Elspeth Cooper

Purveyor of fine fantasy adventures

Tag: other people’s books (Page 1 of 3)

(Mis)direct marketing

Picture of mailboxYou’re probably going to think I’m making something out of nothing, but this bugged me enough to write a post, so . . .

I get quite a few emails from strangers – readers asking when the next book’s out (I’m working on it, I promise!), moms who want to know if my stories are an age-appropriate gift for their 12-year-old’s birthday, and even a few from schoolkids who have to write to an author for their class project.

So far, so unremarkable.

The one that inspired this post was different. It was a message was from a new author, independently published by a digital-only small press, wanting me to do her a favour and tweet some links to her first book. Perfectly pleasant, with a short, well-polished pitch for her work.

BUT.

This author is a complete stranger to me, someone I’ve never interacted with, who doesn’t follow me on social media (as far as I have been able to determine) and doesn’t appear to know anything about me or my books.

Our audiences don’t overlap much, if at all. She writes contemporary romance; I write epic fantasy.

She is asking me to asking me to take time away from my own work and write a tweet just for her. The effort is minor, but it’s still an interruption, an imposition on my day.

She gave me no reason why I might be moved to help her out, and no incentive to do so. Twitter works best when users network and interact, not when they just scream into the void “BUY MY BOOK!”. Yes, I know Sam Sykes likes to do just that, but he makes it amusing; others, with less imagination, become just noise.

So why pick me? It’s not like I’m John Scalzi or Neil Gaiman who command an audience of tens of thousands – or, in Gaiman’s case, 2.26 million – for their every utterance. And this isn’t even a one-click RT request for a worthy cause, which those authors field with grace on a daily basis. I’ve got less than 1,800 followers, and as already noted, write in a totally different genre, so she’s not only expecting effort on her behalf from a stranger, it’s likely to be a waste of time in any case.

“But it’s just a quick tweet; what harm could it do?”

Am I supposed to be flattered by the attention? That I’ve been noticed? I’d like to think she’s seen me on the Twitters and thinks I’m approachable. What I actually think is that I’m just one more entry on a list of people who got a scattergun form email from an author who thinks they’re entitled to someone else’s time and effort.

Which does not make me inclined to want to help them out.

Now I’m sure there’s people saying “But it’s just a quick tweet; what harm could it do?” and the answer is “None”. But that’s the thing with these types of requests. Once you’ve agreed to do it for one random stranger, it becomes very hard to say no to the next one who asks. And the one after that. And . . . you get the picture.

I’m also sure there’s going to be people saying “Typical trad-pub snob, thinks she’s too good to help out a fellow author!” To which I say, “Clearly you don’t know me any better than Ms Contemporary Romance does”. Yes, I’m traditionally published. No, I’m not a snob; I’m probably going to go hybrid at some point in the future, when I try my hand at some not-quite-so-long-form fiction, so I’m hardly likely to sneer at authors who’ve chosen to go the self/indie route from the start.

But here’s the other thing that I am.

I am so far behind on my fourth book it’s not even funny. I’m so far behind that I jealously guard every single minute I have that could possibly be spent finishing it. In fact, I’m so far behind that this blog post has actually taken me a couple of months to put together because I felt so guilty about taking any time away from my WIP. So the chances of me sparing a couple of minutes to Tweet – and by so doing, tacitly endorse – some unknown-to-me author’s unknown-to-me book, are nil.

I’m sorry, Ms Contemporary Romance. I wish you well; you’ve got a nice pitch and your book sounds like it might be a fun summer read, but I am not your market, nor your marketing department.

 

Image courtesy of bplanet at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Incentivisation, I haz it

New books receivedToday brought me a modest haul of new books, these being the only ones I could remember from my missing-presumed-lost/recycled/eaten by dust-bunnies “Books to Buy” list. I have made myself a promise that I will not so much as crack the covers until THE DRAGON HOUSE is packed off to my editor.

Since I like reading about as much as I like breathing, I’d better crack on, eh?

I tweeted a picture of this lot as soon as I unpacked them, but for reasons known only to themselves HTC have seen fit to pair their phone’s pre-loaded Twitter client with bloody Yfrog, which has an unspeakably ill-formed splash page and does horrible things to image sizes, hence this post.

I really need to get my arse in gear and sign up with Tumblr or summat for those social-media-on-the-go moments. I am *such* a technophobe. Also too busy Actually Doing Stuff That Keeps The Lights On Around Here, which is likewise responsible for my lack of:

  • blogging regularly
  • self-promotion
  • updating the website
  • learning Scrivener
  • redrawing the map for the Wild Hunt Universe
  • getting a haircut

I don’t know how my fellow writers manage to do all this and hold down a day job.

 

 

BookSworn unmasked!

ID-100146856If you’ve been stalking me on social media recently, you might have noticed me dropping veiled hints about the BookSworn. You might even have wondered what it was all about.

Today, the truth is out.

So who are the BookSworn?

They are weavers of worlds and spinners of tales, a writer’s collective that features some of fantasy’s freshest voices from the last couple of years.

They are Bradley Beaulieu, Betsy Dornbusch, Teresa Frohock, Douglas Hulick, Kameron Hurley, Zachary Jernigan, Mark Lawrence, Stina Leicht, Helen Lowe, Anne Lyle, Evie Manieri, Jeff Salyards, Courtney Schafer, Mary Victoria, Mazarkis Williams and, er, me.

In the coming weeks we will be blogging and writing essays on the art and craft of genre fiction, offering sneak peeks at our upcoming books, and giving away some very cool stuff.

To help us launch our new website, you are cordially invited to attend a

Grand Masked Ball

and mingle with our characters over the next seven days. Guess who’s behind the masks, and you could win a stupendous pile of signed books.

Time: Monday 18th March 2013, from 12 noon EST (5pm GMT)

Venue: BookSworn

Dress: Masque

All welcome!

 

Fifty Shades of…

Spotlight on gold number 50

. . . Fantasy, of course. What did you think I was going to say?

There has been much talk of late on teh intertubes concerning the fact that so many “Best of . . .” and “Top 100” lists of fantasy and SF writers are male author-heavy, with many people feeling that female spec fic authors are under-represented, marginalised or downright ignored.

In reaction to this, Amanda Rutter started Fantasy Mistressworks (as a sister to the SF Mistressworks site) and put together the following list of 50 Fantasy Mistressworks, based on suggestions from readers.

Curious, I checked out the list and marked in bold the ones I’d read (italics mean I own the book). Drumroll, please . . .

Read More

Me! On the internet! Talking about stuff!

Trinity Rising coverIt’s all happening this week.

A bunch of us recent debut authors got together and decided to do something kinda fun to jointly celebrate our upcoming novels. Us crazy kids, right?

All this week and next*, we’re taking over Justin Landon’s blog over at Staffer’s Book Review, one author per day, to talk about our experiences of writing our second books and give you an exclusive sneak peek at these stories.

Mark Lawrence kicked off the event yesterday, with a post about Scary Shit, and a brilliant excerpt from King of Thorns. Today it’s Kameron Hurley, of God’s War fame, telling us Don’t Lose Your Edge and treating us to the first chapter of Rapture. And tomorrow, it’s some English upstart called Elspeth Cooper . . . Dunno who she is, but apparently she’s got a book out next week and you will be able to read a chunk of it on Justin’s site if you so desire.

Read More

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