Like many book bloggers, I got into the blogging game for the community. Of course, an added perk of blogging is that sometimes you get ARCs or free books in the hope of word-of-mouth turning into more sales. Often, this road starts by working with indie and self-published authors. I’ve worked with a few of these, and in the start I asked for an interview any time I could. Then I learned my lesson when the author cared less about answering the questions thoughtfully and more about promoting themselves.
To be clear, I understand the struggle of being a debut author. You’re trying to get your book out there and noticed in a sea of books being released all the time, many of them by big name publishers that have a huge following and a giant advertising budget. I get it. But there’s a difference between promoting your book and promoting yourself. And it’s a big one.
This topic came to mind when I got a book in the mail from an author. She contacted me through facebook and asked if I would read and review her book. It sounded like something my best friend would enjoy, so I said yes and considered asking my friend to do a guest review. Then I got the book.
First off, the package included three things: the book, a letter, and a notecard. As a lover of all things mail, I was excited! Then I read the letter. It started off well: “I want to say THANK YOU for wanting to read my book.” Then the rest of the page long letter JUST talked about herself. Nothing about the book, except that it’s based on true events. Cool. The notecard? “Thanks for reading my book! Please keep in mind this is based on true incidents.” Yeah, got it, thanks.
Then, one of my biggest pet peeves happened. I didn’t remember the details of the plot since our conversation was months ago. So I turned the paperback book over to read the synopsis. Only there WASN’T ONE. It was just MORE TEXT ABOUT THE AUTHOR.
Seriously, I will never understand this. You as a person are not what people are spending money on. The book is. Why would you go through all the effort of writing and publishing a book and then NOT put what it’s about anywhere?! I was floored. I had been burned by self-promoting authors before, and I wasn’t going to do it again.
Forcing myself to think of my bestie, I opened the book to a random page. Weird, it was all in italic script. I thought maybe I’d opened to a letter or something. Next page, still script. Turn to another random page, and it was in BOLD COMIC SANS. THE ENTIRE BOOK IS IN EITHER BOLD COMIC SANS OR ITALIC SCRIPT.
I cannot even begin to describe how I felt. Only that I am no longer working with a self-published author again. My mental health cannot take it. I will not waste valuable reading time on something I would never pick up in a bookstore, especially for the cover price of $16.00, which is what this book has. I’m done.
Do you ever feel this way, fellow bloggers? Have you ever been floored by the choices made to advertise a book or how it was designed/printed? Please tell me I’m not the only one.