Sunday, 12 December 2010

What do you believe on the Internet?

Not long ago I saw someone on Twitter saying that they were looking forward to reading David, my latest historical novel. Naturally I was flattered but also a bit intrigued because the book won't be out till next year. I didn't know this person and I was pretty sure she hadn't been to the Troubadour launch party where I talked about it.

So I Tweeted back something along the lines of "that's lovely but you'll have to wait until next year" and she replied that she'd seen it advertised on Amazon. Intrigued, I looked it up myself and there it was. Nothing wrong with advertising well in advance but - and here's the killer - a dealer was advertising secondhand copies!

The book at that time, although written, had not yet been edited so it was a neat trick to have a published copy already "in good condition" though "used." I reported it to my publisher but it's still there on I advise you not to buy it even at the knock-down price of £1.98 plus postage!

Now that I have a couple of websites, I have regular contact with my readers and some of them say the darnedest things. Here is a recent selection:

"Why don't you have an Interesting Vegetables section on your website, like Robert Muchamore?"

"I think you should write a story about cheese on toast"

"Why your books dosen't arrive in my country (Chile)? "

"I felt that you book "Boundless Grace" sends the message that polygamy and absentee dads are acceptable occurences that children should be pruod or happy of." (I didn't answer this one!)

"Dear Mary Hoffman, this is my email:" (Um, yes. What should I do with it?)

Then I got told off on Twitter for revealing too much about the plot of Malorie Blackman's Boys Don't Cry in my recent Guardian review - this was described as a Critic's Crime.

I don't read my Amazon reviews and NEVER look at Amazon rankings - that way madness lies - but I do get Google Alerts into my name and also "Stravaganza", which I also tap into That way I have found lots of lovely positive reviews to send on to my publicists at my publishers.

But there is no sensitivity filter and I have also stumbled across some real stinkers!

If I were not so clued in and genned up, I wouldn't know about them but then I wouldn't know about the lovely ones too. Truly the Internet is a sword with two edges!

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree. I've found that most often with the dreaded/loved facebook!!!