Sunday, November 04, 2007

Obnoxious Self-Promotion Revisited

I was reading the comments on posts at a certain blog recently and noticed one commenter whose signature line read, "Author of the xxxx series, http://blah,blah/." At the beginning of the post, the name carried similar credits.

This struck me as being in poor taste, particularly because the xxxx series had absolutely nothing to do with the subject under discussion. In fact, I found it obnoxious, akin to going around wearing a sign that says, "I am the author of xxxx." Or maybe interrupting a serious conversation about nuclear weapons with, "Hey--I wrote these novels! Have a look!"

If the post on which this writer was commenting had something in common with the xxxx series, I could maybe see citing the novels in support of a comment. But here it was as if the largely unknown author of a series of western novels was commenting on a post about the market for microprocessors and presenting proficiency in westerns as credentials.

Yes, I know the author is trying to get noticed. But how many books does she sell with a signature line? None. How many people does she put off by bragging about something totally unrelated to the subject at hand? More than a few, if she comments on blog posts very often.

I would like to say to this writer, "At this point in your career, your series title means little, so there's no reason to append it to your name. By the time it comes to mean something, people will know your name and there'll be no need to mention it." But I won't, because it would only result in hurt feelings. But--really--did Patricia Cornwell or Stephen King or Tom Clancy or Janet Evanovich ever append "Author of xxxx" to their names--or carry around a sign listing their book titles?

Let your name and your comments stand on their own. Leave a URL after your name so if people want to know more about you they can. If you need to establish credentials in a discussion, cite your relevant book or other credits. Waving your titles around every time you speak says that you lack confidence in yourself and your comments. Leave promotion for other venues.

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