I'm on an email listserv for one of my alma maters, on which people initiate discussion threads on anything from politics and business ethics to job openings and apartments for rent. I pick and choose what I want to read, respond to, or delete.
There's one member of the listserv who has caught my attention, and unfortunately not in a good way. He's an aspiring novelist, and every two weeks or so he sends around an email with a negative headline and a link to his most recent blog post. One week it's "Why social media doesn't work for authors," and the next it's "Is blogging a waste of time for authors?" Once, he posted something along the lines of "How traditional publishing exploits authors." The links all point back to his own website, which is positioned as...wait for it...a source for marketing advice for authors.
This man could use a little advice himself.
Want to attract positive attention for your book? Try being positive yourself!
I suppose that by being so negative he's intentionally trying to be controversial to stir up interest in his manuscript, but it's not working. (I also believe he thinks he's being witty, but he's not.) Instead, by only posting what are more or less rants, he's coming across as bitter, angry, and a little desperate, even a bit mean. His approach doesn't make me root for him in his efforts to publish, and it certainly doesn't make me want to read his book.
My advice to him and other authors, aspiring or otherwise? If you want to use a blog, Twitter, etc. to drum up interest in your book, go ahead, but keep it mostly positive. Interesting and analytical writing about your experiences is one thing; negative and jaded ranting is another.
Maria Murnane is the best-selling author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life, and Honey on Your Mind. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.
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