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  1. Great post, Kristen. And I love the sexy Batman shirt. (My wife’s obsession is with Batman and she owns about every DVD and comic book that he’s ever been in.)

    And regarding the post, I hope — for the sake of my sanity and my Twitter feed — that a LOT of authors read this. It sounds rude, but I no longer “follow” authors after they follow me. I’ve just had so many send me obnoxious private — and pre-typed — direct messages afterward that I’ve learned in almost every case (at least on Twitter) that they’re not following me to get to know me or connect. They’re following me to promote their works.

    So, I’ve stopped following them back, and if they want to get to know me and interact some, they can follow my blog and we can have a more normal — non-140-character-limit — conversation. : )

    1. Crap. Why am I always the first the post. I even tried to delay my response and assumed that with the “likes” above others would have beaten me by the time I typed all of that out. (I may ban myself from commenting here for a while.)

      1. Why??? I LOVE eager folks like you :D.

        1. Hah! Yeah, but I don’t want to appear obnoxious, like what you described above. The truth is though that I hate for my e-mail to pile up, and then once I’ve read an article, I want to get my thoughts down before they slip away — assuming the article made me think something, which yours always seem to do. : )

  2. Great advice! You know I tend toward the Super Secret Susan, but no aliases or hidden names here–Thanks to you. 😉

  3. Reblogged this on K. Crumley rambles on… and commented:
    Well Said. I definitely have that Super Secret Susan persona….

    • Liz on December 5, 2012 at 10:01 am
    • Reply

    I also am of the not-auto-following vein. I was inundated with auto tweets from several authors that liked to tweet the same thing hourly. If I didn’t want to buy the book the first hour, I sure as heck didn’t twenty-four tweets later! What made me feel even stranger still, was that when I unfollowed said authors, I discovered that were griping about anyone that unfollowed their awesomeness. Well, thanks a crap load. I’ve noticed a lot of authors post on twitter about how they “discover” that people don’t follow them back, so they unfollow them. Personally, I am looking for quality, not quantity. I follow people because I like them personally or professionally or I care about the same things that they do. I don’t follow people because they follow me and I hope that people who do follow me, do so because they actually give a half-a-hoot about what I say.

    I belong to a group on goodreads that is for readers and authors, and the head of the group had to ask authors to stop self-promoting because they were flooding the discussion groups with multiple posts of the same stuff. It’s sad that it even had to be said. There are those that don’t know that there’s a time and place for self-promotion, and shoving yourself and your books down people’s throats doesn’t do anything but piss everyone off. I have never bought a book because someone smacked me in the head with it ten times, and I feel the same about multiple posts.

    It’s refreshing to read your POV, and I really enjoy your humor and advice.

  4. I sure HOPE I am somewhere between Obnoxious Ollie and Super Secret Susan. 🙂

    Seriously, it makes me wonder why some people find this so difficult to understand. If you wouldn’t act a certain way at a party, in person, why would you do it online? Maybe one day you can write a post (if you haven’t already) about the mentality of an Obnoxious Ollie and what makes them think they’re going to be successful with that technique. Also, sometimes I wonder, ARE they? Do they sell more books that way? I can’t believe it works, so why do they keep doing it?

  5. Indeed, and I believe we’ve all bragged of freaked in our unexpected achievements sometimes. But hopefully common sense kicks in and we stop. Or they eventually find your blog.

    I use a 5 to one rule. I have to have RT or tweeted about other things for everytime I mention my book.

    It’s just a personal measure. Seems to work.

  6. An excellent post. I have worried about where the balance is, and you have provided all the info I need. I am going to put your link on the San Antonio Writers Guild Facebook page.

  7. I’m more of the super secret Susan. It even matches my name. I’m so shy even on social media but I’m working on it. Your post always give me something to think about.

  8. Your message is well stated and well organized! Great advice!

  9. Lady Kristen

    The thing about bragging is, you sort of have to have something to brag about. Which lets me off the hook at least (unless it’s my gold medal in the ‘didn’t you used to have hair?’ Olympics, or being the first on my block to have to measure my waistline in yards 🙁 ).
    Buy maybe that’s not the thing. Maybe we should wonder _why_ we want to brag.
    I was talking once with, well with somone I’ll leave nameless :-). And they were about to go to an interview for a job they wanted. Now, they had an edge. They’d worked with the company interviewing them before. And, having an outside perspective, they could see ways to really help that company get better. They even had a list they were going to use as the basis for the interview.
    A list. Of how bad the company was at doing things. Riiiight.
    “Yes, Mr Hiring Manager. Actually, I’d like to show you why you’re, um, kind of dumb. And how I’m smarter than you. And why you really need me to save you from your dumb-ish-ness.”
    Er – maybe not. Maybe:
    “When I was fortunate enough to work with your company, I was really impressed with how you (insert good things they did here). I’d love to be able to bring my experience in (insert things you know they did less well here, but don’t say they weren’t good at it :-P) and be part of your ongoing success.”
    When we brag, even if it’s justified, we tend to be bragging to a mix of people. And some of those people will be people trying (and potentially failing) to be good at the things we’re busy bragging about having achieved.
    And they’ll hate us for it.
    Well, actually, they’ll hate all of you. I’ve got that whole ‘nothing to brag about’ thing going on (blush). But remember, I’m an Idiot :-).
    If we’re bragging to make our own selves feel better – don’t tweet it. Send ourselves an email. Heck, if we’re really smart, we can even fake the From address to make it work even better :-). But if we’re bragging to try to be remembered? Er – in a good way?
    Maybe that’s when we shouldn’t brag. Maybe what we’re really trying to do is be ‘sticky’ (with apologies to Lady Kristen for stealing from her past posts and wisdom 🙂 ).
    I believe Abraham Lincoln is said to have once said – ‘The louder he protested his innocence, the faster we counted the spoons.’ And maybe bragging falls into the same category. But, as ever, you’re right. We do indeed all like to brag sometimes. So when I find the urge on me, I’ll brag about some of the incredible and talented friends I’ve made in the writing world. But I won;t name them here. The list would be too long, and forcing them to admit they know me would ruin their street-cred :-).

    The Idiot
    Jack’s Shadow

  10. THANK YOU for mentioning how bragging about money and sales is just GAUCHE. It infuriates me when I see it on Facebook and I tend to blank those people from my feed. I agree, contest wins and such are good news and should be mentioned – ONCE.

    You are total awesomesauce. HUGS!!!

  11. Awesome!

  12. Thank you for sharing your experience and advice. I’m learning a lot from your blog and have begun reading it faithfully. Per your current topic, I haven’t figured out a way to gracefully link to your blog from my site because I’ve been keeping a low profile as the writer of the site, letting my character own it. Perhaps it’s time to re-design or come out of the closet. Per your last post, I am built like you, only shorter and squattier with Africanesque thighs and behind, though I am also white. My solution is to hang out more with ethnic people. 🙂 You go, girl!

  13. Kristin, I always enjoy your blogs and so thankful for a place to learn how to navigate this wide world of social media. It is so true that in an effort to avoid being “obnoxious Ollie”, it is so easy to slip into super secret Susan. Somewhere in between (closer to Susan, it think) lies the authenticity and joy of just being real. It is a relief to see that I don’t have to become someone else to sell, promote or irritate the snot out of all my friends to let them know that I love to write and have words that they can read. Thank You!

    • Carson on December 5, 2012 at 11:12 am
    • Reply

    Hi Kristen,

    I’m not an author but I like your advice. I think a few of my friends would do well to listen to what you have to say. I’ll see how far I can spread the word.

  14. Oh yah, seen Ollie out and about. LOL

    A couple blogs I’ve liked lately have highlighted personal experiences, so they highlight the successes they’ve had as well as setbacks on their journey to publication or promotion of their book. It becomes the real story, not just a brag story. I appreciate the writer’s advice then.

  15. Reblogged this on Saffi's musings over darkness & light (SMoD&L) and commented:
    Awesome, as usual!

  16. Thanks! You pretty much listed off all my biggest pet peeves….along with some very good advice.

    • Dee on December 5, 2012 at 11:35 am
    • Reply

    I love this blog! I’m very selective as to which blogs I subscribe to, but I’m so glad I chose yours. You always give great information

  17. Reblogged this on Dorcas Graham's Writers' Hub and commented:
    This is an awesome blog for writers and those aspiring to be writers!

  18. Reblogged this on Southern Chick and commented:
    Kristen Lamb’s books on social networking are one of the reasons I have this blog to begin with. Super friendly and just as nice in person, Kristen is a (friendly) force to be reckoned with in the writing community. Follow her blog and you will learn a lot!

  19. I can completely understand people being excited about doing well, publishing, all that, but nothing will make me run screaming from a blog faster than the realization that I just signed up to be spammed by the author on purpose.

    I’ve been seeing this as a recurring theme on writing blogs and my Google+ circles. The fastest way to lose your audience is to be an ad robot… I agree that Super Secret Susan is at least not annoying the crap out of anyone.

    Now let’s hear some examples of “Perfect Paula”, the author who balances social media well…

    • Cris on December 5, 2012 at 11:57 am
    • Reply

    I really like the analogy of Twitter as cocktail party. I’m a reasonably well-socialized person offline, but sometimes when online I understand what crippling social anxiety feels like – what am I supposed to say? how do I say it? am I really allowed to @ somebody I don’t know? what if I do something wrong? what if the WHOLE internet HATES me!?!

    Um, yes. So thanks for the heads up, and I’m going to work on poking my head out of my online gopher hole more often.

  20. Brilliant post. I read that when we hear gossip, we tend to associate negativity with the gossiper more so than the gossip-ee. Bragging about ourselves functions similarly, or opposite…? 😉 When we brag about others, people like us more. Plus, it feels good and gets the karma ball rolling in the right direction. I don’t believe we should brag about others disingenuously, but lifting those we love up is simply awesome on all levels.

  21. Great post, Kristen. I don’t think you’re being old-fashioned and hope that all writers read it. Whenever I was a kid, my dad would always tell me: ‘Never tell anyone how much money you make. There will always be people who work just as hard and make less and will feel bad, and people who make more and will look down on you.’ I consider that to be the truth, and I’m stickin’ to it.

    I try not to be brag-y (not that I’m a super-star or anything, anyway!). I *never* talk about how many books I’ve sold or how much money I’ve made from them. Frankly, I would feel embarrassed. And I dislike when others do it. There have been a few occasions though when I’ve shared with my social media friends when I’ve made certain best-seller lists, because it was very exciting to me and I wanted to share my happiness and my gratitude. I hope I wasn’t too brag-y on those occasions.

  22. Try sharing a live, actual book event with Obnoxious Ollie. Oh my word. They suck online, but at least you can block them! Great advice!

  23. I like to think of myself as a Connector. It’s the yenta in me. That said, everyone should check out @amberwest! She is a wonderful thriller available via Amazon. I say this because she is a bit of a Secret Susan. But seriously, she’s worth your time. If you don’t believe me, go check out her blog first. Google Amber West. 🙂 She’s going to kill me!

    1. Ha!! You are fantastic, Renee.

      ::ducks back into my cave of SEEKRETS::

  24. Why is this not a real genre? I WOULD READ IT: “Men’s Midget Sci-Fi Steampunk Romance Category.” Or really any Steampunk Romance.

  25. I think these are great guidelines! So far I haven’t seen too much bragging, just a lot of promotion for the same book over and over and over.

  26. Great post. You cracked me up. Hopefully I’ll be one of those people that you learn to like. 🙂 Thanks for the perspective.

  27. When I first published, I had gone to social media classes through writing conferences, writing groups, and also the Small Business Administration that all said ‘post on all social media forums.’ So I did … perhaps about three times before I realized all my friends were quietly unfriending me and stopped returning my phone calls. ‘But what am I doing wrong?’ I asked. After all, all the geniuses who write blogs, publish ‘how to market’ books, writers groups, writers conference classes, and the Small Business Administration (I mean … c’mon … the SBA!) said to do it! I quickly learned to ignore what others said and moderate what I posted/when/to who. Maybe some dude sold a million books overnight on Twitter, but personally I -hate- getting spammed with stuff. ‘Do as you would like done to you’ seems to be the name of the game. (In other words, ignore the blog experts, Writers Digest, the how-to-market book people, the writers conferences, and the SBA … listen to your gut).

  28. I’m glad you mentioned the Secret Susan’s – I’ve read work from some super talented people that a are so afraid of being Ollie’s you barely know they are out there!

  29. Great column. I loved the line, “I”m so sorry your Aunt Myrtle passed on. Well, not to brag, but my book has helped people cope with grieving.” I’ve never come across one that bad, but I’v seen plenty of ones that are similar in principle.

  30. Great advice! I’m not always active in social media, I tend to kind of wax and wane with work schedules and overtime. When I do hop on, I like to connect with WANA peeps, and I have certain blogs, like this one 🙂 that I follow and RT regularly because I trust them. I think I may be a bit of a Secret Susan because I’m not always a regular poster, and I don’t have any books out yet. My husband is in the music industry, and they call the person who calls day of show to ask “Hey man, can you put me and 10 friends on the list so we can get in for free?” That Guy. No one wants to be That Guy.

  31. Great post Kristen. I’m glad I’m more like Secret Susan. I agree that bragging and too much promotion or just talking about “me” all the time gets stale. And I think it loses followers.

  32. I confess! I’m a super secret Susan. I hate all these people who brag and brag about how wonderful they are and how their books are the best thing since Shakespeare and so hate the thought of becoming like them that I tend not to market at all!

  33. Oh Kristen, you’ve found me out – the secret Susan (you got the name right!) Problem is, it’s been instilled in me since I was learning to crawl that I. Do. Not. Brag. Is this being a Brit syndrome? Thanks for this post, it made me laugh and it’s so important at the same time.

  34. Spot on blogpost, Kristen. It’s hard to find a middle ground, especially if you tend to be a Secret Susan by nature. But we live in a different world, and being shy doesn’t really work. On the other hand, blowing your own horn definitely works against you. I completely agree that the Law of Reciprocity does work. It’s good Karma. Just be a good person. People can tell and they’ll like and support you for it. Just like they can spot an a$$ a mile away.

  35. Now, I am famous for my name has appeared in your blog. It’s been one of those days but a #mywana tweet from @GivensJanet told me of my fame; at least five times this morning I started to read your post….

    You have given me a moment that I will never forget, Kristen. This old woman is overcome with joy and awash in tears of gratitude. It was your original blogging class that gave me the courage and foundation to become a blogger; your current blogging class is teaching me to put some spit and polish to my blog. You have such an unparalleled facility for explaining social media, truly a gift, and one that you share so generously in your blog posts with humor and heart. I admire you a great deal.

    But today, you gave me a reason for tomorrow. Thank you, my friend.

      • Karen McFarland on December 5, 2012 at 6:31 pm
      • Reply

      I second Kristen’s emotion. That was like receiving a great big hug. Karen, I’m sure that you deserved the mention. You are a lovely person and a fine writer. 🙂

    1. And I will third, Karen. You are such a supportive, gracious person, your fame is well deserved.

  36. This is fantastic, Kristen!
    There have been times when I’ve avoided Twitter because all I ever see there is loads of the not so nice examples of people tooting their own very loud and obnoxious horns. You got the tone of their tweets perfectly in the beginning of your post.
    But I always come back to twitter, because there are also many people who share the love, too. Those are the people I try and follow, and the ones I toot about whenever I can.
    When you mentioned someone having two or three Twitter personalities I almost choked on my grapefruit juice. It never occurred to me that someone might do that.
    How rude!
    I really enjoyed this post, Kristen!
    Thanks for your wisdom and have a great evening 🙂


    And P.S. I don’t think you’re old fashioned at all. In fact, you’re pretty darn awesome 🙂

  37. Should I ever (yeah, I know, patience young grasshopper) have sales or review worth bragging about, I will keep this in mind, lol.

    Seriously, I am not quite the silent type, but I do struggle with what constitutes as bragging and what’s just good marketing so while I may mention I have three books that I’ve published, I rarely say more than that. I need to find that balance, that golden middle ground.

    Thanks as usual for the solid guidance.

  38. I really enjoyed this week’s post and I laughed at the eye rolling part. As a new freelance writer just beginning to use the social network, I find your tips extremely helpful.

  39. Very good rules. Question though, when does actual marketing fall under that? I get three message from three avenues about the fact that a person is making their book free on the weekend. When is it too much?

  40. Reblogged this on "CommuniCATE" Resources for Writers and commented:
    My apologies for being away all this week. It’s been insane and getting even crazier! My Big Red Button blog post explains it all. In the meantime, if you ever need common sense advice or support, you can’t go past Kristen and the MyWANA tribe! This is a great post Kristen has just blogged. I lean too much towards the Susan type. Where do you fit? Cheers everyone and thank you so much for the many messages of support.

  41. I started unfollowing on twitter the Obnoxious Ollies and Olliettas last week. The constant bombardment of self promotion was swamping the feed and bumping all those people who actually had something worthwhile to say. The tweets, retweets, tweets about 5* reviews, retweets of retweets. A waste of time.

  42. Great post! 😀

  43. Someone on an agent’s page asked her whom she would recommend to help her develop an author’s platform. I messaged her on FB and recommended her. Do I get my name in the hat again?

    1. Sure :D. Thanks for the support *hugs*

  44. Question: How much is too much when posting upcoming book signings on Facebook? I still receive plenty of “likes” and “shares” from book signing posts (accompanied by a jpeg of the cover). But I’m wondering if that’s wearing thin, or if friends are simply reading through the posts now. When I saw your comments about being careful about how you brag, it made me wonder if posting my signings was, indeed, a form of bragging … Thoughts?

  45. It is such a tough balance. I actually hate to talk about myself and my stuff. But, I love to spread the word about other’s stuff. So, I try to spend a lot of time spreading other’s writer’s news, then when I mention mine, I don’t feel nearly so obnoxious.

  46. Great post as always, Kristen. I have just been having a discussion with another writer about how many times we should tweet about our books. He is of the mind that we should send out twenty or more a day. Whew! I get tired just thinking about doing that. I agree with Liz who commented, “If I didn’t want to buy the book the first hour, I sure as heck didn’t twenty-four tweets later!”

    I have never been comfortable with that approach to promoting on social media, and am glad to see that my discomfort was not misguided. I liked what you advised about using social media to announce important events, like a new release or a great review, but only mentioning it once.

  47. Kristen: I’ve honestly enjoyed all of your work that I’ve been able to read so far, but this one is my personal favorite. I’ve been struggling with the art of self-promotion for months and this is the first time I’ve felt a sense of hope.

    I actually stopped reading a certain author’s blog because he closed out every single post with a prolonged bragging session. This gentleman has earned the right to brag about his accomplishments, but I found myself getting sick and tired of the same “commercial” within every post. It probably didn’t help that I’ve been struggling myself. Either way, I hate having to deny myself reading pleasure, but I simply couldn’t stand to read his work any longer. I still can’t.

    You know your stuff, Kristen Lamb; you dispense advice that is grounded in reality and it always comes from the heart.

  48. I was the Super Secret Susan…but I just read your Blogging book and got some great ideas in it. Now I need to read the other one. I just put my name on my blog header (first step to not being super secret agent writer).

  49. Epic post. This is something for me to remeber when I finally publish.

  50. You’ve inspired me to clean out the Ollie’s in my Twitter feed. A great post, Kristen. Have a great weekend.

  51. I hope to be in-between when the time comes. I do try and support others, but there again, you have to be careful your not irritating other people with too many tweets about how wonderful such and such a book is. At the moment, blogs are a big retweet for me as I love relaying good info to others!! And hopefully, by reading it, they’ll want to discover the blog’s author’s books.

    • lynettemburrows on December 9, 2012 at 10:16 am
    • Reply

    As always, terrific post. I wish I could shove this post under some folks’ noses, but then the Obnoxious Ollies rarely recognize themselves. And sadly, I’ve had to deal with that type at cocktail parties and conventions. Some people are just that clueless. But for some people it’s a matter of not thinking things through. Keep posting about this, Kristen, your making an impact one tweeter (or is that twit) at a time.

  52. Reblogged this on Joshua Lisec.

  53. Wow, if I was a writer I would hang out here and participate all the time. But I’m learning about the craft and do a little of it on my blog. Took a class last year and am trying to cram in some time for it.
    I do have a question, though. My blog is more of a photography blog with quotes. I’ve been told by many to begin marketing my photography, like offering framed works or getting into greeting cards. Love your advice about the branding and shyness. I am shy Susan and am trying harder to be brave. Anyway, being the artist type I’m not savvy at all about business. Is there any blog you recommend for me to get into this market?
    Another option is to advertise. I have several businesses who would like to put a link on my blog. But again, the artist in me wants to keep my blog “clean looking”.
    Any help is appreciated. And I will link back to your blog or put you on my blogroll list.

  54. Super Secret Susan is definitely out there. Sometimes I go on a writer’s blog, and I have to hunt down who the person is like I’m participating in a scavenger hunt or searching for the Holy Grail. Great points, Kristen!

  55. This is quite possibly my favorite post of yours to date. At least until the next one. 😉

    • Monica Britt on December 21, 2012 at 4:50 pm
    • Reply

    This is so simple and common sense! Thank you. I would tend to be a Super Secret Susan, so I’ll continue to challenge myself to be more personable!

  56. Seems the same principles that made people effective in the physical world are the same principles that make us effective in cyberspace.

  57. Thank you mentioned a good approach to this topic

  1. […] Nobody likes a braggart, but all of us want to brag…at least a little. As we writers move into the Digital Age publishing paradigm, we often find ourselves in the position of having to market…  […]

  2. […] read with interest this article by Kristen Lamb entitled ‘How Can We Brag Without it KILLING Our On-Line Credibility?‘ which discussed the issue of Obnoxious Ollies and Super Secret Susans.  Obnoxious Ollie […]

  3. […] Our platform is mostly online these days. Henneke Duistermaat shows how to draw in blog readers using the 7 psychological triggers to fascination, while Kristen Lamb explains how we can brag online without being obnoxious. […]

  4. […] How Can We Brag Without it KILLING Our On-Line Credibility? […]

  5. […] How Can We Brag Without It KILLING Our On-Line Credibility by Kristen Lamb. […]

  6. […] How Can We Brag Without Killing Our On-line Credibility by Kristen Lamb. […]

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