My parents are getting older, so I downloaded a self-help book so I can help them and know what to expect. Unfortunately, the book was a dud. Instead of focusing on practical advice like low-impact exercise, a good diet, and working with doctors, the author presented a holistic approach. Before you get upset, this would have been fine if the book description or title had prepared the reader. “A holistic approach to old age.” However, neither was present, and the light content provided little helpful information.
Forgiving an author for lackluster content is possible, but there was a more significant problem. The author spent two (out of eight) entire chapters on a book that was far too short, instructing (not asking) the reader to write a positive review. The first chapter described how vital reviews were to the author, gave tips on the review content, and discussed how to post the review. The second chapter repeated how critical reviews were to the authors’ success. I have never encountered such an arrogant request and found it to be outrageous and unprofessional. I hope this new form of promotion is not a new trend.
I am a humble author who appreciates when a reader views my words; this is my positive review. You read my work? Thank you! The icing on the cake occurs when somebody takes the time to thank me. Wow, it feels great to be appreciated.
Now, hold on. I self-plug my published books in my articles and use my plots as examples. Why? I want to be successful, and advertising is a significant part of sales. Yet, I would never demand something from my readers and do not have gushing self-plugs. I would rather be a failure than stoop to that level.
Yet, my self-plugging seems hypocritical. I can complain about an author who went too far, but not myself. I suppose I must fall back on the title of a Cranberries song, “Everybody else is doing it, so why can’t we?” The difference is that I go far to ensure my humble plugs are tasteful and not in your face.
There was something else amusing about this book. None of the reviews mentioned the review demand. I would have expected at least some anger; after all, it upset me. This lack of reaction made me wonder why I get so upset.
Every day, commercials bombard us. Billboards, magazines, bumper stickers, radio commercials, banners, pop-ups, subliminal messages, and hidden text. Nearly every online video ends with “If you liked this content, please like and subscribe.” Likes have become the content currency.
Readers and viewers have become accustomed to in-your-face advertisements and demands for many things. It is so much noise and wasted effort. We live in a modern world, and advertising will only get worse. I predict that artificial intelligence will soon bombard us with hyper-specific advertisements.
Yet, a book is a flat, dull thing. They do not have exciting YouTube personalities with excellent graphics or pop-up windows with a great deal on socks. And that is the big reason we read them. “Today, I got under a warm blanket and read a lovely book.” What did it do? The book entertained and informed me. Great job, you wonderful author. But two self-plugging chapters? They crossed a thick line.

You’re the best -Bill
January 10, 2024
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