(Image by Kaetrin)
Yeah, this is a follow-up to yesterday’s Not All Authors, But READERS ARE NOT YOUR BITCH. This post started off as a reply to a comment on my Facebook, until I realised how long my reply was, and that maybe more than one person could benefit from reading it.
While I mentioned that most issues in the blogging community do not affect me personally, the one that DOES bother me are the “buy my book in the first week from this vendor, read it straight away, review it straight away (but only “positive” reviews), and cross-post it everywhere, also buy me a pony” graphics and messages some authors post on their social media.
(Not all authors. If you don’t ever do it, THANK YOU. You don’t need to read this post because you’re already doing great. Keep it up, champion!)
So if your idea to solve this problem is to just “ignore it” – this post is for you.
“Ignoring” isn’t as easy as it seems. Because many authors don’t have newsletters (used to inform you ONLY of new projects sold to publishers, and new releases), the only way to reliably be updated on their book happenings is to follow authors on social media. (Can’t just subscribe to their section at a publisher’s website if they change publishers.)
It’s not just ONE author, and it’s not just ONE occasion. These passive-aggressive messages appear in my feeds weekly, and sometimes daily. This is why it feels like nagging.
Because the thing is? I already do a hell of a lot of book promotion WITHOUT BEING PROMPTED TO. Cover art, pre-order links, reviews, monthly & daily releases. I don’t expect thanks for any of it, but all I want is not have those passive-aggressive messages posted that erase what I ALREADY DO WITHOUT THEM TELLING ME TO. Those passive-aggressive messages come across as, “Whatever you’re doing, it’s not enough. You don’t care about books, you don’t care about authors, because if you REALLY cared you’d Like my passive-aggressive messages and share them all over blogs and social media.”
These messages – whether the authors mean them to or not – come across as telling us that simply acquiring their books through legal means (library or purchase) at a time of OUR choosing, through a vendor of OUR choice…it’s not enough. They tell us to work harder and faster. And don’t expect any reward for it. Funny, that. Authors go on about how authors should never write for free, and yet they expect readers to do promotional work without pay for them. Not even any thanks.
And yes, I know “not all authors”. Yes, I know authors rely on book sales to get paid, and placing ads in major media is expensive, and authors can’t afford hiring a publicist. I’m well aware of the many troubles facing authors, because they don’t let their readers forget about it, which is why the passive-aggressive nagging.
Funny, isn’t it, how when readers say they’re fed up with something, someone always speaks up to say, “But imagine how the author feels.” I’ve already seen it in the comments of Bookish Antics’s post about the catfishing – people commenting of how they don’t understand what the scam was if there was no money involved, and how they don’t understand how someone having bloggers’ addresses and phone numbers is a safety concern or a big deal. I don’t know if these commenters WANT to understand, or if they’re belittling bloggers’ experiences because an author could never be in the wrong.
I understand that my feelings stated in this blog post are not a monolith – I do NOT speak for all bloggers. Some readers are totally fine with the passive-aggressive messages. And if they’re authors themselves, as well as readers, they’re probably more sympathetic to the messages.
I know the simple answer is to stop following the authors. Losing one reader likely won’t make a difference to the author.
But what if it’s not just me? What if other readers feel similarly, and also leave? Authors could lose I don’t know how many readers, and they may not know the reason why. Which is why I’m telling you.
Because you know what, authors? It’s possible for readers (like me) to promote you and your books without you reminding us to. The promotion won’t dry up if your passive-aggressive notes never appear again. But if spamming and nagging makes you feel better, then there’s nothing I can do to stop you.
Just think about it.