Field of Dreams
Field of Dreams (Image via

People use links like crack on Twitter. Which is great! How else can we find out about all this cool, great stuff? Like charitable causes (seen Caine’s Arcade yet), art, amazing peeps, and yes, great books.

We, as authors, must promote our books. If you build it, they will come. Right?

I’m not disagreeing with you. If you read my last post, you’ll see I give you twenty-five ways to promote besides spamming constant links on Twitter (occasional links – totally cool).

My issue is when it’s all me, me, me. My book, buy me, like me. Who talks like that in real life? (Only self-involved narcissists, whom we will say to at a party, “I’ll be right back. My aardvark is having a pink nail polish emergency,” and we are OUTTA THERE before they double dip another chip.)

On Twitter I call them Twarcissists.

Where it’s especially insidious is in AutoDMs.

Since I started @BadRedheadMedia as an official stream in February, I’ve been asking people what their thoughts are on autoDMs in general for the purposes of writing this post.

“AutoDMs. Suck or not? Your thoughts.”

Most people told me they HATE them with a passion for these reasons:

  • Spammy
  • Impersonal
  • Waste of time to check

That feedback is incredibly valuable and to be honest, not all that surprising. Thank you to everyone who took the time to answer. However, I think what we’re talking about here are actually two different things:

  • AutoDMs with links
  • AutoDMs without links.

Let’s deconstruct.

But first, let’s back up.

DMs: For those unfamiliar with Twitter, what is a DM? It’s a direct message, a private message only you and the person you are tweeting with can see. These do not show up on your timeline with all your other messages, mentions, or your home feed.

AutoDMs: An autoDM is generated by a third-party application (meaning not Twitter) program such as Social Oomph, which welcomes followers. You create these yourself. Most say ‘Thank you for following,’ or something boring like that (more in a moment). People set these up to go out automatically once a follower has followed you.

Why do this? If you are aggressively growing your following, managing several accounts, have a large following, or simply can’t respond to every follow.

TYPES: There are two types of AutoDMs as I mentioned above.

  • Those with links
  • And those without.

1. Without Links: The boring one above that says ‘Hey thanks I’m boring but wanted to be polite so catch ya on the flip side,’ clearly has NO link.

Which is fine. Nice. White bread. And because these are such snoozers, people know it’s not really you and therefore feel cheated. (If it really IS you, let’s chat later about ‘engaging your audience.’)

Confession: Though I’ve mentioned it before so it’s not a big secret – I use auto welcome DMs but NEVER WITH A LINK, because it’s spammy and annoying.

Confession #2: When I asked people above if they thought autoDMs sucked or not, that was an autoDM (no link though. I win!).

The best autoDM welcomes should be conversation starters!

On my personal author @RachelintheOC stream, here’s an example of just one of my welcomes: If a man falls in the forest & no one sees him, did it really happen? #SoMancode

You can bet people talk with me about that.

Okay. It looks like you are still with me, so moving on.

2. AutoDMs with links: These are the ones not only considered bad manners, poor etiquette, and all that doghouse stuff, but well, think of it this way: compare showing someone your link before you’ve ever conversed with them to showing a girl your junk without even a hi- howdy-do. As Gunther says in “Friends” to the dude in shorts without any briefs on, “Hey buddy, this is a family place. Put the mouse back in the house.”

In all seriousness, if you are attempting to sell something (your book, your business, your spiritual or religious beliefs found only on the back of your goat’s tail), please please please, I beg of you, stop spamming people with a link in an AutoDM.

We are inundated with linky spam as it is. You are sick of it. We are sick of it. Even the people with the links in their DMs are sick of it and are complaining about it! And don’t even get me started on TrueTwit (a link to prevent more links…um, what?)

WHAT TO DO? Tweeps are like puppies, especially new tweeps. Read me! Tweet me! RT me! Read my stuff! I’m amazing!!! Buy my book! Like my Facebook page!

Besides needing a lesson in punctuation, they kinda have an excuse. They don’t know any better. But if you’ve been at this awhile, you do. You know better.

So do better.

No matter how terrific a writer you are, you are turning us off. So cool your jets there, tiger.

I know. You need the link crack. I get it.

But you also need help.

I am your intervention.

It’s time for Link Rehab.

  • Remove the link in your autoDM. Go on. You can do it. Sounds like a no-brainer but that’s the first step to admitting you need help.
  • We all clap. You’ve admitted you need help. Yay you!
  • I offer a substitute, if you will. A tricky tip: Add your (up to two) sell links to your Twitter bio. Yuh-huh.
  • Here’s an even better tricky tip: create customized sell links in

Check out my Amazon Mancode link here on my Twitter bio. What’s so great about that? I know exactly how many clicks I get from Twitter to Amazon. (I’ll wait while that sinks in.) Because as we all know, Skynet Amazon provides no data on that. (I’ll wait a bit longer.)

  • Get to know a person. Chit. Chat. Read their stuff. Don’t just shove your naked junk in their mouse house. And stuff.
  • Make people care. Tell a story. Be that person people want to get to know. Not the one we run to our imaginary aardvark to get away from.

Irony: now that you’re sufficiently ready to tell me I’m wrong since it took a link to get you here in the first place, I’ll stop talking and start listening.

Your turn.