Okay people, I have a confession. I am a bad twitter person.
This isn't because I'm bad at tweeting, no, not at all.
I have never--not once!--ever bought something that someone tweeted about. Not once. Not ever. And this is NEVER going to CHANGE. So all you people tweeting two times an hour seven days a week? I consider you spam. Have nothing on your twitter feed but promotion and "I got a four star review on amazon," quite frankly, I don't care.
So when someone on twitter follows me, I click to their full profile and check out their last ten tweets. If more than one of the last ten tweets is a promotion for their book (and none of the other ones are OMG, MY BOOK JUST CAME OUT! because seriously, people get to be crazy when their book releases) then I don't follow back.
Yeah, I know, this sort of means I'm an evil witch, but really, I'm old enough to know what my time is worth.
When I sign on to twitter, I'm not interested in having advertisements thrown in my face. I use twitter to check in with my friends, see what's going on in NYC (because most of the people I follow are agents and editors in New York... with some notable exceptions in California, Colorado and Minnesota), and maybe catch some awesome pictures of the planet from Chris Hadfield. If I have to wade through a hundred tweets about four star reviews and BUY MY BOOK!!!!! this makes me a little cranky. It's inefficient. It makes Twitter not do the one thing that Twitter does really well: Twitter lets me interact with people very far away. When my feed is full of spam, I don't stay. It's not interesting.
So I've stopped following people back. And thus has begun the dreaded follow/unfollow/follow.
People, I am here to tell you that if you seem decent, and are a writer and your last ten tweets were not about your book, then I'll almost always follow back. But if you are a spam bot, and you never link to content, only buy buttons, then I'm not interested, and no amount of follow/unfollow/follow will catch my attention. Ever. I saw you the first time. And the tenth time. If I haven't followed back by the end of the week, it ain't happening. And you know why? It's because Twitter is not free advertising. It never was. You have to build a following or else you're just a spam bot. You build a following by posting content, being interesting and above all else: INTERACTING. That's what Twitter is there for.
Sure, I don't tweet often, and most of it is about contest and writing, but that's where I am right now. I try to interact with people (like agents and editors and other authors), but mostly on twitter, I don't have a lot to say, so I spend my time watching. That means I know. Spam is spam. On Twitter, in email, if you spam, I will delete you. I'm tired of it.
And before people go crazy about needing to promote their books, here is the truth: I don't buy books from spam bots. I buy the books that my friends (you know, the people I interact with on Twitter) tell me are amazing. But I don't trust them if they haven't put out enough content for me to judge their character. I mean really, if all people ever did was spam the feed then how would I know if their recommendation of The Bridges of Madison County would mesh with my Pacific Rim loving personality? Twitter is a great way to figure that out, and if you're just spamming, no one can ever learn that from you. And trust me, if you just released a Bridges of Madison County and billed it as a must read for my Pacific Rim loving soul and I "fall for it"? You just got one sale. But I'm going to trash your book because you pitched it as Pacific Rim and it was Bridges of Madison County. I'm going to tell everyone--EVERYONE. And I know a lot of people despite my twitter numbers. In short, if you lead me in with false advertising, you're not doing yourself any favors.
So tweet, follow, do whatever it is that you want, just don't feel like I'm obliged to follow you to "boost" my numbers. I mean seriously, have you seen my numbers? I follow a ton of people and literally have half the number of followers (George Takei hasn't followed me back! My life is now in ruins!), I'm not that worried, because honestly, one real follower who actually listens and isn't a spam bot is worth twenty spam bots. Think about it.