Selling your soul make a buck

There’s a lot of things I should be doing right now.  I’ve got to prepare the notes for my last writing class.  I’ve got a book to finish editing for the wonderful Lydia Peever.  I’ve got a bunch of my own stuff I need to edit.

But I got completely sidelined by a tweet tonight, and I know it’s going to continue to burn and eat and gnaw at me until I get this out.  And normally I wouldn’t do this in such a public fashion.

But I saw the notice across my BlackBerry quickly, became quite shocked at the sheer insensitivity of it, then put the phone away.  I told myself if she direct messaged me, I’d deal with it in a similar fashion.

But I got back to my computer, pulled up Twitter, and there it was.  Out for all the world to see and my name flagged in the message.

What’s the tweet that’s got me so pissed off? From @FirminMary, I got the following:

@TobinElliott God Bless Aunt Hannah. I think she’d have loved my book Deadly Pleasures See reviews

Now, the Aunt Hannah that she’s asking God to bless is my aunt that passed away two days ago.  I wrote about it here.  And to be honest, I hesitate to write those blogs because it’s not my mother, though it’s someone I loved and I don’t ever want to misrepresent them or offend the immediate family, but I went for it.  I can only write what’s in me, what’s honest and that’s what I strive to do with posts like that one, or my Aunt Betty and Uncle Merle.

And this one hit me hard for some reason.  I mean, yes, she’s family.  I grew up knowing Aunt Hannah, so of course it’s going to hit me.  But this one hit me harder than expected.  There’s certain people that just somehow seem immortal.  They’re too nice, or too stubborn, or too loved to die.  And yet, we’re all mortal.

I’m not explaining myself well here.  Let’s just say Aunt Hannah’s passing hit me damn hard.

And that’s fine.  It’s part of life.  I can deal with that.

What I can’t deal with is some scum-sucking, anything to hock my book, asshole writer who suddenly thinks we’re best friends because she grew up within two hours of me  but now lives in goddamn California and thinks it’s totally fine to hijack what I hoped was a heartfelt piece about a great woman to sell her fucking book.

Not on my time, you soulless bitch.  I’ve seen some low shit in my time…really low shit.  But this ranks way up there for unbelievably unfeeling, insensitive, actions.  To not give a shit what the family’s going through who might read that tweet, never mind what I’m going through, to completely cast aside any concern for the family’s grief because, by God, she’s got books to sell, product to move.

And to presume–to fucking presume–that she might know what kind of book my aunt would have enjoyed…and then to play on my sympathy about it.  Oh, well, if Aunt Hannah might have enjoyed it, well, hell, she’s not around to read it anymore, but I better pick up a copy for myself and everyone else I know so I can hand them out at the fucking memorial service.  Maybe if I’m lucky, I can get Mary Fucking Firmin to autograph each copy and work in some droll witticism about Aunt Hannah for no extra cost.

To my regular readers, I’m sorry for all the invective here but I was furious when I started this and, as I get farther into it, the anger’s just growing.

So it’s likely better if I just stop here.

Just to let you know, I sent her back two responses.

The first was

@FirminMary Wow. Really? You read my tweet or blog about my aunt dying and you choose to use it to hock your book? Real fucking classy, lady

And the last one was

@FirminMary Congrats.  You’re my next blog.

Then I blocked her market-chasing ass.  Personally, I don’t give a shit whether she reads this or not, but Mary, if you do, I hope that tweet was worth it.  You’ve made the biggest enemy of your life, you piece of shit.

Hope you enjoy this little bit of press you drummed up.

And I hope–I fervently hope–that someday, when you lose someone close to you, someone comes along and tries to spin that into a way to market something to you too.



32 thoughts on “Selling your soul make a buck

  1. I’ve seen some pretty low things here, like people abusing the like feature to hit a bunch of consecutive entries in one category. Why? Just to get some cheap, thoughtless views in return, that’s why.

    And while sadly this doesn’t surprise me, this person’s behavior still leaves me a little baffled. Like you said, anything for a quick buck. It was great that you set things straight, however. There are times when meekness is not an option.

    • I keep getting advice from others telling me to “not write controversial stuff” on my blog. Quite frankly, I don’t go looking for controversy and I don’t do this for hits. I wrote this to tear a strip off someone who needed tearing into.

      Thanks for the support, Joe. By the way, you’ve got a great blog going on there too. Anyone reading this, go support good writers like Joe over at The Bard of Steel

      • While it may be controversial (the laughing definitely is!) it’s still an honest form of expression. You’re not stirring anything to be the man of the hour and get visits with shock value as your hook. I think it’s very important to denounce unscrupulous garbage of this sort.

        And thanks for the shout-out!

  2. The original tweet beggars belief. I don’t normally think sounding off in public is a good idea, but in this case, I completely understand both your anger and your need to respond. When are people going to learn that ‘online’ is not a euphemism for rude, insensitive and unfeeling? My sympathy on your loss and your pain.

  3. Tobin, I get the same advice as you, “Do not write controversial stuff” but there is a time and a place for it. This was it. Have at her. She deserves it.
    My condolences on your aunt’s passing. Some relatives make an impression on us without even trying and those are the ones that are hardest to lose.

  4. Oh, wow. I’d be pissed to. That completely lacks class. And it wasn’t even spam, the context reveals she actually at least skimmed your post! Promotion like that turns my stomach. Writers should strive to be authentic, and that is the opposite.

    Sorry for your loss. And though it’s off topic, I love your blog’s typewriter banner.

    • Thanks Molly. Yeah, spam I could have laughed at–still blogged about, but at least laughed at. And thanks, I love the banner too. I have this secret love affairs with old typewriters.

  5. Tobin, I read your post about Aunt Hannah and I am one of those who should have left a message earlier, but now comes this post. I think when someone like you shares words as thoughtful and heartfelt about a loved one who has died, readers better bloody well not link their own web page about a similar sad event for godsakes! This is one of the reasons I’m not writing as much as I used to. Blogging has turned so damn competitive and self-promoting.

    • Hey Annie, always love to hear from you. It’s funny, but the impetus for starting this blog (and the Twitter account and the Facebook account) were all due to two things. The first was my editor/publisher saying, “You need a web presence to market yourself.” I still think that’s absolutely true. The second reason was attending a workshop about a year ago called, “Shameless Self-Promotion” that advocated the right ways to market your novel or other product.

      The biggest point they made? Don’t make everything about you and your product. Talk up other people and their successes. Be you. Then people will either embrace you and your product, or they won’t. I’ve tried to do that in my blogs, tweets and status updates. The odd time I mention my book, but most of the time I don’t. It’s seemed to work fine so far.

      Then I see this buffoon who has mastered the art of turning everything around to her:

      “Layla, You are a beautiful girl and if you can write too ..? My book is Deadly Pleasures, see videos etc <link"

      "I love your twitter name. My book is no classic but its fun. Deadly Pleasures, See reviews, videos, etc ”

      It’s not that its so competitive and self-promoting…this is downright masturbatory.

  6. At first glance, the tweet looked fairly innocent, with a God Bless and all in the first line. As I read more closely, however, I was shocked that someone would stoop so low as to mock a lost loved in something so primitive as Twitter.
    Yes, it was mocking. This woman clearly doesn’t care about much else than marketing her mediocre novel.
    Like you, I have also taken the liberty of sending her a line that expresses my dislike, and I will soon block her.
    This was wrong and just plain light-headed, and she needs to see that.

    • You’re right Ace. The first read, though I had a weird feeling, I was sure I’d read it wrong, that it was much more innocent than that. I didn’t see it as mocking, I just saw it as a cheap excuse to hock a book. It really seems to be what she does.

      “Oh, your favourite colour is blue? I mention blue on page 32 of my novel…”

      “You had a colonoscopy? I use colons in my book…”

      Seriously. She’s shameless.

  7. Wow. Some people are not to be believed. While I didn’t comment, I was touched by your tribute to your aunt. Although I never met the lady, you gave such a good description of her that when I read this post my first thought was that she’d be proud of it and you. I hope Lydia learns some shame.

    • The sad thing is she’ll likely be very successful. You throw enough crap on the wall, no matter how much falls off, no matter how much hits people, some of that crap sticks.

      She’ll do well.

      • She may do well as an author (which I seriously doubt), but she wouldn’t do well as a human being. And at the end of the day…that’s who I want to buy books from. She will never earn one cent off of me, that is for sure.

    • Fascinating. “Through a fit” for “Throw a fit” from a person who runs a site called “Lightning Book Promotions”…and then yell at me because I DARED to comment on a money-grubbing heartless bitch. Oh yeah, and your OWN comment on your OWN site looks pretty damned stupid when you rip into me…but you’ve deleted my comment. Now you’re just ranting at thin air. And by the way, I believe you meant I was “banned” not “spammed”.

      I can see you offer a quality service from the standpoint of the clientele and the grammatical proficiency.

      Well, there’s another website we can all support folks!

      Oh, and unlike ol’ Stormij here, I won’t delete their comments. I prefer to show the world when assholes spout their crap.

      • No, actually I meant spammed, I hit the spam button on your comment. I don’t believe I yelled at your I just said I didn’t want your rant on my site, don’t even think I used capital letters to do so, so I didn’t yell. 🙂 Anyway this is stupid and none of the comments are going on my site so it doesn’t matter.

  8. What I want to know – who the hell is buying books from someone who promotes like that? Talk about self-serving and narcissistic. I’d be afraid to read her stuff – I assume the work would be so self-indulgent that I’d be rolling my eyes every other line. Some people just suck.

    On another note (and making it all about me…lol), when you said you started blogging because of two reasons – your editor and the shameless workshop, I have to tell you – I freaked. After reading the seething rant and the comments that followed I could feel your anger on the page. I had this moment of “GAWD!! Is he going to go off on me and my shameless self-promotion workshop? What did I tell that group that would have resonated with him as complete and utter crap?” Needless to say I breathed a HUGE sigh of relief when I read the messages you learned were considered value added to your blogging life and not part of your fury. I was so glad. So so so so glad. 🙂

    I tell bloggers the tone of their posts should be consistent. Not to avoid controversy if you often go there (which I think you do quite brilliantly, with wit and intelligence) – because that’s why the loyal readers come back – they know what they will get when they visit. But I do say stay true to your blogging voice – which you, dear Tobin, always do. Your voice is loud and clear…but especially so when you’re tearing a strip off someone. Whoa. So glad I wasn’t in the line of fire!

  9. The depths of insensitivity and outright stupidity to which some people will sink never ceases to amaze me. You’re absolutely 100% justified in being pissed off about the shameless, tactless, and completely soulless attempt at self-marketing. Its too bad there isn’t a karmic “Do not read, EVER” sign that could be somhow attached to of this woman’s work.

  10. Pingback: I’m bringin’ purple back | Left to Write

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