It's Sunday and I'm thinking about ethics. Mine are strong and to some people's thinking-too puritanical-ridiculous in today's world. I mention this because on one of my writer's loops a new author asked about publicity. She was told to go on the social networking sites and make a page, then contact groups of readers. Reader groups are simply people who ban together and make friends because they all like to read. She was told to make "friends" with the people in her group-then let them know she had a book coming out-when and where. She was told her new "friends" would buy her book-out of loyalty I suppose. I don't know. This doesn't feel right to me--to extend your hand in friendship with the pure purpose of selling something. Seems wrong to me. But others say-this is how it's done. It's called networking. It's called building a community. It's called public relations. I call it fraud. Friends, real friends are people you come to know through shared experiences. Shared interests. Friends bond to promote each other, to make lives better. I guess some would say the above example is helping each other-one likes to read, the other sells them a good book and both win. Perhaps, but to me that's not friendship. It's capitalism.
Don't get me wrong. I believe there is a place for advertising, a place for public relations. Consumers can't buy your stories unless they know your name and they know your work. Which is why I have a website and a blog. I'm more than happy to talk business or stories-I LOVE to talk stories. But I promise you, should I ever call you friend, its because you really are one.