I don't usually do snarky rants, but this particular subject has been gnawing at me for a while. At what point does fundraising become tacky self-promotion? I've seen this more than once, and it bugs me. Here's the latest example from a message board: A small press author is "raising money" for the tsunami victims by donating a small amount of money for every copy of his book purchased from Amazon during this month. If the book makes it into Amazon's top 100 bestseller list during the month, he will donate an additional $100.
So I'm wondering-- is it ever right to use fundraising as a promotional tactic? This kind of thing can get an author noticed (a romance author might get herself mentioned in RT for doing this, for example), and obviously this author is hoping it will net him some sales he wouldn't ordinarily get, along with the "Amazon bestseller" label. This might make it good promotion. But is it right?
I suspect it wouldn't bother me much if the author were supporting a charity he had long been personally interested in, because it wouldn't seem so much as if he were trying to cash in on someone else's misfortune. But the tsunami disaster was such a horrific event that it really irritates me to see people using it as a vehicle for self-promotion. It also occurs to me that this wouldn't bother me so much if the post had been made by a major author, because I wouldn't question his or her motives so much-- if you're already a bestseller, then I can believe in the purity of your intentions that much more easily. Maybe that's not fair, but it's a matter of appearances... I find it difficult to see any speck of genuine altruism in this guy's effort to "raise funds."
Am I being way too sensitive here?