Posted: September 2, 2012 in Uncategorized

I had always thought of sock puppetry as involving nothing more controversial than sticking your hand up a piece of spare hosiery and making it talk in a stupid voice. How wrong can you be?

The term is now used to describe a number of different and in some cases rather questionable practices in relation to writers publicising their work. These include reviewing one’s own book under a pseudonym – presumably raving about it in a rather sad effort to get people to buy it. More troubling is the related activity of reviewing others people’s work and essentially slagging it off, to use a technical term, in an even sadder and more desperate attempt to prevent their sales.

Some authors apparently go on various forums, again under a false name, in order to get people talking about their work. This is known as ‘creating a buzz’.

There are also rumours that accounts have been set up in the name of rival authors in an effort to discredit them by making controversial comments etc.

How widespread this practice is I am not in a position to say but it leaves me, as a new author about to begin publicising my first novel, feeling rather disillusioned. My main aim as a writer is to produce something that people will enjoy reading and therefore be persuaded to buy my books. This whole process is hard enough without having to worry about what others are doing to promote their work. Frankly I don’t know how they find the time! I’d rather spend mine actually writing and engaging in genuine promotion.

So I will say this. I will be keeping my hands out of the hosiery and publicising my work the rather more straight forward way – by telling people about it whenever they are kind enough to listen. Maybe I won’t create such a ‘buzz’ but, whatever I do manage, will at least be honest. And that is better than being a sock puppet any day.


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