Hot on the heels of yesterday's post on not being a lazy git, comes this follow on article.
This has been a funny old week at Ginger Nuts of Horror, spending a week off work with a torn hamstring has meant that I have had a lot of time to go through my email. Normally when it comes to dealing my email, a lot of the emails don't get that much attention. Most of them fall at the first hurdle when it comes to my three point plan for filtering out unwanted emails. It's a simple one address the email to me. Not to a "Dear Sir" or "Dear Madam "
However as I said I've had a lot of time to spare this week, which I have used in the main to get some of the background stuff sorted out, like a new design look for the site, it's looking good isn't it? Tidying up and deleting a lot of dead links or links that lead to some dodgy sites. If you have a website with a lot of links I recommend that you go and check this out. I had no idea that dodgy companies can go around and buy up dead domains.
More importantly I spent a whole day sorting out my emails, it was a horrible job, but one that was desperately needing some attention. For once I actually went through every email and read the whole thing and replied to every single one that needed a reply. And it was in doing this that I noticed something that really bothered me.
It's a cutthroat world out there and I fully understand the lengths that new authors have to go to get noticed. You need to break through the brick wall that sites such as mine put up. I'll be straight up here most of these techniques don't work. We are not a bunch children, we don't get star struck by bright colours, or insincere platitudes. You say you are a huge fan of the site, but you don't even know my name. The clues in the email address you just sent your enquiry to.
This something even worse reared its ugly head, something that I had never seen before, something which bothers me as it shares a common parent with all the sock puppetry reviews that still go on. And this common misbelief that these mutual like a review of my book on Amazon actually works.
Neither does gathering up a little posse, then meeting around a shady campfire to plot some nefarious scheme to get your latest masterpiece into the hands of a reviewer. One day this week I received three emails all from authors who I had never heard of, nothing new there. On a normal week, I would have just deleted the emails as neither of them addressed the email to me personally. However as I had a lot of spare time I let it slide, you never know there might have been some hidden treasure buried in these emails.
Well there wasn't any buried treasure, which is a pity. Reading through these three emails, I started to notice couple of patterns, similar key phrases, a similar tone, and an identical closing statement along the lines of
If you manage to get past the first couple of chapters and decide not to review the book, please don't feel obliged to. Not getting a review or even getting a bad review won't mean I'll kill my family and then hang myself.
What the fuck! What's that about? Lets break this down
Wow you really are selling this book aren't you. Is your book that bad even you don't have faith in it?
You think that's funny or clever, really?
I don't find it remotely funny and it certainly doesn't endear you to me. This is not something to joke about ever.
It was this phrase that really set my alarm bells ring. Each of the three requests used the exact same sentence as the closing remark. It was then that I noticed that all three review requests had review quotes from the other two authors. At this point the alarm bells gave up said "fuck this shit" and handed in their notice.
Come on guys really, I know you're desperate, but there is no way in hell I'm getting involved in a circle jerk. It just stinks of wrongness, I get that you are desperate to have your book reviewed but this isn't the way to do it. When sites like mine see this sort of stuff we just get wary, we don't like it when this sort of thing happens. We are wary, you guys have obviously teamed up to for some sort of superhero writing team, ready to take on the might of the reviewing world. When this happens we just think "OK I bet you if I give any of these books a bad review, the cavalry is going to come riding in all keyboards blazing. Now let us be clear here I am in no way saying that a reviewer should be scared about giving a bad review. I’m not I'm a big boy who is not afraid to stand up for himself. What I don't like is any unnecessary blow ups. Don't get me wrong in the past I've been there riding my armchair horse, swinging my keyboard like a claymore, but those days are long gone.
And that's why I won't be drawn into your game. What the three of you did is just wrong, it stinks of sock puppetry. You are going to find it difficult to get your book reviewed, and you are going to find it hard to get a platform from which you can promote yourself.
I've said it time and time again, if you want horror websites to take notice of you it's really simple. Be polite, be courteous, be interesting, and interact with the site.
Most horror websites don't like controversy it makes everyone involved look stupid. There is never, ever any winners only losers. I got drawn into a fight over one of my first reviews I ever did on Amazon, the author in question didn't like it, even though it was the only honest review there. Out of the half dozen or so reviews mine was the only one that came from someone who didn't have the same last name. The author in question managed to get my review pulled down and I received a 6 month ban from posting reviews on Amazon. This was in the days when Amazon actually had proper guidelines about reviews.
Feel free to have a circle jerk guys, just don't try and get me involved, it's not my scene.