No, actually, I don’t want your free content, Mr. Spamtastic.

I’m sitting here, thinking about innovation (actually, staring at a blank document trying to think of how to write this article on innovation that was due *ahem* days ago), and I decided to clean out my spam box. I also decided to head over to Twitter, and surf the #Mondayblogs selection to see what all is going on.

Mark Swain has a great piece on helping a guy out on the road in southeastern Europe and almost ending up in a Turkish jail. Paula Reed Nancarrow has a piece that is juicy Infamous Scribbler clickbait – talking about gender and genre is catnip to my ears, or something like that. And then, as I’m scrolling, I caught this piece by Naomi Blackburn, on blog strategy and why it’s important to have one.

At first, I read it thinking that it would simply confirm my own particular plan of writing a blog. Then, as I finished it, I had a massive attack of insecurity, because the strategy outlined in this article is way more detailed than my … “plan”. So I took a second to watch our foster Basset, Winston, play with his ball and rope toy, which seems to be his most favoritest thing right now. And then I decided to finish cleaning out my spam box. Because lack of coffee.

One thing I’ve noticed as I begin to work toward a career that centers on writing and creativity and sharing these things with others, is how technology both innovates and hinders that work. For instance, my big, amazing plan to divest myself of my Facebook profile has pretty much crashed and burned. I can’t maintain my Author Page without my personal profile, and the network of friends who are interested in my stuff because they are interested in me are not seeing my Twitter, Goodreads, Author Page or anything like that because they don’t use social media as potential marketing subjects. They use it to be social. And unless they are fellow authors, and/or love to read above all else, I’m just not going to reach them except through my personal Facebook profile. Which is why Facebook is evil, evil, evil, and should quit doing stuff that pisses people off. (Okay, putting the brakes on this rant before it takes over my post.)

Another thing I’ve noticed, especially on Twitter, is this reliance on automated Tweets and robo-posting. WTF, authors? You can’t think up 140 characters of something original two or three times a day? I know this is coming from someone who needs to shit out approximately 3,000 words by 5 p.m., and is having a hard time doing so, but seriously! I’ve gotten so that if I follow someone and get an automated message, I will immediately unfollow them. Also, if someone follows me, and I go to their profile and it’s all robo-posts and retweets, I’ll wait for them to unfollow me. It’s interesting how many times a profile will follow, unfollow, follow, unfollow, all in the hopes of getting me to follow them back. Either I like what you’re putting out there, or I don’t. I’m an indie author. It means I have both the disadvantage and luxury of not giving a shit and only following profiles that are entertaining, amusing, informative, or at the very least, not bought and paid for.

But the thing that seriously tickles my funny bone are these spam messages. They usually start off with some generic compliment written by someone for whom, syntax clues imply, English is not a first language. This then is quickly followed by an observation that all this content must take a long time to write, followed by an offer to hook me up with a service that will provide me FREE CONTENT!! Woohoo! This is pretty much the majority of the spam, followed closely by the spam that offers the same service, but starts off with – instead of a compliment – the Internet spam ad’s version of “negging,” as in “…I see you have a lot of content, you could have more, BETTER content, if you click on this service!” Ha! That certainly is tempting, asshole. It’s like a guy trying to pick you up in a bar by telling you, “Oh, you would look so pretty if you smiled!” Oh really? How about: You would be less of an asshole if you didn’t tell girls what to do under the mistaken assumption that they would all like to look pretty for you? (How is it that this post is devolving into a series of Ranty McRantsalot episodes. I gotta get back on track.)

So yes – strategies are good, and I sort of have one. Technological innovation is good for indie authors, but sometimes forces us to swallow our principles in order to replicate word-of-mouth advertising. Also, I don’t know what mistaken algorithm our intrepid spammers are operating under, but offering a writer free content seems to indicate a complete and total lack of comprehension as to what a writer actually does.

As I move forward with this blog, and with the rest of my writing projects, one of said projects I would like to attempt is a series of short profiles on local artists, businesses, and craftspeople. This fits in with the business I am trying to start, namely providing online presence management and PR for small and local businesses. I figured I would start at the Saturday Farmers’ Market downtown, since many of the stalls are manned by the category of businesses that would be my target audience. And, it will give me something colorful to post on Mondays.

So, thank you to Ms. Blackburn and her strategy post. I might not be up for devising and following such a strict plan, but it is good to HAVE a plan. And now, on to some coffee and another attempt to write on innovation, etc.

Peace! And happy Monday!

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