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Sunday, October 28, 2012

8 Ways Authors Turn Off Potential Readers

I recently stopped following two authors on Twitter because almost every post was about their own books. They may have been good writers. But I’ll never know. They were too busy publicly flogging their own product for me to care. It got me thinking about other ways that writers turn off potential readers.

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Recommending your own books. You know, someone asks for recommendations for a certain genre, a thread starts, and an author pops in to say, “May I recommend MY novel.” Um, no you may not!

Gimmick giveaways. Giving away your books can be a good thing. But there’s a point at which it smacks of desperation. “Once I reach 5K FB Friends I’ll be giving away a Kindle Fire, a case of Red Bull, and a lifetime subscription to my newsletter!” Or gaining giveaway “points” by having someone do any combination of things to promote you:  “Just leave a comment here, re-post to your Facebook page, re-Tweet, and mention me on your own blog for your best chance to win!” ding! ding! ding! Not interested.

Listing your book in your list of favorites and/or must-reads. Even if your book is number 10 out of 10 on your list, don’t do it. Let someone else praise you. Besides, this tactic makes me feel as if the list was posted just to get your book in it!

Complaining about another author’s success to push your own product. “It’s sad that he / she could sell _______ thousand copies of that junk, while MY book — which is just as good — gets buried.” What’s sad is that you think disparaging another author earns you points with readers.

Turning every conversation back to your novels. “Yeah, the economy sucks, mountain gorillas are near extinction, and global unrest threatens millions of lives. Coincidentally, I addressed these issues in my last novel. Here’s the link!”

Make me Like you before we’re Friends. I’m fine with you asking me to Like your page. But asking me to Like you BEFORE we’re Friends just seems backwards. If we become Friends, I may discover I like you enough to actually Like your page. Unless you’re already famous, multi-published, I know you, and I already like your stuff, I probably won’t Like you. Whew!

Ulterior-Friending: When an author Follows / Friends you with the intention that you Friend them back so that they can send an automated reply to thank you for following them back on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, or whatever, followed by an endless stream of updates about their novels. Listen, if your request for my Follow / Friendship is a veiled attempt to jam your books down my throat, please don’t ask.

Cheesy, Unprofessional website: If you actually get me to your web home, at least make it look like you got your sh*t together. An author who can’t invest enough time and money to at least make their home page look decent, can’t be trusted to make their novels any better.

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Okay, there’s eight. Any you’d like to add to the list?

Mike Duran writes supernatural thrillers. He is a monthly contributor to Novel Rocket, and is represented by the rockin' Rachelle Gardner of Books & Such Literary. Mike's novels include The TellingThe Resurrection, and an ebook novella, Winterland.  You can visit his website at


  1. Great list of what not to do! I nodded my head to most of them.

  2. Incessant tweeting/Facebook posts/etc. that boils down to "Buy my book" over and over. That will make me drop someone like a hot rock.

  3. These are great. Ulterior-friending is a big issue. It seems worse on LinkedIn than other sites. I didn't connect with you there so that you could send me a message every time you offer your book for free or tell me if it has received a great review.

  4. This is part of the reason I review those who follow me on Twitter before deciding whether to follow back. Sixteen out of twenty posts about your book/product? No thanks. Or, tweeting every few minutes--the fact you seem to have time for that is not only disturbing, it indicates your tweets will fill up my timeline when I want to read more interesting things.


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