The 7 Deadly Sins of Twitter (For Writers)

The 7 Deadly Sins of Twitter for Writers via Nicole Lautore

Alright, writers. Let’s get real.

Caution: Sarcasm ahead. You’ve been warned.

No, seriously, I’m extremely sarcastic. A little fiery. Sort of done-with-your-shit attitude. It’s how I am in real life, and now in this post, because…well, it’s time. Here’s the thing: Don’t take any of this too personally. (I’m kinda trying to be funny, but in a “no really, stop” kind of way.) Like when your best friend jokes about something that you do that totally ticks them off. If you’re taking the time to read this, you’re probably not a problem. And if you do some of the things on this list, and somehow it works for you, then more power to ya! I won’t claim to be a know-it-all master of Twitter here. You do you, and I’ll do me.

With that slightly confusing, choppy disclaimer out of the way, let’s get started!

The Promoter | So many promotions, so little genuine interaction. Twitter is but an open field for this Phoebe_stop_the_madnesssinner. A free plot of land to place as many billboards as he pleases. This guy is over the top about not only promoting his own self-published novel, but also RTing the CRAP out of every other self-published novelist in his clique. (I think they have this weird little cult going, actually. You know the ones.) And, that’s it. No helpful content or motivational resources. He’s just all promo all the time. *Mute*

Sir. Obsessed With Numbers | This is the “Marketing specialist”, the Amazon best selling author with 90,000 followers, the “We Promote Your Novel” business twitter, who unfollows unsuspecting people just to keep his “following” number lower than his number of followers. Give. Me. A. Break. I DO keep track of who unfollows me. You know why? Because when I follow you back, I’m committing to a friendship with you. You broke that friendship for seemingly no reason, so I cut the ties.

This, in my opinion, is the only thing Crowdfire is good for. Keeping track of those sneaky number obsessed jerks. *Whew, deep breaths, Nicole…*

Miss Direct Messenger | This has got to be the biggest complaint I see among Twitter right now, and somehow, tons and tons of Direct Message Promotions flood my inbox every single day. Some of you have gotten really clever about it, I’ll give you that, but that doesn’t make it any less annoying. I don’t know you. You haven’t taken the time to see if I’m in your target market, to build a relationship with me, or to show me you’re a reliable resource in your niche. Here’s a secret: you just look desperate. And unless your book somehow allows me to eat chocolate without gaining weight, I don’t want it. That’s the hard truth, my friend. I just don’t care.

@NicoleLautore The fact so many people do it doesn’t help. When you auto-DM, you in essence become nothing but white noise.

— Ben Willoughby (@BenWilloughby84) January 22, 2016

AngryVIA CROWDFIRE | Do you people know this pops up at the end of your automated DM or tweets? How impersonal is that? I know we all have very little time on our hands, I get it. But at least make your automated tweets look more sincere, and be sure to interact with people at the end of the day. Because those automated tweets will NOT make sales.

If you’re really too busy to tweet, but you want to build your online presence, I’ve listed a few tips on how to master marketing and writing like a boss (using time management and organization) in this post: click here. 

The Overzealous Newbie | So I’ve had this happen to me on several occasions. Someone will tweet and direct message me (non-stop) for writing advice and marketing advice. Now, please please please don’t take this the wrong way. You can contact me whenever you need me! However, this person got angry when I stopped replying right away. They even unfollowed me on all my social media platforms. I let it go…but really? I have a life outside of social media, and I’m sorry I can’t get back to you on every single thing you sent me. Also, I don’t always have answers for every single question, and at one point I got a little overwhelmed. Don’t be that person. Be polite. Contact others, make connections. But remember there’s a real world outside of Twitter. *gasp*

Mr. Too Many Hashtags | Today I #AmWriting a #SuspensfulThriller with #BadAss #Female #Protagonist! #NewYorkCityGal #BestSellerOnTheWay #OooLookAtMe #FancyPants

Please. PLEASE. I am literally begging you. Just…stop.

Also if you ever tweet #BestSellerOnTheWay I have wanted to punch you on multiple occasions. Mostly because if “become a best selling author” is your end goal, you’re writing for all the wrong reasons.

c504a2012d4d414d74387bf8772aa6d5The Self-Absorbed | (This also applies to the #BestSellerOnTheWay hashtag. Yes I have seen this.) Writers are gentle creatures. Modest, loyal, sincere. We’re very much like unicorns, wanting to live out our lives with just a few comrades somewhere deep in a peaceful forest. We don’t like stress or loud noises. Just some music, a cup of coffee, and the solitude of our craft. This, apparently, does not apply to all writers.  Some writers are so into themselves and how limitless their talents are, it’s all they can tweet about. This drives me bonkers. Yes, Twitter is a social platform in which you express yourself. And yes, you should let your followers know who you are. But if it’s ALL. YOU. TWEET. ABOUT: You need to rethink your life choices. In order to make more sales, you’re going to have to help people. Offer them a piece of yourself. A solution to a problem. Content. Not non-stop babbling about how “awesome writing is going” and how you know your book is going to be success.

Mix some modesty into your coffee creamer and chill out.

Now, before you get your undies all in a twist, and you write me into your next book as the Antagonist, I want you to remember: This is all just my opinion. If you do one or all of these things and it’s working for you, so be it! Don’t care. But most likely I’ve already muted you and I can’t see your arrogant over-hashtagged promo tweets anyway. SO, HA!

I want to end this post on a positive note (because I promise I’m not a horrible person) and share with you some writers on Twitter who are doing it right. And when I say *right* I mean so, so, so amazingly right. I love these people with all my heart. They’ve built relationships with me and offered great content, advice, and insight into their journey. They’re real people, and they set a great standard for writers on Twitter. Follow them. 

  1. KM Weiland
  2. Better Novel Project
  3. Nat Russo
  4. Brian Rathbone
  5. Faye at Writerology
  6. Kristen A. Keiffer
  7. C.L. McCollum
  8. Brett Michael Orr
  9. Brianna DaSilva
  10. Briana Morgan
  11. Jenny Bravo

Happy Writing! 🙂

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  1. Oh my gosh, this is so spot on. Every single one of these things drives me absolutely bonkers (especially the overzealous newbie–happens to me aaall too often and is a big waste of everyone’s time).

    But on a happier note, thank you so much for mentioning me in your list of tweeps to follow. I don’t always feel like I do the best of jobs on Twitter, so it’s great to hear the opposite. Especially when your own feed is absolute #goals. Haha! I appreciate it. 🙂

    1. I was really nervous about including the overzealous newbie in there…I didn’t know how people would interpret that but I’m glad you get it! And you are so welcome. You’re such a fantastic resource for writers through your fabulous blog and Twitter. You’re doing all the right things, lady! Keep it up. 🙂 <3

  2. Nicole, you managed to describe my feelings SO WELL. It’s called social media for a reason. Interact, be present, be helpful, be genuine and give value. That’s the best way to promote interest in your work and grow your community. Don’t be That Person everyone mutes. Be That Person everyone creates a column in Tweetdeck for so they don’t miss a tweet (I’m not the only person who does that, right?).

    Also, I love everyone on your recommendations list! So. Much. Awesomeness. (And Kristen, you are KILLING IT on Twitter. Love your tweets!)

    1. Faye! I don’t know why your beautiful face isn’t showing up, but I adore you. And you are so right! Being genuine and giving value, those are the key points to creating a following and making sales! This is why I adore you, because you offer SUCH GREAT ADVICE on your blog and on Twitter, and NEVER have you ever been invasive or spammy.

      You rock girl! <3

  3. Thanks so much for this, Nicole – naming those Social Irritants, and speaking up for us all.
    I would add: don’t be the non-follower newbie who retweets random tweets with a completely off-topic, semi-offensive comment – presumably just to generate any kind of reaction. My reaction? Block. So will most people.
    Really great list of recommendations, too – generous, knowledgeable people with something individual and interesting to say. I was already following some, but have had such a great time checking out (and following) most of the others.

    1. Thank you so much for reading and commenting!

      Yes, I know exactly what you’re referring to. They don’t get very far, because most people block or mute them. And I’m so glad you went ahead and checked out the great tweeps I mentioned. They’re all amazing!

      Again thank you so so much for commenting, that means a lot!

  4. AHHHH THAT’S ME! I can’t believe it! <3 But YES, I agree with everything in this post, and I also love the recommendations–these are some of my favorite people on Twitter! Thank you for the shoutout!

    1. YOU KNOW I HAD TO INCLUDE YOU. You’re amazing. <3

    • Keith McComb
    • January 22, 2016

    I know an author – lovely person, really – who I think isn’t quite aware that she’s a Promoter. I want to give her a link to this article, but I’m pretty sure I’d offend her. Have to figure out how to do it anyway.

    This is good to read BEFORE I try to publish my first novel, so I know what mistakes to try to avoid. Some of them are things I’d never do, but I could easily see myself slipping into Promoter mode. Thank you for writing this.

    1. I know so many of those! Really great people, but they flood my newsfeed with self promotion. Twitter is FULL of these people. Sometimes you just have to give in and click the mute button.

      And it’s great that you’re doing your research now. Having a good social media presence and knowing the basic in and outs of marketing will help you out a lot in the long run when you’re promoting your book. A little promotion is okay, but most of your “Ads” should actually come from a website or blog of some kind. 🙂

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting, I really appreciate it!

  5. This article is GOLD, Nicole. Sassy and whitty, and perfectly true – you’ve absolutely nailed all those frustrating types of twitter marketers, and done it with a great humor. I love this post – and thank you for the very generous shoutout, it’s appreciated and always humbling.

    Thank you for sharing your sassy thoughts!

    1. THANK YOU SO MUCH BRETT! <3 You know you're one of my favorites. Thank you for commenting! 🙂

  6. This post is hilarious (AND covers everything that annoys the hell out of me). I must admit I was searching for a sign that I was doing social media wrong but I was a little too shy to be an overzealous newbie lol. I think the one that annoys me the most is either the ‘obsessed with numbers’ guy or the ‘mr. too many hashtags’…I hate watching my followers count rise, only to fall again when he unfollows me because I didn’t follow back.

    1. I was really nervous about including the “overzealous newbie” in there. I didn’t want it to sound like I don’t enjoy helping people. I just hated that people were getting angry with me when I didn’t respond. XD

      Anyway, I totally agree with the follower count problem. I was dealing with it myself. I didn’t want to follow EVERYONE back, because they didn’t have the same interests or posts as me, but I was losing followers by not doing so. It’s a frustrating process that takes time to get accustom to.

      I’m glad you thought the post was hilarious, and THANK YOU SO MUCH for commenting. <3 🙂

    • R R Willica
    • January 26, 2016

    I have to say that adivsing people to mix some modesty into their coffee creamer should be a common phrase. Ha!

    These are all true points. I’m socially awkward, so Twitter is kind of scary. Despite that, when people fall into these categories it doesn’t leave a good impression.

    1. Haha yes! Or I need to design a t-shirt…

      I wouldn’t stress out over being socially awkward, as most writers are. Plus being awkward is so much better than being self-absorbed or rude. (Perspective :P) As long as you feel like you’re being your true self on social media, you’re doing it right!

      Thanks so much for leaving a comment! <3

  7. I think the overzealous newbie is that worries me the most. I’m such an extreme introvert, even simple tweets can be hard for me to reply to. Fortunately, I haven’t had to deal with one, yet.

  8. Right on! I totally agree with you, Nicole, especially on the list of writers who have a solid Twitter presence. The only sin I have yet to encounter (but hear so much about) is DM promotions. I wonder when they’ll catch up to me . . . Hopefully, never. *fingers crossed* I’ll be thinking of this post often while working my way through Twitter ’cause I definitely want to use the platform to connect the right way. Thank you for sharing this!

    • Amina
    • December 29, 2016

    Thanks, Nicole! I’m just starting out and this post helps me rethink my how I use social media. I definitely don’t want to be obnoxious. My goal is to connect with other writers in a meaningful way and help where I can ?

    1. That’s a perfect goal, you’ll be just fine! Don’t overthink it too much. As long as you’re engaging and friendly, you’re doing it right! 🙂

      Thanks for commenting!

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