The great Paperback Writer has a fabulous post on promotion: Lady RaRa
These are things that annoy me personally and so I refuse to do them.
- E-mail spammer. I once e-mailed an author about coffee, of all things, and later I got an invite to her newsletter. I guess I should be thankful I wasn’t automatically added to her newsletter, right? Never send an uninvited e-mail to a reader solely for promotion. It’s like getting a telemarketer call in the middle of dinner!
- Self nomination. If there’s an award and I’m eligible, I just can’t nominate myself. Ugh. Even the Predators & Editors annual poll — I just can’t put my own books in there. I’m certainly not going to go on every list and public venue I know and beg for votes. It doesn’t mean anything if I do it!
- Review Infomercial. “Review my book favorably on Amazon or Goodreads and I’ll send you a second book for FREE! *fine print: as long as you’ll favorably review it too!!!*” This reminds me of the “but wait, there’s more!” annoying sales infomercials on TV. If you loved my book enough to review it, THANK YOU. If you bothered to give it a few stars somewhere, THANK YOU. The best, most priceless reviews are the honest word-of-mouth ones. Those are the ones people are going to pay attention to and respond to favorably, not the “this book was great, 5++ stars!” in exchange for freebies.
- Blog rapist. Go to another blog or site and post “buy my books” links all over everywhere on a totally unrelated post, forcing myself upon an innocent blogger. Comment, sure. If people are asking for recommendations, that’s different.
- List hijacker. Join reader lists only to post “hello, I’m new, buy my books!”
- Blatant flamer. In other words, “negative attention is just as effective as positive attention.” I swear some authors start a blogwar just for the attention, and it drives me nuts. I abhor that kind of attention and would die if I suddenly found myself in the middle of a nasty blogwar. *shudder*
- Anonymous Fangirl Disguise. For all that’s good and holy in this world, PLEASE do not rave about your own books in the guise of an anonymous fan! Yes, I know people who have done this. Equally repulsive to me is an author encouraging fans to gang attack a reviewer or other site where less than glowing information has been posted. Hey, we all get bad reviews. We all say something stupid and regret it. It’s much easier to wad up a scathing retort and throw it in the trash than live down a blogwar started in the heat of the moment.
- Reader Basher: this one I just totally do not get. I know bestselling lists are important, timing is crucial, etc. but it’s so disrespectful and ungrateful to berate a reader for buying your book: a). too early b). at the wrong store c). in the wrong format. Hello, did you catch the part that you SOLD a BOOK? If a reader bothers to buy my book, THANK YOU. I don’t care where, how, what format, if you found a copy early or you’re reading at home in the bathtub with a plastic baggie to protect your device!
I’m sure over the years I’ve done stupid things out of ignorance. I’ve said too much about a book I didn’t like. I’ve complained about slow response times or whined about rejections. Just remember that once you post something online, it’s out there and available for a very, very long time. In especially juicy blogosphere showdowns, people are going to capture screen prints of your comments or rants.
Remember, too, that “anonymous” will only protect you so far. People can figure out who you are if they’re so inclined. If I’m afraid to put my own name on a comment, then I’m going to think really really hard about whether I should post as anonymous.
What else do authors do as online promotion that drives you nuts?