WLP Rants: Dear New Authors, Twitter 101

I’ve noticed something lately on the Twitter. No, not how cute your cat is or how awesome your lunch looked.

New authors not talking to their fans or bloggers. I swear I have ranted about this before but for the life of me I don’t know what I named the post. In any case, one such new author seems to only talk to other authors or publishing related people. Another only talks to authors who she is friends with. Another wrote a book that took off like a bat out of hell, and now doesn’t reply to the people she talked to in the beginning.

Please remember, using your author name, book cover and Tweeting about your book makes your account a representation of yourself as an author. It’s not just a personal page any more. Once your book is attached to that account, it’s all about “the brand” for lack of a better term.

As a fan, it does chafe to be ignored by an author that you read and fell in love with. You do feel slighted when you see them replying to other authors you follow but totally ignore you. Especially when it’s a new author, you want to root for them and to get nothing in response to a question, well it’s not very nice. I don’t expect a instant friendship, but if I have a question that I am sure no one has asked or I haven’t seen answered, to ask and be ignored…ugh.

This is the problem that comes with social media and accessibility. We often don’t look at the other side of the coin. Yes, some authors probably don’t do this on purpose because they don’t even realize that a “thank you” or an answer to a fans question might mean something to that fan. As a reader, I have stopped reading authors who have been rude to fans via social media.

If you feel the need to talk to other authors/publishers about business related stuff, email! But if you are using your Twitter account as a marketing tool….reply to people with questions for you! Again, all of this only applies to authors who constantly and consistently ignore questions aimed at them.

/end rant.

Am I crazy here? Have you unfollowed people because of this? Or am I alone in the wilderness here?

Comments
  • Julia Broadbooks November 21, 2012 at 9:12 am

    I have absolutely unfollowed authors who ignore my tweets. I’ll still read their books, but I can’t be bothered reading about their kitty and their lunch if they consistently ignore me.

    • Wicked Lil Pixie November 21, 2012 at 10:38 am

      See, I won’t read books after a bad or lack thereof interaction.

  • Melanie November 21, 2012 at 9:30 am

    You make very good points. If you don’t want to interact with fans on twitter, then stay off of it. J.R. Ward is a great example. She has a Facebook page that she uses to interact with fans, but does do twitter at all. That’s okay, they don’t have to do it. Don’t be on it and exclude you “customers” because that is what your fans are.

    • Wicked Lil Pixie November 21, 2012 at 10:39 am

      Well I can understand if you are a HUGE author, I’m talking about the newer ones.

  • KT Grant November 21, 2012 at 9:54 am

    If I was at a party and I tried talking to someone who ignored me or thought I was underneath them, why would I stand near them waiting for them to acknowledge me? The same goes on twitter. If I tweet you a few times and you don’t respond back to me, regardless if you have 1 follower or 100,000 or are considered the next big thing, I unfollow and search for those who are willing to give me the time of day.

    • Wicked Lil Pixie November 21, 2012 at 12:56 pm

      Ditto. It does hurt, even though you and I talk to authors every single day. Hell, I’ve had authors only talk to me because I work for Macmillan and they want their foot in the door.

      • KT Grant November 21, 2012 at 5:40 pm

        That’s the only reason I talk to you. Darn, you found me out.

  • Jenna November 21, 2012 at 9:57 am

    I finally mustered the courage to tweet my fav author some congratulations and saw responses to only her favs. I deleted my tweet out of embarrassment. We expect a LOT from authors today but a RT or reply means a lot to us on the bottom!

    • Wicked Lil Pixie November 21, 2012 at 10:39 am

      Aww I’m so sorry you felt embarrassed! That’s awful.

  • CdnMrs November 21, 2012 at 10:01 am

    I just unfollowed one who kept retweeting what her fans were saying about her books. I don’t mind one or two, but this was like 8 RTs at a time. Oy vey!

    • Wicked Lil Pixie November 21, 2012 at 10:40 am

      I have two authors like that, both of which I unfollowed. One would even RT the persons goodreads progress through her novels!

  • Leigh Ellwood November 21, 2012 at 10:14 am

    I can’t speak for other authors – some may be too shy to respond (yes, but why are they on Twitter then?). I try to respond if I am @’d, wish it happened more often. :)

    • Wicked Lil Pixie November 21, 2012 at 10:41 am

      Nah, I don’t think it’s shyness lol

    • Julie November 27, 2012 at 1:47 pm

      LOL me too. There are days occasionally when I don’t get to stuff in a timely manner or it gets missed, but I try really hard to talk to everyone who talks to me–ESPECIALLY new people (unless they are creeper-weird, but that’s a different issue)

  • John Wiswell November 21, 2012 at 10:22 am

    I won’t follow anyone who won’t respond to my questions. Once in a while is fine – Twitter drops tweets and everyone gets overburdened. But if I ask a question, and then comment a few days later, and there’s never response, why should I follow or List someone? I’m not a celebrity hunter.

    But I’ve yet to become inundated by fandom. Maybe if I got a thousand tweets per day I wouldn’t have the time or brain power to respond to all of them. Right now I’m in a very comfortable zone where I can talk to anyone who wants to talk to me in my free time. I’m always quite grateful when someone reaches out over my writing.

    • Wicked Lil Pixie November 21, 2012 at 10:42 am

      I 100% agree on not following if they don’t talk.

  • PJ Schnyder November 21, 2012 at 10:30 am

    This is a really good thing to think about.
    Personally, I try to respond when I’m @’d as well and confess to being afraid someone will feel slighted if I miss one. Because it might have been their only attempt and it is very personal to them, and that matters to me.
    So anyone who tries to interact with me, I truly hope you give it several tries just in case. ;)

  • MamaKitty November 21, 2012 at 11:45 am

    I’ve unfollowed my fair share of authors for ignoring me when I tweet them. I know that sometimes tweets are missed, especially when they’re popular among the Twitter crowd, so I tend to try a few times before I end up throwing in the towel.

    In one instance, I said something to two people (I seem to love being a #convointruder, but isn’t that what we’ve come to expect on Twitter?) and one of them happily engaged me in conversation while the other FLAT OUT IGNORED ME. I was really sad to see that, since she’s a VERY popular author and everything I’ve heard about her was glowing.

    I’ve even stopped reading one of my favorite authors because they flat out refused to interact with me. Still not sure how I managed to piss in her Cheerios, but life goes on.

    I love and adore every single author or publishing related person (and those who are just book lovers, like me) who talks to me.

  • Skyla Dawn Cameron November 21, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    I think this could apply to damn near everyone. It’s especially damaging between authors and their readers–and baffling, as responding to the people who support your work IS JUST A NO BRAINER, PEOPLE. But even among peers, I can think of several authors who stopped responding to me the more popular they got, which left a sour taste in my mouth, or respond only while they’re promoting something new. Or a handful of other people–a couple of bloggers and a couple of mutual friend types–I tried a few times to engage in conversation, and they would ignore me entirely. So F that; life’s too short, etc. I know I’ve missed the odd @, but I pay attention to them as I try to follow back people who @ me often regardless of who they are, and there’s no excuse for serial ignorers.

    My “favourite” was when I finally DID get a response from someone I tried to talk to a few times. She said “GFY” and to this day I don’t know if she meant, “Good for you” or “Go fuck yourself”. Either way, I unfollowed LOL.

  • heidenkind November 21, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    Once I saw an author on twitter (one of those that RTs EVERYTHING they respond to) tell one of her readers, and I quote, “I need to use all my tweets to promote myself so I don’t have time for a personal convo with you.” Um WOW, unfollow.

    • Wicked Lil Pixie November 21, 2012 at 1:32 pm

      Are you serious?! OMFG!! You gotta email me who that was so I can unfollow, thats evil

    • Avery Flynn November 26, 2012 at 2:57 pm

      Wow. That is a very Lucille Bluth reaction.

      • Avery Flynn November 26, 2012 at 2:57 pm

        Meaning the author’s Tweet. Not you. Sigh. Going to get more coffee now.

  • Brie November 21, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    I have mixed feelings about this topic. As a reader and a fan, interacting with authors is awesome. Twitter makes those interactions more accessible and fast, but if one of them ignores me, I’m not going to stop reading their books. There are many things that will put me off reading a particular author, but being a stuck up ass isn’t one of them (unless the truly excel at it). And at times it can be hard to tell whether they are ignoring me because they don’t care, or because they can’t respond. Some authors have such a huge following that responding to every tweet and fan mail must be virtually impossible.

    Of course, the example you give of an author only willing to talk to other industry people is different. There’s no excuse for that. Make a private twitter account.

    Social media is a tricky thing. It can bring authors and their fans together, but there’s also the possibility that you discover the author you admire is an idiot. That’s why I try to limit my author interaction and will only follow those whose tweets I enjoy reading, even if they never respond to me.

    • Wicked Lil Pixie November 21, 2012 at 1:40 pm

      I’m talking specifically about NEW authors. Chances are they don’t have a huge following already.

      • Brie November 21, 2012 at 2:23 pm

        Yes, with new authors is harder to justify ignoring the fan base they are –I assume– trying to build.

  • Dougie Brimson November 21, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    Speaking as an author, I never ignore anything a reader sends me be it tweet, Facebook message or email. To do so would be crazy!!!

  • Lynda the Guppy November 21, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    There’s an author I’m friendly with and whom I really enjoy reading. I finally had to unfollow her because she rarely “talked” to anyone (other authors, readers, anyone), but she’d Tweet a promo for her book, and when one of her readers would RT it, she’d RT THAT. It got to the point where I wouldn’t see anything from her for days, then I’d get 50 promo tweets from her in a day. UNFOLLOW. And it made me sad, because I’ve met her IRL and she was very nice and friendly.

    There are businesses I won’t do business with because I @ messaged them and never heard back. If I’ll do that with businesses, why would I NOT do that for writers? A business is a business is a business. If you’re going to use your twitter account for book promo, then you need to look at how you respond to EVERYONE.

  • Kwana November 21, 2012 at 11:34 pm

    You are not alone. Great post. As a now new author I try and respond to every one that I see, not that I’m big or anything but it stinks to be ignored and I have been on the being ignored side. It’s not cool esp on twitter where you can clearly see folks having conversations all over your feed as you tap the mic asking if this thing is on.

  • Lulu Belle November 22, 2012 at 12:33 am

    All I can say is that I have tweeted Neil Gaiman like, four times? And he responded twice. I’m pretty sure he had plenty of other tweets on his plate. I’m guessing he responded to many of those, as well.

    If you don’t want to fool with Twitter, don’t open an account. People don’t feel left out if you were never there to start with. If you have an account and make a breakout, change the name or something. Making your fans feel insignificant is a bad idea.

  • Mad November 22, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    I’ve unfollowed a few authors. One was because all she did was RT what others would say about her book….even when no one actually @ mentioned her which makes me think she searched her name on Twitter then would RT all tweets that were positive, leaving the negative tweets where they were. Had to unfriend her on FB too because she would do the same thing there. I don’t care to see things RT’d all the time when I look at your Twitter/FB feed. How about you actually “talk” instead of just RT’ing everything? Another author I unfollowed was one who would only talk to other authors or her special reader friends. Anyone else, it seemed, did not make the cut so she never replied to them and I tested it out to just make sure. Thought she was just too busy to reply to my questions but then realized she was only replying to authors and a select few others so I unfollowed and stopped spending my $$ on her books. Both authors were not new, have been around for some time.

  • Bridget Locke November 22, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    As an aspiring author I use Twitter, FB & my blog to gain followers, but also because I have a lot of crap to talk about. :)

    Your post is spot-on though. I’ve actually started reading certain authors b/c of how nice they are on Twitter. I’ve also become completely fed up with authors & their bad behavior, which is so sad because the whole point of social media is to broaden your appeal. If you can’t figure out how to do that, don’t use it. Simple enough, right? :)

  • Karlynp November 22, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    Great article. I am new to twitter, but even I noticed how some authors just want to post about their cats and book, then ask you to retweet for them. No interaction or thanks when you do. But, to be fair, some of the fans too behave rudely to some authors. It’s not why I’d follow them.

    Does anyone follow Sylvia Day? I swear she replies to every tweet, even if its just a mention and not directly to her. She rocks, IMO. Very warm and personable. So if a mega huge author like her can do it, any author can.

  • Dougie Brimson November 22, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    Bridget Locke
    As an aspiring author I use Twitter, FB & my blog to gain followers, but also because I have a lot of crap to talk about.

    That sounds like me all over! :-D @dougiebrimson

  • Lee November 23, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    Glad you wrote this. I’ve been thinking of unfollowing one of my fav authors for this very reason. It sucks.

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