An Anti-spam Public Service Message


It seems that for people who are supposed to be in the imagination business, an awful lot of writers check their imagination at the door when it comes to marketing their books.

I am a “member” of so many Facebook writer/fiction/reader groups I lose track of them. Some of them have a No Spam rule which is enforced with varying degrees of militancy. What they all have in common is that their “Rule” is ignored.

It’s even worse in the Kindle reader forums. Amazon has recently added to its Terms of Service a prohibition on their authors using the reader forums to post product links to their own work. There are dozens of forum members who quite assiduously enforce this rule, and they make no bones about it. They even started a thread dedicated to telling authors to stop spamming. It’s up to 71 pages, some of it argument and objection from writers. There is that sort of personality who either can’t read, can’t obey, or just is oblivious to the concept of common courtesy.

On the Authonomy website, there is a designated forum thread called Shameless Plugs. Back in the stone age when I was hanging around there, many writers used that thread to invent very clever and often hilarious methods of promoting their work. The Art of BSP was raised to dizzying heights, and it garnered appreciation, and resultant reward, from many participants.

But things have changed. The raucous marketplace of fiction has been infiltrated by pickpockets and knock-off watch salesmen. The art of promotion has been soiled by rank carnival barkers. The clever loquaciousness of the snake oil salesman has been drowned out by  pamphleteers, panhandlers, peddlers of paper roses. Subtle enticement has been overrun by BUY MY BOOK!

Selling a work of fiction is not like a Jerky Boys routine.

So here’s a little public service message I hope my friends will pass along. Readers deserve better.


7 Responses to “An Anti-spam Public Service Message”

  1. I like the idea of putting ‘Buy my book’ fliers on car windshields at malls.

  2. Hi, Pete,

    I’ve even written a few of my writer friends privately to let them know that if the only thing they do is talk about their own novels, they’ll alienate people…and still they keep on keeping on. Grrrr! And I thought that writers were an intelligent lot on the whole. Now I’m not so sure.

    Spamming about books seems even more prevalent on Facebook. I’m considering unfriending some people.

    To me, it’s about building relationships, as with many other marketing efforts, and a relationship should be a two-way street. Heck it should be a whole city, not just a street.

    But I’m also against FB posts about what someone had for breakfast. Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn (unless it was chocolate.)

    I’m in favor of posting less frequently, but having something to say that might provoke discussion/thought or enlighten or make people laugh.

    These ‘book-pluggers/buggers’ remind me of some network marketing people who seem to have no idea that I’ve heard all about their Amway products, and now I want to get to know them as people.

  3. That video is wonderful. I have not started plugging my own work yet, and that vid just highlights all the techniques that get right up my nose (and which won’t be used by me. Well, maybe the fliers on windscreens …). I’m linking this out on my facebook to my paltry number of friends for their education!

  4. I’ve been watching this phenomenon for a few years now too and I’ve come to the conclusion that most self-promotion is self-defeating. On FB or Twitter, yes, okay the first three, maybe four mentions of one’s book gets the word out. But after that, you just become bloody annoying if that’s all you ever talk about.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: