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Old 08-17-2010, 03:19 AM   #1
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Can self-promotion go to far?

Does anyone else find themselves turned off of a potentially interesting book because of an over-bearing author? I found myself downloading a promoted book the other day and putting it aside to read later, only to find that the author's endless bump of their thread (often with pleading as to why we haven't read it yet and rushed back to comment) turned me off completely.

I realize it is possible I may be missing a good book by letting this affect my reading choice, but honestly, nothing says 'amateur hour' to me more than an author who begs. It takes me back to the days I was more active in the fanfic world, where people would post these cliffhangers and then threaten not to finish unless they got X many comments. I also think that authors who beg and/or expect immediate feedback and reviews show a lack of understanding as to how to be professional. They seem to me to want instant gratification of fame and fortune, and it doesn't work that way. Most of the really famous authors these days took years to build their fanbase---Nora Roberts wrote six novels before she even submitted to a publisher, Stephen King taught English classes and submitted to lad magazines on the side, Grisham was a practicing lawyer and had his first novel rejected by several publishers etc. etc. etc.

As for readers, most people here will grab the freebie if it looks remotely interesting because (at least in the case I am thinking of) it was a limited time offer. But they might not get to it right away. They might have other things they are reading (I know I try and read my purchases content first, to get my money's worth!) or they might have families and lives and jobs. Or they read like me and go through phases---I was reading nothing but non-fiction awhile back, then I was reading historical fiction and now I am into suspense novels and Star Trek (I want to get through my Fictionwise backlog!) and will probably go back to the historical stuff next. That does not mean I downloaded these books intending to never read them and leave the author hanging. It just means I downloaded them intending to get to them one of these days, and the day of me getting to them is not today.

Maybe I am being too hard-core about this. But to me, an author who endlessly bumps their thread to either beg people to try it, or to complain that they have this many downloads but no reviews or to wonder why it's been three days since the dale ended and nobody has replied etc. is instantly going into my delete pile. It says total 'amateur hour' to me and I am not going to waste my time on a book by an author who has not seemed to grasp the basics of how to conduct themselves professionally.
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Old 08-17-2010, 03:30 AM   #2
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Actually, it was a different post disparaging one of the reviewers of that author's book that irritated me. I will probably still read the book because it looks interesting to me, but I'm not rushing to read it, and it's definitely left a sour taste in my mouth
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Old 08-17-2010, 03:36 AM   #3
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I won't read reviews, and authors that beg me to read them, I'll simply ignore. Plenty of other books around!
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Old 08-17-2010, 04:36 AM   #4
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I have a pile of unread pbooks and a file of unread purchased ebooks, along with a file of free ebooks. I also have 3 large bookcases full of pbooks that I have read at least twice. Any book that I have read and enjoyed goes on a holding shelf. If, I've read it at least twice and still enjoy it, it goes in the bookcases.

Even though I have more than enough to keep me busy for a while, I will still pick up interesting pbooks that are very cheap (under $2), download free interesting ebooks, and purchase from MR authors who have books that catch my attention.

The whole point is that I read like I eat. I choose what I am in the mood for or what I am craving. I like having a *library* to choose from.

It may be one month or it may be 6 months before I read an ebook that I have purchased or obtained for free. I believe that most authors who are also readers will understand this. I don't like being pressured about anything, reading included.

I enjoy supporting MR authors who publish on smashwords and who become active members in other areas of our forums. I don't feel I write great reviews. I know I need to catch up and at least post something to support those authors whose books I enjoy, so I plan on really trying to do this on smashwords.
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Old 08-17-2010, 05:24 AM   #5
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ficbot, this is the main dilemma for self-publishing authors today. At one time the author could sit back and let the publisher's publicist spout hyperbole about his/her book and remain untainted. But now authors must be promoters too. That inevitably means appearing immodest to some extent. And there are so many books on offer that it's easy for an author to stray over the line and become a desperate spammer.

Here I think it behoves readers to do their bit in the new publishing economy. Books are getting much cheaper and easier to acquire -- it could be argued that readers should be rather more active in recommending (or otherwise) books from their e-libraries. Word-of-mouth is anyway the very best marketing aid a book can have.

I'm not sure MobileRead is doing the industry a long-term service by providing a special forum for authors' self-promotion (although I took advantage of it myself for the first time only yesterday). Your decision to publish reviews of Smashwords books is much more positive.
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Old 08-17-2010, 05:34 AM   #6
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There's a big difference between responsible self-promotion and uncontrolled spamming. The latter will not be tolerated. Please use the "Report Post" facility for any thread on which you feel that the line has been crossed from self-promotion into spam.
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Old 08-17-2010, 06:02 AM   #7
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The promotion thread is the one I read the most... I must admit that the 'begging' turns me off... I have many books to read before I get to the 'promoted' one.

When all the posts are posted by the Author I don't bother... It's annoying.
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Old 08-17-2010, 06:03 AM   #8
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I blame the people who perpetuate the myth that one free download = one reader. I don't really see anything wrong with asking why if 600 people downloaded it (and therefore read it in the mind of the writer), nobody bothered to review it. Part of the deal of making it free was that if you read it and liked it, you were to review it.
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Old 08-17-2010, 06:08 AM   #9
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I won't read reviews, and authors that beg me to read them, I'll simply ignore. Plenty of other books around!
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Old 08-17-2010, 06:18 AM   #10
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Isn't there an American saying; "There is no such thing as a free lunch"? Hence, there is also, in my mind, an unwritten social contract between an author - providing a book free of charge - and a reader taking advantage of that offer. Granted, that doesn't imply a review within a few days, but certainly within a few weeks.

I don't know about the rest of y'all, but when I go to an All You Can Eat Buffet, and people hoard four plates and stack food on top of each other, I loose my appetite. Readers hoarding books like that is just as unappetizing.

If I submitted a book for free reading it would come with a contract. 50 free books, each reader signing a contract that they will read the book withing three weeks, and submit a review in another week. Seems fair to everyone involved.
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Old 08-17-2010, 06:22 AM   #11
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There is certainly one lady author in the self-promotion thread who takes the plugging to an almost daily level !!!!
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Old 08-17-2010, 06:45 AM   #12
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I'm not sure MobileRead is doing the industry a long-term service by providing a special forum for authors' self-promotion (although I took advantage of it myself for the first time only yesterday). Your decision to publish reviews of Smashwords books is much more positive.
The self-promotion forum was set up to avoid having self-promotion threads floating around all over, in places they didn't belong, and to allow readers, looking for books, a one-stop place to find them. In any case, I would say that Mobileread should think of the needs of its users first, the industry second

As for the original question, yes, I find it mildly irritating if someone keeps plugging something. If I'm not interested, I don't want to keep hearing about it. But it's a delicate balance and I understand it's not easy, seen from the authors side.

Last edited by Ea; 08-17-2010 at 06:47 AM.
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Old 08-17-2010, 08:25 AM   #13
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Richard, it is not that I mind well-done self-promotion. Certainly, a guy like Nick who has it in his sig, mentions it from time to time and seems to get most of his 'plugs' from others via word of mouth promotion does not offend at all and seems to be doing it right. What I dislike is some of the behaviour I mentioned---I think GeoffC is referring to the same lady author as I am, and I posted this thread in lieu of a comment on her own thread because I did not want to offend. "It's been three days, where is my review" and that sort of thing just turns me off.

And I disagree with you that readers have an 'obligation' in the new system. Are they not fulfilling their entire obligation by shelling out their time and money? I feel like I already do my share with the blogging and reviewing (which I do for free). If the author wants more publicity, the *author* should do the work because it is their *job.* If they don't want to do it like a job, then it's a hobby and they can just write for fun (and that is a valid choice, btw---and one I have made).
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Old 08-17-2010, 08:46 AM   #14
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If I submitted a book for free reading it would come with a contract. 50 free books, each reader signing a contract that they will read the book withing three weeks, and submit a review in another week. Seems fair to everyone involved.
I think you have stumbled across the perfect DRM method to prevent piracy! When faced with such a contract, every potential reader would say "eff that and eff that writer" and never give you a second glance. No piracy! No readers, but no piracy....
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Old 08-17-2010, 09:06 AM   #15
Richard Herley
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I disagree with you that readers have an 'obligation' in the new system. Are they not fulfilling their entire obligation by shelling out their time and money? I feel like I already do my share with the blogging and reviewing (which I do for free). If the author wants more publicity, the *author* should do the work because it is their *job.* If they don't want to do it like a job, then it's a hobby and they can just write for fun (and that is a valid choice, btw---and one I have made).
Please don't misunderstand me -- I didn't say readers had an obligation to do anything; it's just that in the new ecosystem (with authors publishing straight to ebook) we would all benefit if readers became more active as critics. I agree that, for the self-publishing author, promotion (however odious the author may find it) goes with the territory.
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