Showing posts with label authors. Show all posts
Showing posts with label authors. Show all posts

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Fall Workshops: First Lead-Up Exercise for Twitter




Hello again, everyone! I have two social media for authors workshops coming in September, one in Pickering and one in Brampton. In preparation I have exercises participants can work on over the summer. They will then bring the results with them to the workshop on the day they attend.

Since I am doing this in conjunction with BeNovel Marketing Services, the exercise is hosted on its site. Go take a look, and if you are in or have friends in the GTA, please share this with writers you think may be interested. Early-bird pricing has a few weeks to go and you won't want to miss out on the hefty discount for getting in on it early!

Register here (scroll down, the registration is right on the page), and view the Twitter Challenge exercise here.

Coming soon: tips for editing comic book scripts.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

9 Slush Pile Mistakes: A Guest Post by 2 Slush Readers

Welcome to Adam Shaftoe (slush reader for Daily Science Fiction) and Patrick Icasas (slush reader for Flash Fiction Online). I've known Adam for a few years now thanks to the Toronto-area convention scene and I very much admire his reviewing skills. Read his blog, people! 

I met Patrick only recently via my LAB•B work, and it turned out we had lots of interests in common, and I even helped him get a very well-known comic book writer on his new blog, How to Suck Less. Woo!

In any case, Patrick and Adam work hard at what they do, and they have some wisdom to share with you short fiction writers. Read and learn, my friends. Read and learn. --Beverly





Short fiction can be an unfair game. Though talent, hard work, and dedication can get a person pretty far as a writer, the truth is that sometimes a story will take longer than it should to sell. The simple explanation is that now, more than ever, writing is about the numbers. More people are writing today - which is great - compared to when the pulps turned the submission process into a de facto routine. Alas, the number of semi-pro and pro-paying markets hasn't grown in proportion to the influx of submissions.

We each handle dozens of submissions a month. Even if we restrict ourselves to flash pieces of a maximum of 1000 words each, that's sizable chunk of a full length novel every two weeks. There's a reason it's called a slush pile. That's a lot of stories to read through--even for a team of editors--and we have to be efficient in sorting the middling from the amazing. That means looking for reasons to reject the middling sort as quickly as we can.

Disclaimer:

Nothing we are going to say in this piece guarantees a sale. We're out to level the playing field, and explain some of the reasons why a story might get read and rejected within thirty seconds. You, gentle reader, can avoid every pitfall that we list and still lament an objectively good piece of fiction being rejected over and over. In those cases, all we can tell you is to keep at it. If you're a good writer then you have the capacity for greatness, and greatness is what sells.

#1 - Follow the damn guidelines

Guidelines are simultaneously an idiot test and a test of quality akin to the “no brown M&M” rule. When a submission fails to follow seemingly arbitrary rules like 12 pt, Century Gothic with 1” margins, using Canadian/British spelling wherever possible, it tells a submissions editor that there are almost certainly other issues in the writing, thus there's no point in offering any benefit of the doubt when the first paragraph contains a glaring typo or a shift in voice.

#2 - Copy and paste: you're doing it wrong

Many publishers are using back-end software that, in theory, makes lives easier for submissions editors and writers alike i.e. fill out the boxes, copy and paste your story, wait for the good or bad news. All too often people copy and paste from their word processing program of choice (Microsoft Word is notorious for this) without using something like Notepad to strip away character codes and embedded formatting.

Weird formatting puts submissions editors in a sour mood. Could you imagine reading

five thousand words of text that

<span> were formatted like <span> this?

#3 -  Longer probably isn't better

If H.P. Lovecraft, a notoriously lugubrious author, showed up in the slush pile today, I would reject him out of hand. It doesn't matter who you are, how much you've written. If you're SWFA, or if you're John Scalzi, himself, if you're going to make us read 5,000 words, then it best be a 5,000 word story. World building out of the gate, excessive internal history, descriptions of food, clothing, horses, the colour of the sky are almost always filler. Filler gets rejected.

#4 - Don't imagine we haven't seen it before

Submissions editors read a lot of fiction. We're voracious readers, and almost always writers, ourselves. Remixing some existing ideas into a new story is well and good, but if an editor can read the DNA of your story in the first 10% of the story then we're probably going to write it off as derivative and move on to something else.  This also includes using stereotypical greek names for starships, planets, and the like. Stretch into some other religious/mythological pantheons.

#5 - Stop starting at the start

In medias res is a writer's best friend; starting a story with a person waking up and pondering on the meaning of a dream is not.Neither is starting at the creation of the world or the birth of a child.

#6  - Don't be entitled

You may think you're God's Gift to the Craft, but after reading your story (or even your cover letter) we can most definitely say that you're not. Having a closed and confrontational attitude will keep you from growing as a writer, and make it hard for editors to want to give you a second chance.

#7 - Know the story you're writing

I've read quite a few stories that start out strong in one genre (like an introspective sci-fi narrative), only to turn sharply midway through into something totally different, like horror or humor. Most of the time, this is a symptom of a badly done “twist” ending. Speaking of twist endings...

#8 - Forcing a twist

Twist endings are best used sparingly. In fact, many so-called “clever” twists are highly overdone (e.g. IT WAS ALL A DREAM) and ruin the story. (There's a reason M. Night Shyamalan is a one-trick pony) A twist should make sense within the context of the story, so that it's surprising yet inevitable.

#9 - Submitting the same story over and over

What do you do when your story is rejected? Do you shrug and immediately fire it off to the next editor? Or do you take a step back and see what's wrong with it? Many publications offer personalized rejections to stories that show promise, but aren't quite there yet. A good writer listens and, in the process, improves. A bad writer dismisses it out of hand and stagnates. Which one are you?

We're not out to hurt anybody's feelings. We work to find and publish the best stories that people will enjoy reading. If your writing doesn't happen to make it through this time, then learn from the experience and try again.


Patrick Icasas is a slush reader for Flash Fiction Online, a pro-paying market for flash fiction of any genre. Patrick supports his slush reading and creative writing habit by blogging for companies on a freelance basis. He's also been known to blog for himself from time to time about How to Suck Less.

Adam Shaftoe-Durrant is a critic, writer, and podcaster. He also reads slush for Daily Science Fiction. He holds a Master of Arts degree in History from the University of Western Ontario, and worked as a Teaching Assistant at Brock University for seven years. His essays and reviews have previously appeared in On-Spec Magazine, Jamais Vu - The Journal of the Strange Among the Familiar, and on Guysnation.com. He lives in St. Catharines, Ontario with his fiancée Rebecca and their cats. During the day he works as an labour market researcher for a local NGO. Adam blogs and podcasts about all things genre at PageOfReviews.com.


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Urban Fantasy Twitter Chat, GenreLitChat #3

It's that time again! Thursday, September 4th at 8 p.m. Eastern / 5 p.m. Pacific is the next #GenreLitChat, and this time it's urban fantasy. You can participate in this chat by sending me questions ahead of time for me to ask the panel, or simply being on Twitter and following the hashtag. While this is a moderated discussion, you'll be free to reply and interact as normal on Twitter.

The urban fantasy group consists of: 

Mia Marshall is the RT Reviewers' Choice Award-winning author of the Elements urban fantasy series. Before she started writing about things that don't exist in this version of reality, she worked as a high school teacher, script supervisor, story editor, legal secretary, and day care worker. She has lived all along the US west coast and throughout the UK, where she collected an unnecessary number of degrees in literature, education, and film. These days, she lives in a small house in the Sierra Nevadas, where she is surrounded by her feline overlords.

Nicholas Kaufmann is the Bram Stoker Award-, Thriller Award-, and Shirley Jackson Award-nominated author of Dying Is My Business, Die and Stay Dead, Chasing the Dragon, Hunt at World's End, General Slocum's Gold, and Still Life: Nine Stories. Over the years, he worked in publishing, owned his own bookstore, managed a video store, and was a development associate for a literary agent. He lives in Brooklyn, New York with his wife and two ridiculous cats.

Linda Poitevin is the author of dark urban fantasy (The Grigori Legacy from Ace/Roc Books) and contemporary romance (self-published). Linda lives near Ottawa, Canada’s capital, and in her other life is wife, mother, friend, gardener, coffee snob, freelance writer, and zookeeper of too many pets. When she isn’t writing, Linda can usually be found in her garden or walking her dog along the river or through the woods.

Alexander Kosoris was born and raised in Thunder Bay, Ontario. He lived on residence in Toronto, Ontario while attending the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Toronto between 2006 and 2010. While there, he discovered his love of writing, spending much of his free time writing short stories, one of which he expanded to arrive at his first novel, Lucifer. After graduating, Alexander has moved back to Thunder Bay, where he now lives, working as a pharmacist. Whenever he gets a moment of leisure, Alexander enjoys listening to and playing music, as well as riding his bicycle.

Launched in 2009, All Things Urban Fantasy is the place where para is normal. Currently a group of five readers and bloggers, we're dedicated to reviewing the latest books in the urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and speculative fiction genres. Participating in the chat will be Kate, who has been running ATUF for about a year now, and loves urban fantasy with a passion. 

You can use the TWUBS link or just follow the hashtag on Twitter. Also, please feel free to email me questions you would like me to ask the panelists. 

I look forward to seeing you at 8 p.m. Eastern / 5 p.m. Pacific on Thursday, September 4th!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Self-Promotion for Authors and Comic Creators Webinar Update: Timing Survey

Hi, all! I am planning that webinar on self-promotion for writers and comic creators sometime this month. It's an update and expansion on the free talk I gave at SFContario this past fall. I plan to charge somewhere in the neighbourhood of $15 for the session, which I expect to take 1.5 to 2 hours. If you're potentially interested in this, take this survey to help me get an idea of the best day and time to run a session. I'l consider two sessions if necessary, or even more, depending on response, so tell me what works for you and I'll make a schedule late this week. Anyhow, here's the survey for your radio button-clicking convenience:


Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.


Monday, January 27, 2014

How to Handle Social Media Missteps: Book Marketing without B.S. #9

Twitter is often an important tool in the writer's networking arsenal. It's fast, it's short, it's connected. Author Peter V. Brett was reminded last week that those strengths are also its obstacles. Today's blog post is to illustrate that being careful how you compose tweets about controversial or sensitive topics makes a difference, and how you handle it when you misstep makes an even bigger difference. (And if you're active and engaged, it is likely that you will at some point make a social media mistake.)

A Social Media Problem is Born

Last week's genre author twitterstorm was set off when Peter retweeted the following:


How did you read this tweet? Some people took it as he intended (more on that later), but many, many people took Peter to mean any number of things like "It's not fair I can't have more rape without people complaining about it" to "I am making light of a serious topic" to many other things, none of which he intended. It should be noted that Peter has had some controversy about rape in his novels before too, so--fairly or not--he may already have people feeling unsure about his sensitivity.

So he didn't mean it? You'd think I was just taking his word for it; but,  here is his next tweet, posted just a minute after the first one:


If you saw the second tweet, you'd likely get a meaning closer to what Peter intended; but, the problem with Twitter is that the tweets flow by fast and furious, and seeing one is never a guarantee someone will see the next one. I am guilty of dividing thoughts up into two tweets sometimes, so I can understand why it would happen. The low character count feels too limiting sometimes; but, this is a lesson to us all that a complete thought in one tweet is a best practice, especially when it's a sensitive topic such as rape. So what can you do to prevent this on the front end?

Stop and Think

While Peter's intention was good, much like editing in your writing, his meaning would have been much clearer if his second tweet had been his first tweet, and there had never been a second tweet at all. Usually you can be casual on Twitter, but when sharing (again, especially sensitive material,) it is best that you take a moment and consider how it might look to someone else. Put yourself in someone else's shoes and imagine. If you're creating  and writing, this should be something you already do anyway.

It is important to always remember that the only thing we're in control of as is what we say. We can not control how others perceive what we've written, how they'll feel about it, or what they'll say about it. 

Best Way to Handle a Social Media Problem

Problems like Peter's really can happen to anyone. The internet moves so much faster than you could ever anticipate, and it seems bad news travels further and faster than good news. We all have the potential to tweet something that either we should just plain not have said at all, or more commonly, that will be taken in a different way than intended. Maybe you'll realize it right away and delete it in time. Maybe you won't. And if you don't, and you want to handle it with grace, dignity, and humility. In my estimation, Peter handled this (mostly) well. What lessons can you draw? Here is what he did right:

His response was swift
Instead of letting it fester without comment (one of the worst things you can do with your "brand",) he replied quickly and profusely. No one could doubt Peter was doing his best to manage the issue in a timely manner.

He stayed calm and rational
He got a defensive at a few points (more on this and the language of apology later), but given the harshness of some people's reactions and how fast things were moving, I can understand his feeling how he did about it. Overall he kept it sane and decent. He never called names, he never got into any nastiness beyond initial defensiveness.

He expressed remorse
He apologized numerous times and admitted he could have done better and that he understood the other people's points of view.

He had humility
Even to defenders, Peter said he understood how the tweet was interpreted and expressed that he wished he could have handled things differently. He could have just soaked up his numerous supporters' comments and used them to say "See? You people who misinterpreted this are just plain wrong!" but, he did better than that. Here is a good example:


Finally, he put his money to work by donating to a related charity

This was a class act kind of a move, and can never hurt.



What should you do if you have a social media problem?


React quickly, calmly, and evenly as possible
You'll undoubtedly be feeling emotions such as defensiveness, anger, annoyance, and embarrassment; but, from a public relations standpoint you have to put those on the back burner. If you are not able to do that--at least in writing--ask a trusted friend for help in composing your response.

Also, take responsibility completely
That's the one area Peter could have improved on. His apologies were touched with the "I apologize to those who took my comment that way" and " I apologize for wording that could be interpreted as such". This (I assume unintentionally) serves to put some of the responsibility back on the offended party, and also doesn't indicate any sympathy for the people who were upset--which is important in smoothing over feelings. Better phrasing would have been something along the lines of, "To those I hurt by my earlier tweet, I offer my apologies. I was not careful in composing my earlier RT. I'll do better in the future." It removes the "if you took it wrong" language, and turns it into "I am 100% accountable" language. Even if you don't fully feel that way on the emotional level, that's how you apologize. That's how you take responsibility.

I should also say that I don't mean to pick on Peter. He did well on the spot and under a lot of pressure. He is not trained in PR and let's be real: writers don't have the money to have staff to help with this sort of thing. I was simply inspired to write about it to help all of you understand how easily this might happen to you, and more importantly how to handle your own social media problem situations as they come up.

I hope you found this useful. I'd be interested to see other situations you think were handled well (or handled badly) if you want to share them in the comments.

Book Marketing without B.S. is a weekly publicity and marketing advice column for writers and other creators who prefer a realistic, clear, and no-nonsense approach. My goal is to help you cut through the bullshit with direct, understandable advice you won't be embarrassed to follow. Sign up to get my posts sent directly to your email by clicking here, and please send your questions to beverly@beverlybambury.com. Thank you for your continued support!


Sunday, December 8, 2013

GenreLitChat #1: Storify Transcript

The first #GenreLitChat this past Thursday went well. The three authors who were on the panel (John Mantooth, Heidi Ruby Miller, and Nathan Ballingrud,) had a good time, and as the moderator I found myself surprised by how quickly the hour went. I had several questions I wish I'd had time to ask. All in all, it's not a bad thing to be left wanting more!

If you missed it, you can check out the Storify transcript below. You can also follow the #GenreLitChat hashtag via Twitter itself, or on Twubs.

Let me know what you think in the comments, and thank you--as always--for reading.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

#GenreLitChat: An Occasional Twitter Chat about Genre

Introducing #GenreLitChat, an occasional Twitter chat with writers on the state of genre, and how their work does--or doesn't--fit.

The kickoff chat is just in time for your holiday book buying needs! It's this Thursday, December 5th at 8:30 p.m. EST/5:30 p.m. PST with John Mantooth, author of The Year of the Storm (Berkley/Penguin), Heidi Ruby Miller, author of Green Shift (Raw Dog Screaming Press), and Nathan Ballingrud, author of short story collection North American Lake Monsters (Small Beer Press).

When you join the chat, you can use this page (http://twubs.com/GenreLitChat) which will focus only on the hashtag, and even automatically insert the hashtag for you if you ask questions or reply.
Alternatively, you can follow the hashtag #GenreLitChat right on Twitter, but make sure you use the hashtag or your questions and comments may be missed!

You can send questions to me, the moderator, during the chat (@BeverlyBambury). You are also encouraged to send questions ahead of time to beverly@beverlybambury.com and I'll add the best ones to the list.

Questions? Email me or ask in the comments. Hope to see you during #GenreLitChat in a couple of days!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Changing/Correcting Guest Posts or Interviews, and More Replying to Reviews: Book Marketing without B.S. #3

Book Marketing without B.S. is a weekly publicity and marketing advice column for writers and other creators who prefer a realistic, clear, and no-nonsense approach. My goal is to help you cut through the bullshit with direct, understandable advice you won't be embarrassed to follow. Send your questions to beverly@beverlybambury.com.

Today there are two related questions. The first person asked "What if I want to change an interview or guest blog post reply after it's already gone up?"

Naturally, if there is an error of some kind--whether factual or typographical--you should politely ask the journalist or blogger to make the change and explain why if it isn't obvious.

I can't think of any other reason you should ask to change something you've already vetted and has been published. It is possible you'll be embarrassed by something you've written, or realize it might have been more clear stated another way; but, those aren't good enough reasons to ask for a change.

If you're worried this may happen, have one or two trusted friends read through what you have written and give feedback. At the very least, try to finish a day or two before deadline so you can sleep on it overnight and see if you still like it in the morning.

The next question was "What do you think about writers replying to their reviews?" Now, I have already written about this; but, I realized that I could add one more piece of advice.

If you see that the negative reviews have similar themes, there may be something you can learn from them, and it may be worth it to reply in the form of a blog post. Be very careful to not specifically address individuals if you do this. You can say something such as "I've noticed a trend in my 1- and 2-star reviews" and that covers it. You can always link to the book at an online store and people can look at all the reviews for themselves. Plus it's the link where they can buy your book, so there's that, too!

An essay will let you explore your thoughts on the topic without seeming confrontational. I still think the best option is not to address it publicly at all, but if you feel there is interpretation to share, or that you have something interesting to add to the conversation then go for it.

Finally, be careful about tone if you go this route. It's still important to not look like a asshole or a whiner. You are your own branding online, and your choice of words makes a difference. So, as you would with your fictional writing, have trusted associates read through your post first and give their feedback serious consideration.

That's all for this week. Keep those questions coming, and sign up to get my posts sent directly to your email by clicking here. Thanks for all the support!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Social Media for the Misanthropic and the Anti-Social: Book Marketing without B.S. #2

Book Marketing without B.S. is a weekly publicity and marketing advice column for writers and other creators who prefer a realistic, clear, and no-nonsense approach. My goal is to help you cut through the bullshit with direct, understandable advice you won't be embarrassed to follow. Send your questions to beverly@beverlybambury.com.

One of the best things about being a publicist, is that I get to do all the social, extrovert, asking-for-things work that my clients usually don't want to do. I get to give them more time to create, and take away the stress of putting themselves directly out there. Also, given that my clients are overwhelmingly writers of dark fiction of some kind or another, they're frequently put off by other social media tone and content. It's too perky and bubbly. It doesn't feel genuine.

In last week's column about why you shouldn't purchase followers, I looked briefly at the question of "So how do I build audience?" and the imagined comment of "But, I'm dark and serious and not that social. Plus I don't sell glasses. This advice sucks!" I get into the topic a little there, and in this post I offer you a few examples of people whose social media skills I admire.

Note that for this article I am only focusing on Twitter. The reason I am not discussing Facebook more is that Facebook's brand pages consistently decrease in direct benefit, and it's a topic for another day. That said, the general ideas still apply for Facebook or anywhere else. If you have questions, leave a comment and I'll reply to it as soon as I can.

There are a number of people whose technique I admire, but I am going to have you take a look at three specific people: Chuck Wendig, Caitlin Kittredge, and Sam Sykes. All three of these writers share common characteristics that have served them well on Twitter.

1 - They don't focus completely on their own work. They do sometimes post about their work or ask us to buy their books. That's perfectly fine and to be expected. Notice though, that it's overall uncommon. Every tweet or every other tweet, or even every tenth tweet doesn't contain promotional language. As I've said before (and based on what I see on twitter every day, I have to keep saying it over again!) you should focus on being an integrated, complete person on social media. This is our new town square. Do you really want to talk to someone or hang out with someone that says the same thing over and over again? You do? Well, you're in the minority, ya big weirdo.

2 - They are highly responsive. They don't reply to everyone who tweets at them, and really, given the amount of stuff coming at them every day there's no way that they could; but, they do respond often. They interact. They are social. If you ignore every tweet that comes at you and you just broadcast and don't use social media for its intended purpose of interaction, you're missing out. Note: sometimes if you're really famous already you can get away without bothering to reply. Many brands and many celebrities can post announcement-only and that works for them; but they were already famous. You can't do that. You're not famous. (Unless you are, in which case, thanks for reading this far, famous person!)

3 - They use their own voices. They swear, they grumble, they don't use bubbly, insincere language. Once again, they are complete, integrated human beings who sometimes talk about their personal lives, sometimes what they're reading, what they're watching, what they're doing, sometimes about community issues, and sometimes about other people's work. (See #4.)

4 - They build community by sharing the work of others. These people also tweet about other people's work. They understand that a strong community and strong sense of teamwork are their own important mental and social benefit. They also understand that it helps sell more books than isolating themselves and acting like they're the only game in town. Remember (and this may be the most important takeaway) word of mouth has to come from other people. If it comes from you, it's as good as useless. So keep sharing the work of others, keep being a member of a community, lead by helping others up and not by cutting them down.

So what can you, personally, do? I really like lists, so let's have another list.

1 - Listen.

2 - Reply to people when it's relevant, and about what they're into. If you reply to push your work you've already failed.

3 - Listen.

4 - Share an appropriate amount. Aside from replies, you shouldn't tweet so much that people's feeds are overwhelmed. And anyway, what do you have to say that's so important? Don't be afraid to be quiet on the original Twitter content if you're interacting frequently with others. Naturally, if you think of something interesting, fun, or relevant to say, then by all means, say it!

5 - Follow others, even if they do not follow you back. Yes. Read that again. You can follow people even if they don't follow you back. Sometimes you may want to tidy your list, and that's cool. I unfollow people if it's just not working for me; but, if you like what someone is saying, or you like their work, just keep following even if they don't follow you back. Of the people I list in this article, only one follows me back, and that's just fine. I like what they have to say and they don't owe it to me to follow back. If you're really there to meet people and grow audience, being relaxed about this sort of thing is a good start. After all, if you only follow people who follow you back, what quality is your audience, anyway?

6 - Listen.

7 - Like I said in #5, quality over quantity. When you get a new follower that might be interested in reading your book, make sure you check out their feed and reply to something of theirs. Don't tell them about your book in this tweet. Why? Because it's already in your profile and probably one or two of your tweets. It's completely unnecessary and redundant, and makes you look desperate. Also see the link in #8.

8 - DO NOT FOR ALL THAT IS GOOD AND HOLY USE DIRECT MESSAGES TO PROMOTE TO YOUR NEW FOLLOWERS. Read this. (And yes, this relates to that point in #7.)

9 - Share different types of content. You can share pictures, you can share links (and try to say why you think they're interesting if you have characters with which to do so,) you can share other people's work you think is good. And yes, sometimes share your work, too.

10 - Social skills and listening: I maaaaay have said something about listening already (maybe), but I want to reiterate, read what people are saying. Reply. Don't make this all about you. It may seem like a paradox to say that getting people to like you is not about you, but in many ways it isn't. Social skills may not come naturally to you, but they can definitely be learned, and if you need to do your own marketing and promotion, it's worth your investment to really stop and look at your behaviour honestly.

So, like I said last time: you won't have a million followers. Respect the ones you have. Cultivate them. Give them the kind of experience you want when you follow people on Twitter.

Thanks for joining me once again. Let me know what you think, and you have my deep appreciation for reading this far. I hope you come back again, and if you're forgetful like me, you can sign up by email.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Just a Litte More: Author/Creator Comments on Reviews

In light of recent discussions I thought I'd clarify my thoughts on the authors (and other creators) commenting on reviews issue. I’ve said in the past “just don’t do it, ever”, but I think the time has come for me to expand that thought into more than just the idea of authors behaving badly.

My updated advice to creators is that they should pretty much never comment on negative reviews. If you want to thank someone for a good review, please do; but, don’t say much beyond a gracious “Thank you”. Especially if you have any negative or irritated feelings inside you. The reason I say this is because people can tell, and—at least from the publicist’s perspective—you don’t want people thinking of you as an author behaving badly. And that includes authors behaving in a passive aggressive manner. Or a whiny or entitled manner.

“But I have a right to talk to people online. They have comment functionality turned on, and that’s what it's for!” Yes, that’s true. You certainly have that right and privilege. But stop and ask yourself whether is it wise from a public relations perspective. If you are a wise person, you’ll realize that the answer is most likely going to be “no, I shouldn’t”. It’s similar to the adage about not emailing angry.

Think about what you want your name to be as a brand, because your behaviour feeds right into that idea of the personal branding, and for creators on the internet, word gets around fast. Negative feelings about you will affect fans’ perceptions of your work, whether or not you want to believe that’s true.

Not only that, the stuff you post on line can’t ever really be removed. People take screen shots, aggregators aggregate. So if you want to get on that train to interactivity, then feel free, just make sure you’re doing it for reasons that further your goals and cultivate the online image you want to have. Or you know, if you actually like and get along with people and are just socializing. Which is way different from commenting on reviews/criticism.

Anyhow, here’s a final piece of free advice: when in doubt, don’t.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Your Thoughts on Publicity and Creative Support Services

Please take this is a one-question survey about the kinds of services you'd like to see from me in the future. It should take a minute or less!