Thursday, July 8, 2010

Amazon drama

On Amazon, there are a couple of raging threads going on about author behavior. One was started by someone who said authors shouldn't post threads to promote a book (Amazon eventually deleted his post, which may or may not tell us something about Amazon's opinion on the subject). The thread then drifted into debating what's appropriate for authors (as usual, most people prefer authors who actually interact on the threads, and will put up with less from authors who post nothing but advertisements).

Another one, on the romance forum, is more direct: Why the hostility towards authors? It's been fairly calm till yesterday, when an author or two started playing the woe-is-us card-- we're artists! We just want to make money like anyone else, and you won't let us! You all HATE us! (And I'm directly quoting that last; one author is saying repeatedly that "writers are hated.") IMHO, this is not the best way to win friends and influence people. Don't tell people on a board that they're creating a hostile atmosphere, don't whine about how hard a writer's life is, and for heaven's sake, don't tell people they're big meanieheads (or words to that effect). If you find a place unbearably hostile (and personally, I haven't had a lot of trouble on the Amazon boards), then don't harangue the regulars-- just leave.

Another dumb author trick is getting a lot of discussion over on amazon-- some author harvested email addies from Kindleboards and is now emailing people, asking if they like the Kindle (and conveniently including a large ad for his book at the bottom of his email). Problem is, it's generic enough that it does appear to be spam, and a lot of readers don't really like being directly approached by authors they don't know. So people asked about it on the Amazon boards, and in discussing it they've realized it's just an ad. This has annoyed a lot of people.

The interesting twist to this is that it's not an indie author, but an author published with Warner who has over fifty Amazon reviews, and even a Publishers Weekly review. Why he thought it would be a good idea to spam random readers, I can't imagine (although the book is a few years old, so maybe he's trying to get interest sparked in it again). But the funniest part is that the link to his book at the bottom of his email doesn't work:-).


  1. I have skimmed the 'why the hostility towards authors' thread. I posted early in it, then backed out. I still get updates, but I've only glanced at those. I wondered why some of the posters who had seemed reasonable early in the thread now sound so hostile. Guess they were responding to the whiners. Can't blame them for the hostility really.

    The spammer, glad you mentioned that. I got an email today and was going to write back that I don't actually own a Kindle. Glad I can just ignore him now. :-)

  2. That thread just went weird. Sometimes that happens. I think it's mostly one author who's driven it in a strange direction (I have no clue what Britney Spears has to do with authors), and people are reacting angrily to him/her. Sometimes I post early in those threads too, but when you start seeing them go ugly, it's best to just back away slowly.

    I wondered if the spammer was a spammer, too. I noticed he didn't actually use my name, so I was suspicious. But when a bunch of people mentioned being contacted by him, it was clear what he was up to. I guess maybe he doesn't realize people talk about this stuff?