How to lose friends and alienate people…instantly.


Sorry this is a long one but it is very important indeed. How many pages of advice are out on the internet about self-publishing and self-promotion? No, that is a rhetorical question. Enough, right? So much that even the newest of newbies should know why the following is WRONG on so many levels.


I received a friend request on FB from some woman and checked out any mutual friends. She appeared to have some so I accepted and within a minute this arrived in my Private Message in-box:


THANKS for becoming my friend here on FaceBook. I’d love for you to check out my first YA Paranormal romance novel for your daughter or any other young girl in your family


Pause to let the more experienced / professional amongst you get back on your chairs or lift your chins off the desk…………Deep breath and yes, thank you, I have stopped shaking now.

What I think of this marketing strategy
What I think of this marketing strategy


Please remind me, folks, what is the Number One rule on Social Media advertising? Yes, it’s social media. Get to know people, interact, make friends and drop some advertising on your own page or time-line. never spam your contacts by DM or on their personal time lines unless they have invited you to.


Two – I wouldn’t imagine this was even necessary because you wouldn’t dream of doing it face to face. Never make assumptions about people you don’t know. Suppose I were one of those tragic cases of “childless and despairing” following any number of miscarriages, failed IVF, suicide attempts and divorce? Some stranger casually assuming I had a daughter would ruin my day.


Possibly worse case – supposing I did have a daughter but for some reason she was unable to read? I would be enraged. My good friend has a profoundly deaf son and would react badly to spam advertising saying “your son will love our music”.


When I replied to this woman that she was being offensive and pointed out why, she gave me a written shrug and replied that she had created a “generic” post that she sent to everyone including males.


I’ll make some coffee while you all get back on your chairs again and stop swearing.


That’s right, gal, tell your potential readers that they are just numbers to you and that everyone you “befriend” gets the same message. That will make them feel really special. No it won’t you gormless git, it will just ensure that they block you, put your name on their “never to be read” list and tell all their friends. I know this because when I shared the experience on FB, all my real friends, including some pretty influential writers, said they had received the same treatment and blocked her.


Well I haven’t. I want her to see this post. I’d like her to know that I’ve reported her to FB for spam and that someone else is reporting her for using a pen-name as her ID when it should be a page. No I do not name and shame, that is as bad as her behaviour but most of you know who she is, so kindly drop her a copy of this, would you?




24 thoughts on “How to lose friends and alienate people…instantly.

  1. I saw your status on Facebook, so it was interesting to read the full story, including her reply to you. And you’re so right – there are plenty of dos and don’ts about marketing on social media, no one should unknowingly make that mistake. Which, of course, means she did it knowingly…

  2. The other thing that happens on Twitter is that someone follows you and when you follow back (politely) they instantly send you a DM with a link to their books/blog). It is not acceptable in either forum .. The other thing that annoys me, while we’re on the subject of being annoyed which we clearly are as we’ve all been duped by this person, is when I get pestered by people I don’t know to come on my blog – which as most of you know, is by invitation….or open to friends. And the reverse, when someone is a guest and then when I ask them to return the favour, tell me ”they don’t do guest blogs” (Not naming and shaming, but a writer on FB a lot talking about herself, her life, etc etc). Well done Ailsa! A powerful and pertinent post!!

  3. The same thing happens a lot on Twitter. Sometimes, as soon as you follow a likely sounding author, the next thing you know, a direct message arrives instructing you to buy their book/like them on Facebook/review their book etc etc. 95% of my direct messages are now of this sort, which means I tend to ignore them altogether, missing the other 5%. A lot of people don’t even bother reading DMs these days, for that reason – which is a real shame, because it means a useful facility on Twitter is now effectively lost. I think you are absolutely right to report them, Ailsa, and I’d do the same. Eventually even the crassest FBer might get the message and desist, especially if FB blocks them for malpractice!

  4. Oh this is so familiar!
    I hesitate now to accept friend requests from writers or follow them back on Twitter, for this very reason, having had this happen to me.
    I’ve remonstrated several times (politely and kindly too) with folks who have done it, and been attacked and abused as a result.
    It’s just sad. They miss out on so much.
    I had one recently who(to her credit) had not been messaging me but had written a blog post ADVOCATING including links to her book in EVERY single tweet etc, and using every and any means to get her message out there. I did suggest it was rather rude and counterproductive and the point about social media is it was social; her response was she was too busy writing for chatting etc.
    My personal bugbear is when a new friend immediately uses MY wall to post links to their books, without invite or indication it’s OK. That gets me very riled.
    Excellent post; measured and sane.

  5. I’ve no experience but I feel your anger! How bloody rude! Why would you behave on FB or Twitter any differently than you would in person? Or maybe these people do behave like this in person… “Hi. Lovely to meet you. It’s wonderful Jo and Joanne Public decided to get married. Lovely dress. By the way have you read my new book/blog? Here I’ll write you the link down. I’m passing it to everyone at the wedding.”
    I’m glad I’ve got the option of ignoring such people on FB.

  6. I had a similar thing happen to me, the only difference was, the person involved actually POSTED her book article on my Timeline – no “May I?” or other preamble – leaving me in the quandary of do I leave it or delete it – I left it – since, as you know, I use FB for the promotion of new authors and their books, almost all of them are either genuine friends or ask “Is it OK to” – but people like this author don’t do themselves, or others, any favours.
    Good for you to highlight this (growing) problem 🙂
    There is another author on FB who has been inundating (spamming?) various groups with his book promo’s – not just the one posting to say it’s out, but MULTIPLE postings almost every hour – I for one will NOT be getting his book!

  7. Thank you all very much for taking the time to comment. I think the golden rule has to be “If you wouldn’t do it at a drinks party, don’t do it in social media”. I am not in the habit of taking a copy of one of my books out of my bag and shoving it up the nose of someone within a minute of introduction. I also rather expect people to do a little homework on me before requesting friendship.

  8. I agree with your whole post, and had the same experience with this unfortunate person. I quickly twitter unfollowed, and she unfollowed back, so I was just a number!
    Before promo-ing my book, I researched marketing and social media, and manners…and am of the same theory as your last comment above. If you wouldn’t do it to their face, don’t do it on social media.
    I mean I don’t mind hearing about your book, but there are times and places. I just launched, so my book is out there in public and I’ll keep the momentum for a bit, but otherwise, my posts will be normal stuff, and my book will only get mentioned sporadically, or when I’m doing a specific promo.
    Anyone who DM’s me their book details is unfollowed/unfriended immediately!

  9. Some clueless bint befriended me (I accepted) and immediately posted a request to buy her book or some such (I didn’t pay that much attention, to be honest) ON MY WALL! WHERE EVERYONE ELSE CAN SEE IT!
    I didn’t unfriend becasue I am tickled as to what she’ll do next. I did delete it, however.
    Honestly, some folk!

  10. *shakes head* Looking only at the number of people who have replied to this blog post and answered on FB I can see that this “clueless bint” (nice one, Nettie!) has made a right nuisance of herself. Only result will be that nobody will touch anything she ever publishes ever…names of people who do that kind of idiocy tend to stick in the brain.

  11. My word Ailsa – looks like you may have touched on a nerve here.
    Love lisashambrook’s comment “Before promo-ing my book, I researched marketing and social media, and manners…” – yes, that is totally it: Do your research, find out what is done and what is not, and do as you would be done by 😉

  12. Great article. I hate when they do it on FB and I hate it when they do it on Twitter and I hate when they sign me up for their crappy newsletters without my permission. It’s marketing for the desperate and insensitive. Maybe they’re just oblivious narcissists? 🙂

  13. Hi, I get a lot of that on Twitter, but I’ve never had it on Facebook, thank goodness! I think I would just block them, which is what I do on Twitter…maybe that’s why I don’t have many contacts 🙂 Good post and yes, very good points!

  14. Thanks again for all taking the time to reply. I really do wish someone would point this woman in the direction of this blog post just to prove that I’m not the only one who finds this kind of behaviour completely unacceptable.

  15. This is funny, I love that angry dog. But to be honest, we all approach things in different way, perhaps that person was all about business. Facebook , Yahoo, Google or Linked do not have to know you on a social level in order to pop an advertisement in your face. They constantly barrage you with adv. of things you’d never use in your life. This person is therefore molded by the media which inundates our every awakening. This world is a business/commercial based electronic world, she’s just falling in line. Still, I do understand your complaint, yet, I do have a delete button and often use it for annoying people. Kharis Macey

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