Saturday, April 2, 2011

How not to promote

Lately there's an influx of new authors on Amazon who are frankly a bit aggravating. The Amazon boards go through these cycles, of course, but that knowledge doesn't stop me from grinding my molars together when I read these posts. It's irritating enough when new authors come on and spam numerous threads/forums with their ads (I'm not talking about the legitimate promo threads, but either starting their own threads or posting on threads that have no real relation to their book). But that isn't so bad if the authors just fade into the woodwork afterward.

But these authors do not just fade away. When people complain, they don't respond politely, "Oh, I'm sorry to have annoyed you" and go away quietly. No... they insist they have a right to promote (one of them actually invoked the Constitution in his arguments. Seriously), and they will argue for endless pages about their supposed rights. At some point they'll abandon all pretenses at courtesy, and will then dismiss the forum members (who are, I hardly need to point out, the readers to whom they are trying to sell their books) as cyberbullies, and pull out the motheaten whine about how indie writers have to post on forums because no one pays attention to them otherwise. And no matter how many times people advise them to take a break from the keyboard, and warn them that the tantrums and whining are not helping their career, they just... will... not... shut... up. Their threads go on and on, getting nastier with every post.

I honestly do not get this behavior. What's more important to you-- selling books, or getting in the last word? Because to me, it looks like authors who behave this way are a lot more concerned about being "right" than about selling books.

If you really want to sell books, be polite no matter what, don't insult your readers, don't whine about how hard it is to get noticed, and in general don't irritate the hell out of people. All of that seems completely obvious to me, but alas, it's clearly not obvious to a few writers out there.


  1. I hope most normal, socially adjusted people would agree with you!

    I suppose the 'hard sell' works for some - or is it just that they don't have the imagination to engage with the people they're trying to sell to? Or, let's face it, the time?

    There's no excuse for rudeness, but I've noticed many seem to get carried away with the anonymity afforded by the Internet.

    Have you seen the blog post where the author of a book reviewed by the blogger commented and went off the rails? Tragically, it's gone viral. Can't remember her name, but it depresses me to think how many thousands of people have seen this troll's comments; they say no publicity is bad :-(