Lucky Hemingway. He didn't have to deal with this social networking stuff. Everyone knows that in order to sell a book these days you have to have or be a "brand," build a "platform" and then hopefully create a "following."
The latter being about as easy as getting volunteers to ride with you into the Valley of Death.
You can literally waste all your writing time trying to build this following or you can use your trust fund (if you have a trust fund) to hire people to do it for you.
There are actually sites that will sell you Twitter followers. You can get someone to write your blog. You can farm out your Facebook page, your fan page. I'm sure you hire people to tag you, stumble upon you, tumble you and link you in. There are services available for every single one of these things. And they charge an arm and an unsliced leg.
But how do you get readers to really "like" your book on Amazon? What happens if they hate your book and hate you, too?
Well, now I've got the answer, and it's so easy. It's so why-didn't-I-think-of-this-before?
According to an article by David Segal in the September 7 New York Times, Mr. Vitaly Borker believed that "frightening customers was a way to generate internet publicity about his business, which purportedly elevated his profile in Google searches, generating more traffic and revenue."
(They don't teach this stuff at the Harvard Business School, I can tell you that.)
Victims testified about various threats, one of which turned out to be "to slice off the legs of one customer." Apparently District Court Judge Richard J. Sullivan didn't appreciate the entrepreneurial brilliance of Mr. Barker's social networking scheme. He sentenced him to four years in jail and a $1,000 fine. (I plan to use a percentage of the profits from my next novel to fund a Free Vitaly Borker movement.)
I won't go into details about how I'm going utilize Mr. Vitaly's approach to elevate my profile in Google because surprise is an all-important component. But to the woman who only gave my last novel one half of a star on Amazon, why don't you take today to re-think your review? I think that in reconsidering you'll find my book "brilliant, mesmerizing, and poignant."
Just know this: I have your email. I know who you are.
Follow Linda Howard Urbach on Twitter: www.twitter.com/BovarysDaughter