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Thread: Highly aggressive replies

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin tanyadavies's Avatar
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    Highly aggressive replies

    I'm incredibly disturbed and upset by the intensely aggressive replies to my question. Perhaps I worded it wrong.
    I was trying to ask how to market to an audience who don't make buying choices for themselves and how to offer free copies to those readers.
    If the answer is that I need to target parents that is all that was needed to be said.
    I was really eager for helpful advice - I've clearly received an answer to my question and I'm grateful for that but I'm really upset by the rudeness.
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    Mushroom Polenth's Avatar
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    Thirteen is the age when children start being able to sign up to most forums, social networks and review sites. So like it or not, what you were talking about was joining children's sites so you could email them book promotion. This is dodgy. Really dodgy. And that's why you got the responses you did. I'd hope after a walk around the block and hot beverage of your choice, you can see how really dodgy that sounds and why people reacted as they did.

    But if not, PM a mod and they can try to explain why it's dodgy.

    A better question for you might be, "How do I promote a children's book?" You're barking up the wrong tree if you want to give copies for reviews to children. Your best bet for reviews are adults who review children's books. And for other promotion, to think outside of reviews (school visits are popular for children's authors, for example.)
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    Rewriting My Destiny Cyia's Avatar
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    Tanya,

    I went and looked at your locked thread. Being informed by a mod and the site Admin that what you're wanting to do is in violation of federal law is not rude. It's a service to you.

    Children are minors, and there are laws protecting minors for a reason. You can't legally get easy access for what - to parents - is going to look like offering candy to their child from a stranger. Giveaways like that are generally handled through mass sites already vetted by parents as safe for their children. (Publisher's sites, for example, or well known child activity providers) You have to already have an established relationship with them, because the point is to not allow strangers to put unvetted material into the hands of minors.

    (And it's never a good idea to open a new thread in reference to a locked one. PM the mod who locked it, or PM the site Admin to ask for clarification as to why the thread was locked. That way you save yourself from having another one locked on you.)
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    I've just had a look at the thread in question and can see why people reacted like that, but as a YA author I also understand the difficulties you have, Tanya.

    The targetted age range for my books are around 14+ and I contact blogs and review sites run by teenage girls. They are amongst my twitter followers/following too. I just make sure to remain professional at all times.

    If I were you I'd google for YA review sites and book blogs. Most reviewers who read YA will also read middle-grade. If you promote to book blogs aimed at your genre rather than girls aged 9-12 I think it would be more affective (not too mention more legal!)

    Another thing to think about is promoting to parents. Maybe forums like Mumsnet might be useful? I'm not sure if they have a place for product promotion but it's worth looking into.

  6. #6
    Rewriting My Destiny Cyia's Avatar
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    Target age aside, you should NOT, as an adult, be contacting underage girls or boys for professional reasons. Even the YA-centric chats on Twitter warn participants about interacting with teens that way, and that's a semi-structured environment with multiple participants in a public arena. An adult has absolutely no business seeking out underage teens or children for ANY reason.

    IF, on their own, they feature your book, then great. You still don't go around emailing teenagers or kids. No matter your intent, you are still an unknown adult contacting someone else's kids without parental consent. Just because YOU think you're professional, doesn't mean their parents will. Their having a blog no more entitles you to contact them than a kid running a rummage sale on your block entitles you to approach them to sell your stuff for you.

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    "Assume Good Intentions" SuperModerator Williebee's Avatar
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    Good advice, Cyia.

    it's important to remember that forums, emails, IMs are still just text on a screen. Meaning and import are impacted as much by the reader as the writer. Being misunderstood may have nothing to do with what you wrote. And, by the time you've gotten across to that one person that they misunderstood you, the misconception may have been reproduced to the world as fact, and the damage is done.

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    Cyia - So with that reasoning writers are unable to Email any reviewers unless they state their age as over 18? Most reviewers don't tell you their age on their website.

  9. #9
    Formerly Phantom of Krankor. AW Moderator Torgo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarahdalton View Post
    Cyia - So with that reasoning writers are unable to Email any reviewers unless they state their age as over 18? Most reviewers don't tell you their age on their website.
    There are two possible issues here - one is legality, and the other one is perception/ethics.

    Depending on where you live, your ability to legally interact with kids on the internet may be affected by certain laws. For example, if you operate a website that collects personal information about American children under 13 - names, addresses, emails - you have to adhere to the COPPA rules (www.coppa.org/comply). It may or may not be legal to send unsolicited emails to kids, I dunno. There may or may not be a defence that you didn't know how old they were. The fact is, you just need to tread carefully and do your research. I think it's unlikely that the scenario you suggest would be a problem, but I Am Not A Lawyer, and it's always best to be sure.

    The other issue is whether it looks particularly good to be marketing/sampling directly to kids as an author. I would say no. Go via a COPPA-compliant website of some kind, or via your publisher's marketing/publicity dept.

  10. #10
    Whose amusement exceeds all known standards of propriety AW Paladin
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarahdalton View Post
    Cyia - So with that reasoning writers are unable to Email any reviewers unless they state their age as over 18? Most reviewers don't tell you their age on their website.
    She specifically indicated an age range in her post. That makes her post fall into soliciting.

    The age range falls within the limits of COPA.

    That's Federal law. There are also state laws, and additional Federal laws at play.

    Deliberately contacting minors directly without parental consent is illegal.
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  11. #11
    Whose amusement exceeds all known standards of propriety AW Paladin
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    Quote Originally Posted by tanyadavies View Post
    I'm incredibly disturbed and upset by the intensely aggressive replies to my question. Perhaps I worded it wrong.
    What you asked was the kind of question that's part of the behavior that law enforcement agents refer to as trolling.

    Anyone asking about contacting minors directly is going to receive exactly the same response. Some of the responses were from parents with young children; that should give you an idea of how many parents would react at the thought of a stranger on the Internet contacting their children directly without their consent.

    Think yourself fortunate that it wasn't sufficiently worrying to contact law officials.

    Feel free to contact MacAllister, the owner, to complain about my response or those of any mod.

    In the meantime, I'm locking this thread because opening a thread to complain about a locked thread is not acceptable.
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  12. #12
    crazy mean SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tanyadavies View Post
    I'm incredibly disturbed and upset by the intensely aggressive replies to my question. Perhaps I worded it wrong.
    Tanya, if you were "incredibly disturbed and upset" by the comments which were made in your previous thread before it was locked, then you need to consider whether writing is the best occupation for you. You'll need tougher skin than that to get anywhere.

    I was trying to ask how to market to an audience who don't make buying choices for themselves and how to offer free copies to those readers.
    You might have been "trying to ask how to market to [your] audience", but what you actually asked sounded very unsavoury: so unsavoury, in fact, that the mods who saw your post were concerned that you and AW would get in serious legal trouble for your comment. They were right to be concerned by that, and right to close the thread.

    If the answer is that I need to target parents that is all that was needed to be said.
    No, it isn't all that needed to be said.

    We needed to make sure you knew that such suggestions are absolutely unacceptable here, and that they will not be tolerated.

    I hope that you are now clearer about what is and isn't allowed.

    I was really eager for helpful advice - I've clearly received an answer to my question and I'm grateful for that but I'm really upset by the rudeness.
    I've reviewed the thread carefully and see no rudeness in it: just concerned people finding your comments unacceptable in the extreme, and reacting appropriately.

    ###

    Tanya, if you have an objection to something that someone says to you here, or to something that a mod does, then you are perfectly entitled to express that objection. But do it via Private Message next time, or use the Report Post button which you've already been directed to. Do not start a new thread to complain about a thread which has been closed: that will get you banned from AW.

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