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Missing? Don’t Market Your Book This Way

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Indies Unlimited by Big Al


So here I am, sitting at my desk and scanning Facebook when I should be doing … well, just about anything else. My to-do list is long and only going to get longer if I don’t knock a few items off of it. Then I see the post. In big white letters on a red background is the message “Have you seen me?” Under that is a picture of a teenage girl. Below that is a line with a single word, “MISSING” screaming at me in red. A few more details (“blah, blah, blah”) are outlined after that. I start thinking:

Maybe I should blindly share this. The more people who see it, the more likely someone who has actually seen the poor thing in the picture will spot it and react. I hope she’s still alive. I wonder if she ran away. I sure hope she isn’t a sex slave somewhere. I feel guilty (but only a little) as I thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster that this isn’t one of my grandkids although just the thought of that makes me cringe, imagining what her parents and family must be going thorough.

I wonder if I know anyone in the area she’s from. Maybe I’ll share it and tag them. Hmm. Last seen near “Coal Ridge H.S.” If you have information “contact Coal Ridge P.D.” No phone number, that’s strange. I wonder what state Coal Ridge is in? And what the heck is with this URL to a Facebook page at the bottom? The URL doesn’t seem like it is related to the rest of the post.

When I type the URL into my browser, I discover a page that appears to be related to books or short stories that take place in a fictional town called Coal Ridge. It looks like the missing girl is fictional too. Now I’m pissed. After giving the grandkids hugs and making sure I don’t have any books from this author submitted for review to consider discarding, I storm off (virtually) to a few Facebook hangouts to ask some reader and author friends if I’m overreacting. (I know, you people don’t think I would overreact to anything, but my daughter claims otherwise.) It’s pretty much unanimous; they agree with me. In case you don’t understand why someone might be upset or offended by this, I’ll explain why I and others I talked to took issue with this.

A person seeing this phony post on their Facebook feed could react one of three ways.


read more Missing? Don’t Market Your Book This Way


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