Not a day goes by without seeing yet another person trying to flog their work on Twitter.

New Top 1000 book for 99c!

Familiar?

Buy my latest novel NOW!

Okay, it’s starting to get a little annoying now.

My latest book is AMAZING, buy it!

Right, seriously, just stop.

I think the most remarkable thing about these tweets is that the tweeters actually think they sell copies. Just put yourself into a hypothetical situation, for a moment. I want to take you on a holiday. This will have a point, I promise.

The Holiday Analogy

You are on holiday, browsing the restaurants and the shops as you walk down the strip. You spot two stalls next to each other, both selling, I dunno, boat tours for the day.

Outside the first shop, the guy is screaming at you to buy his services. His service is ‘the best’, he shouts. Posters are plastered with prices, and advertisements. Of the few customers that do happen to wander in, the shop guy ignores them, and continues to scream at the rest of the tourists. There’s no information, no engagement – just desperate, empty screaming.

Just when you think about walking away altogether, you spot the other shop next door. The owner is smiling, just metres away from the screaming beast. He catches your eye, and you wait for the self-promotion, but it just doesn’t come.

Curious, you look around and see helpful signs, full of handy tourist information, prices only in the sidelines. The owner takes the time to talk to his customers, and treats them like his friends. He makes them a cup of tea, and thanks each and every one of them for their interest, even if they choose not to invest in his services.

You see where I’m going with this, right?

Give before you take

I’m going to make a wild, out-there statement and suggest that 99/100 people are more likely to prefer the second marketing method than the first – the hundredth person is in bed with food poisoning.

In an ideal world, sure – us authors would be able to put multiple billboards up for our work on social media websites, and people would buy it. Simple as that. Sadly, if it really was this simple, more authors would be successful.

The key to being like the second guy? You need to give a little before you can expect to take.

A blog is a form of giving. Insightful tweets and useful links are a form of giving. Chatting, and engaging with people who take the time to talk to you, is a form of giving.

Then, you can think about selling.

Without naming names, I was curious to investigate just how many copies a regular Twitter spam-fiend sells of their book. Surely they must sell some, with all those followers and all those god-damn links? Interestingly, their book appears to be sinking in a sea of obviously fake reviews, including one by the author themselves. Fair enough if you’re subtle… but, seriously? That’s just desperate.

Oh, and I might not have sold bucket-loads of Something in the Cellar, but it’s doing alright, especially in the UK. I probably share word of it twice, or three times per week. The rest of the time, I follow my strict Twitter formula for success I outlined on Monday. I won’t be rushing to change such a method any time soon, that’s for sure.

So, the point of this post? Resist the temptation to spam your Amazon link all over Twitter. If you do spam it, I guarantee you’ll achieve the following:

  • You’ll piss off your followers
  • You’ll seem more robotic than Microsoft Sam
  • You’ll deservedly earn the reputation as a spammer within your fellow writing community
  • You’ll inspire me to write another scathing rant

Hardly a recipe for success, right? A few times a week is alright. A few times a day if you’ve just launched is also fine. Just don’t look desperate, or it’ll be a tough reputation to shake.

What are your feelings on repeatedly sharing sales links? Can it be an effective marketing method? How does it make you feel when you see such links?

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