Author Publicists Who Don’t Tweet? And Under Their Own Names? Fire Them.

Image - iStockphoto: m-gucci
Image – iStockphoto: m-gucci

Two Things Prompted This Irritating Column

  1. A clearly lame bid for authors’ hard-earned money for so-called “reader engagement” and book sales.
  2. The arrival on Twitter of a brand-new user who is also one of the highest-visibility literary agents in the country.

Old scams and new social mediators. I knew it was time to get at this.

A Clearly Lame Bid In ‘Author Services’ Land

I was going over the faculty of an upcoming conference for writers. On the list was a publicist and ad-sales person specializing in authors and their books, newly added to the roster.

The problem? No Twitter handle. The closest thing findable is a handle for her company. So if this person tweets at all, she’s tweeting as her business. She’s what, a talking letterhead? A corporate address with a great personality?

This self-styled publicist says that if authors will pay her, she will help them leverage social media for their books.

“The first thing I always do in talking Twitter with authors who are tweeting under their book’s name is to get them to change their handle to their own name and use their own headshot.

Well, I say that 2015 is the year we start backing down these people — the ones who keep popping up in the “author services” sector, claiming that they can get you readers and get you sales, all while operating without knowing how these media work or how to present themselves on the ether.

This one, in particular, makes big promises of advertising that will produce “five times more reader engagement.” A lovely, meaningless buzz phrase, isn’t it? — reader engagement. Buzzzzzzz.

When such pitches come your way, be sure the getaway car engine is running.

What’s wrong with a publicist, an advertisement monger, a marketer — or anyone else, for that matter — tweeting under his or her company name?


  • Have you ever shaken hands with a corporation?
  • Have you ever kissed a building facade on both cheeks at a cocktail party?
  • Have you ever had lunch with a logo?

The social media are called social because they are just that — person to person.Social.

And handles are specific to the personalities behind them. This is the reason that parents shouldn’t use pictures of their children as their avatars. You’re not your children, are you? Your image should be your own. Leave your poor kids out of it.

The publishing industry is very big on Twitter. So it’s a useful red flag when someone is running around tweeting as his or her firm — or as his or her book title.

When I run live chats, if someone tries tweeting under a company’s Twitter handle, I make a point of asking them to stop it and tweet as themselves. I’m not trying to be a hard ass about this, but I’m also not interested in having group conversations with company facades, are  you?

If somebody is in a chat room speaking as a company? They’re there to sell you something. Call them on it. Ask them who they are. You have every right to do that. If they won’t tell you, I recommend you mute or block them. Consider reporting them as spam; case by case basis.

If they’re in the recently booming kitchen-and-garage business of promotion of authors and books, then they have no business in your business if they don’t know how to conduct their own business on as significant a platform as Twitter.

Nevertheless, I’d rather not rely solely on my own good looks and brilliance (shut up), so I asked a colleague, who’s legitimately in the business for her views.

And, as expected, she had a few things to teach me along the way.

Read More

There’s more: Read the full story at Thought Catalog

By Porter Ander­son

Writing on the Ether: Author Publicists Who Don’t Tweet? And Under Their Own Names? Fire Them.

Originally published by Thought Catalog at


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