Using Twitter to promote your novel wrong

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UPDATE: Fixed dick quote attribution.

I have mentioned before that there are certain rules that authors should abide by when gliding across this meadow of rainbows and unicorn farts we call the internet. It is not all smileys and lolcats out there, and forewarned is forearmed. Anyway, most rules boil down to (to paraphrase Wil Wheaton) don’t be a dick.

Back to those ten commandments of mine, from Dear Author we have word of someone, novelist Alice Hoffman, who managed to break my rules #1, #2, #4, #5 and #8 in 140 characters or less. Yes, we have now seen author self-immolation by Twitter. This woman got into a ever-spiraling shit-fit on twitter a couple of days ago. Incensed, Incensed I tell you, that a reviewer did not receive her book as the divine gift it most assuredly is. I mean, how dare that awful, evil reviewer say, “this new novel lacks the spark of the earlier work.”

Alice Hoffman needed to right this heinous wrong. To quote Ron Hogan @ Gallycat:

In addition to playing the Famous Writer Card on Twitter, Hoffman also played, among others, the Feminist Card (“Girls are taught to be gracious and keep their mouths shut. We don’t have to”), the Provincial Critic Card (“This is a town where a barking dog is the second top story on the news”), the Lousy Paper Card (“No wonder there is no book section in the Globe anymore – they don’t care about their readers, why should we care about them”), and the Post Your Enemy’s Email & Phone Number Online Card (encouraging fans to further validate her reaction and “tell her what u think of snarky critics”).

The fact is, anyone on-line who does not see how much of an asshat this makes them appear has a generous helping of stupid to go along with their hat of assness. Not to mention the potential liability invoked when encouraging people to harass someone who was mean to your book.

Now if you predicted that Hoffman’s Twitter account was swiftly deleted and a lame apology issued through her publisher, why you get a cookie.

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