I posted about a statement I made in a presentation I gave at this year’s Podcast and New Media Expo that “Podcasting is Dead.” Leesa Barnes says in a post that she considers this Link Baiting. I certainly understand her point, but I consider this issue much like Mackerel. Mackerel can be used as bait, but I (along with many others) always order “Saba” (Mackeral) anytime I have sushi – not for bait, but because I like it. Can it be both bait and “good” (and true) at the same time?
I saw this pop up in my aggregator this morning: Need Endorsers for Podcasting for Profit. (Update: Leesa has since erased the original post and replaced it – I have attached a copy of the original post in my Update below just to keep all this relevant.)
Now, this is a book by Leesa Barnes for which I was interviewed (the reason I subscribe to the RSS feed.) Leesa was extremely personable and I have high hopes for her final product, however, I must admit, this post regarding solicitations for endorsements has left a foul taste in my mouth. Why? It spells out a clear quid pro quo for endorsements:
* Instant publicity. People who read the book will be so curious to know who you are, they will visit your website or listen to your own podcast.
* Longevity. As long as the book is in print, your name, company and URL will be in print.
Further, those offering endorsements are only offered a “glimpse” of the book. After sending their email entitled “I Can Endorse the Book” potential endorsers receive only the “introduction, 1 chapter and the conclusion.” Maybe I am missing something, but can someone offer a heartfelt endorsement if they only get to read a mere portion of the book? After all, aren’t they attaching their name and reputation? What publisher publicly supports this?
Imagine for a moment this was a consumer electronics or software product from Dell or Microsoft and they put out a public post soliciting endorsements where they say, “if you endorse us here is what you get:” then they go on and explain, “if you can endorse us” we will send you only a partial preview of the product after which you can email or call in your endorsement. People would go crazy.
I can tell you from personal experience, I have co-authored one book and am in production on three others; stunts like this undermine the work all of us are trying to do. In our case, we always send complete manuscripts to potential reviewers and we certainly never try to sell them on the benefits of offering a positive review – they’d laugh at us. Endorsements are for one thing, and one thing only – to lend credibility to the author so that a reader can make a better decision about purchasing the book. This method does nothing to accomplish that. My hope is that Leesa realizes this before it is too late and decides to just send a complete manuscript, with not quid pro quo attached, out to some reviewers she respects and or likes and let the chips fall where they may. I expect that she will end up with plenty of good quotes she can use without having to “sell” them via a solicitation. I know this post has a negative tone, but my hope is that it has a positive outcome.
Update: As mentioned above, shortly after I wrote this, Leesa erased her original post and replaced it with new text. Also, you’ll see Leesa’s comment below. I appreciate her taking the time to respond. I know that this sounds like I am picking on her. I’m not. I just had a gut reaction to her original post. A few hours later, I found myself telling a friend about it – that’s when I decided it was blog worthy. Should I have privately emailed her? I don’t know. I figured public blog post allowed for public blog response. Isn’t that the whole idea of the conversation “thing” we all talk about in the blogosphere?
I have every expectation that Leesa’s book will do well. In fact, after all this I’ll buy her a drink/coffee whatever she wants next time I see her. Heck, I’ll even buy a copy of the book. That said, here is my response regarding her comment and some clarification regarding my reaction to her initial post:
To be clear, making a public call for endorsements is fine – go for it, heck, I encourage it. Who better than you friends, fans, clients etc? Makes sense to me. My issue is simple: a call for book endorsements from people who have never read your forthcoming book should not start with an offer of links, publicity and listeners. (See below.) That is the part that got my attention – essentially: “here is what you get if you say something nice”, followed by an offer to read portions of the book.
Leesa, if you want endorsements why not simply ask: “You all know I’ve been working hard on my new book and would love to get some endorsements and/or cover quotes. If you are interested and can promise to power through a copy of the complete manuscript by July 13th shoot me an email. I’ll chose a few and send you a complete copy of the manuscript. Your only responsibility is: good, bad or indifferent, email back your comments by 12:00PM (EST) July 13th. If we use something you say, please know that we will also use your name.” At least, that is how I would handle it.
Since some have asked what exactly it was that I reacted to, here is a screenshot of the original post before Leesa edited it. Without it – everything above makes no sense.