I spent much of the last day in synagogue, because it’s Yom Kippur, better known as “The day of atonement,” and known in my house when “the day you spend a lot of time in a big room with people who didn’t brush their teeth that morning.”
The short story is, I am part of a small consulting company called Simple Progress. Simple Progress was originally Mollie Smith’s company, and she’s brilliant at web management, design, and author website administration. Most of the client list she built herself. She’s pretty badass. Recently she invited me to join her company because over our semi-regular breakfast meetings (we are also neighbors) we would discuss social marketing needs for her clients, and I’d pitch ideas that would work for the authors to run for themselves or for Mollie to administer with programming, plugins and other magical things.
We think of it like languages. Mollie is extremely fluent in technology and in author promotion needs, especially since authors need to take on more of their own marketing responsibilities. I’m pretty fluent in social media and in how campaigns might effectively reach readers online in a way that isn’t an aggressive hard sell.
In other words, I speak social media and reader and author interaction; Mollie speaks tech and author, and the two of us work together to come up with social media campaigns that speak as many of those languages as possible, and that an author can run on her own. Most of what we do is web administration, mailing list management, and a small amount of consulting.
Given the accusations about my integrity, I want to make a few corrections:
We did not come up with or administer in any way the recent JD Robb New York to Dallas Facebook scavenger hunt. If we had, I wouldn’t have participated. That campaign was concocted by some really smart marketing folks, including the marketing and publicity team over at Penguin, and run by Nora’s team – and it was pretty freaking spiffy. I think it was brilliant in the way that it involved readers and visited so many diverse web sites.
Another point: it seems that my involvement with Simple Progress has caused festive accusations to fly that I must be being paid by my clients to promote them here.
At no time am I paid to promote authors in reviews here on this site. What appears in this space is my opinion.
In fact, in our proposals and contracts, we state the following:
Promotion on any website owned or operated in whole or in part by Mollie Smith or Sarah Wendell is not included in the scope of this project.
I am not ever paid or compensated for my opinion here. I don’t know how to say that more strongly.
There are authors on the client list whose books I really, really enjoyed, and there’s books by those authors that I haven’t liked as much. But it’s an insult to them and to me that they’d need to pay for mention here or anywhere else.
It hasn’t escaped my notice that the people who have the most interest in my ethics and morals are other bloggers, bloggers with whom I thought I was on good terms. Honestly, that makes me ineffably sad. I wish that if someone had a problem with me, they’d have brought it to me, rather than talk about me online or obliquely on Twitter (hell, Katie is my neighbor, too. She’s been invited into my home and met my family. She could have rung my doorbell to talk to me).
Everything is changing online and off: agents are publishers. Bloggers, like me, are authors. Bloggers are freelancing for publishers and media outlets. Readers and reviewers are in all sorts of different roles, from copyediting to critiquing to beta readers for publishing houses. We all switch places when we ring the bell, I think. The online community is a pretty close and intermixed neighborhood, and we’re all doing new and different and amazing things – sometimes hourly.
If my involvement with Simple Progress has caused you to doubt my truthfulness or to doubt my honesty in my opinions about books, that really sucks and I’m sorry to hear it. But the good thing is, there are so many amazing romance review blogs now, there’s no shortage of opinions about the novels we love, and I hope you find excellent books to read in every genre you like.
But I also trust that if you personally thought I was up to something funny, that I was trying to pull the wool over your eyes and deceive you, you’d call me on it here so damn fast my head would spin.
I presume that’s still true. I hope it is, anyway. If I wrote a review or a comment in favor of a book that you thought was incentivized in any way, I trust entirely you’d call me on it immediately. But I would never do that to you because I value your opinion and your presence here.
There are few things I am more in awe of than the community of readers at this site. You’re as honest with me as you are with each other, and I value that more than I can say.