You know what's funny? People outside the blog world assume us bloggers don't chat amongst ourselves. That somehow we all exist in a vacuum; that we are all too self-absorbed to pay attention to what might be going on other blogs or with other bloggers. Publishers especially seem to underestimate the strength of the "community" that makes up the interconnectedness of bloggers; I've had to explain time and time again that bloggers actually, you know, "talk" to each other?
I've now been blogging almost four years and during that time have got to know some amazing bloggers. These are people who have looked out for me; people who have watched my back; people who respected and upheld my privacy and anonymity. And, as would happen with mates in the offline world, my online friends get in touch with me the minute something odd happens in the blog world.
Like, for example, a mass email sent from my American publisher to a bunch of prominent sex bloggers asking them to plug the US edition of my book. I knew nothing about this email, until these bloggers informed me an hour ago; they were shocked - and a little annoyed (and rightly so) - that this blatant PR request had been sent cold to them, given they are my friends. 'Why didn't you just ask us directly if you wanted us to plug your book?' they said. 'I don't want you to plug it!' I replied, 'I didn't have anything to do with this email!':
"You have a great site. Like Abby's, your blog provides great material for any "sex fiend," and we'd ask you to please consider:
* Posting the cover, information, excerpt, and/or link to a bookseller on your site? * Reviewing the book for your readers, or posting a review on a bookselling site?"
The publishers also included a link to my blog in their email, which implies they were acting on my behalf in asking bloggers to plug my book. This situation has infuriated me for a number of reasons:
1) I've not heard from my American publishers since the book was published in the US in March of this year. Given I am the author, one might think that they would inform me of their plans to promote/relaunch it - especially when they involve blogging friends of mine. 2) Back in March, when I was in NYC to launch the book, I declined the publisher's suggestion to "ask other sex bloggers to promote it", because I felt it entirely unethical and against everything that blogging - and I - stand for. To say I am gobsmacked that they have now decided to ignore my explicit wishes and go over my head by making a direct approach to my sex blogging pals themselves, is an understatement. 3) By approaching these bloggers to do PR for my book it is evident that the publisher does not care that my friendships with all these bloggers could then be put in jeopardy. I've built up these friendships over four years and I am furious that in one instant they could be undermined by people who clearly do not give a damn about the outcome of their actions. 4) Are publishers really so ignorant about blogging that they think all bloggers will immediately jump at the chance to plug something, just because they ask them to? Do they really think that? Do they not grasp what blogging is about? 5) Finally, it's clear that the US publishers have failed to comprehend just how bad the publicity for the American book will be now that they have sent out a mass email to bloggers asking them to plug it. Word of mouth? It ain't gonna be good, their entire approach has guaranteed that...
At the end of the day, when books are done and dusted, and publishers have figured out that blogs are NOT just another form of free advertising for products, I'll know who my friends are, and they're the people that backed me up when all went to shit last year and whom inform me when my name (via my book) is being used in an manipulative and exploitative way. And it is these people that I care about and that I worry whose friendship might have been put at risk - and all because someone thought that a mass email might help shift a few more copies of a book. Update: Behind The Buzz, Viviane's Sex Carnival, Bad Man
I have no idea how many bloggers, or whom, have been approached by my US publishers and asked to promote my book. All I can say to those who have received emails is: please know I had nothing to do with this PR attempt. I would never ask ANY blogger to plug my book. So if you are a blog friend of mine, or just a reader of this blog, and have received an email asking you to write about my book, please ignore it, because it was not done with my authorisation, or my support, or with any of my wishes taken into account.
And to my American publishers: I'm not quite sure an apology covers it, but as yet I have had nothing in my inbox.