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5 Things Writers Do That IRRITATE Me

 I’m part of the writing community for a while now, and I have to say that 99% of the writers I’ve met have been solid gold in terms of professional courtesy.

But lately, I’ve been encountering the 1% that is annoying the hell out of me, and for possibly the first time on this blog, this is a Rant. I know most writers don’t do any of the following, but this is addressed to those who do. I need to figure out if I’m the only one who’s irritated with the following set of behaviors.

I’m tired of writers who:

1. Relentlessly hawk their book on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Blog
I get it. You want us to find your book. But it is irritating to find only your book whenever we come across you on the www. I’m sure I’ve ignored perfectly good books because their authors bombarded me with mails and non-stop social media campaigns. Be subtle, find the golden mean. You’re a writer. It shouldn’t be too difficult.

2. Auto DM me on Twitter the minute I follow them: Yes you would like me to Like your FB page, comment on your blog, bring you a bouquet of roses, whatever. But can you wait to strike up a conversation, get to know me, before trying to plaster your face all over my internet?

3. Send me review copies of their book without asking me first: Sure, you want to be reviewed. Who doesn’t? Ask me to review it, and if I can, I’ll do it. Send me a reminder, or two. But do you have to foist a book on me without any preamble and then bug me Every Other Day on Twitter or email asking me when I’d review you?

4. Guest post on my blog, but neither promote it nor respond to Comments: You’re the guest on my blog….do your best to attract an audience for yourself. I’m doing my best to promote it, but I can’t be the spammer I hate. Do your bit, please. Also, respond to the comments addressed to you. It is not only polite, but also the only professional thing to do.

5. Never respond to critiques: If you’ve asked for a critique and received it, be decent enough to thank the person who took the time to read your novel/ story/screenplay. You may not like what they said about your work, but that is no reason not to be gracious.

Right. Rant over.

Do you disagree with any of the points I’ve made? Have you come across such behavior in writers and been annoyed with it? Am I the only mad crazy hatter, getting annoyed all by myself?

As a writer, do you support any of these ‘writer-behaviors’?

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her next literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and was published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • jannatwrites says:

    I agree with all of these points, though I haven't encountered them all.

    I had an author ask me to review a book, but only post the review on Amazon if it was a four or five star. This may be normal, but I didn't like the suggestion.

    Hope you're feeling better!

  • Tina says:

    I don't twitter, and fb is for friends. Yes, I met some of them blogging, but that doesn't mean they are in anyway not "real". Of course people are going to want to promote their work, but they need to learn some blogging etiquette before they embarrass themselves all over the place.
    When I get a new follower, I also try to contact them and say thanks. I'm not a big fan or "you follow and then I'll follow." That's not what it means to me. Follow means I like your work and want to come back. I do comment everywhere I go since I appreciate comments so very much. It's like the Golden Rule, you know?
    Great post, great summary of the bad behavior out there.
    Tina @ Life is Good

  • I totally agree with you. It's one of the reasons I hate Twitter. I'm barely surviving FB. It's getting just as bad. Hope you're having a great weekend!

  • Suz Korb says:

    Actually I find that most writers on social networks are like this. They are so annoying and should go to hell asap! It's why I don't follow a lot of writers on twitter. If I follow you, consider yourself lucky and know that you're not an annoying spammer! 😉

  • This post made me laugh. I understand every single one of them.

  • Arlee Bird says:

    Those are fair rants to make. I've been pretty fortunate in my dealings with writers and guests. I generally don't visit a blog if it gets overly involved with their product although I understand the intent and if they are nice about the promotion and nice to me then I'll give them support.

    I know a lot of people including me get awfully busy with being wrapped up in things we are doing and find it difficult to keep up with everything. I have to admire those whole have better time management skills than I have.

    Tossing It Out

  • Oh, I agree totally 100%! The people who relentlessly hawk their books and have nothing else to say really irk me. Some were totally fab before they pubbed, but now they are a PR machine. All tweets and posts lead to their book. Yuck.

    Hope you're feeling better soon!

  • shoreacres says:

    Damyanti, I'm sorry to hear you've been feeling unwell – hope you're on the mend.

    I must say – I read your post and every comment, and am so vastly relived to have made the decision to bow out of all this. I tweet when I have a new blog post – other than that, I tweet only rarely and usually in response to someone else.

    I don't participate in Facebook or LinkedIn. I don't text and I don't watch television. What do I do? Easy. I visit people's blogs and leave substantive comments, I respond promptly and personally to people who come to my blog, and I spend the rest of my time writing.

    One of the very interesting dynamics I've been watching is the increasing sense of stress over social media being expressed by people. As one of my friends said recently, "The more people I'm in touch with, the less real engagement I experience." Makes sense to me.

  • Stuart Nager says:

    I agree 100%. That is something I chaff at too. The ones who only self promote, don't take the time to get to know you…not worth my time.

    hope you are feeling better

  • Damyanti says:

    Folks, am overwhelmed at the number of comments this post has received! Haven't been too well lately, but will make it a point to visit each everyone back.

    My existing blog-friends on this comment board, a huge hug and thank you to all of you…and to those new to this blog..welcome!!

  • Li says:

    You said it! I immediately unfollow people who's streams are 100% self-promo. And the one about immediate (and automated) Twitter DMs made me laugh 🙂 Oh, and let me add people who leave nothing but a link to their blog when they "comment" on my post. Ahem. You could at least say hello and whether you like/hate what I wrote before advertising yourself. (And I do delete those.)

    I must agree with you though, the vast majority of writers/bloggers that I socialize with are great people, and I wouldn't trade the writing community for any other!

    I wouldn't mind an occasional rant from you, Damyanti, if they are this good 😉

  • lynnmosher says:

    Yup, yup, yup! Except for #4. I have had awesome guest posters! You are definitely not alone!

  • Katie Gates says:

    I fully agree with your rant! I must confess, though, that when I had published my first novel and entered the social networking scene, I may have been guilty of some of that overkill as well as the lack of give-and-take. It took me a while to learn that it is ALL about relationship-building. That's true in so many areas. (And I should have known it going in, as my paying profession is fundraising, and we live by the adage, "People give to People.")

    Hmm… now that I've expressed these thoughts, I feel better about the world. I LIKE it that — in spite of virtual everything — individual people, and the relationships between them, are still the best thing we've got going.

    Thank you for inspiring this comment!

  • I've only come across #4, but I completely agree with you on it. I know bloggers can be pressed for time, but a link in a post on the blog of the person guest posting doesn't take much of it. And acknowledging/responding to comments is always a good idea.

  • Guilie says:

    Damyanti, that's nothing but the truth. This "use social media for marketing" thing has been completely misunderstood by so many people. Writers are the ones we see–obviously–but I don't think it's limited to this community. Which part of "build relationships" didn't get across to these people? I'm not going to buy a book (or anything, for that matter) from just X person. Show me who you are, show me you have stuff to say that *matters* to me. Get to know me, show me you care about more than just the sales on your books. And those DMs… Man.

    Thanks for giving us all a place to *rant* 😀 I think we needed it. And hopefully one of those self-marketing-obsessed authors out there will see this and get a grip on themselves.

  • L'Aussie says:

    I'm with you all the way here Damyanti. Nice to see the occasional rant. Yes, we're all getting promo-weary. Hard to find a good blog post without it. We all help promote books so it seems to be all we're doing lately. I know it's got to be done though, so hard…


  • AE says:

    Honestly, I know at least two people in my feed who I feel spam their books. I haven't unfollowed him/her because he/she engages me in conversation. Because of that relationship, I just pass over his/her book spamming tweets, and hope that he/she is doing well in his/her sales. I look at them as a friend who is doing what they need to do… I guess it's a weird mental association. Those other folks who don't engage, yeah, I hate 'em.

  • I think this post is gonna resonate with a lot of writers out there… Both spammers and spamees (is that even a word?:D)… As one of the commenters above said, I'm only surprised things aren't worse! I'm taking that as a sign that MAYBE lots of writers are simply not very clued in about the distasteful effects of spamming/pushing their wares so forcefully… Hmmmmm, I hope so anyway… lol have to admit I'm worried I commit such spamming myself without realising it! Hope not!:)

  • As a writing teacher as well as an author promoting my own books, I'm happy to tweet about your column. Publicity is a double-edged sword. While it can create interest, it can also create annoyance. Thank you for sharing this with writers and readers. Well-targeted rants are always welcome!

  • -RWWGreene says:

    How do I get in on this "bouquet of roses" thing?

  • So… I'm new to this whole deal, and I don't know what DM or auto-DM means… I like to follow new authors, but I don't like seeing a promo for their book every single time I look them up. They've got to be REAL with people, and just be themselves, and THEN they'll gain a following.

  • I've only experienced #1 and #2, and I find both profoundly irritating. I'm all for authors promoting their books, but tweeting relentlessly about the latest masterpiece is a doomed strategy. Nobody's going to continue reading those tweets.

    As for the auto-DMs, I'm always tempted to unfollow immediately, but I restrain myself. Frankly I find auto ANYTHING on Twitter obnoxious. Auto-following, auto-unfollowing, auto-DMing: why not just get a random text generator to auto-tweet for you? I continue to be shocked by the people who auto-#FF and end up recommending the bots and spammers that they've auto-followed

    Enjoyed your rant–thanks for putting it out there,

  • MAJK says:

    This is a good post for writers new to the overwhelming world of social media. If they just follow what they see on Twitter, FB, Etc then they don't realize they are being rude or annoying. SO while this may be a rant – it's a pretty informative one.

    Write On!


  • Agreed–especially the one with the Auto-DM. I get those on my phone too (have to turn that off)–and that goes for anyone, actually 🙁 Hopefully I'm not guilty of any of any of the above (well, I know I'm not guilty of the DM–NEVER gonna set that up!) xx

  • I've met with them all. But some people just don't know any better or are so hungry for the "get" they'll do anything.

    And no this isn't a rant. It's just a summary of what we all feel.

  • Richard says:

    About the only one I've encountered is #1, and it is horribly annoying. I feel like un-following that person. I've only encountered one person who does that, so far, (I'm new to Twitter), and it's just plain disrespecting to those who have to view it.

  • Extremely annoying. And yes, the #FFs are meant for Friday, not every day of the week. You look at your timeline and skip and skip and skip. Where's the real content or real conversations?

  • I agree with the people who said this wasn't a rant. I think it's a well thought out list of things that irritate many of us.

  • Lori says:

    I agree and have unfriended those who do nothing but tweet thier book or retweet everyone else's. Twitter is not the place to query.

  • mooderino says:

    I think we all encounter some or all of the things you mention, but I'm not sure there's much to be done about it. To be honest I'm surprised there's not even more of it.

    Moody Writing

  • I completely agree… great post! I do like to thank followers with a DM, but it's always personal and NEVER asking to follow me on FB, buy my book, etc. I immediately disregard those (don't they?). One thing to add – am I the only one who despises endless #FFs, #WWs, etc.? I know it's people being nice and while I appreciate the thought, there are simply too many of them! And then, if I thank everyone for the #FFs it looks like I'm spamming. I'd much rather have a conversation with you… even if it's in 140 characters or less.

    Phew, I don't know where that rant came from, but I feel better now ;-). Thanks again for the post.

  • Yes, I think you covered everything on my list of irritating behaviors, too.

  • S. F. Roney says:

    All great points. The internet revolution in publishing is still in its early stages, and as such there are people trying desperately to figure out how to corner a market for themselves. Unfortunately, it can often lead to the bad behavior you noted.

  • jessiebincr says:

    That was a big bowl of awesome with a cherry on top. I hate it when all I see on my feed is the same writer hawking his/her book constantly. I have no books of my own for sale currently, but I do write a blog, and I feel guilty hawking it a couple of times a day, much less a gazillion times an hour. I do keep Twitter as my "writer peeps" platform, and I don't mind hearing about people's books or blogs, but I also like to converse with them. I do message people and say thanks for following, normally, but I refuse to use autofollow or autorespond or whatever that thingie is…it just seems too impersonal. I want to build a platform, yet, but that platform is built of fellow writers and readers that I care about and want to learn from and learn about, and share myself and my work with, but not in a whorish way. Thanks again, excellent post!

  • chickletslit says:

    So glad I'm not the only one who feels like this. I'm all for marketing but when that's all you do all over twitter, I become blind to the tweets – skipping over the content because I'm sure it's going to be another hard sale. Same with the auto tweets when I follow someone. Thanks but I'd rather have the personal touch. Thanks for the blog – it needed to be said.

  • No rants. Just stories. 😀
    Ranting is useless and ruins creative energy.

  • LOL DC!

    I totally agree with about writers who auto DM with links, spam the Twitterverse with blog, book or assorted other articles they may have written, without as much as saying hi to the world in a live tweet. I often wonder if they just don't understand that the rest of us aren't robots…we're real people who actual like a little interaction before you attack us with your greatness.

  • Oh yes these things annoy them hell out of me. I already blogged my rant on them in fact! You can check it out… 😉 Well, I did rant about it anyway but I'm not going to spam you with the link. I think I listed a few other practices that annoyed me too, like sending a welcome DM to someone you aren't following, or worse, a question, because they can't DM you back, and requests to follow back. It's just rude, and (almost worse) it's also STUPID, because it doesn't even work.

  • I agree with all of your points. I would also like to ask you to please read my latest book, which is amazing (I have reminded everyone on FB, Twitter, Google+ and email of this fact). Don't worry. I have already sent the book to your inbox and DM'd you twelve times to remind you it is there.


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