Twitter Bombing: Will You Stand Up?

professionalism (the dictionary project)


I am writing again on professionalism—or lack thereof—in indie publishing because yet another incident of malice and unprofessionalism has reared its ugly head. I will write about the ugliness of the handful of unprofessional indie authors I have encountered or heard about until I am blue in the fingers. Why? Because their negative behavior affects EVERYONE in the industry.

Unlike authors who traditionally publish, an indie author’s unprofessional behavior is assumed to be a reflection of how all indie authors behave. Bad behavior gives ammunition to those who are most critical of indie authors and publishers.

Today, an acquaintance and fellow book reviewer posted on Facebook that someone had gone through the expense—of both money and and time—to purchase fake followers to spam her Twitter account. It should be noted that these “followers” are bots, not real people or real accounts. But, nonetheless, they all must be reported. What does this mean for her? Twitter can deactivate her account, she can be accused of purchasing the fake followers herself, which is a violation of Twitter’s Terms of Service, and she may also have to close her account entirely as a result of what is perceived as “spammy” behavior.

She went from 5,000 legitimate followers to more than 16,000 in a matter of one day. More than likely, this was done to her so that she could be accused of padding her Twitter account, which, in turn, is an attack on her professional reputation. I have seen this type of attack happen four times in the two years I’ve been writing The Author CEO, and this time I had to write about it. While we can only speculate who did this and why, my message remains the same: Authors who participate in any kind of malicious, negative behavior are unprofessional.

naomiism 4

Rachel Thompson wrote the post Authors are A**Holes for the Huffington Post. While her post primarily discusses tactical marketing efforts for the indie author, the initial paragraphs address author a**hole behaviors. Purchasing dummy Twitter accounts to maliciously attack another author or indie publishing professional definitely fits into the a**hole category.

As a result of the attack, this woman has invested money she wouldn’t otherwise have spent to remove the fake Twitter “followers.” She will also have to temporarily shut down her Twitter account until she gets it cleaned up. Never mind the time that she invested to ensure that the dummy accounts were removed—time she could have spent on other tasks, such as completing book reviews for other authors. Yet, I hear no public outrage by authors about what has been done to her.

A couple of weeks ago, Wise Ink published a blog post that focused on the need to have more book reviewers open up to reviewing indie published books. While I disagreed with their post on several levels, my comment on the post focused on the negative behaviors of some authors that made myself as a reviewer cautious about accepting indie books for review unless I was familiar with the author or was referred to by another author who could attest for the professionalism of the author of the book I was being asked to review.

If an author does not realize that their negative behaviors affect the industry as a whole, then it becomes an indie industry problem to address the issue. I saw people express outrage over the incident on the reviewer’s Facebook page, but there was no public outcry for what had occurred. As an industry, we say we condemn bullying to the highest degree. Isn’t this a despicable form of bullying? Yet, as an industry, those who should be the loudest . . . are the quietest.


When I was working to write this post, an author friend of mine told me that I even though I am right, some authors in the industry are afraid to take a stand against the handful of authors who participate in bullying and/or retaliatory behavior. But isn’t that how most bullies thrive? Because no one stands up to them. No one confronts the bullying behavior.

When do we stand up? When do those of us who strive to produce quality work and who act professionally tell those who don’t that we will no longer tolerate anything less than the highest level of professionalism? The answer? Now.

Comment here!


  1. The bigger problems is that Amazon, Twitter, FB, and GoodReads(owned by Amazon) do nothing to remove the trolls, nor do they take the time to help an author who’s account has been attacked. They’re not like a credit card company who looks a “normal and usual” activity of someone’s account. Social Media outlets say you’re guilty until you can prove your innocence in some way. I don’t know if they simply don’t care, or they’re hit with tons of other problems.

    • The industry needs to address the behavior that is occurring in the first place.

      In my ever so humble opinion, even if the social media outlets came in and hand held every author that this occurred to, the industry’s silence gives a pass to authors to participate in this type of behavior. If we, as an industry held tough to professional industry standards and were to hold those authors accountable who make our job more difficult, the author who participates in this type of behavior would be less likely to do so due to fear of reprisal by their fellow authors.

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