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Julie Barrett is a freelance writer and photographer based in Plano, TX.

How NOT to Promote Yourself

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett


A couple of months back I wrote a post called "When Does Self-Promotion Go Overboard?" I didn't get terribly specific other than to say not to emulate bad behavior that drives you up the wall.

I was reminded of that post last night when I got a piece of spam from a self-published author. I'll refrain from naming names and genre, but I will say that the names appeared to have been scraped from a popular web site, and that they were ALL pasted in the "To" field. That's double bad behavior points. First, site scraping is not only unethical, but it's against the law in the US. Second, this person just exposed all those addresses to even more spam. (I generally use a specific address when I comment on web sites, and this mail went to that account.)

Not only was the e-mail riddled with typos - one of which was rather unfortunate - but it was full of links. I'm surprised it didn't land in the spam folder for that account on that basis alone.

Writers, if you're looking for a publisher or an agent, this isn't the way to do it. I don't have an agent at present, but everyone I know who has an agent isn't going to recommend someone who sent them an e-mail out of the blue. Agents and publishers don't respond well to spam, either. This person probably just ended up on several block lists, which isn't going to help their career.

Writers, if you're looking to sell books, this isn't the way to do it. Sending mass emails to total strangers is wrong. Ever check your spam folder lately? It's unprofessional to stoop to the level of those low-lives. And no, you're not different, no matter how much you try to convince yourself otherwise. The same goes with spamming forums. Read the rules before you post. One site I hang out on allows shameless self-promotion in the sig line, and has a special section where we can do that sort of thing. Don't jump in the section about the nuts and bolts of writing mysteries and expect that everyone will just love to buy your book. It's presumptuous and rude.

And apropos to the topic, here (via Lifehacker) is The Ultimate Social Media Networking Handbook. Very good stuff.

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Filed under: Self-Promotion            
12/11/2008 9:34:32 AM
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