We hear all the time about how important it is for authors not to rant and rave on social media. And I agree. If you are labeled as trouble all the time it’s hard to shake the image. Life is hard enough as it is without having to listen to an author rant and complain. But I’m kind of curious about something else…which I guess would the direct opposite of being a snarky, ranting blowhard online.
I tend to keep it real here on the blog and on social media. I’ve never been a confrontational person and I have a very long fuse, so to speak. Although, if you push me hard enough, or if you throw the first punch, you’d better be prepared for a response. But that rarely ever happens to me, and it has to be extreme when it does. Most of the time I find that keeping it real and treating people with respect works best. And I’ve learned over the years never to underestimate readers…and to give them the respect and honesty they deserve.
What I’m talking about right now with the “sticky sweet deal” is when I see an author lay on the sugar and spice routine to the point of nausea. When it gets so cute, and the pretty pink unicorns are so adorable, you want to gag. It can happen on blogs or on any social media where authors are interacting with readers and other authors. It can be men or women; there doesn’t seem to be a pattern in this respect. I don’t see this often, thank God, but when I do I cringe sometimes.
The false tone and the painfully wretched way I’ve seen this happen makes me wonder how readers feel about this, and do they actually believe it? I could do it. I could post something like this: “A dear sweet loving reader just told me she loves me more than a basket of puppies, a bushel of fluffy kittens, and marsh mellow clouds in a bright blue sky. She is willing to leave her husband for me, everything she’s worked for all her life, and run off into the sunset with me to live happily-ever-after in a world of over-the-rainbow love.” But would readers really buy into the sticky sweet deal or would they think I’m a blithering idiot who will stop at nothing to sell a book?
I honestly don’t know what to make of this. Maybe most of the bright, hard-working authors I know who don’t do things like this are missing something important? Maybe I’m missing something important? But, like I said, I don’t see it happen very often. I really am curious about how readers feel when they see an author say or do things on social media that could be taken as insincere…or too cute. I will say this: I think it might work in the beginning. It might be a way to attract a readership and build a following. Politicians do it all the time. We’ve seen them all kissing babies at one time or another. But eventually even politicians have to tone it down. Because once the “sticky sweet deal” wears off there had better be a back up plan with something substantial. If not, and you’re labeled an idiot, you’ll always be one. I know there are one or two I’ll never forget. And I don’t know many people who are willing to take that chance in any walk of life.