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.

This blog post originally appeared on CreateSpace.com. Reprinted with permission. © 2013 CreateSpace, a DBA of On-Demand Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Comment by Kristen Elise on February 19, 2013 at 8:19pm

Totally agree. Anytime I see a blog post like, "why social media doesn't work for authors," I think it didn't work for that particular author, because he/she is doing something wrong (perhaps whining excessively?).  Yet, others will swear by the power of social media - because it *does* work for them.  

Every challenge is an opportunity.


Comment by Lesly Devereaux JD,MDiv on February 19, 2013 at 6:07pm
Great advice
Comment by Ann Marie Biskar on February 19, 2013 at 3:08pm

I have run into this as well lately. Negative Nelly's scaring the bejeezus out of me. I see authors promoting their work in good ways and bad ways but what scares me are all the naysayers out there. I'm with Julie Luek, point me in the direction of some happy helpful hints for utilizing social media!

Comment by Julie Luek on February 19, 2013 at 2:04pm

Boy, I agree. Seems like there are better ways to put a positive spin on those articles. How about, "How to get the most from traditional publishing" or "How authors can make social media work for them" I'd be more inclined to seek out a solutions-driven post than one that might confirm my inner insecurities!


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