What NOT to do as an author

Posted on June 22, 2006

Apparently there is some very bad advice going around and authors are buying it hook, line, and sinker.

The advice is basically this: wherever, whenever you can, hijack someone else’s blog by using the comments section or use a customer review on Amazon.com or bn.com to post a lengthy plug for your own book.

This is simply not acceptable. It is disrespectful of one’s colleagues – other authors.

It is one thing to post the title of your book or URL to your blog or website as a signature line. I’m cool with that. It is something else entirely to use the space for free advertising without the permission of the blogger or author whose space you’re using.

If you want to post a link or synopsis of your book, and you want to use my blog or review section for my book to do it, ask me first. There’s a good chance I’ll say no, but hey, if your book intrigues me and it seems right and appropriate to link to it or give it a review of my own, I might say yes. But for the sake of all that’s decent, ASK ME before you do anything, and be prepared to send me a complimentary copy of your book to review.

In a letter to the editor of the PMA Independent, one author/artist/publisher notes that a similar thing happened to her in the “customer review” section of Amazon.com, and that the author committing the offense said she’d learned it in some workshop.

Authors, think about it: if you’re trying to promote your book, and someone else comes along and uses your space to promote their book without your permission – or even your knowledge – and without any sort of reciprocal link or anything that benefits you or your book, would you think it was fair? Or respectful of the time and effort you’re expending on your own promotions?

So if you read about this tactic in some “how to promote your book” article or book, or if you hear it in a workshop or at a writers gathering or wherever, understand that using this tactic does not endear you to other authors, and may well lose you some readers, too. Just don’t do it.

We now return you to our regularly (ha!) scheduled (ha ha!) blog.


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