The idea for this post has been in my head for quite some time, but recently in one of my Facebook groups, the Indie Exchange, there has been quite a bit of spam that has been deleted from the group timeline and the founders had kindly asked for the author to please stop countless times.
This is just one example.
Spamming authors are on every forum everywhere.
Take a look at this video about “Spamming Authors” on YouTube.
Spam Crackdown on Amazon
The Amazon discussion forums used to feature threads were bloggers could ask for book reviews, people have showcase threads, etc in addition to readers asking for a certain type of book. There is also a lot of good information to be found there.
Not all authors spammed, but they were forbidden to plug their book at all or their posts would be deleted. Amazon went delete crazy around July 2010. Authors who tried to do things right were then forced to go to their own forum to post or promoted outside of Amazon. All thanks to the spammers. The spammers still spam while the honest authors try to keep good PR with readers.
How did these people spam before the crackdown? I saw some of this stuff for myself and it was so obvious, and people who are on Amazon all the time could identify the spammers a mile a minute. It wasn’t just indie authors doing it.Traditionally published authors and maybe even some publishers did it.
- Copy and paste the same message over and over and over again from forum to forum and from thread to thread.
- A book that is clearly out of place than what the reader is asking for.
- A romance book would end up in the Fantasy forum and vise versa.
- Sock Puppets.
Goodreads and Librarything won’t tolerate it at all. Groups will kick you out post haste if you are caught spamming! Let’s just hope we don’t have to chop off fingers and sabotage brakes to keep people from spamming like in the video!
Sock puppets. Ah, these sneaky little devils are still a problem even after the crackdown. These are fake accounts that are used to spam, create fake glowing reviews, and trash other authors’ books or attack reviewers. I wrote about them in my other post “Authors Behaving Badly”.
So, AK, what exactly is spam on a discussion forum? I’m so glad you asked!
Basically it is the same as it is on social media: plugging your book over and over again AND plugging it where it doesn’t belong where people ask you NOT to. It’s sad that discussion forums have to keep a lid on spamming, but it must be done or authors will fill the group with that funky meat.
Author groups and discussions are great ways to meet people and get information. This is where you can get leads on events. This may be where you sign up or get the directions to sign up. You may have documents to add you info to. Not sure what to do? Ask questions! That’s what forums are for–people want to help you until you stick you book in their face and say Buy it! Buy it!
I’ve been invited to some wonderful groups by fellow authors and then get to meet other fellow authors and bloggers. I recently asked a question I needed some good articles for and people were wonderful and supplied me some. That’s what social media and social activities like groups and forums are all about, not spamming!