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10 Author Online Promotional Don’ts

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At RWA, I along with SmartBitch Sarah, Ann Aguirre, Barb Ferrer, and Carrie Lofty (ABC Girls) will be giving a seminar regarding online promotions. I’ve been paying attention to online promotion around the internet so I can say something worthwhile at the panel. I’ve been online, perusing the online community and bumping into authors here and there since 1997. Here are few of my observations regarding Author Online Promotional Don’ts.

1. Don’t say that most the novels in x subgenre are awful and that’s why you decided to write a novel in x subgenre. You are just asking for everyone in x subgenre to rip your work apart.

2. Don’t enter a reader discussion regarding a) books they like, b) books they don’t like, and c) topics they are interested in reading with a recommendation for your books. It’s intrusive and rude.   The readers are engaging in a discussion and if you haven’t participated before it looks like you are hijacking a thread for your own selfish purposes instead of engaging readers in a conversation.

3. Don’t use a social media tool like twitter and facebook and fail to use the social part of the tool. In other words, interact.

4. Don’t have a blog with a bunch of flash. No matter how cool you think it looks, it’s a good bet that at least half your existing or potential readership will be annoyed and click away.

5. Don’t stick to just the romance community. Surely you have other interests other than writing romance? Go forth and seek out new and fertile ground.

6. Don’t use poor grammar in blurbs, either in comments or in recommending your book in situations such as No. 2.   It makes readers wonder how good your writing actually is.

7.   Don’t stay off the internet, immobolized by fear of the do’s and don’ts of interacting. Find a safe haven where you can feel comfortable.   There are places where the message board hosts allow for only positive interaction.   Go forth and use these forums to get your feet wet.   Authoring is solitary endeavor and the internet provides you some interaction, albeit through your laptop, but it’s still interaction.

8. Don’t ever type a comment or blog post while angry.   Step away, call a friend, eat an entire pie.

9. Don’t spam readers. Authors are on facebook, twitter, goodreads, librarything, and every other social network on the internet but the readers on these places are there to interact and not to be spammed.

10. Don’t be fake. In other words, don’t try to adopt a persona that you are not. Readers flock to authenticity and turn away from facades. Unless it is a damn good facade.

In general, employ the golden rule. If it pisses you off, don’t do it. If you wonder if you should do it, don’t do it (or at least phone a friend and ask for a second opinion).   Unless, of course, you are as cute as the kittens in the picture then rules don’t apply to you. Your cuteness overcomes all. Got more don’ts for authors?   Have a problem with my list? Sound off!

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

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