Author: Beware Having Lunch With A Logo

Image - iStockphoto: ElenaTheWise
Image – iStockphoto: ElenaTheWise

Have you ever shaken hands with a corporation?

Have you ever kissed a building façade on both cheeks at a cocktail party?

  • Have you ever chatted with a book cover on legs?

Of course not. Which makes it all the more ridiculous that we seem to be expected to do these things online all the time.

My original article on this problem was: Author Publicists Who Don’t Tweet? And Under Their Own Names? Fire Them. It ran on the 24th of January at Thought Catalog, my New York venue.

I had just tried to find a Twitter handle for a human who was scheduled to be at a writers’ conference representing an “author services” company. I have yet to find a Twitter handle for that person, only for his or her company.

Let’s call this sponsor/speaker CutesyBookyBoo. Because you know how much publishing start-ups like to insult their customers with these inane cute names.

The person who has created CutesyBookyBoo was going to be rolling in to sell her or his services to authors at the conference. And yet at, there was no way to reach a human being, no “About” page telling you why you should trust your money to this little corporation, nothing. When that person tweeted — and she or he did tweet — it was as @CutesyBookyBoo, not under his or her own name..

I want you to require a more personal relationship with the CutesyBookyBoos of the world.

  • During your time at conferences, be very conscious of who is tweeting under his or her own name, and who is hiding behind a little LLC veil, tweeting as if he or she is a company. Companies don’t tweet. People do. You want to deal with people.
  • In fact, I wouldn’t respond, if I were you, to an author who tweets as his or her book title. Or who uses a picture of his or her book cover instead of a picture of him- or herself. I have no interest in having a good chat with your book. So get it out of my face on Twitter. In the various social media, your colleagues and your readers are there to talk to you, an author. Not to your book title. Not to your book cover.

When conducting live chats on Twitter, I have stopped to ask corporate representatives to quit chatting as their companies and instead use a personal Twitter handle. (To a person, they have done so when asked, too. Everybody knows better. As soon as you call them on it, they straighten up. And they shouldn’t waste our time doing it the wrong way.)

In chats, I have done the same with authors masquerading as their books. I have told them to tweet as themselves, authors. I have told them to change their Twitter avatars: we don’t want to see their cats, their children, their favorite vacation spots, or their book covers. You can imagine how much they like it when I tell them this.

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By Porter Ander­son

Writing on the Ether: Authors: Beware Having Lunch With A Logo



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