In most things, there’s a right way, a wrong way, and a whole lot of ways that fall somewhere in between. This is incredibly true with regards to authors promoting themselves. I am not, nor have I ever been, the queen of promo. It’s not instinctive to me, and I fail as often as I succeed. When I don’t do so well, I get up, dust myself off, and try something else. But as many times as I haven’t done it the right way, I am constantly amazed to discover that I haven’t really done it the wrong way either.
You know how I figure this out?
When other authors do it really wrong.
Social media is a wonderful thing. It’s an awesome force to get information to people and laugh and joke and have fun. But lately, more and more people have been abusing it. As an example, a while back I joined a bookish ning thing. It was long enough ago that I’d forgotten about it–completely. Quite honestly, there are too many social media options for me to do them all. If I did, I’d never write. So anyway, I joined this thing. I think I have seven connections on there. Every once in a blue moon (like maybe three times…ever), I’ll get an email from one of them about a book release or something. They’re on my friends list, so I read it, maybe buy, and move on.
This time though, I got an email from someone I’d never heard of. They aren’t on my friends list there, and I can guarantee they never will be. First–and I don’t care if it is your real name–as an author it is deceptive to use a moniker that is very close to a famous author (who is not you). I’ve seen it a few times and it’s irritating every time. Maybe if it’s a lesser known but well-known in certain circles author, it’s not that big a deal, but when J.R. Rowling pops on the scene, you know damn well it’s to confuse people. Don’t do that shit. Sink or swim on your own merits, not by tricking people into reading your stuff.
So I get this email from not-a-famous-author-but-has-a-very-similar name pointing me to a blog post. Already irritated, but curious if maybe I popped onto their email list because it has something to do with one of my books, I click the link. (No, it’s not a virus.) The link takes me to a blog post so far removed from not only my work but anything that could even be remotely attached to my interests…anywhere. So now, I’m irritated and insulted.
Dude, that’s not how you convince me to buy your work, or follow your blog, or do anything to help you. That’s how you get me to rant about your dumb ass use of social media. Because you’re doing it wrong. What you did was the equivalent of a company sneaking into…my library and “borrowing” everyone’s contact information to make telemarketing calls about buying into some new start up company. It’s not the calls that are the problem there–it’s how the information was obtained. I am not your friend. I am not your target audience, and I don’t want to be.
Oh yeah, and one more thing. No matter how hard you try, Dude…you’re not Stephen King.