Writing Rants: Book Marketing and Direct Messages

On one of my lunch breaks this week I was scanning through Facebook, and I came across a very helpful blog by Anne R Allen here.

Overall I found the blog very useful, and it reaffirmed several points for me.

One of the points, in particular, had me shouting out “Yes! Thank you!” spraying sandwich crumbs into my keyboard and getting some odd looks from my co-workers (you’d think they’d be used to me by now).

That point was about the Direct Message (DM) feature on social media platforms, such as Twitter or Facebook. Anne explains that:-

“Direct messages are personal. Get to know somebody in regular tweets or comments on their posts before you cosy up to them with a DM.”

I agree very much.


I enjoy following fellow writers; it’s awesome to watch other people go from just starting a book to that awesome tweet announcing success and a publication date. It’s great to share sob and success stories, and there’s nothing better than when you tweet a problem you’re having, and someone responds with “Hey! I’ve had that same problem!” the immediate knowledge that it’s not just you can be awesome.

But, that being said I’m not a fan of it when I click the ‘like’ or ‘follow’ button only to be hit with a DM seconds later saying something along the lines of

“Hi! Why not go to my blog here XXX and follow me there as well and come with me on Snapchat/Twitter/Facebook here XXX. You can also buy my book here XXX I’d love it if you would leave a long and detailed review about why you found my book so great!”

It’s not rude, but it does have a hard and needy feel to it. It’s too full-on and, for me at least, it’s a turn-off. It’s also, very obviously, automated. It’s not personal at all, and it leaves me feeling less like a potential friend and reader and more like a possible mark.

Coming on too strong

Coming on to strongly in book marketing is heavily criticised by many advice givers. I’ve read various articles and blogs that make a point out of saying your social media should be social; it’s a chance to connect on a personal level with your would-be readers. It should not be a constant stream of BUYMYBOOKBUYMYBOOKBUYMYBOOK.  So, if our very first interaction is you sending me a DM pressuring/hassling me to buy your book or follow you everywhere, then I’m less likely to engage with you in the future.

In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with messaging people who support you, maybe thanking them for following you and commenting that you look forward to talking with them or some such. Maybe you’ll have noticed something on their profile that you have in common, and you can mention that. But it should be personal; it shouldn’t be an automated BUYMYBOOKBUYMYBOOKBUYMYBOOK type of message. There’s also nothing wrong with making people aware that you are active on other platforms, but there are ways to do this that are not hassling people.  Maybe share a Facebook post on Twitter, or a blog post on Facebook, or put all those links in your profile where they are easy to find if your readers are interested.

Opinion isn’t fact

To be clear, this is just my views; I am aware that there is a whole slew of reasons why someone could feel differently. I’m English, and we’re a pretty reserved bunch (hey, it’s a stereotype for a reason), I know that doing business in England is very different from doing business in mainland Europe for example. There are cultural aspects that are different, where we feel someone is pushy others may see enthusiasm, where we feel we’re giving you space to make up your mind, others may see that as apathy.

There are a whole slew or reasons why different people market their books differently, and the above blog is just my opinion. I’d be interested in hearing yours, do you agree that DM’s should be personal and only used when you have something personal to say to someone? Or do you think DM’s are an excellent opportunity to make followers aware of all you have to offer?

Let me know in the comments.

Katie Marie wrote a Book. A big one and a couple of little ones. Check them out!


6 thoughts on “Writing Rants: Book Marketing and Direct Messages

  1. Thanks for the mention, Katie. You are not alone. Auto DMs are a no-no everywhere, not just in the UK. Here’s Diana Urban, senior marketing expert at Bookbub, the #1 book marketing newsletter.. “Auto DMs are annoying, inauthentic, and make you seem like a bot or spammer.”

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