We recently polled our readers about a common twitter practice seen from authors.
Here are the results.
An author followed you on twitter, and you followed them back. They immediately DMd you a link to their amazon page. This is:
Smart marketing, and I will click the link. 2 (1%)
Acceptable marketing, and I will not click the link. 6 (4%)
Something I delete without further consideration. 31 (21%)
Bad netiquette, but other than temporary annoyance, I let it slide. 82 (56%)
Unacceptable, and I unfollow them, and maybe report the spam. 25 (17%)
Of course, this isn't a scientific poll, but I think we can safely assume that sentiment runs against this particular PR practice. If the poll is accurate, this means DM spam is 12 times more likely to result in an unfollow than in a clicked link. About three out of four people find it bad or unacceptable, and only 5% view it as smart or acceptable. Even if these numbers are off by a wide margin, that margin won't be wide enough to reverse the trend. In fact, given that many of our readers are authors who are on twitter and looking for ways to promote their books there, I tend to suspect any error is in the other direction. I tend to suspect self-promoting authors are more tolerant of author self-promotion (even bad self-promotion) than the general public might be.
In any case, this all leads me to ask one question. If sentiment is so strongly opposed to this kind of self-promotion, then why in the world would anyone continue to do it? Is it mere ignorance, or are we missing something?