A collective of bibliophiles talking about books. Book Fox (vulpes libris): small bibliovorous mammal of overactive imagination and uncommonly large bookshop expenses. Habitat: anywhere the rustle of pages can be heard.
The Art of Plugging
The Tuesday Alternative is here again – admittedly a rather bleary-eyed and sore-headed Tuesday Alternative (well it is Christmas Party season). As usual we are taking our quirky look at all things book, word and blog. Today’s blog deals with an issue that concerns many bloggers and blogosphericals: the subtle art and etiquette of Plugging.
Blogs work, to a certain extent, by linking to each other. There is a early gauche period in the life of any blog where you have to get out there and let people know you are there – link to them, ask if they’ll link back. A bit like dating. For virgin pluggers their first time can be just as confusing and just as painfully excruciating.
“Hello, you won’t know me but I’ve been reading your blog for a while…and…well…I just wondered if….perhaps….sometime when you’re not too busy….you might like to…if it’s not too much bother…check out my blog at…”
Oh! The mortification! I used to do a lot of this for Vulpes in our early days and it is a necessary right of passage for any blog. There’s no easy way around it. Plugging is just plain embarrassing, whatever way you look at it.
However, plugging blogs is one thing – what about when it comes to plugging other things? Unsurprisingly, the plugs we get in the comments on Vulpes are usually for books – along with online bingo and pornographic spam but thankfully none of you have to look at that so it’s only our administrators who risk being corrupted.
When it comes to the etiquette of book plugging, views differ. There are those, like myself, who prefer the direct approach.
“Great post on the role of the family in Soviet Russia! Those who enjoyed this book might also be interested in my book: The Sexual Life of Snails, based on ten years of observational study, available from Kitchen Table Publishing…etc”
Honest. Straightforward. Although it probably helps to have some link – however spurious – with the post in question.
“Hey, I see you have a review on the art of origami. Those interested in this book might be interested in my new book: How to Fold Bed Linen and other Handy Household Hints.
But some people don’t like this approach and prefer a plug to make a more obviously concerted effort to engage with the post in question before “subtly” dropping in a reference to the plugger’s own book.
“Absolutely fascinating review. I particularly enjoyed your dissection of bleakness and violence in modern society. I believe that this is one of the most important discussions we could be having right now. I have lots and lots and lots to say about this particular subject, blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah…”
[Ten paragraphs later]
“blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah”
[And a few more]
“blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah”
“Of course, this issue is something that the character of Earnest struggles with in my new work of literary fiction The Bleak Silence of the Mourning Owl published by….”
As a rough rule of thumb, the amount you can get away with is usually dictated by how regularly you comment on the blog in question. For a good example of this, see my appallingly crude and unsubtle plug on our Christmas Round-up post. No one chucked me off or deleted my comment. Because I’ve earned my stripes. However, it is generally agreed that it is bad taste for even the most regular of readers or members to add an ISBN number. Bad move! And whilst you might get away with a gratuitous plug once, if you pepper every post with them…
“Great post on bird books, readers of this post might be interested in my self-published memoirs Travels across Wales with a three-legged ferret called Bert“.
“Great post on war poets. Readers might be interested in my memoir chronicling my journey with Bert, the 3 legged ferret”
“Hey! Loved the chicklit piece. Readers of chicklit might be interested in my 3-legged ferret memoir, Travels Across Wales with -“
…someone, in the end, is bound to get annoyed.
So, to round off this incredibly unsatisfactory and rather-worse-for-wear and quite hungover post, here is The Tuesday Alternative’s 4 point essential guide to help you plug your literary wares. Good luck and good plugging!
“That was an incredible post! Revelatory. Insightful. You have an incredibly perceptive intelligence and I could read blogposts by you til the cows come home! You are the only blogger I read religiously. No one compares to you. I think we might be soul-mates. You have transformed my entire reading experience and I won’t read anything unless it comes recommended by you – life is too short for mediocrity when there is real insight and wisdom to be had. As such I have dedicated my own – oh so humble – work, Invasion of the Man-Eating Centipedes From Mars to you – available from Spaceboilers.com, price £19.99, ISBN number:…”
(Didn’t I say flattery would get you anywhere?)
For an amusing article on Six Stupid Ways to Promote Your Book Online, check out Caroline Rance’s blog
More from The Tuesday Alternative here