Social Networking: Twitter Needs Interesting People

  • By: Jessica Faust | Date: Apr 21 2011

I’m not an expert, but I do tend to know what I like in this world, and when it comes to Twitter I like to follow people who are interesting. Unfortunately, I see far too many authors who use Twitter as a way to inundate readers with their name or simply remind everyone to read their blog. I don’t think that works. It doesn’t work for me and I imagine it doesn’t work for others. Twitter is supposed to be interesting and, frankly, that’s just not interesting.

There’s no doubt social media is important in publishing. Heck, it’s important in all business these days, but if you’re going to do it do it well or don’t do it at all. The last thing any author needs is for people to think they’re not interesting. Trust me, you aren’t going to sell books that way.


26 responses to “Social Networking: Twitter Needs Interesting People”

  1. Avatar Susan says:

    I am so, so with you there. And do I really need Idol and Dancing with eh Star updates on Twitter, too? I don't want to be with you as you're watching TV. Oy!


  2. Avatar NS Foster says:

    Was JUST reflecting on this. Follow Jacqueline Carey (on FB, not twitter) and she often links to articles or says something amusing (just the other day, "Oh, the stories my search history could tell!"). I'd say only about forty percent of her posts are book-related in any way.

  3. This is so true! I've followed people briefly before I realized that all they ever used Twitter for was self-promotion. Never any conversations, just 'here's my new book, buy it'.

    I quickly hit the unfollow button.


  4. Communicating on Twitter is like anything else–if we hear the same thing over and over, pretty soon nobody is paying attention anymore.

    A book release, whether pub'd traditionally, e-pub'd, or even self-pub'd, should be a big deal. But somehow it loses its magic if I read about it multiple times a day by the same person.

    Twitter is a great outlet for good news like this, but how can we use it most effectively?

  5. Avatar Ben says:

    Twitter can also be a lot of fun, but it's a killer for your concentration. After a day of Work & Twittering, I can only write by 140 characters drops before I get bored. To use with caution

  6. Avatar Tara Tyler says:

    this is exactly why I haven't tried twitter yet. it's like a flea market – too much crap to sift through to find that treasure!

    (you can quote me, ha ha)

  7. You're so right! Great post!

    But I wonder how Amanda Hocking did it. It seems she uses Twitter more than her blog, but I haven't followed her during those crucial months when she first self-published last year.

    So I have no idea how she did it. Does anyone know?

  8. Avatar Kate Douglas says:

    I do tend to use Twitter to announce blogs, but only because I always offer prizes (free books) to someone who comments, so I figure I'm at least dangling cheese for my mice. (or should that be breadcrumbs for the birds?)

    HOWEVER, that said, I truly hate Twitter. It's a horrible time suck while at the same time addictive. And it's REALLY hard to say what I want in 140 characters or less!

    I see the importance of social networking, but I prefer the connection I get with Facebook or email over the quick little blurbs on Twitter. At least on FB I often get to see photos of the people I'm interacting with. Not so common on Twitter.

  9. So many authors are spending so much time on Twitter and Facebook, and let's not forget the blogosphere, they couldn't possibly be writing books. Someone must be doing it for them. Maybe that's why the overall quality has gone down the toilet?

    The constant promo is a waste of time and turns me off. If you have a new book coming out, post an announcement on all your social networks and then knock it off.

    I'm amazed at how some of these people (authors) think we want a play-by-play of their daily lives. Too. Much. Information. I now have a bad opinion of some authors and stopped following them because of the intimate glimpses into their personal lives.

  10. Avatar Darcy Drake says:

    If someone is going to be interesting, I hope at least they have the decency to be consistently interesting. 😉

  11. I use two hashtags, and only respond to those who post something about how their writing is going or if they have a problem, etc. I LOVE talking shop with people, but I don't push anything on anyone. I mention it a few times, then move on. That might not sound helpful, but I do get retweets, and that helps.

  12. Avatar Kurt Hartwig says:

    @FakeAPStylebook, the now-defunct @mayoremanuel, and @FeministHulk are great comic feeds to follow.

    Dan Sinker's @mayoremanuel, in particular, kind of authored a new kind of fiction. Plus he's getting a book deal out of it.

  13. I'm so glad to hear this coming from more sources. I'm an author and it irritates the crap out of me to have someone constantly doing promo. I really despise people on Facebook who friend me then send me a "like" suggestion or post their advert garbage on my wall without permission. It's rude. Don't even get me started on the "groups" function. Some people just have no home training.

    Yeah, we have to promo, but yeesh.

  14. Nothing turns me off faster than someone who only tweets about the book they've just published. Lately I find myself in three-way Twitter conversations with a couple fellow authors. We talk stories, shop, whatever's on our minds. Most importantly we offer encouragement, advice, and a listening ear. The connections I've made through blogging and twitter are invaluable to me. I tweet as I write, as I'm not writing but brainstorming, etc.

    And sometimes I use twitter to vent in the most obtuse way. But those bouts are short-lived and I move on to what Twitter should be about, connecting.

  15. As a wanna-be author, I joined Twitter to learn about the writing. The journey is interesting and how people use and/or sometimes abuse Twitter is a journey itself. Good advice here. Thank you.

  16. This post was great! I'm a newbie "tweeter"…and I definitely have seen what you're referring to. This post also helps me make sure _I_ don't do it either!


  17. Definitely agree about continual self-promotion as a GIANT turnoff. Unfollow. If you want to build connections, it can't be all about you.

    I loved fake mayor emanuel. I was so sorry when he got sucked into the *&@*%#! vortex (or whatever it was).

  18. Avatar girlseeksplace says:

    I have a really hard time with Twitter. I want to keep it professional, but doing so would mean unfollowing my friends, so there's a lot of unprofessional stuff happening on Twitter. I don't know how far or not far to go with things.

  19. Avatar Rebecca Kiel says:

    The key word is 'social'. To use social media to simply put one's name in front of people five times a day is transparent. Readers and consumers are savvy enough to know when they are getting a sales pitch. My writing is above that and so is yours. Social, genuine and honest – this is the way to go!

  20. Avatar Andrea says:

    What makes a person interesting?

    I am just starting to twitter because I thought it would be interesting. I also wanted to figure out how to join an online chat that was being done on twitter.

    I started blogging today because sometimes my thoughts are more than 140 characters. Is it bad to use twitter to point to blog posts? For example, I can't give a book review of someone else's book in under 140 characters.

    I like it when interesting people use twitter to tell me they have a new blog post, but I am new to twitter. I'm curious if someone could give me examples of what they find interesting.


  21. Avatar Anonymous says:

    I think it varies, and depends on the writer. I know for me, a lot of my experiences w/gaining contacts have been happenstance b/c I try to be interactive and myself.

    I follow people who have interesting things to say about themselves in addition to suggesting links. It's a great tool for passing information, but like with most things it depends on how you use it.

  22. I very much agree. I don't use Twitter much for my networking because of that fact.

  23. Avatar jfaust says:


    Well I don't think there is any one thing that makes people interesting. The interesting people in my life are interesting for different reasons. I can tell you though that what makes a person dull is repetition and sameness. If you only Tweet about the same things, the same time each day no one is going to stop following you.

    I have 7000+ followers and let's face it, most of them follow me for the advice I give on publishing. But, the most feedback I receive tends to be on the random things like the kind of cookies I just made, or the arrival of my new Nook, or the fact that I'm debating between two books to read or which restaurant to eat at.


  24. I think on any social networking site, you should have something more to say than "go read my blog/book/whatever". Or if you are going to just link to your blog post, at least do something interesting with your 140 characters so I'll have some idea what your post is about and want to go read it. Repeating the same things is boring and will get you ignored, if not unfollowed.

  25. Avatar Nicole says:


    I mean no offense to anyone, but where is it written that Twitter is supposed to be interesting?

    Oh social media, how you make me giggle.

  26. Who on Twitter is interesting? HOW does one make their TWEETS interesting? Give me an example of an interesting TWEET…