We authors often talk about the fine line we walk for promo. When is it okay to promote and when wouldn't you promote? My thoughts on the subject have always been fairly simple. If I sold vacuum cleaners door to door, I would not knock on my mother's door to sell the vacuum. Many authors disagree with that. After all, who will buy your vacuums if not dear old mom? But that's my line in the sand.
Recently, a reader's e-mail discussion group that I have been a part of for a number of years threatened to shut down over--you guessed it: author spam (or BSP if you prefer). Instead of focusing on the lazy back and forth chat about books, pets, and the occasional absence from the list due to illness, all of the discussion had turned to authors' newest blog posts, appearances, and releases. I didn't object but just started skimming the list. I saw the same posts on every other mystery discussion list I was on. But you know--I don't like it. I don't want to be one of those birds that fouls its own nest. So when the question came up on whether to close the group or not, I voted no but said outright that I didn't much like the BSP either.
The thing is, I get a lot out of reading discussion lists as a reader. I find new books, get to hear about which of my favorite authors have a new book out, and discuss what I loved or hated about the books I'm reading now. I think it's okay for an author to announce a new book and I want to have authors answer questions on their books when there is a group read of their books but other than that, I don't really want to hear it. Don't tell me about your blog book tour with details on every stop. If you have a new review out that you're proud of, put it in your signature line and I'll get there, eventually. I'll do the same.
Let's not turn readers off. Be a part of the group. Talk to me about your life and what you're reading.. I guarantee I'll want to read your book.