Since joining Twitter I’ve become aware of an increasingly irritating trend among some writers. I get why they do it and I sympathise. But I think they should stop.
What happens is, usually, a fellow writer will follow your Twitter account. I like to follow back where possible. So I’ll click the follow button and think no more about it. If I like the writer’s tweets and they like mine then we’ll become virtual friends. But at this point only a very initial connection has been made and I still don’t know anything much about them or their work. Nor am I all that interested yet.
Which is why I don’t like it when I get a message or a tweet from them saying something like: ‘thanks for the follow. To show my appreciation here’s a free ebook.’ (I’m not talking about general Twitter advertising here, but messages that are specifically addressed to me or you as a person.)
Now, I believe these writers think they’re doing something nice. I don’t find it nice though, and I never use the provided link. Why?
Firstly, I feel used. This writer clearly just followed me so I would follow them back and they could send their free ebook. No doubt in the hope that I’ll review it and buy more. And there was me thinking they’d connected with me because they liked my tweets, or even my writing.
Secondly, I don’t see why I should. Following someone on Twitter is such a transient connection. I know what these writers are thinking, what’s not to love about a free book? They aren’t asking for money. But they forget that they’re asking for a lot of time. And time’s precious. I’m not going to invest my time in reading their book if they don’t give me a reason to do so. Yes, it’s free. But what’s it about? Why will I like it? What sort of reviews does it get? Am I not supposed to care just because it’s free? I hate to tell them but there’s an enormous number of free ebooks out there. I need a reason to pick theirs.
Third, too many writers are doing the same. When you get several free ebook links sent to you per day they lose their impact and become very annoying. Simple as that. I even had someone send me one via a Pinterest message the other day. No. Pinterest is for pinning photos. Go away.
Lastly, we are all trying to publicise our writing. I can understand why writers tend to target other writers. We all like to support each other. And most of us also read a lot. But don’t forget that most writers are taking some precious time out of their day to connect with fans on social media. They probably won’t have time to stop and read a full length book. They may make time if you become their friend. But not before they even know if they like your tweets.
One tweet I’ve seen a couple of times says that writers have to stop behaving like used care salespeople. I do so agree. Take the time to make a friend/fan of someone before you send them a free ebook.
Do you agree? Or has this method worked well for you?
Does everyone love getting links to free books and I’m just a grumpy cow?
I’d love to hear some other perspectives.
If for some reason you still feel inclined to follow me on Twitter you can at @abiwriting!