10 Book-Marketing Techniques Which Annoy Potential readers

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JonGibbs
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10 Book-Marketing Techniques Which Annoy Potential readers

Post by JonGibbs » August 13th, 2012, 2:07 pm

Most writers find book marketing and self-promotion difficult and/or discomforting. Given the choice, we’d much rather focus on other things, like cake actual writing, but with so many new books published every year, we have little choice in the matter if we want to get ourselves and our work known.

Sadly, when it comes to making people aware of their work, or trying to get from peoples’ ‘Never heard of him/her’ list onto their ‘Name rings a bell’ list, some folks try a little too hard. This can alienate potential readers, rather than attract them.

With that in mind, I’ve put together a list of book-marketing ‘techniques’ which might leave potential readers with a less than positive impression of the person using them.

As always, these are just my opinions, but I suspect I’m not alone.

10 Book-Marketing/Self-Promotion Techniques Which Annoy Potential Readers

1: ‘What a terrible tragedy in the news today. I had a similar situation take place in the book what I wrote. Here’s a link to the purchase page, in case anyone's interested.’
You don't see this one often, but when you do, it leaves a particularly bad taste.

2: ‘Buy my book and help save an orphaned kitten!’I'm not talking about donating stories for charity anthologies, donating books; time; merchandise for auction, or any number of generous things writers do to help a worthy cause. Those are simply good deeds and not marketing techniques at all.

I'm talking specifically about when an author announces a special offer eg: 'For every book he/she sells this week, the author pledges to donate some money to [INSERT: name of worthy charity here*]. If you're doing it as part of a larger community effort, or to help out a local church, school etc. or if your personal story (or the one in your book) is somehow related to the cause in question, no reasonable person could have a problem.

However - and this is where I think writers need to take care - there's an invisible line between using your work to help a good cause, and using a good cause to sell more books. If you cross that line, or give the impression you crossed it, folks will notice, and not in a good way.

3: ‘Don’t mind me. You just carry on with your presentation while I give out my promotional info and/or pass this copy of my book around to folks in the audience.’
I know, I was surprised too, but I’ve see this happen five times this year alone.

4: ‘Welcome to this writing presentation/panel/workshop, during which I’ll plug my books at every opportunity while ostensibly talking on the writing-related subject referred to in the title of this talk.’
It doesn’t happen often, but some presenters feel obliged to continually quote from, refer to, or otherwise promote their work during a writerly talk or panel. As an audience member, this never fails to disappoint (unless the presentation is called ‘All About Me and My Work’ or something similar, in which case, I withdraw my objection).

5: ‘In case you missed the other twelve I posted this morning, here’s another [insert relevant social media post] telling you where to buy my book.’
I imagine most folks have differing ideas about how much is too much, but some folks cross everyone's line.

6: ‘What a delightful writing group. I thoroughly enjoyed my first meeting. Why yes, I did leave those promo postcards on every chair before we started.’
If the only reason you attend a writing group is to promote your own work, do everyone there a favor, and stay home.

7: ‘I’m trying to get myself better known, so I thought I’d add you to this Facebook group without bothering to ask you if you’d be interested. Oh, and you can also buy my book if you like.’
This one works, in the sense that it will get you better known, but not in the positive way you thought – at least insofar as the people who don’t like to be taken for granted are concerned.

8: ‘Dear friend (who isn’t worth the effort of preparing a separate, personalized, email so I’ve included you on this hidden mailing list of every address I’ve ever heard of, plus a few I’ve scavenged from other people’s lists), let me tell you about my new book.’
If you want to tell someone you know about your book in an email, make it a personal one (hiding the address list doesn’t count).

9: ‘Just thought I’d send this automated reply to thank you for following me back on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, or whatever it was. Now buy my book.’
Whether or not it’s the intention, I’m always left with the feeling that the only reason the person ‘friended’ me was so he/she could get a (not too subtle) plug in for his/her book.

10: ____________________________________


I left #10 blank. What would you add to the list?
Last edited by JonGibbs on October 28th, 2012, 8:45 pm, edited 4 times in total.
Born in England, writer, Jon Gibbs, now lives in the USA. He can usually be found hunched over the computer in his basement office. One day he hopes to figure out how to switch it on.

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Re: 10 Book-Marketing Techniques Which Annoy Potential readers

Post by Ryan » August 17th, 2012, 1:47 pm

2: ‘Buy my book and help save an orphaned kitten!’You know the kind of thing I mean, for every book sold, the author pledges to donate some money to [INSERT: name of worthy charity here]. I’m all for helping out a good cause, but this book-marketing technique always makes me feel like the fundraiser is using the charity as a way to make some sales. If you really want to help, how about asking people to make a sraightforward donation? Sure, you won’t sell any books as a result, but on the bright side, the charity gets more money, which is what you really wanted all along, right?.
If it comes from the heart then why not? Healing from the loss of loved ones (furry and non-furry) is a huge thread in my book. I lost my brother to Leukemia over twenty years ago so I have a page in my book and on my site about Be The Match, the National Marrow Donor program. I've donated $200 to Be The Match from my book sales. That's enough money for two potential donors to be tested and placed into the registry. I've had people email me telling me they signed up after attending a reading and reading my book. I have no problems "using" the organization as part of my outreach. Riding an organization's established platform if they agree to it is a good thing. A PR person read my manuscript before I was given permission to use their logos so if they're cool with it then I'm cool with it. When I have some more time, I'd like to approach them to see about a coordinated effort. With self-publishing profits there is a lot to share. I'd be willing to give them two bucks per sale and keep a buck or less if they help me sell tens of thousands (millions!) of books.

I agree with the rest of your points and have even been guilty of a few. :)
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longknife

Re: 10 Book-Marketing Techniques Which Annoy Potential readers

Post by longknife » August 19th, 2012, 11:39 am

As you indicated, we want to WRITE and not be bothered with all the other stuff.

It's hard enough to write and send out queries but the marketing is even worse.

That's why publishers have marketing divisions. So, what does it take if you sign with a small publishers or self-publish?

Thank The Lord for forums like this as it gives us "writers" tips on being "marketeers"!!! :D

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Re: 10 Book-Marketing Techniques Which Annoy Potential readers

Post by JonGibbs » August 23rd, 2012, 4:57 am

Hi Ryan,

My apologies, I didn't do a great job of explaining #2, so I've reworded it to better reflect my concerns over this particular marketing technique (copied below) :)

'I'm not talking about donating stories for charity anthologies, donating books; time; merchandise for auction, or any number of generous things writers do to help a worthy cause. Those are simply good deeds and not marketing techniques at all.

I'm talking specifically about when an author announces a special offer eg: 'For every book he/she sells this week, the author pledges to donate some money to [INSERT: name of worthy charity here*]. If you're doing it as part of a larger community effort, or to help out a local church, school etc. or if your personal story (or the one in your book) is somehow related to the cause in question, no reasonable person could have a problem.

However - and this is where I think writers need to take care - there's an invisible line between using your work to help a good cause, and using a good cause to sell more books. If you cross that line, or give the impression you crossed it, folks will notice, and not in a good way.'
Born in England, writer, Jon Gibbs, now lives in the USA. He can usually be found hunched over the computer in his basement office. One day he hopes to figure out how to switch it on.

An Englishman in New Jersey http://jongibbs.livejournal.com

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Re: 10 Book-Marketing Techniques Which Annoy Potential readers

Post by JonGibbs » August 23rd, 2012, 5:14 am

longknife wrote:So, what does it take if you sign with a small publishers or self-publish?
When it comes to book marketing, the small, traditional, publishers (like mine) expect their authors to do the lion's share of the work. Once the initial book launch takes place, you sink or swim by your own efforts.

Online promotion is important, but I also think it helps to get out there in person. I've done, or booked, 70 writerly sales events in 2012, including about 50 multi-author panel/Q&As or solo presentations (all of which are followed by an impromptu book signing).

It 's a lot of work, but great fun.

I wish you luck with your own marketing efforts :D
Born in England, writer, Jon Gibbs, now lives in the USA. He can usually be found hunched over the computer in his basement office. One day he hopes to figure out how to switch it on.

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Re: 10 Book-Marketing Techniques Which Annoy Potential readers

Post by oldhousejunkie » August 23rd, 2012, 4:41 pm

#5...definitely #5.

I just complained on my Facebook yesterday about authors who post their book as the answer to any message board thread that even has the smallest resemblance to something in their book. SO annoying. I see it the most on the Goodreads boards and a few Facebook groups I have joined. I want to vomit into my trashcan every time I see some poor sap mention for the tenth time that week that their book is for sale. Geez...get a life, folks!

I also get mildly annoyed when someone asks for book recommendations and someone pops up and starts promoting their book. I guess that's legit but for some reason I think you shouldn't be so quick to flog your own work unless you're an established author. Perhaps I'm wrong and in that case, I need to grow a pair.

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Re: 10 Book-Marketing Techniques Which Annoy Potential readers

Post by Margo » August 23rd, 2012, 7:56 pm

oldhousejunkie wrote:I also get mildly annoyed when someone asks for book recommendations and someone pops up and starts promoting their book. I guess that's legit but for some reason I think you shouldn't be so quick to flog your own work unless you're an established author. Perhaps I'm wrong and in that case, I need to grow a pair.
I don't think that qualifies as growing a pair. It's just incredibly annoying and usually comes off as slimy and desperate, which is not an opinion you want a reader having in mind about you if they decide to take a look at the book the writer is flogging.

(Better to spend the time on the next book and let it do the marketing for you. I keep telling people that, but even the ones who don't like marketing just can't believe it.)
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Re: 10 Book-Marketing Techniques Which Annoy Potential readers

Post by lindsayB3462 » August 26th, 2012, 9:43 pm

As both a writer and a reader I detest the ones who try and pull from horrible tragedies from the news or from the conscience point of view like the orphan kitty!

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Re: 10 Book-Marketing Techniques Which Annoy Potential readers

Post by JonGibbs » August 28th, 2012, 4:56 pm

oldhousejunkie wrote:#5...definitely #5.

I also get mildly annoyed when someone asks for book recommendations and someone pops up and starts promoting their book.
Maybe it's just me, but when an author constant;y talks up his/her own work, I don't think of them as having grown a pair, I just think they're a pain ;)
Born in England, writer, Jon Gibbs, now lives in the USA. He can usually be found hunched over the computer in his basement office. One day he hopes to figure out how to switch it on.

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Re: 10 Book-Marketing Techniques Which Annoy Potential readers

Post by JonGibbs » August 28th, 2012, 4:59 pm

Margo wrote: I don't think that qualifies as growing a pair.
It's a shame, but some folks spend so much effort getting out of (what they see as) their comfort zone, they forget to make sure the 'zone' they end up in is a better/more effective one.
Born in England, writer, Jon Gibbs, now lives in the USA. He can usually be found hunched over the computer in his basement office. One day he hopes to figure out how to switch it on.

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Re: 10 Book-Marketing Techniques Which Annoy Potential readers

Post by JonGibbs » August 28th, 2012, 5:02 pm

lindsayB3462 wrote:As both a writer and a reader I detest the ones who try and pull from horrible tragedies from the news or from the conscience point of view like the orphan kitty!
I've had several strong emails from people, upset by my, albeit personal, take on writers using charities to make sales (as opposed to writers using their work to help charities), but I confess it's a pet peeve of mine. To be fair, I have no way of knowing the true motive writers have, but I'm old and cynical.
Born in England, writer, Jon Gibbs, now lives in the USA. He can usually be found hunched over the computer in his basement office. One day he hopes to figure out how to switch it on.

An Englishman in New Jersey http://jongibbs.livejournal.com

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