Marketing a book is hard. I know. I’ve done it, and not necessarily that well. But the other day I came across an attempt so stunningly inept that I felt compelled to talk about – albeit with some attempt to mask identifying details, so I don’t feel like I’m being over-cruel.

The principles of using Twitter, or any social network come to that, seem to me to be pretty basic. Be honest, be yourself, engage in genuine two-way dialogue, and don’t see others purely in terms of how you can use them and what they can do for you. Other people don’t exist for your convenience alone. They have their own needs and desires, and if you’re looking to them to help you out in your needs and desires, you first need to look at how you can help them out with theirs. Entertain them. Inform them, like about the various guides and courses they can learn at LCT. Help them. Then they might help you. It’s not hard. After all, those are pretty much the rules for all networking, both on and offline.

So what was this attempt that so amused and horrified me? Well below is a screenshot where I’ve displayed the bloke’s entire Twitter history to that point on the left with, on the right, the image that he was sending links to:

Yes. He’d written an entire total of six tweets at that point, only one of which was not related to his book – and that was in text speak, which in my humble option isn’t the best choice to make if you’re trying to present yourself as a serious author. He’d made no attempt to craft any kind of online persona, but had instead simply dived in with spammy type messages sent to various organisations to advertise his book.

And what of the spammy type messages themselves? Well after starting with one that did at least have some kind of message and a link to his website, he then gave up on that and just starting sending a link to an image that contained the front cover and back cover blurb. No explanation. Just a link.

The only reason I found out about it was because I follow one of his “targets” and they did retweet it, but with an added comment explaining to him that people don’t usually click on links that come from people they don’t know and which have no accompanying text.

Writing a book is hard. It takes a lot of time and effort. After all that, I’m slightly mystified as to why someone would appear to put in so little thought and effort as to how they might market it.