Jan 6, 2014

Tweetiquette for Book Bloggers 101

All right, guys, let's talk about Tweetiquette, better known as Twitter Etiquette. I may not be the most active twitter person (tweeter? What's the proper word here?), nor do I boast huge amounts of followers, but I am shocked, disappointed, and floored routinely at the total lack of respect and manners that are all over Twitter anymore.

I think that the anonymity of the internet has bled over into this fun social media site, but you need to stop and think that there is a real person on tacked on to the end of that @ symbol. It can be an author, and agent, another blogger, a publisher ... the list goes on. Being snarky and sassy may seem cute and witty in your head, but real feelings can get hurt and it can also affect your blog and your credibility.

1. Don't Beg
Possibly the #1 faux paus of Twitter is following someone and then immediately messaging them and saying something like: "Hey! I just followed you! Follow me back!"

Just, no. Slow your roll, Skippy, and take a breath. There is no tit-for-tat when it comes to followers and no obligations to follow anyone. Blowing up someone's feed to follow you is just silly. This is especially true of authors and publishers.

SCREAMING IN ALL CAPS THAT YOU ARE THEIR #1 FAN 4EVA is not gonna win you any brownie points. Constantly harassing, bugging and begging for them to follow you generally makes them want to do the opposite. Getting offended when someone doesn't follow you back also makes you seem like a sore loser. And possibly psychotic. Maybe both.

2. The All-Important Pic
I get not wanting to put your pretty face out there on the internet. Truly, I do. You're talking to the girl who came up with a fake name as a teen to match a user name she used all across the internet for over a decade because I heard all those horror stories of people being stalked, kidnapped and turned into wind chimes online.

That, and I didn't want my family and friends knowing I wrote some smutty fan fiction. But that's a story for another day.

Whatever your reasons I understand it, but please know that if you meet some authors, bloggers, etc. in real life at signings or book events (BEA, ALA, or another conference), you cannot get offended if we need to you pull up your twitter account so we can see that icon pic you've been using to place you. Same thing if you keep your name off the online world or use a different name.

I associate people I talk to on Twitter by their handle, this is especially true if their name is only listed as their blog name and they have a picture of their favorite book as their profile picture.

3. Fun with # and RT
Congratulations on those fifty-three giveaways you entered in the last hour! But did you really need to clog up my feed tweeting about them all?

The same is also true of retweeting (RTs). While I know some things just begged to be retweeted--funny quotes, puppy pictures, and things that sum up exactly how I feel--it's still good to come up with your own tweets. If I follow you, I want to know more about you. I'm assuming you're following me for the same reason.

Or you just need someone who does routinely ridiculous and idiotic things that make you feel better about yourself. I'm totally OK with either reason.

But you can't expect people to want to follow you if all you're doing is regurgitating already posted info.

4. Gimme, Gimme, Gimme More
This is possibly the biggest no-no I can think of when it comes to twitter (or emailing/messaging someone), and I cannot believe it even needs to be addressed, but it is happening all the time, not just to me, but also to other bloggers and authors I'm friends with.

It is not OK to tweet at someone and ask for something unless you know them and have that kind of relationship. Let me explain:

I've been blogging for nearly three years. While I don't consider myself even close to one of the best blogs/bloggers, I do all right. I have a solid number of followers and page views and I've worked on establishing and maintaining relationships with authors and publishers. I went through the steps and the paces every newbie bloggers goes through of being shot down repeatedly for ARC requests and blog tours, of being ignored and passed over when mailing lists and invites went out. But I have been to conferences and signings and spent countless hours emailing, posting, tweeting, and creating unique features on my blog that helped me get to where I am.

So when I get an emailed from someone who has had a blog for all of three weeks with a whopping post count of four, begging me for publicists' email addresses so they can request books, I get a little annoyed. More than a little. I am all for helping people, but I'm not going to hand you blogging on a silver platter.

I also have a friend who, in order to protect the innocent, I'll call Brownie Batter Betty. Now B3 is an awesome friend of mine and a phenomenal baker, who bestows baked goods on a lot of authors she meets. In fact, she's kinda infamous for it. Even has her own business. She's been a blogger about as long as I have and has consequently become a darling in the blogging world with bloggers and authors alike - rightfully so, I may add. That being said, she's also become friends with a few big name authors which is very cool and very enviable, but I was left utterly astonished when she told me she regularly gets messages on Twitter asking her for these author's personal info. Apparently it's just assumed she has it since she's been in a picture or twenty with them.

How in the world is this OK? And did you really think Betty would say yes?

5. Snark, Slams, and Stupidity
Wanna know a secret? I love snark. I love the sass and the sarcasm and the smirks that go along with it. But there's also a time and place for it, and Twitter ain't always that place, folks.

You will inevitably come across a book that you just hate. Yes, hate. It will rub you like a bar of sandpaper in an acid shower and leave you feeling gross, repulsed, and chaffed. It's the reality of book blogging. Sadly you won't love every book.

That being said, blasting the author and their work publicly on Twitter might sound funny in your head, but remember that there is still a real person on the other end of your attack. A person who has feelings that can get trampled and crushed all so you could illicit a couple of smiles and giggles from people you've never met on the other side of a computer screen.

Bravo. Way to improve the world.

You wrote a scathing review on your blog about a book that you didn't like at all. That's fine. I'm not saying you can't write that review, but do you really need to tweet the author in your link? Do you really need to hold them down, cut them open and pour lemon juice on them? Does that really make you feel like a legit blogger?

It makes you sound like a legit tool.

6. You Get What You Give
Sometimes I wonder if there's any reason to write a post like this other than to make myself feel better. I think some people will read this and maybe do some internal flinching and realize maybe they should have been a little kinder. Some will realize they've acted like a fool and strive to better themselves.

But most will shrug it off and say whatever because at the end of the day, this is a generic social media site that really holds no user accountable. You can spew your venom and hate and retweets until your heart's content and no one can really do anything to stop you.

But as book bloggers, that's not entirely true. You have an entire blogging community watching you. You will have publishers who won't want to work with you and authors who will learn to ignore you. And you have no one to blame but yourself when people call you on your BS.

If there's one thing I've learned about the internet it's that people love a good cat fight and have no problem throwing back what you dish out.


  1. I wish more bloggers had better etiquette. Hopefully your awesome post will make them think twice!!!

    I'm so annoyed with so much of this...!

  2. Great post and it's all so true. Some of this seems a lot like common sense though so I wonder how people don't already know and understand this....

  3. I am guilty of tweeting about giveaways, but I always try my best to space them a bit... *hangs head in shame*

    For most of the other complaints you have voiced here, I am shocked and appalled about people actually thinking it is okay to ask for author's contact information or even addresses and the like, seriously?? WTF??

    I am still completely giddy that I get to interact with authors on twitter and get a kick everytime an author I follow follows me back! I don't follow back everyone that follows me, cause I might not be interested in doing so, even less if they're those "online marketing experts" people... So why would I expect people to instantly follow me back?

    Great points you make there!

  4. Great post! I am shocked anyone would ask for author's info! Sort of creepy really. I agree with the points you've made. Moderation is key with the RT and giveaway tweets.

  5. Great post! I completely agree with all of these. I mean, it's rude to ask people for that information. Even outside the book blogging world. I used to be on the newspaper staff at my old school. Just because I was one of the editors and knew other editors, everyone seemed to think I knew all of their personal information. Once I was asked for someone's address. Uh-huh, no way, no how. I'm not giving out someone's personal info. Especially if I don't know the person who's asking that well. And you're entirely right. Saying nasty things on the internet is rude and offensive. I know that not every book is going to be great, but I try to avoid writing posts that are just attacking them.

    Overall, great post. Really good things for bloggers to watch themselves for.

    -Kelsey @ Verbosity Book Reviews

  6. I agree with ALL of the above ESPECIALLY 4&5. I do post back to back giveaway tweets BUT I try to do them SUPER early in the AM or SUPER late in hopes that it doesn't drive anyone too crazy. I get them done all in one go so no more for the day. But I constantly tweet myself so I don't think it's an issue. One pet peeve I have that I'm seeing a lot of lately are bloggers asking authors or other bloggers for ARCs. CONSTANTLY! While I'm still semi new blogger (5 months) I don't claim to know everything about blogging but I do know this is a big no no & I wonder what views a blogger who just started the nerve to do so. Anyway great post! I hope ppl notice it & take it to heart!

    -Crystal @ Crystal in Bookland

  7. I am also guilty of the giveaway link thing, but like Crystal, I like to do it around midnight my time, when most people are already in bed. The negative tweets really get under my skin. I won't even post a review on my blog if I give it under 3 stars for the reasons you gave. That's what Goodreads is for.

    Mary @ Mary Had a Little Book Blog

  8. I love this! Thanks so much for consolidating all this great advice, Hannah :)

  9. Thanks Hannah for this wonderful advice about tweeting. I always found twitter to be addicting because its so cool to be able to talk to authors and other book lovers- hopefully I have not been annoying on twitter- but now I will be more aware about what I tweet :D

  10. I am a retweeter, it's kind of turned into a morning ritual since I need something to focus on to wake me up. But you're right I try to keep it to a minimum for that very reason. As for giveaways those are rare for me but when I do I probably am a 5 or so an hour poster. But I'll only ever do it the one day, I can't stand the tweet daily giveaways.
    And I agree with #5, if I write a negative review I don't even label it as a review on my blog sometimes.

  11. Blah. Let me hang my head in shame as well. I am a giveaway tweeter, but most of the time, I do this late at night. But great article. As a newbie book blogger, I love reading articles like this that give me some input on do's and don't's, and I agree with every point you made!!

  12. Just joined twitter as a New Year's resolution. I don't want to make any huge missteps right off the bat, so I'll definitely keep all of these in mind :-) Thanks!
    Ninja Girl

  13. I think we've been blogging about the same amount of time and it's always good to see reminders. It is easy to forget that the internet is not invisible, I think....

    Kate @ Ex Libris

  14. The giveaway thing drives me insane. I've ended up unfollowing people who post only links. I think for me, the biggest thing I need to improve on is actually using our blog's Twitter account rather than my personal one, so we're not just tweeting links. Great article!

    -P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex

  15. Awesome post Hannah, and all so true. I've also received direct messages from people that followed me offering me a copy of their books.

  16. YES!! YESYESYES, girl!! I can't stand the over-RT-er. A few are fine but then STOP. I'm pretty sure I know the B3 you're talking about and I'm amazed at the gall of people. I mean, seriously? You want to make friends with authors or other bloggers? Talk to them. Engage them. Don't start out the gate begging for things. So not good.

  17. Gosh, this post was amazing. Those people who RT every giveaway are INSTANT unfollows. and if you beg to an author and I see it, I am not following you anymore ugh. When I read this, I go "I can't believe there are people like this, but really, it just bugs me that there is!"

    This was such a great post. Hm... maybe everyone else should see it!

  18. I'm laughing at the comments from people who try to tweet about giveaways late at night, "on the down low," because that's exactly what I try to do, and I thought I was the one doing that!

    As for people asking others whom they don't know well (or at all) for publisher contacts, I'd like to chalk that up to them not knowing any better. But I assume at least some of them must know it's inappropriate, and yet they do it anyway.

    Even worse than this is the harassment of authors for ARCs. I've been seeing this recently, and I feel so sorry for the authors, because it puts them in a very awkward position. At least the blogger who is harassed for contact info can politely say, "I'm sorry, but I can't give that out," but the author who is harassed publicly on Twitter for ARCs has to worry about possibly being viewed as rude to fans. The sane among us know that that's crazy, but I've seen enough crazy blogger behavior to know it's a valid concern.

  19. I love these wise words! I never realised the usefulness of Twitter until I started using Tweetdeck (until then it was a pain to find anything, let alone keep up with all the tweets), but now as can see it as an incredibly value resource - and one that should be used properly.
    I use a screen name for my blog, mostly for the alliteration and it's the name I use everywhere online, but my real name isn't exactly a secret. I get called both by online friends to be honest!
    I don't understand how people could think someone would give out an author's personal information like that?? That's incredibly disrespectful to the author.
    I completely agree with the snark comments too. Snarky reviews can be amusing, yes, but I don't think there's any need at all to draw the author's attention to them - when people do that, it gives me the impression they're out to annoy or hurt the author, rather than actually review the book.

  20. Great post! I think this is super important for new bloggers to read. I still consider myself a fairly new blogger. I'm not even a year old yet. (Almost! February!) And I still feel like I need to work hard to build the relationships that I have with authors and publishers. I don't want to go around asking for handouts. I want to earn it and I wish that more people felt that way. I also do not understand ppl who tag an author in a scathing review. I NEVER tag the author if my review is negative. Maybe the publisher if it was an ARC, but NEVER EVER the author. I had an author comment on my review of her book before (which was really negative) and I felt horrible. I don't know how she found my review, but she did. Even though I was giving her my honest opinion (and she was super nice about it) I still felt awful. I never want to cut down a human being like that. I will never understand ppl that do that.

  21. Thank you so much for this post. I'm a newbie blogger - almost a full year under my belt! - and it's tips like these that have gotten me through this year.

    Also, have to agree with Stephanie - I've been seeing a rise of bloggers asking authors directly for ARCs, and I hate that the authors have to worry that not giving bloggers ARCs will make them seem mean and/or inacecssible.

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