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It Happened Again

It Happened Again

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Three years ago, someone posted an ad for her daughter’s book on the Facebook page that was then the Olympia Heights page, but now my general author page. I went on a huge rant about why you don’t do that, but I blurred out concrete identifying information because I’m not interested in doxxing someone.

Well, it’s happened again. This person, who this time posted on my publisher’s company page for her own novel (not for someone else), is exactly the kind of person who gives indies a bad name. So let’s talk about how not to promote your book. Once again, I’ve blurred out identifying info.

2015-07-19 22.36.09

So let’s look at some issues here:

  1. This is an unsolicited post on a company page. We’ve built this up for years, only to have someone who published in May include us in her carpet-bomb of blind promotion.
  2. There is absolutely no personalization, and there was no request. We were not messaged privately and asked to support or look into this book. She posted it on our wall.
  3. This blurb, which goes on for quite some time after the screen crop, is way too long for anyone to bother reading. Oh my god, why would you think that’s a good pitch?

So I visited her book on Amazon.

Two big red flags were here:

Aside from the really generic cover that tells me NOTHING about the book, there are two kindle versions of the same book up under slightly different author names. Was she trying to game keywords? Not sure.

She has a lot of great reviews, but it didn’t take me very long to figure out just by going back to Facebook where she spammed us that these are probably all her close personal friends from St. Louis, MO. I tried to avoid doing a full-scale investigation, so I haven’t matched every name to a real profile. That would just be sad. It took all of five minutes to figure out that she knows some (probably all) of these people.  In fact, Joe here is her husband.

  1. You should never have your spouse, someone who has a direct financial interest in your book’s success, post a review. It’s dishonest. It’s also against Amazon’s policies.
  2. You should not clutter up Amazon with clone listings of your book.
  3. When a book only has five-star reviews, something is fishy. Even Hamlet has a few 1-star reviews on Amazon.

So I went on Twitter.

Once again, I didn’t spend much time here at all; I just thought I wouldn’t be doing due diligence in writing this article on how NOT to self-promote if I didn’t at least follow one social media link on the site she tried to send me to.

Her entire Twitter feed is just her tweeting (unsolicited and not in reply to any tangentially related tweets) at celebrities to inform them that her book is “very very good,” an “EXCELLENT read,” and “movie worthy.” One of her tweets is JUST an at-reply to someone with no content.

  1. You are not an unbiased source, therefore you cannot make quality statements about your book without citing someone who is not you and not your husband.

Oh, and her Instagram (also linked from her author site) is just photographs of her book. Who would follow that? You have to provide content, not just ads. Nobody would buy a magazine of all ads, and nobody is going to follow your Instagram account without pictures of food, pets, attractive models with their pets, or art.

This is NOT how you social media.

Social media is a conversation. Screaming about your book into the ether won’t get you sales. In fact, it might put you on a nasty Goodreads list or two. Certainly, invading someone else’s curated space to promote yourself without giving anything in return in going to make them angry.

Don’t do this. Don’t do it. No! Don’t do it.

You make all indie authors look bad. Stop.


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