June 25, 2013

Virtual Etiquette: Who's Doing It Right

It's been about a week since the release of my poetry collection, and it has certainly already been an uphill climb. One of the results of choosing to publish independently is that, once the book itself is complete, the work is really just beginning—which seems silly to us writers who have already spent countless hours, even years, slaving over the content. Still, I have been very lucky to have the support of Donna L Sadd, with whom I did an interview, and Sherry Fundin, who quickly pulled together a promotional post for me. Patience is the name of the game now, as I wait for the major promotional boost that participating in the Blogger Book Fair should turn out to be and hope that my efforts will eventually turn into readers and sales. (That isn't to say I won't be promoting in the meanwhile—don't forget to enter my launch giveaway!)

This will be my first experience participating in the Blogger Book Fair [BBF], but it looks like it's shaping up to be a huge event, and I'm excited!

One already evident pro of this event is the quality of the organization. The founder, Kayla, promptly emailed all participants once sign-ups closed, with directions, a checklist for the time leading up to and during the event, and even a pre-made calendar to keep everyone on the same page. While this paperwork only needed to be created once, it still demonstrates a dedication to the quality of everyone's experience that the BBF team was conscientious enough to create it. Kayla has also quickly responded to all of my emails, though I'm certain she receives a staggering amount of correspondence related to this event. The notable factor is that she takes the time to write even a simple message such as, "Got it - thanks!" 

In my opinion, that level of courtesy should be the standard among all of us professionals whose industry is based largely on virtual communication. Unfortunately, that has not been my experience. For instance, I had committed to writing an article for a writing site, but somehow never heard back from them after completing and sending that article.  

One of the worst offenders in my recent experience, though, is a Book Tour organizer (whom I will not name), whose appalling behavior was quite starkly contrasted by Kayla's professionalism. I had hosted authors from this tour organizer on my page before, for free of course, and had offered to host more. I was even scheduled to do so. Unfortunately, I found that out through having a visitor come to my page from a list of another author's tour stops—days after the post I never knew was scheduled was supposed to go up.

I immediately contacted the organizers, asking them about the situation and aiming to find a solution, such as rescheduling. The response I received consisted of a forwarded email (with no attached note) and then a brusque email stating that that email had been forwarded. I responded again, saying that the question isn't whether they sent the email, but that I hadn't gotten it—though it was supposedly sent the same day as information for an author I did host. Eventually, after some more frustrating communication that within the span of an hour bounced among three separate organizers, I asked them to remove my site from the tour stop listing and from their list of hosts. They agreed, but to my knowledge haven't yet done so.

Here are my concerns about this situation:
  1. Forwarded emails can be faked. (Forward any email you want, paste in the content you want it to have, replace the "to" address, and change the time stamp.) Even if it had been real, blindly forwarding it to me isn't a reasonable response to my saying "I never received it; what can we do now?" especially because: 
  2. I was offering this space (and my time setting up / promoting these posts) for free! To a company who charges their authors to organize these blog tours. My offer literally helped these people make money, and they couldn't be bothered to be polite!
    • In contrast with the BBF, who received no money from participating authors or bloggers in return for all of their work organizing this promotional event.
  3. If for some reason I had intended not to publish the promotional post, I obviously wouldn't have bothered to contact the organizers after I found this mistake. Especially because I had previously hosted, and promptly responded to such scheduling emails, I should have been given the benefit of the doubt—particularly given point #2.
  4. Once it became clear that we could not continue to have a working relationship, these organizers should have immediately followed through on removing my information from the list of tour stops for this (and perhaps other?) author(s).
  5. I am an author! I had previously considered hiring this company to organize promotional tours for future releases. Clearly, that will not be happening.
While I realize that my participation in this tour company's efforts to promote authors is largely inconsequential to them, I am disenchanted to say the least. I hope they treat other hosts and the authors who hire this company better. I myself look forward to associating only with those who will be respectful and courteous, such as the organizers—and hopefully participants—of the BBF.


  1. Thanks for the kind mention, Aria. I hope the Blogger Book Fair is a huge success for you. :0)

    1. Thanks, Donna :-) How are all your contest submissions going?