Several readers and reviews of my books have gotten emails from a PR rep at a website called Togather (and emails representing as being for other writers rather more famous than me, like Neil Gaiman, etc), and have queried me on twitter and via email about whether it’s legit.
Said email goes something like this with the varying words in brackets:
Hope you’re well. I just saw your [blog or Goodreads] review of Tobias Buckell’s [title], which I stumbled upon while doing some research on Tobias’s behalf, and I was glad to see how much you seemed to like the books!
I work for a Brooklyn-based company called Togather that helps readers around the country connect with their favorite writers.Tobias Buckell is just one of the 500+ authors on our site who is looking to meet with folks who are interested in their work.
If you’re interested in reaching out to Tobias, or have another author on your wishlist that you’d like to get in touch with, please let me know! I’d love to have a quick chat with you about some ways that we can help you plan an in-person event or online video chat with the writers you care about most.
Four people have forwarded this to me.
Togather was an interesting service that offered writers a way to set up an account for potential publicity appearances. It’s not the first, there was another web 2.0 attempt at this 6 years ago (the name escapes me), but I signed up for a test account, being open minded as I tend to be.
However, I’m busy finishing Hurricane Fever and traveling very little right now (or at least, very little without the right incentive).
The idea for Togather would be that interested readers would indicate an interest in hosting me somewhere, and agree to either purchase X number of books or an $xxx speaking fee. Kind of like a crowdsourced ‘come to us’ sort of thing.
I looked into it, and thought it was worth looking at the mechanics, just so that if it looked useful for potential integration in my site.
Again, no rush, I’m busy right now.
However, Togather has taken it upon themselves to reach out with the above form mail (with a few tweaks) to lots of people who reviewed my books on Goodreads or on blogs, acting on my behalf, sort of. And a lot of people were a bit confused about the relationship.
Well, there is none. I signed up for a test account. I haven’t implemented it. And I did not ask them to send/spam people on my behalf.
So to everyone emailing or twittering to ask if this is something I triggered:
I apologize for the intrusion, and am crafting a request that they stop doing this in my name. I view this is a bad attempt at PR, clumsy at best. I see that they’re trying to raise awareness, and trying to jumpstart a company/service. I’m reasonably sure this will annoy people who are my fans more than get them excited about the service.
And as its something I would have considered experimenting with, I’m now certainly soured and not exactly trusting. I spend a lot of time building up my reputation and connection with readers in as much of a non-spammy and non-form mail way as I can, so it actually annoys me. It certainly acts way more chummy about our relationship than it actually exists. And again, I did not authorize it.
Other authors may want to consider this before signing up.