Wednesday, March 11, 2015

How Not to Introduce Yourself to a Writing Group

Not much happens on anymore, but recently a dude livened things up with an annoying introduction.  Basically in the "New Member Introductions" forum he posted a commercial for his book.  The headline for this commercial proclaimed himself "Canada's #1 Master of Suspense."

The thing of it is, maybe "introducing yourself" with a commercial isn't against any Terms of Service, but it's just a dumb way to go about it.  It's like walking into a room and shouting "BUY MY BOOK!"  It's a huge turn-off.  I mean come on, who likes getting cold calls or having some salesperson showing up on their doorstep?  Hardly anyone, so it's more likely to backfire on you than generate any sales.

Then there's declaring yourself the "#1 Master of Suspense" when you vanity published your book and it's ranked over 1 million on Amazon.  How corny is that?  Of course the dude says someone else called him that, but you're the one using it as the header of your post and in the description for your book, so you're not backing away from it.

Additionally when someone critiques your story, it's not a good idea to start raving about copyright infringement.  If you put a sample of your book out on the web, you can't really bitch if someone finds it and critiques it.

Anyway, the point here is when you're introducing yourself to a writing group, online or in person, don't be a selfish dick.  Act like you actually give a shit about the group, not just moving a few copies of your bullshit vanity published book.


  1. I agree with your sentiments here.


    Neil, Master of Awesome Comments (tm)

  2. There's a donut shop that said it's the best donut shop in Arizona and is currently struggling to stay open. I imagine it's the same idea. Over-hype. Also, I agree with Neil.

  3. Wait, are you saying my idea for a blinking hat with bright, scrolling letters that say "But My Book!" is a bad idea?

  4. It's all just narcissism, Pat. In case you haven't heard, there's a narcissism epidemic in the United States right now.

  5. Problem is, that guy didn't join the group to communicate with fellow authors. You joined the group to sell books. That's not the right mindset. That's like walking into a party and yelling, "Hey, everybody, I sell Herbalife products! Who wants some?"

  6. Neil took my idea.

    I think the thing about overt commercialism is the context it's in. Nobody minds overt commercialism when we expect it - -like in ads before movies, or on TV. A blurb or two about an author's other books, or books from that publisher, in a book, probably wouldn't get much objection. Nobody complains about ads in magazines.

    But I had an idea once to sell ads in my books, so it's very possible that someday you will be reading "Eclipse 2: The Re-Eclipsening" and on page 100 there'll be an ad for Lenscrafters or something. I bet people would go NUTS over that.

    Remember what Fry said about ads in the 20th century?

    Leela: "Didn't you have ads in the 20th century?"
    Fry: "Well sure, but not in our dreams! Only on tv and radio...and in magazines...and movies. And at ball games, on buses, and milk cartons, and t-shirts, and bananas, and written on the sky. But not in dreams! No sirree."

    So this guy's problem is like Nigel et al said: it's in the wrong spot, for one thing. But had it been presented in a fun or entertaining way, nobody might've minded. You talk about your books a lot on here, but it's way more than just "BUY MY BOOK BUY MY BOOK" over and over.

    I see a lot of authors on twitter whose only tweets are links to their books on Amazon. I automatically unfollow anyone who has two ads in a row in their twitter feed; if I see an ad I tend to go look at someone's feed to check it out.

    I think the guy probably could have gotten away with this if he'd handled it a bit better. You could have fun with things like "#1 Suspense Writer In Canada," for example;

    "#1 Suspense Writer In Canada... According to my mom."

    "#1 Suspense Writer In Canada, Which Is Kind Of Like Being Prettiest Girl In The Royal Family."


    I mean, at least be fun about selling me. If that Herbalife guy came in and was wowing me a the party, I might at least not mind when he tries to sell me Herbalife.



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