How NOT To Get Coverage On A Blog or Web Site Part 3: Lying & Not Listening

By Adam Bernard (http://adamsworldblog.com)

The advent of social networking has given artists a fantastic tool for promoting themselves and their work. It’s also given them the ability to shoot themselves in the foot, both in small, and grand, ways. The following is a blow-by-blow account of one run in I had on Facebook with someone who broke almost every rule in the book when it comes to approaching a writer. He misrepresented himself (i.e. he lied), he didn’t listen when he was told specifically what to do in order to be considered for coverage, he made it clear he wasn’t familiar with my work, he made unsolicited posts on my Facebook wall, and to top it all off he was insulting about the entire thing. I am redacting the name of the artist involved because this isn’t about blowing up someone’s spot, it’s about showing exactly what not to do.

Everything start off innocently enough. I received an email from an artist asking if I could post about him on my blog and if I’d heard his new CD. I replied that I hadn’t heard it, adding “Would you like to mail it to me? (No downloads, please).” The artist then emailed me the message “TRY THIS ON” (yes, all in caps) with a link to where I could stream his album, or download it for a fee.

This aggravated me a bit. It’s not that I’m some stone aged person who hates technology and throws rocks at anything shiny, it’s that I very specifically told this person what I required and he chose to totally ignore that request. When this happens I know I’m not being listened to, which in turn makes me feel like the person on the other end of the conversation lacks any kind of respect for me.

I replied, “Dude, I appreciate the effort, but I JUST said ‘no downloads, please.’ If I can’t pop it in my car I’m going to have a tough time finding the time to listen to it.” My reply was, in my opinion, overly kind, but I work with so many artists that have no media training, and are just trying to get heard, that, despite being aggravated, I figured I’d give him a pass. That pass ended with the artist’s reply:

ok (sic), but your (sic) online now, and can listen to it, ‘Dude’. You didnt (sic) send any mailing address or send any arrangements fo (sic) me to get any music to you. At least, when your (sic) sitting down @ your computer, maybe you’d want to hear this, is all.

He then added: “If you want a physical copy they are for sale @ $5. Thank you for your interest.”

First of all – MY interest? I don’t recall inquiring about anything. That aside, I found it amazing how in one fell swoop this artist went from trying to get featured on my site to insulting me with his “Dude” comment and assuming I do nothing with my day but wait for albums to listen to from people I’ve never had any contact with before (cuz, you know, as a writer there would be no other reason for me to be at my computer {rolls eyes}), and then, the cherry on top – he demanded money for the thing he wanted me to cover.

There are a billion better ways he could have gone about this. He could have asked for my address to mail an album to. He could have said he didn’t have any physical copies and asked if I could break my no downloads rule. Being that we’re in the same area he could have said let’s meet up at a show. My reply to what he said was simple: “Are you serious?” This sparked a string of emails from the artist.

lol. I was gonna ask you the same thing actually. You’re asking me to mail you a CD. The DJ’s that play my records dont (sic) even ask for physical copies. It took me back to a Hustle & Flow demo tape.

So, if I have to, in this day & time, unconventionally send you a copy, to which we have to pay for+ postage, then perhaps you can support the culture and this artist, the same way you would any other artist you want to hear.

So you tell me how your process works. We usually send out all our promo material online.

Terrific. A woe is me, my life is so hard I can’t get to a mailbox story followed by an open admission that they’re too stupid, or lazy, to scroll up and see that I’d already told them how my process works. As an added bonus I was told to support the artist “the same way you would any other artist you want to hear” despite the fact that I had no idea who the artist was & never said I wanted to hear them, so why would I give them that kind of treatment? I sent a reply explaining to the artist that they’d provided a play by play of how not to approach a writer. Because I was in a really good mood, however, I added:

“Now, because we have quite a few friends in common, and because I’ve been supporting indie artists for over a decade, many of whom have zero media relations training, I want to give you the benefit of the doubt that maybe you’re having a bad day, or perhaps you’re not super experience (sic) at approaching writers, so I’m just going to ask you straight up: was this the way you intended to come across?”

I  figured I’d give him a chance to dig himself out of the hole he created. His reply shocked me.

Look. This is [NAME REDACTED], the Gen. Manager for [ARTIST]. Whether we agree on this situation or not, I am not upset at all.

I simply want you to have every advantage & opportunity to hear this dynamic artist. With that being said, I’d just like to inquire about all of your press outlets. Is it just your blog or do you write for print and other web publications as well?”

I’d like to veiw (sic) more of your work. Get a feel as to the type of writer you are. You sound very passionate about your profession. It is often said that opposites attract. In the end of all differences, I can only hope this rings true.

Wonderful! This person has now revealed he’d been misrepresenting himself the entire time, claiming to be the artist when he wasn’t (artists, no one should be using your social media accounts but YOU!). He also revealed something that no artist, manager, or publicist should ever reveal – that he wasn’t familiar with the work of the writer he was trying to work with. As soon as I read that I decided not to reply.

Fast-forward two weeks. This person decided to post up his artist’s video on my Facebook wall. Rather than giving a speech about how much I dislike when people do that I just deleted the posting. Within minutes I received an email. It was half disappointed, half an attempt to be conciliatory. It was also was far too little too late.

The only positive from the entire back and forth is that it provided a perfect example for others of how not to approach a writer.

  • WOW!!!!! thank u for sharing! Wow~

    • Kayla

      Wow is right!