I’m not an expert on promotion. Or on writing. Or anything really. But I know what I like and I know what I don’t like and I hear what readers say too.
Promotion is a big job. It is. It takes up a lot more time than most people assume. There’s a lot of pressure out there for an author to do well, to sell well and to be honest, most of us aren’t sent on book tours or have any real promotional budget in our contracts. So the huge majority of promotion falls on the author do to. There’s a lot out there. Websites and blogs, facebook, magazine ads, banners, review sites, swag to send to readers and bookstores, etc.
Believe me when I say, before I begin my ranty little screed, I get it. I know what it’s like to worry over sales and numbers. I worry all the time. Yes. All. The. Time.
When it comes to promotion, I’ve never felt that in your face, BUY MY BOOK announcements work. And I really don’t think it works when the 400th author at facebook “invites” me to her “book release” works. I’m not talking about a party, or a loop event or contest, though I don’t want to be invited to a contest either. Because first I unfriend them and then I never buy their books. Your book release is an event to you. Only to you. Now, you can celebrate it at your blog. At your website and your loop. On your OWN facebook page even. But do not clutter up my inbox with “invites” to your book release because that is spam. SPAM.
It doesn’t matter if you try to sell me ED pills or your book release – unless I’ve asked for it, you sending me, or anyone else unsolicited commercial mail is spam. It’s not effective. Think about who you see doing that sort of thing. Now think of successful authors – do they do things like this? Does Nora Roberts invite her entire facebook friends list to her book release? Does Heidi Betts or HelenKay Dimon? No.
And while I’m on the subject of spam emails – just because we emailed two years ago once about something unrelated does NOT mean I want to be on your newsletter list. DO NOT add people to your newsletter list unless they’ve asked you to be on it. If they went to high school with you, or you know them from the neighborhood, or you share a publlisher or a loop doesn’t give you license to spam them with your newsletter. This happens to me all the time. And it makes me insane.
First of all, I have a newsletter too. It has a process to sign up for it, and a positive check – as in you sign up and get an email making sure it was you so you won’t get added without your permission by someone else. Because while I’m happy to send out a newsletter (though I do fall down on the job and don’t do it regularly) I don’t want to send you one unless you actually want it. Call me crazy.
So to recap – don’t send people mails via facebook or email that they didn’t ask you for. If you do, you’re a spammer and no one likes spam.
Goodreads – sigh. Okay, listen, don’t recommend your own books to me there. Truly. I hate this and it makes me sort of feel sorry for you as I unfriend and block you. To me, and this is just me and all – but it seems sort of sad. I mean, my assumption is that every author thinks his or her book is awesome. I don’t need you to give yourself five stars, refer to it in glowing terms in the third person and email me about it. Really. Automatically I think, *why*? Why is this person having to do this instead of letting her book stand on its own?
READERS and other authors recommending books to each other is powerful. Important. IMO, one reader rec’ing my book to another is a thousand times better than me sending out an email at goodreads saying XYZ book is the hottest fucking in space EVAR (though it totes is). When it comes from someone else, it means something. When I say it, it robs the importance from it.
Same with authors inserting themselves and their books into every single Amazon thread. Just ask yourself, again, if people who are successful at your chosen profession do what you’re thinking of doing. If not, then is it because the idea is so awesome but they hadn’t thought of it, or if, which is more often the case, it’s a bad idea.