Thursday, December 20, 2012

What Not To Do To Self-Promote on Amazon

Recently I returned to a reader's list I was a member of on amazon some time back. I went there as a reader, not as an author.  I always enjoy trolling the lists and seeing what books readers are discussing.  There was even one list that I checked in on to make certain no one was trashing my book as they were doing several other---much better known authors. I cringe every time I think of that. But I did learn the habits writers get into that set readers off and thus learned what not to do in my own writing. I've actually laughed out loud at some of the things posted and thanked God I'd never put them in my books.

I wasn't laughing when I suddenly became the object of a reader's hostility.

Self promotion is not permitted by Amazon, except in the Meet Our Authors forum.

Link to the rules on Amazon
These are what they are.

Please share thoughts that you think will add to the discussion and help other customers interested in the product area, or start a conversation to learn from other customers' experiences. For example:

Behave as if you were a guest at a friend's dinner party. Please treat the community with respect. Do not post:

Do not impersonate another person, including an employee.
We recommend that you do not post your phone number or e-mail address.

I wasn't attacked because I was doing any of these don'ts.  I was attacked because I was an author. And worse--- a self-published author. 

 I was a handy punching bag for her frustration and aggression.

When I pointed out that I was following the rules and not there as an author but a reader, she persisted and I turned her posts off.  She didn't care that I couldn't read her posts, but persisted.

 I later decided that this situation was not a healthy, or pleasant thing for anyone involved. Especially the other subscribers to the list and I made an announcement that I was leaving the list and moving on to another where my suggestions and questions might be better received.

I've dropped this and don't intend to contact Amazon. Should she follow me to one of the other lists and persist, I will.

The excuse my attacker gave for her behavior was that the list had dried up and people had stopped posting because of the constant spamming done by authors about their books.  And I have to say that while I was on there, three authors posted the names of their books and the info about them. Which only succeeded in increasing the reader's  hostility toward me.

But it was the hostility expressed by the reader (in my opinion) that kept traffic at a minimum.  I mean with someone patrolling the list like a pit bull, and looking up the people who posted to weed out the undesirable (namely me)--- Who would want to post? Why I ever did is beyond me. 

I can truly say that I have never participated on any list and mentioned that I was an author.
(I didn't on this one either. She looked my name up and announced to everyone on there that I was an author) Oh my God there's a Fox in the Hen House!!!!

 Readers loops are readers loops.

So when I have participated I am careful to post with my opinions as a reader.  And I have to say I have been a reader as long as I've been a writer. I have over 7000 books in my house to attest to that.

But I have been on more loops than I can tell you where two authors suddenly decided that their discussion as authors took president over the original  discussion. It is like watching a train wreck about to happen because sooner or later a reader is going to come out and say, "take it somewhere else ladies this is a reader's loop and you aren't supposed to be on here."  When that happens, it only bods badly for all of us. It reflects on us all, even though we're not the culprits.

As I found out first hand. 

Moral of the story is this:

Do not self-promote on any of the lists on Amazon but the one specifically called  Meet the Authors. 

When you insist on self-promoting on readers lists: 

1. It doesn't garner you any sells.(In fact the opposite.)

2. It only antagonizes the readers and ensures they won't buy your book, and in fact, they may blackball it with all their friends. 

3. It will ensure that the readers on any given loop may treat you as I was treated-- with persistent hostility. (Luckily this was only one reader not everyone on the list)

4. It may damage the sales of those people's books you've recommended. (That was threatened while I was on the list.)

5. It will only leave you with a bad taste in your mouth and a desire to never participate in any discussion on there.  (luckily I'm made of sterner stuff and I'm on one in particular that I've been on for nearly 6 years that I enjoy and no one gives me any shit.)But I only participate as a reader.

6. And if you are ever treated as I was on a list-- Don't lose your cool, treat them with kindness, because if your a class act, the other people on the list will remember you and perhaps buy your book. 

 If you'd like to participate in this discussion and share your experiences, I promise not to give you any shit or treat you with hostility.

Read on,

Teresa J. Reasor 


Unknown said...

Teresa, this is interesting and icky. Thanks for sharing. By the way, I think you're a brilliant author!!!

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Teresa Reasor said...

AWWW. Thanks Robyn I appreciate it.

Karen Barr said...

Sorry to hear you've been the subject of such hostility Teresa. I for one love that some authors and conversing with their readers and I love that I can make a comment and get a response...I still get a little star struck.

I know there have been some issues with Goodreads and honestly the whole time I've been on Goodreads I've only ever had one author send me a friend request. I looked at his profile and he didn't write the sort of books that were on my reading shelves AT ALL so I didn't accept the request. I didn't think it was a great way to go about promoting yourself.

I hope it doesn't make you shy away from conversing with your readers through online groups because I think its a wonderful thing you do.

Have a very merry Christmas

Teresa Reasor said...

Thank you for your supportive comment. And no I won't shy away from conversing with readers. I've moved on from this experience. I may change my posting name so they won't know who I am. I never thought about anyone looking me up while I'm on a list. I never thought if they did there would be anything negative about it.
And authors are always hungry to hear from readers. We love to know what we're doing right and if there's something that doesn't ring true for the reader so we can work on that. So never never be shy about contacting someone whose book you've read. We love it.
Teresa R.