Don’t. Just don’t.
Several times I have been attracted to web sites or e-mail links that offer all sorts of wonderful opportunities. Each offers amazing books, great insights and tremendous opportunities to do better, be thinner, be smarter, write more, and on and on. Each includes lengthy and impressive testimonials. I actually downloaded one or two books and participated in some of it.
However, if I don’t stick with it—usually by paying for a book, signing up for an expensive year-long course, or even participating in a relatively cheap 12-week weight-loss program—the groveling and begging begins. Or perhaps I should say arm-twisting. Or maybe persuasive rants. Or even gun-to-the-head threats. ‘If you don’t . . . you’ll lose out on. . . .’.
That part gets not only irritating but down-right insulting. Perhaps they believe that if they just keep ranting, we’ll give in and sign up again. And, of course, lay out the cash. The implication is we are too stupid to know what we want. Are there really that many mindless followers out there? Hubby Flatbottom says there’s a new one born every minute, and I think he’s probably right.
If we are intelligent enough to have signed up for the program, then we are intelligent enough to make a choice on whether we do or DON’T want to pay tens or hundreds or even THOUSANDS of dollars to make that particular person rich. Their PR people don’t have to beat us over the head to make us come back to the fold. Sometimes my feeling is that they aren’t helping us, they’re just greedy for our money. Jeff Goins and John Assaraf come to mind. Others, fortunately, are really selling to help us, like my friend Carol Martin. She does care.
Even the bloggers are doing it. One girl (thank goodness I don’t remember who) begged her readership to repost her blog so she could win some prize or award for most reposts. She even provided all the details of how we were supposed to help her win. The impression I got was that she didn’t care a fig about her readers.
I’ve been told time and again that publishers are interested in seeing that we have a huge ‘platform.’ That means followers on social media. The larger the audience, the more likely that our books will sell, without the publishing company having to do any of the work. And it does happen. One new acquaintance here in Huntsville was able to quit his job as a pharmacist and make a nice living selling his Sci-Fi e-books on-line. That would be Michael Manning.com. Pretty impressive. And without too much begging.
I still shake my head over that. Dang, but this is a new world! I admit, I was shocked yesterday to find on one of my blogs, a comment IN RUSSIAN. I’ve also had several comments from India or Asia. Where did they come from? Also people selling things or pushing information or offering to ‘help’ my website. One even asked where I got my theme so he could “tweak it to fit” his own website. (Tori, thank you dear, for letting me know what the heck a ‘theme’ was- this one is a free WordPress theme. I still think mine is better)
Does that mean that I’m getting a larger readership? Not my concern. If a blog–whether mine or others’– is worthwhile, if it is funny or entertaining or adds value to my readers’ lives, fine, then read it. But why should we intentionally and falsely try to amp up our readership by reposting other peoples’ blogs? Either our blog is worth reading or it’s not. And what Russian is going to buy any book of mine? (just in case, Mr. Russian, it’s “De Leon: A Tejano Family History”. Not begging, just saying.)
There was a quote on my Page-a-Day calendar yesterday that said, “If you’re work speaks for itself, don’t interrupt.” It’s by Henry J. Kaiser, an American businessman. Perhaps these promotional pushers need to listen to Mr. Kaiser. But for heaven’s sake, stop begging! It’s demeaning.