Talk to any writer, or indeed anyone, and you quickly get the picture: ‘We are all busy’. Occasionally, I get the horrible feeling that I’ll meet myself charging at me from the other direction. I write. I critique. I review. I blog. I tweet therefore I am. Not necessarily in that order. Oh, and I also have a life with a husband and an ever growing tribe, and friends. It’s what I do, how I tick and most of the time, I love it. If I didn’t, I’d change it. So where the heck am I going with this?
A week or so ago a writer went on Facebook to set out her stall on following bloggers. She wanted to make it clear that she will only follow those whose posts resonate with her, that if she didn’t follow, comment or whatever, please no offence is meant and none should be taken. I’m with her. And I’d take it a step further.
On occasion, I’ve followed back an author on Twitter only to immediately receive a direct message to download his or her work, with a request to read and review it. This happened a lot when I wrote book reviews for the Cheltenham Standard. Fair enough. In our media savvy world, authors need to do their fair share of marketing. Nobody gets anywhere by being a shrinking violet. I get it. However if, after explaining that there might be a wait to read said ‘brilliant’ tome, (they are always brilliant) because at any given moment I might have twenty to thirty novels waiting in the wings, I’m ‘Unfollowed’, (or unceremoniously dumped) that’s just plain bad manners. I’m also unimpressed by strangers asking me to ‘Like’ their pages, or whatever. Why would I ‘like’ something I have never read? It may be harsh or I may be naive, but I find it a tad exploitative. And what is the point of having tons of ‘likes’ or suspiciously rave reviews from all and sundry? Don’t get me started on payment of filthy lucre to ramp up Twitter numbers – almost on a par with vanity publishing.
So, please don’t be offended if I don’t have time to immediately ‘jump to it’ and accept your kind invitation to read and comment on your novel. Don’t be put out that by, not ticking the ‘Like’ box on your Facebook page, I must therefore dislike. I’m busy, sure, but if I review or ‘like’ a book, I really do take the time to read it first.