Foot In The Door Marketing

One thing that is always being discussed ad nauseam in the Twitter Writing Community is marketing. Which is only fair since selling books is what makes authors their money and marketing helps to sell books, right?

One method of marketing – mass DMs with sales pitches – is brought up often. Some people hate them, some people are okay with them. No one seems to love them.

Except the people who send them.

How this works is an author sets a feature on Twitter to automatically DM a marketing pitch about their book to any new followers–as soon as they follow them. A Twitter user sees John Doe, decides to follow him, and within seconds, minutes, hours, or even days (depending on how the author has set up their feature), a marketing pitch is DM’d to the Twitter user who followed them.

In case you are unfamiliar with this method of marketing, it is popular with authors for several reasons. Obviously, marketing like this is virtually free. It’s also very easy and requires very little work on the author’s part. Once the pitch is written and designed, it is set up to automatically be sent out to users who follow them. No more work is really needed after it is set up. This method also helps the author reach a lot of potential readers very quickly and with ease.

In theory, it’s a really great marketing method.

In practice, it can alienate potential readers and existing peers.

It’s cold, calculated, impersonal, and makes followers feel as though the author does not think they are worth personalized communication. If they wanted that, they’d sign up for a newsletter. Additionally, not everyone who follows an author is interested in their writings. Maybe they just think they are funny or had a great interaction in a Twitter thread with them and decided to follow them. Then, they get a DM with a sales pitch, and all goodwill and warm, fuzzy feelings go out the window.

Like it or hate it, this method of marketing is what it is.

A foot in the door.

Not to be confused with Foot In the Door phenomenon, which you can read about here.

However, it is somewhat similar. If the DM gets a reader to engage a little, maybe the author can eventually win them over and convince them to buy their book?

I’ve had a little bit of experience with this marketing method.

I’ve never used it to promote my work, but I’ve been on the receiving end of these DMs.

If I’m being completely honest with you, the reader of this blog, I typically ignore those DMs and delete them. If I’m having a particularly trying day, I might even unfollow the person from whom I received it.

I don’t want my first one-on-one interaction with someone I follow to be them asking me to buy something from them. I like a more personalized marketing approach.

I will admit that once this marketing ploy worked on me. However, it didn’t work the way it was designed to work. I didn’t click on the link in the DM pitch.

Instead, I went to Amazon and looked the book up–because the pitch was really good and I loved the cover of the book. So….I “Looked Inside” the book, and read the first few pages.

What I read was exceptional and spoke to me. So, I bought the book.

If what I had read had been awful, I would have gone back to Twitter, deleted the DM, and possibly unfollowed the person I had received it from, though.

Simply by chance, the author who had sent me the automated DM caught me on a good day, their cover and pitch were excellent, and the sample text convinced me to give the book a try.

Fortunately, the book was an absolute winner. I’m so glad that I decided to give it a chance that day.

Have I done the same thing with automatic DM pitches I’ve received since?


Even considering the fact that the book I gave a chance turned out to be excellent, I know that it is rare for that to happen. And most days those DMs just annoy me.

So, in my opinion, if an author wants to convince me to read their book, DMs are the wrong way to go–unless we are well acquainted.

Instead, an author should tweet engaging things about their work. Have a great cover that catches my eye–and make sure that the sample of their work available to preview on Amazon will make me want to buy it.

Sure, getting a link in a DM that takes you directly to the place to buy the book is convenient…but it doesn’t engage me. It doesn’t really make me trust the author, and it doesn’t give me any idea of what the book is really like.

Some authors have told me that they’ve had great success with this technique. Though, none of them are providing exact sales numbers to quantify or validate those assertions.

So, I can’t really tell an author to do this or not do this. I can only tell you how I see them as a reader.

Personally, I want you to engage me and value me as a reader. Not just see me as a number and a pocketbook.

DMs are for people I am friendly with–not virtual telemarketers.

Tremendous Love & Thanks,