading this Anne, because I can probably tick off all the DON'Ts that I DID, not understanding the unwritten rules. And I had no idea about "Facebook Jail", but it explains why I would get zero response when sharing my blog, yet if I posted a photo of my golden retriever, people came out of the woodwork to "like" it. Your column today is a big "aha!" Thank you, Anne.

April 5, 2015 at 2:54 PM  
Blogger Collette Cameron said...

Ack...I made some of those mistakes, especially when I first started down the social media trail.

April 5, 2015 at 4:12 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Kristiana--I think a lot of the worst "offenders" are long-time authors like you who come to social media because our publishers tell us to. The marketing department basically just tells us to spam. We've got no idea how to go about using social media for anything more than saying "Here's my book!" I'm glad this helps!

April 5, 2015 at 4:21 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Collette--Join the club! It's hard not to do some of this stuff. The rules can be counter-intuitive.

April 5, 2015 at 4:22 PM  
Blogger CS Perryess said...

Hi Anne,
Great advice, as usual. And big congratulations on the British Bad Boys collection. Tres cool.

April 5, 2015 at 8:18 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

CS--Thanks! The BBB box only went live about a half hour before 'press time'. It should be on other retail sites by tomorrow.

April 5, 2015 at 8:26 PM  
Blogger Wendy Jones said...

I loved this post. Thank you so much for setting it out so clearly. It is one of the best posts on the subject I have read.

April 6, 2015 at 1:01 AM  
Blogger Richard G. Stevens said...

Great post Anne. As you say at the beginning, it is difficult to define spam. Like most newbies to social media, I can confess to feeling like a naughty schoolboy that has been in the 'Spam Can'. The one that shocked me most was posting both to Public and Community in Google+ because when you are new and only have a few followers, if you share Public only, the reach is limited. But we learn with experience, time and by reading great posts like this. Thanks Anne.

April 6, 2015 at 2:00 AM  
Blogger Wm. L. Hahn said...

Happy belated Easter, Anne. Even I stayed away from the PC yesterday.
+1 here. Make it +5, you deserve it! My only saving grace having blundered into some of these mistakes is that not enough folks were around to be annoyed by it back then. My golden rule is to WRITE anything I send out- treat it the same as I would a few lines from my WiP headed for an agent, or review.

April 6, 2015 at 3:02 AM  
Blogger Florence Cronin said...

Yes, Anne ... I was also absent for Easter Sunday. Great post to ward off annoying spammers. I had no idea that the list was so long. As a vendor on Etsy dot com ... I often "like" an item and then a day later get a private message with a message begging me to buy an item or take advantage of a great discount.

Etsy considers much of this spam. Returning the favor of someone liking an item from your shop is good networking. It increases the people who can see your items ... using it to send spam is bad business. I delete and I have at times reported some of these as spam to Etsy.

The bottom line is to trust what you do and that whatever you are writing or crafting will find your readers and/or your buyers with good reviews and with word of mouth :)

April 6, 2015 at 5:11 AM  
Blogger Katarina West said...

Thanks, Anne, this was useful! What has surprised me is that sometimes the sites allow you to do things that, in the end, could be spam (for which reason a newcomer can not know if they are spam or not). For example, Facebook has in the Insights section an option to use "Pages to Watch": it's only now that I have discovered that if you use it, others might consider you a spammer. But if it is so, why did Facebook put it there in the first place? There is no logic!

April 6, 2015 at 5:52 AM  
Blogger Maureen C. Berry said...

Terrific and timely info as always! Thanks Anne. Off to read more from your links.

April 6, 2015 at 8:13 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Wendy--Thanks a bunch! I'm glad you found it helpful.

April 6, 2015 at 9:12 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Richard--You can solve the Google Plus problem by posting the links with different intros for each group. Just change the wording a bit and tell the peeps why you think this particular group might be interested. Thanks!

April 6, 2015 at 9:14 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Wm--Great advice! We should all remember everything we post online is "publishing", and treat our online readers the same way we treat the readers of our books. Happy Easter Monday!

April 6, 2015 at 9:17 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Florence--Thanks so much for the info on HOW NOT TO SPAM ON ETSY!

Private messages like that are intrusive, no matter where you get them.I think the rule everywhere is: don't send a private message unless you have a prior relationship with that person. A like or a follow is not a relationship.

April 6, 2015 at 9:21 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Katarina--The ways of Facebook are inscrutable. They are always telling you to do stuff that will get you marked as a spammer. Another is friending too many people, even though they're always hammering you to do just that.

The only thing to do is ignore what they tell you. Not exactly logical, I agree.

April 6, 2015 at 9:24 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Maureen--Have fun! Thanks for stopping by.

April 6, 2015 at 9:25 AM  
Blogger Kristiana Gregory said...

Anne, you're so right about instructions from marketing departments ... I was told to blog 3-4 times a week and ALWAYS mention my book or whatever needed promotion; to tweet several times a day and round up as many authors & editors as possible, in other words to be visible and clever and let folks know you're workingworkingworking. Thanks again for these nuggets. Please keep 'em up!

April 6, 2015 at 1:24 PM  
Blogger Kelly Byrne said...

Great post as usual, Anne, but I have to disagree with you on one point. I don't think anyone would consider spam a "perfectly innocent" meat product. Meat product, yes, but that is some seriously questionable, (albeit tasty) "food." ;) God bless Monty Python and thanks for all your insight.

April 6, 2015 at 4:47 PM  
Blogger Sathish A said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

April 8, 2015 at 1:37 AM  
Blogger G. B. Miller said...

I made the mistake of posting a link to my book blog four too many times when my book first came out and now my book blog link has been forever labeled as spam.

Additionally, if your website link has been labeled as spam on Facebook, you will not be able to use it in the "shop now" button feature, as it will give you an error message.

I actually had to create a book blog on Tumblr to circumvent the spam label and had to create a separate "buy my book page for the "shop now" button.

As for blog links, I post them strictly on either my public page or private page and then share them on the other.

April 8, 2015 at 3:28 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Kelly--LOL. I meant Spam is innocent of perpetrating unwanted advertising on the Web. But I'm sure all the fat and preservatives probably have done their share of harm.

April 8, 2015 at 9:11 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

G. B. Wow. Thanks for the info. I didn't know a blog link could be permanently labeled as spam. How annoying. I was only in FB jail for a while. But I did write to them protesting, so maybe that's the only way to get the ban lifted.

April 8, 2015 at 9:15 AM  
Blogger LD Masterson said...

It's scary to realize how easy one can unintentionally spam.Thank you for this list of "don't"s.

April 8, 2015 at 10:25 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

LD--That's why I figured people needed this post. As you'll see in GB's comment above, unintentionally breaking the rules can have dire consequences.

April 8, 2015 at 10:42 AM  
Blogger G. B. Miller said...

I shouldn't say "spam" but "suspicious" which is why I forever had to do the CAPTCHA whenever I post it

April 8, 2015 at 3:15 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

G.B. I know that CAPTCHA well. I had it on my links for months. I think I was only frozen out of my page for a few days, but I had that word verification for a long time.

April 8, 2015 at 3:24 PM  
Blogger Elie Axelroth said...

Thanks Anne for the great advice. Some of the etiquette seems obvious, but some is not so intuitive--so thanks for making the mistakes for us :-). I especially appreciated the links to Google Plus writers and Tom Winton on Facebook.

April 11, 2015 at 12:38 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Elie--Some of this is common sense, but some is pretty random, like the fact you can post your Amazon buy link on FB but not your blog link.

Those are two great writing groups because they have strong moderators. Tom and Johnny Base run tight ships.

April 11, 2015 at 1:00 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

Hi Anne! I Just found your page tonight looking for some blogging advice. I'm excited to read a lot more from you and all these amazing comments people leave for you.

April 15, 2015 at 5:14 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Hi Elizabeth--Welcome! I'll be coming out with an ebook later this year that has lots more blogging advice!

April 15, 2015 at 6:35 PM  

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