I just wanted to let everyone know that I remove the spammy posts that mostly appear in this forum. Don't reply to these posts unless you just want to, but don't expect the thread to stay if you reply to it.
I don't have admin access to the backend of the forum-- btkong mentioned he was working on some upgrades that would help the spam issue. This Fiction forum gets about 8 a day and I just don't log on enough to clean it up, so I stopped trying. I'll manually delete spam from all the other forums though.
I've (hopefully) eliminated the spam problem through upgrading to a brand new forum platform. I've also prunned something like 29,000 users out who were spammers and gone through all the abandoned forums and deleted and band all the spam messages and spammers. This new forum has a lot more spamming protection and I've added a few anti-spam upgrades as well. I've also put in a whole User Ranking system to cut back on the spamming. You basically can't send any private messages, post any images, links, or signatures until you have 5 posts to your name.
We'll see how these changes work out, but they should cut back on 95% of the spam. I'm going to implement a few more anti-spam measures as well.
I am not an administrator, but as long as you stick to the "Fantasy Authors" section, and are actually straightforward about who you are and what you are doing, you should be fine.
When I say "straightforward," I mean: don't pretend to be someone who just "happened to find" a great book. Don't pretend to be someone other than the author (or publisher, or whatever is actually the case). Give us a synopsis and/or a bit of information (kind of like a book description on Amazon, or the back cover of a paperback). And hang around on the forums and participate a little. If we can see what you've read and what you've liked, we're more likely to be interested in your work.
(1) Person shows up, pretends to have just "found" a great author; usually this person ends up being the author (lying about his/her identity)
(2) One-post wonders (often they spam multiple boards at different sites with the exact same post)
(3) Ben Peller, who gets a category all his own
(4) People who engage to a limited degree but primarily/exclusively in the threads they create themselves (the Redwold woman comes to mind)
(5) People who actually participate in the forums, including on threads they didn't start
(6) Astroturfers who post about something completely unrelated to the boards (like Amish Christian Romance by Sarah Price)
I'm good with #5 and I can live with #4. The rest, I'm not thankful for in the least. Agree that marketing is important (and increasingly difficult, these days), but I think intelligently-targeted marketing is a better (and more productive) use of one's time than spewing forth self-promoting posts in places where no one will pay attention. For what it's worth, I choose not to read self-published fiction. I have so little time to keep up with the (professionally-produced and edited) books that I want to read, I don't want to spend time on something untested. (Reviews of self-published fiction can often not be trusted.)
I have a totally different take on it.
First point, if you are a writer and you are creating entertainment for others, that sucks. That is just my opinion, but a lot of the greatest writers agree, and they write for themselves. You have to write the stories that are in your head, that YOU would want to read. Fuck the audience. You don't write for them, but if majority of them like it, that's just one more good thing to come out of it.
Second, why should people be grateful to something they pay money for? It's their own hard earned money. Writers don't work for peanuts. They sell books for moonies. And spending months writing for really good writers, is not like doing time (which comes across from your post), it's a way of life for them and part of who they are. Most of them will never retire. It's not like 9 to 5 job.