When roleplay is appropriate … and when it's not

Roleplay, or ‘RPing’, is a form of storytelling that’s been around for a long time. “I go here and do this and now this thing happened …” You pretend to be yourself in some funny situation. Or you pretend to be one of your characters and play with people pretending to be their characters. Kids do this all the time with toys.

But there’s a time and a place for everything. RPing on your social media? Okay, whatever. RPing in a chat with your friends? Perfect. RPing on your blog? Now it’s getting weird. RPing your characters advertising your books in your newsletters? No. Just … no.

Authors, for some reason, have this idea that since people liked their characters enough to read about them, readers want to interact with these characters. In fact, people want these characters to give them all their news updates! They want the characters to advertise other books to them! So authors fill their newsletters with cutesy RP, pretending to be their characters.

Some people enjoy this. Other people silently unsubscribe and never read any books by that author ever again. Characters belong in books. They’re not Muppets.

So, this is my unpopular opinion: save the RP for a chatroom, or when you’re writing a book and RPing in your head. Keep it out of the newsletters. Notice the “NEWS” in the word? We subscribe to get news about new books and sales. It’s for business. Not to read a random character rambling about the events of their imaginary lives … sometimes for pages and pages.

Rant over. Go RP, people. But not in your professional correspondence.

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