Nathan Bransford, Author

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

10 Marketing Techniques That Annoy Potential Readers

This is a guest post by Jon Gibbs, which was promoted from the Forums. More info on Forum promotion here.

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?

Born in England, Jon Gibbs now lives in New Jersey, where he’s ‘Author in Residence’ at Lakehurst Elementary School. A member of several writing groups, including SCBWI, he’s the founder of the New Jersey Authors Network and His blog, An Englishman in New Jersey, is read in over thirty countries.

Jon’s debut novel, Fur-Face (Echelon Press) a middle grade fantasy about a shy teenager who meets a talking cat only he can hear, was nominated for a Crystal Kite Award. Watch out for the sequel, Barnum’s Revenge, coming in February, 2013.

When he’s not chasing around after his children, Jon can usually be found hunched over the computer in his basement office. One day he hopes to figure out how to switch it on.

Art: Advertisement card for Philip Conway, Jr., Practical Shirt Maker by G.M. Hayes


Gregory K. said...

I'm a big "un-fan" of the sudden-appearance blog comment (or Facebook stream intrusion) promoting a book during a good conversation about some semi-related topic. It's kinda like your in real life example of passing out info during someone else's presentation or speaking only of your own book rather than talking craft or whatever. It's always better to be part of a community rather than the selling intruder....

Austin said...

Hey I don't post here often. I just wanted to say that I like your content and I agree with this list. I'd also love for you to check out my new book. Click here to buy it on Amazon.

That. So annoying.

Whirlochre said...

#10 Can't pay the vet bills for your ailing orphaned kitten? Why not buy my book and club the useless moggy to death with it? At $5.99, it's way cheaper than that kitty colonectomy.

Jenn Crowell said...

I also love the constant stream of RTs that consist of nothing but other people's compliments about you. Sure, if you get a great review or a high-profile blurb, by all means RT, but every single blog post in the universe in which someone said they liked your work or thought you were swell? Yeah, no thanks.

jongibbs said...

Hi Gregory,

The first time someone in the audience started waving their own book around during one of my presentations, I just stood there, gobsmacked. I'm still not wuite sure how to handle it.

jongibbs said...

Austin, you had me worried there for a minute :)

Julie Luek said...

I recently jumped on the Twitter bandwagon and all of a sudden I understand all the impatience with self-promotions, RTs, and shameless plugs within inappropriate contexts.

It IS difficult, especially for those self-published, to find appropriate means to market their books. I get that. I'm a writer. But pushing aside relational courtesy, no matter the reason, is probably never successful.

jongibbs said...

Hi Jenn,

It's a shame we can't have a set official guidelines so folks can see where the line is between 'Well-intentioned (but misguided) self promotion' and 'Annoying the heck out of potential readers' :)

Josin L. McQuein said...

This isn't one that affects me so much as friends who've self-published, but I've gotten a few:

#10 Hey! I'm an author, too. You buy my book and I'll buy yours. We can trade 5-star reviews. AUTHORS SUPPORT AUTHORS!!!

Yes, authors support authors, but not like this.

The implication is that buying a book is a favor - or worse, a service - someone does for an author. The review is payment - something owed to the author. And in theory the two book sales would cancel out the profit/loss aspects of selling/buying. So, there's no much to be gained from the system for the author.

jongibbs said...

Hi Julie,

I'm with a small, traditional press, so as far as book-promotion goes, I'm pretty much in the same boat as self-published authors. It's not easy to get form people's 'Never heard of him/her list to their 'Name rings a bell list,' but when we do finally make it there, I think it's important they remember us in a good way.

As you say, no matter the reason, when it comes to sales, a lack of courtesy rarely gets you what you want.

Thanks for sharing :)

jongibbs said...

Hi Josin,

I totally agree. The mutual 5-star review (or it's equally obnoxious cousin, the self-review under a sock puppet identity) give all writers a bad name :(

Jessica Hutchison said...

What a great post. This is exactly what turns me off Twitter.

David said...


Mira said...

Good article. It's true. It's easier to get someone to NOT buy your book, then to get them to buy it.

I like your examples, Jon.

Anonymous said...


I do enjoy the posts you have on your blog and frequently visit. However, this post covers quite a few examples of soft-sell marketing that is one of the few avenues left. Yes, half of the list is obnoxious, but several points (2, 4, 9) are fairly standard and accepted practices. Past that, other writer websites have lists that cover many other “taboo” points.

I hate to say it, but we, the self-published author, have scorned ourselves to the point that there really are no avenues for gaining readership without someone shouting “Shameless self-promotion!”. In all honesty, these listed taboos do sometimes go into the tasteless category, but we have become such promotional snobs as a collective group that we are killing all forms of free promotion.

And, let’s be frank, professional advertising agencies, hired by major corporations, have no such scruples and will employ any means necessary to perform, as long as the avenue is cost effective. Where this article talks about unhealthy practices, it’s really a veil for “you are too broke to be an author, so stop being my competition!”.

We have become our own worst enemies.

Kate said...

What Jenn said about the constant retweets whenever someone compliments you. So. Annoying. Unfollow!

abc said...

Ha! I'm willing to bet a small amount of cash that the people who do these things don't have books worth reading.

Nathan Bransford said...


On 2 and 4 I don't think it's that Jon is saying "Don't do it," just saying there's a way to do it.

I agree with him on 9 - I feel like an auto-reply with a book link is off-putting when you get it the second you follow someone. I tend to not be in favor of automated solutions in social media - it's supposed to be about the human touch.

Kate said...

And Anonymous 2:16pm: 2, 6, and 9 are some of my particular pet peeves. ESPECIALLY 9. I usually unfollow immediately if someone does this to me.

Engaging audiences on Twitter takes more effort than this. I'm much more likely to look up someone's work if they answer one of my tweets or respond when I answer one of theirs.

jongibbs said...

Thank you, Jessica, David and Mira :)

jongibbs said...

Thanks, Jessica, David and Mira :)

LadySaotome said...

I don't know how completely this falls under marketing techniques but recently I've been seeing authors with fund-raising campaigns, promising sponsorship lists inside the front cover &/or free copies of the completed work for each donation.

Maybe I've been living under a rock but I've never encountered this before and it just seems very backwards and odd to me. I don't mind supporting a writer by buying his book after it is completed. But sending funds to support the writer's jobless state until a book is published? (or for the editing, covers, etc.) I don't get it & I find it very off-putting.

Neurotic Workaholic said...

Wow, all those marketing techniques would definitely be annoying. It shows that some writers have a strong sense of entitlement; they think that they "deserve" readers and success. They don't think that they have to earn them, and they're wrong.

Iola said...

I've seen #2 referenced on several Amazon forums, where this sin is second only to self-promotion outside Meet Our Authors.

It serves no useful purpose, because there is absolutely no way of knowing whether or not authors are telling the truth.

Forum participants tend to err on the side of caution. They assume the offer is a scam, and the author is a dishonest ** who will never get a cent of their money.

LadySaotome said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Whitney said...

I have a friend who recently self-published a book of poetry. This person is a good friend whose company I enjoy, but who seems not to know when to stop promoting said book on Facebook. It got to the point where I had to hide the person completely from my news feed inorder to avoid popping off and saying something I'd regret later. :/

jongibbs said...

Hi Anonymous,

If you're doing 2, 4 and 9, and they're for you, then great. However, when it comes to self-promotion, I've a feeling most writers simply copy what they see others doing (or what they think others are doing), then wonder why their sales aren't through the roof.

Self-promotion is hard work, and we have to get out of our comfort zone to do it. The trouble is, I think too many people focus so hard on getting out of their comfort zone, they don't pay attention to the zone they're getting in to.

I think I covered my main concerns about method #2 in enough depth with the actual post so let's look at #4 and #9.

#4: Pimping yor work at every opportunity, during a talk or panel discussion on writing.
Personally, when I go to a talk or panel discussion about writing, it's the subject which interests me, not the author - though if I know the speaker(s), it can make a difference. Of course I expect the author to mention his/her book, but in passing, or perhaps at the end of the talk. I've sat through presentations in which the speaker refers to his/her book at every opportunity. I've yet to buy from such a person.
On the other hand, I have a whole stack of signed books purchased from speakers whose talks I enjoyed.

As for #9: Instant 'Check out my book' message to all new social media friends and followers Most of the ones I receive are from people who chose to follow or friend me first. Since I follow back as a matter of courtesy, it makes me feel they only 'friended' me in the first place, so they could pimp their work. Aside from the basic rudeness of trying to sell someone something as soon as you've met, I really don't think it works.

I hope that makes sense :)

Stoich91 said...

Haha "someday he hopes to figure out how to switch it on" :D great list! Sometimes I feel like writers are too desperate to get sales and couldn't care less about the quality of the writing, itself. Stay classy, people; writing is an art FIRST, business SECOND. Always has been, always will be. :D

K. L. Gore said...

I've had a few people over the years come to the writers group I facilitate just to try to advertise their book (I don't allow that). I also have people show up to receive a critique of their work, but then they leave before they can give feedback to anyone else. Some people write solely for acknowledgement. It generally shows in the quality of their writing.

stacy said...

This is more subtle, but authors who join Goodreads and then rate/review their own books and NO OTHERS just annoys me to no end. Negates the whole point of the site and often makes that author look completely self-serving to me.

Sara Habein said...

10: Pitching a review for their book through a misspelled Twitter @ message, when it is not hard to find my email address.

11. Misspelling my name and saying "I'm a big fan" when... my name is in the email address. That I understand is something that could happen by accident, especially if you know a Sarah not a SARA that you see every day, but come on, pay attention to detail.

Jami Gold said...

Facebook is evil. :)

One technique that's been annoying me lately is when an author "invites" me to an release event that emails me with every posting. It's bad enough to be mass-invited at all (especially if it's for a B&M release party that's nowhere near me), but I can deal with deleting one email from them. However, when the event sends out spam with every update, I'm forced to "decline" the invitation, and I hate feeling like I'm not being supportive of my friends. Boo.

Tamara LeBlanc said...

Number 3 happened to me and my very busy critique group last thursday. I was in the middle of an important discussion on whether I should do so and so to character A or character B. I needed the imput and it was an important conversation. All of a sudden some chic walks up to our table and starts handing out her cards. She interrupts me, mid-sentence mind you, and says, "I'm promoting my new book and overheard you talking about writing. I'm sure you'll be interested in my novel." She points at her card. "I'd love it if you'd LIKE me on Facebook. The link is right there."
No excuse me, no I'm so sorry to bother you. She just butts in, and interrupts us. I was so annoyed with her I lost my train of thought and still can't recall what I had wanted to say to my crit group.
I tore the card up.
I won't be LIKING anything that author does.
Thanks for the list. It's awesome.
Have a great evening :)

Joe Sottile said...

Begging family and friends to purchase your book online unless you stand over their computer with them at the keyboard and a 45 pointed at their head. Then it seems to work.

Kristin Laughtin said...

#1--I think I'd be too nervous to do this even if a news event were eerily similar to something in a book I wrote, just because it seems so opportunistic and dismissive. "Oh, that shooting that killed all those people? Something JUST like that happened in my book! I bet you'd love to read about it during this time of shock and grief!"

#2 appalls me. It's exploitative unless it fits one of the conditions you listed, and sometimes it feels like the recipient of the charity is a hostage. "Buy my book or this kitten dies!"

Mark Terry said...

I got hit up by a guy at the airport this summer. I thought something was up. He would study everybody who was reading a book in the waiting area, then move in to where he was sitting next to them. Then he'd wait for them to look up and offer them a slip of paper with his name, title and URL on it. I had a pretty good idea what he was doing by the time he got to me. Really, really strange airport behavior, though.

Reina M. Williams said...

A new one to me is someone using an Amazon review to plug a similar book. Under my other pen name, someone (who clearly hadn't read the book, but only the blurb) left a 4 star review (I'm grateful it wasn't one star! lol) but then mostly talked about how they'd enjoyed this similar book (with the link 2-3 times). When I looked at their reviews, all of them were doing this for a few other books. Not only is this annoying, but it's also deceptive.
Many well-known self-pubbed authors say the best promotion is your next book...while this may not be 100% true, it seems better than risking making a nuisance of yourself. :)

Susie said...

Great post. There's another I would add, not because of the strategy, but because of its seeming abuse by certain authors. On twitter, some writers will put an intriguing line from their book. I actually find this interesting...until you see ten more tweets from the same author about the same book within a few minutes. I think it would be more effective to space those out.

Anonymous said...

The self-published authors (or any authors, really) who are constantly complaining that they MUST do these things to sell the puny handful of books they do should try listening to the people who actually self-publish for a living and spend their time **writing more books**. Works for me and a couple dozen of my writer friends, no exaggeration.

The Desert Rocks said...

Wonderful tips, but unfortunately the publishing world is changing and they are closing bookstores faster than certain internet connections. If the book has Simon and Schuster as the publisher, the author can finally go on a world cruise or sit at home feeding the cat. Independent authors on the other hand, will have to get creative and sometimes creative is annoying. I guess it boils down to technique, slight of hand and magic.

Nancy Thompson said...

I went to Bouchercon last month & attended a panel where one of the authors, when answering a question, would hold up a copy of her book & precede to tell everyone what she or her protagonist did in that book, even though it didn't even slightly relate to the question. It was embarrassing to watch & provided fodder for a weekend full of jokes at her expense. She killed any interest in her book. Perfect example of what NOT to do.

Julie DeGuia said...

I have started getting e-mails from authors of upcoming releases through Bostick Communications. I guess this is a little different as they are trying to distribute ARCs for reveiw but I REALLY don't need any more e-mails and I have no idea how I got on this list in the first place. :-(

Karen Duvall said...

#10 - Send a newsletter about you and your book(s) to people you don't even know and who never signed up for it. I really, really hate this. I get so much email already, then to add unwanted promo about something I don't even care about irritates me to no end.

This happened just the other day and it was from an author published by my publisher (Harlequin) who's a total stranger to me. The idea that because we have the same publisher suddenly makes me fodder for junk mail is incredibly annoying. I've already forgotten her name so being on her email blast did her no good anyway.

The best way to sell books is to make sure you've written a damn good one that people will talk about. Word of mouth is the best promotional tool there is. When you spam people using the methods on Nathan's list the only word coming out of their mouths will be unkind ones.

Debbie Ridpath Ohi said...

My biggest beef these days is on Facebook: Being invited to an "Event" that is a virtual event or being added to a group without being asked first. In both cases, I blame FB's interface much more than the author because FB should be giving us the option NOT to be added and NOT to automatically get notifications.

But as Jami pointed out above, opting out of an event can give the impression of being unsupportive. I've started choosing "Maybe" and then turning off notifications. Again, this wouldn't be an issue if FB would have "NO notifications" as the default.

This is especially an issue if you're not FB for a little while, come back & then find your Notifications box cluttered with updates from a group/event you didn't want to join in the first place....and miss the Notifications for the groups/events that you ARE interested in.

Rebecca Taylor said...

Interesting. How about when publishers and agents utilize their "platform" to engage in some of these behaviors in order to promote their stable? (1, 2, 4 and 5 I have seen frequently) Also, the RTs by some of these third parties is heavily used as well in attempts to build author brand recognition and "create buzz." Am I to believe they really care about engaging in a personal social media exchange with me--or are they just using their "inside publishing advantage" to hock books? Okay for them but not writers?

Great post.

Kathryn J. Bain said...

One time I actually had someone on LinkedIn ask me to do a promotion for their book on my site and Facebook. I had never read their book and didn't even know who they were. It blew me away.

A big one for #10, authors who have a book out and ask you to LIKE their page on Amazon and they'll LIKE yours.

Do me a favor, don't LIKE me unless it's real. I don't want you to lie for me.

Lexa Cain said...

#10: The ones who join all the blogfests and blog-hops they can and when it comes time to post on their blog for the group, they devote one para (or one line) to the topic of the blog-hop and four paras taling about their book -- or even worse, twenty paras of the Chap One excerpt.

Wow, they annoy me.

Great post! :-)

Anonymous said...

Well, now I feel foolish! I had no idea number 2 was a common (and apparently much hated) practice!

When I published my first book, I listed several nonprofits relevant to my book on my site. I built a form so people who buy my book can designate the nonprofit of their choice. The form provides a "click the link" prefilled email so they can notify the charity that a donation should be on its way. Before I launched, sent each nonprofit a letter about the program so there'd be some measure of transparency.

My thinking was, I care about these causes. Why not volunteer out that my book incorporates X, Y, or Z themes by starting a "Giving Back" program spotlighting these causes?

I had no idea that programs of this sort are so disdained. I tried to be transparent; I don't market based on it, but I do include it in my profile. Should I kill the program? Will trying to do something good cost me more than it'll yield to the causes I wish to support?

Iola said...

Reina - that behaviour is actually against Amazon's rules. You can report reviews like that for abuse (say self-promotion in the box), and Amazon will remove them.

Anonymous said...

"Oh, hey there author. I'm psyched to meet you - esp. after we chatted on Facebook, and I said, 'Yes, I'll be coming to your reading even though it's really out of my way, requires two buses, and - what? Who am I? Um, like I said, you friended me on Facebook, and I'm turning up at your reading - (laughs weakly) Yeah, that's funny, making a joke at my expense and calling me 'one of those Facebook' people. Sweetheart, this is how it works: even though you're photo's 20 years out of date, when you invite people to your book signing, they click 'will attend' and then actually show up, introduce themselves, and the context in which our paths cross and BUY YOUR BOOK, you don't get to make any jokes at their expense. You act gracious. And say, Thank you. Because I've just defriended you, and made an joke at your expense. And I have about two thousand more friends than your two hundred. Let me know how that social media 'thing' is working out for you. And hey, I know you think signing the book makes it non-refundable but ... it doesn't!"

Anonymous said...

#11, calculating publishing blogger who sheds people who are no longer useful: Yes, it's me. I promoted your blog, told friends about it, sent some other bloggers your way (and hooked you up a couple times in a way that gave you a huge bump in traffic.) But now that you're little blog has some traffic, you're less friendly. People have memories, and though you may not know it, though you have friends, and you're still book-marked, I'm not seeking you out nearly so much. This is your bad juju, and it's kind of sad. You make people feel the way they do after ingesting too much adderal: they want to forget the bad feelings about you, but you just won't go away. Eventually, you will.

Marion said...

An amazing list, esp. number 3. Dobby the house elf is shocked by this behavior. (He's in your picture at the top of the page--the fellow with the fishing rod.)

@anonymous 11/7 10:25 p.m. That seems OK to me. It's the equivalent of a publisher donating a percentage of sales to a charity. Just the self-pub version. What does anyone else think?

Nathan Bransford said...

anon@ 10:25-

I don't think he's saying not to do it, just not to be unseemly as you do it. It's more about doing it right.

Helen Hollick said...

No 10 - leaving an advert for your book on my Facebook page without asking first. Don't be surprised to find I've deleted your post.... (by the way, I do use an automated response to followers who follow me on Twitter, but I clearly state its automated & most people follow me first, not vice versa. I think as long as you are up-front about these things)

Christine M. Monson said...

Wow! I've encountered numbers 2, 5,7,8, and 9. For # 10, I'll add: Using my twitter name to promote dance clubs and porn in other countries. Gross! I feel completely violated when this happens. Note for #2: I've seen teeth, dental records, and yes, sonograms and send them to you. (I'm shaking my head.)I've considered closing my facebook, twitter, and google+ accounts and hiding from the world. Just Kidding!

brynbenning said...

#5 really irks me. Before I follow anyone on Twitter, I make sure their stream isn't the same spammy link to their book over and over again interspersed with auto-generated robo Tweets of pithy quotes that somebody else wrote. If you can't write your own tweets, what makes you think you can write a book?

Great post. People need to understand desperation is never attractive.

Anonymous said...

These are so good! I do have patience for #7. It's hard to get to know people, so at least it's honest. And I actually have made a few good social media friends when people have done this to me (I've never done it, though).

#9 is marginal for me, too.

"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."

My guess would be they just think you're cute :)

Anonymous said...

I'd like to add something else that I see all the time and it makes me crazy.

When authors tell these contrived stories that sound so made up in facebook updates. Like this one, paraphrased:

"Jebus Crisp, one of my dedicated readers just e-mailed me and told me that my book saved his life. That's the only reason why I write, to help people and save lives."

That's a little over the top, unless you're writing self-help books. In this case it was schmaltzy romance. And, the author posts these things almost daily.

jongibbs said...

My apologies for not responding sooner. I live in Monmouth County, NJ, and lost power (again) yesterday.

We just got it back an hour or so ago. I'm looking forward toreading through everyone's comments :)


Regina Richards said...


A parent I've seen often at scouts, dance, soccer, etc. but who's never spoken to me before, suddenly becomes flatteringly friendly. About 60 seconds into the conversation, they pull out a novel and ask me to buy it from them on the spot for $14.95. Decline and they instantly treat you again like the stranger you are. Or worse, they launch into a sob story about how they are getting a divorce and must to sell these books to feed the kids/prove their talent to the ex who never believed in them/etc.

It's weird being panhandled by a soccer mom.

Storm Grant said...

Friending/following as blackmail. An author friends or follows me, then sends a DM telling me I owe them the same "favor." Uh, what?

And also? email signatures that go on forevah.

I'd say "buy my book" but sadly, it's not out yet. ;-D

Samantha said...

Love this post and the comments. So true.

Anonymous said...

I have a book coming out in 2013 with a Big Five (is that what we call it now?) publisher, and one of the things we're planning to do to sell the book is basically #8. Apparently, a mass email (I think only one) to friends and family and potentially interested acquaintances is a very effective way to sell a debut novel. I plan to be moderately targeted with my list, but I have no qualms about doing this. It would take too long to email each person individually, and I don't think one announcement is commensurate to spam.

Selena Blake said...

#3 takes the cake. I consider everything a writer posts via social media to be a marketing effort, therefore I don't understand authors who are intentionally (and consistently) rude, argumentative, and/or down in the dumps. That's not a good image for your business and since you're ultimately dealing with potential customers, that's not good customer service either.

G. B. Miller said...

Very nice top 9 list of how to annoy potential readers.

For me, #10 would be "Have a link prominently (and permanently) displayed on small display where potential readers can purchase your book, only to find out much, much later that the link now doesn't work because the online store where it's being sold tidied/cleaned their website and gave your book a new purchase link."

jongibbs said...

Thanks, Nathan, for promoting my post from the forums, and thank you, everyone, for posting such great comments. I certainly found some new things to add to the list :)

I do believe some of the selling techniques I listed in the main post can be effective, providing we put a little thought into how we come across to the potential customer eg: mailing lists can prove effective, but it's probably best to ask people if they want to be on it in the first place.

I guess the secret of good marketing is like the secret to life - figure out what works best for you, then do that...a lot ;)

Thanks for reading :)


echo said...

I am a self published author, and I follow some other writer's on facebook and twitter, but the only ones who's books I ever buy have to go beyond the constant promo to establishing a personal connection. I sell most of my books on forums and in person where the contact was long established and the fact that I write was only casually mentioned, and far less often than the fact that I teach and am a Mom and love cooking and backpacking and on and on. I review some of the indie books and some old books and some new traditional books but only when I really love them. If I can't say something good, I don't waste my time finishing a book so I never review those. Sometimes I review someone who has also reviewed my book, but almost never because I write for YA but read a variety of other genre's.

I agree that rudeness and overpromoting seems to be in bad taste and keeps me from even looking at a book. However there is a lot of competition and almost any place where you invest time in creating relationships can be an appropriate place to talk about your books and your writing as you also discuss the weather and the politics and their interests too. I think very few venues are completely unusable for book promotion if you don't use the people who frequent them.

Dixie Miller 8Goode

jongibbs said...

Hi Dixie,

I agree 100%. Almost any social venue can be a good place to promote your work, providing you're actually socializing there, and not just doing a drive-by promo :)

Terry Shames said...

The drive by promo is the one that I hate. People who never say anything social in social venues, but then when they have a new books out, they sudeenly become chatty--about their book.

Anonymous said...

My pet peeve is people who friend me on FB purely because they saw me on the friend list of some other FB whore. (Notice I say "some *other* FB whore.") There was a time when I friended everybody too. That was before FB stopped transmitting all my posts to all my friends.

Nowadays, my FB friends are friends. They will actually beef if they see too much promo.

So nowadays, if I don't recognize that friend-requesting person's name or face, I check their "mutual friends" list. If the first twenty names are the same old FB whores... I delete the request.

Marian Edmunds said...

I read this a few days ago and laughed. But then it made me want to read '10 Marketing Techniques That Win Over Potential Readers"

I have to say that since I started producing books I look a lot more kindly on people and their marketing efforts, even if misguided.

thewwaitingroom said...

#7!!!! There are so many people from my undergraduate creative writing program that have added me to facebook groups, without asking, and it's SUCH a turn off! Some have been for writer's events, or readings, or signings, which I politely refuse the RSVP--though I totally respect the invitation and am happy to hear they're doing well and pursuing their writing. That's not so offensive, but when they start messaging you directly if you didn't RSVP, EVERY SINGLE DAY...then I unfriend you.

The worst, though, is when someone creates a facebook group not for events or even content discussion...but for BUYING the book, and then adds you to it. And then the author writes posts EVERY SINGLE DAY about "if you haven't bought it yet, you should. Go to Amazon. Do it. Do it right now." And then they get WORSE (if this is possible): something along the lines of, "Many of you have RSVPed to this event--i.e. buying my book--but only three copies have actually sold on Amazon and I know one of them was my mom. Please follow through and buy my book. Also, don't forget to leave a review of how much you love it when you're done. THAT MEANS YOU TOO MOM! Thanks."

Lets just say I'm not keeping in contact with as many of my undergraduate peers post-graduation as I thought I would.

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