So as you all know, lately I’ve been thinking a lot about promotion. Where to place ads, get interviews, do chats. What gives the most bang for the buck? What gives the best impression?
I worry a lot about what kind of impression I’m giving. I worry about readers seeing my name somewhere and thinking, “Oh God, not HER again, why won’t she shut up?”
There’s a feeling, I think, especially in the ebook and romance communities, that anything we do to promo ourselves is a good thing. And to some extent I buy into that, although I have over the last few years seen some techniques that obviously backfire–spam, either through emails or IMs or whatever. The recent brouhaha over spamming an editor’s blog made me wonder if some enterprising writer out there hasn’t had the idea already of going to random lj/Blogger/WordPress/Typepad/Vox/whatever accounts and posting comments about their books.
Of course, we’ve also had the “sockpuppet” discussions over at Miss Snark, coupled with some of the latest controversy about how responsible authors are for what happens in their online forums (my answer: pretty responsible, but I don’t know the whole story, only one side of it, so can’t say whether the author in question should be censured as she is being for it. At least some of the story is up over at Smart Bitches.)
But after my chat at FAR on Saturday (which was a lot of fun) I started wandering around cyberspace. I had a terrible cold–I’m still not feeling great–and couldn’t sleep, so I was downstairs on the computer for hours, just looking at websites (authors and readers) and blogs, etc.
Something left…a bad taste in my mouth. I’m not sure if this is really something that would bother anyone else, or what, so I’m very interested to know what you think.
Author does a guest blog on a medium-popularity group blog (of which there are hundreds, and no I won’t tell you who or which blog). Author’s blog entry is in essence a little short story–very short, like 500 words or so. Author lets it be known far and wide that she has blogged.
Now let’s be honest here for a second before I egt to the meat of it. We all blog as part of promotion. Yes, I have made some wonderful friends here, and that makes me happy. I would keep blogging even if I didn’t have work to promote. But I do have stuff to promote, and my website and blog are part of that. So I do know that authors blog to garner readers. We blog to get attention (mainly because it’s a way to get attenton without having to actually put some decent clothes on and meet people).
So I found the entry hours after it was posted, and there was an outstanding number of replies to said blog entry. I mean, really a stupid amount. How on earth did she get so many replies to such a short little entry? (I should mention here I’m not a fan of the story blog entry anyway. I read blogs to find out about what my favorite authors and friends think and do. I feel cheated when all I get is little fiction clips–which isn’t to say I don’t enjoy them once in a while, I’m talking about blogs devoted to stories.) Anyway.
I start reading the comments. And my interest quickly turns to…something else.
In essence, it looks to me like the friends of the blogging author showed up and started posting interview questions in the comments. The first ten comments were solidly other writers asking things like, “Wow, how did it feel to get such a great review at X site?” or “When is your next book coming out?”
A few readers (as far as I could tell) posted. One asked a question. Shortly after, more friends turned up to ask even more. The comments thread turned into one long interview conducted solely by buddies of the original author–making it look like there were hundreds of rabid fans out there. The blog post itself is not discussed at all.
Am I wrong in being bothered by this? In feeling this is somehow…I don’t know..against the rules? A little tacky? Or am I being an idiot, and this is the way things are done these days?
I suppose in a way it’s no different from me asking any of you guys to come over to FAR for my chat (thanks Jenn!) or to go read the latest installment of my short story at Indulge. I guess in a way it’s no different from any other kinds of promo.
But I can’t help feeling that something is different about it, and I just can’t figure out what it is.
Any suggestions? What do you think of this type of promo? Have you ever come across something you found questionable, but weren’t sure if it really was or not?