Tuesday, 15 February 2011

There are certain ways of marketing a book which I believe will stunt sales. (and a special announcement)

I'm going to make a very bold statement. But before you take it negatively, please hear me out first, because in actual fact, it's not negative at all, it's positive.

My statement:
I lose interest in social networkers who only ever blog, facebook, twitter about their books, sales figures and other people's reviews of their books.

Let's face it. We've all gotta market our work if we want to sell it. But there is a better way than just 'putting it out there'. People are going to be so much more interested in someone's book if it's not in their face all the time, and/or they do their plugging along side other, more interactive issues. Please be clear here, that I am not criticising anyone in particular. I'm just voicing an opinion I have come to realize greatly effects what I choose to read online, and I believe I'm not the only one who feels like this. I want to interact with authors. If I just wanted information about a new release, I'd read the newspaper. Get my drift?

For example, who would you consider buying a book from ...

This kind of social networker:
"My book titled 'blah' is available on blah, blah and blah. Please review it." (The real meaning = Please buy my book, pretty please, even though you know nothing about me. Why should you know anything about me to want to buy my book? Read the blurb, it's interesting! You just have to trust me on that, even though, really, I haven't given you any reason to trust me on that, because we've never interacted together online.)

Or, this kind of social networker:
"You'll never believe the week I've had and what I've discovered. I did this and this and this, and it made me feel like this and this and this. Does this kind of thing ever make you feel like this too? Please tell me I'm not alone. PS: My book is finally on Amazon! I'd love for you to check it out!" (The real meaning = I really appreciate my followers, and I also really want to know more about them and want to share all my ups and downs with them and discover if we have anything in common. And once we've established that, I hope that one day they'd like to purchase my book. And if they do - bonus! If not, I'm still going to interact with them anyway, because we've become such great friends.)

I don't know about you, but I choose option two. I don't feel like I'm being handed a press release in the street this way. And I feel like they actually want me to be there, to experience what they're experiencing with them. In my opinion, this is how we should network if we want people to take notice. And I don't think doing this is any more complex than the straightforward announcement.

In addition, never, ever, excuse my abruptness here, but never just tweet something like this: Title of book, great review #clickthislink. Because I won't click it. But I will click it, if you tweet: I'm so excited and thrilled about this review! Thank you so much, (name of person who wrote the review) #clickthislink. If you tweet that, I'll click it because you seem appreciative. Well, I would if I was on Twitter. ;o)

So, what kind of networking do you think works best? Do you agree with what I've said? Why/Why not?

Special Announcement!

Seeing as we're on the subject of plugging. Roland Yeomans has published his first book! Yay! Congratulations, Roland!Let's give him a little support and check it out, hey?

(See? Brief, to the point, and embedded in a post which should trigger INTERACTION. Interaction is the key, folks, and don't forget it!)


  1. Word of mouth is the most powerful marketing tool but it is not something one can wield; only receive. Fate, luck, chance, fashion, time, circumstance are things over which we have no control and are the things which fuel WOM! It either comes to you or it doesn't. What people do to sell themselves is personal choice. It may help; it may not. WOM has its own way of being.

  2. LOL! Yes Gary commented on something similar in his blog:

    I think the psychology of social networking is fascinating.
    I admit I sort of promote myself (though I'm not published yet), my successes.The writing mags suggest that if you want people to follow your writing then start a blog and promote yourself.
    I like blogs that don't witter on about nothing in particular. I love humour, variety within a theme and good writing too. :O)

  3. Terrific blog, and I agree. It's so much more fun getting to know a writer through blogging. It seems that is the key to social networking--I've read other articles on just this topic. Personal is always better--not just in social networking, but in all types of business interactions. You've got your finger on the pulse! :-)

  4. I detest the hard sell and I suspect most people are the same. No one expects us not to do some marketing and I do but I aim to entertain at the same time. I mention my books all the time in my articles even ones that aren’t available yet but, apart from the initial release info, always in passing. And you see how I announce reviews, with an instalment of ‘Aggie and Shuggie’ to – hopefully – put the readers in a good mood before they read the review. As for how successful I've been? I’ve sold a steady dribble of the two novels but the poetry hasn’t done so well which saddens me because I think it is by far my best work. But you can’t make people buy your book, not even your friends.

    As regards book recommendations I’m only interested in hearing what people who have read the book have to say, proper reviews. Okay I know most reviewers won’t produce anything as long and involved as me and that’s fine but I want to know why a book is great. Facebook is a little different because there’s no space for more than a brief plug but I hardly click on any Facebook links personally – I’d get no work done if I did. It gets a quick scan and if something jumps out at me then they’re the lucky ones.

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  6. Happy Tuesday fabulous!! I'm in full agreement with this post! I think one should really build themselves first on the social side and when the book is released the book will sell itself. Yes I'll still have to network but the beginning is key!

  7. I buy quite a few books from bloggers I meet online, but I admit they are not the ones who are constantly pushing their books. As an author, I know self-promotion is necessary, and I have no problems with a book mention here and there. I only get annoyed if it seems to be “it’s all about me and my book” and they have nothing to say about anything else.

  8. So you actually want people to be genuine and do some giving as well as taking? The gall of some people.

    Just kidding. I totally agree. Good books are hard to sell but great books sell themselves. I would so much rather hear a glowing review from a third party then a shameless plug from the source.

    And I can't believe about Roland! That is so awesome. We used to be CPs before he got too busy.

  9. Jessica- I get your drift and am right there with you. I need to feel a personal connection with an author who is using social networking to drive sales. "In your face", without a face, marketing is very tiresome.
    And I'm so glad you mentioned Roland's book here. I bought the Kindle version for my kids just two days ago, and my daughter is loving it!
    Great post. ;)

  10. Option 2 all the way. There's enough spam in social media as it is -- I don't need it from the authors I follow.

  11. I so agree with you. The point here is support, not that you have beach front property in Arizona for sale. :)

    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  12. I think you've said it very well. And that cover is stunning!

  13. Oh, definitely number 2. In fact, before I decide to follow anyone on Twitter, for instance, I always look through their tweet history. If it's a bunch self-promotion, I won't follow them. Plain and simple.

  14. I am in complete agreement with you on this one, Jess.

  15. Agreed. Ooo, I just looked at you commenter widget. It's to fun! Mine seems to have trouble loading and stall loading. I had to move it to the bottom of my blog. :(

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  17. I'm in agreement with building a network then the book will move forward. great post!

  18. I agree. I have another blog in which a commenter keeps leaving very personable comments that show she's been reading my posts, which I appreciate, but every comment works in a very obvious plug for her own business. How would you handle that one? I didn't mind the first one too much, but by the tenth plug I was quite irritated that she was using my blog as a platform to advertise, so I just started deleting her comments. That's a case where she had the social interaction going, but still overdid the advertising.

    I recently attended a workshop on social networking for authors, and a lot of people just couldn't see the value in it. However, I've been blogging for fun for three years, gaining all kinds of friendships, and at the mere mention that I was working on a novel, I found that most of my readers wanted to know more, because they wanted to reserve a copy, and I haven't even starting sending out queries to agents or publishers yet. Social networking can be very valuable for authors if they enjoy doing it and conversing online.

  19. Ooohhh I'm SO with you! I want to buy books from peoples that make an effort. Not that I'm the best at Twitter, but I try in my blog and Fbook and should my book ever sell, it would not be the only thing I ever talk about to people.

  20. Yeah some pple dont have the marketing gene.
    I love Rolands cover it is weirdly eye catching

  21. Totally number two.

    I sometimes have to remind myself to keep a balance between my personal and professional info on my blog. Sometimes I'll be talking about something personal and forget what I was going to post about that actually related to writing.

    This is a great reminder that there's a time and a place for pure professionalism, and your blog really isn't it if you want to connect with readers on a more meaningful level.

    Awesome post!

  22. Personally, I like it when people try to hit me with the hard sell. It makes it so much easier to figure out who to ignore.

  23. I totally agree! And for a second there, I was thinking, "Yay! Jessica's on Twitter!!!" :((

    I'm so glad to be reminded of Roland's book!! I've got to get my post up asap!


  24. Thank you so much, Jessica.

    The pneumonia that nearly killed me as a child ice-bound in that Detroit basement apartment and gave birth to my mother's tales of Hibbs came back this month to see if he could finish the job he started.

    Ha! I fooled him. I'm getting better. Slow but sure.

    You are right. People are not pump handles to be worked as if they were cold unfeeling metal, made to only serve us.

    We are a community of struggling souls, each in pursuit of our dreams. Dreams, and the people who cherish, them are fragile. Like you say : let us handle them with care and compassion.

    Thanks again, Roland

  25. Sorry, I'll make sure I'm sending out proper Tweets. I try not to talk much about my book on my blog though.

  26. I'm going to have to agree with you. If I feel I know someone, I'm going to care more about their book and any reviews they get. Always better than a post that sounds more like a sterile press release than a conversation.


  27. But it's such a temptation. :-) But, of course, it's non effective. Good post.

  28. You have to give to get, and usually give more than you get. I'm not sure everyone gets that. It takes time to build up a following and the like. There's a misconception that it takes no time, no effort and you will be instantly popular.

  29. I definitely won't click if the sole purpose of your post/tweet is for me to open my purse and buy.

  30. Some people really seem to get this right, and others not so much. I won't even read blogs where all they talk about is their books. I want to see the whole journey if I can. What it took to get there, all the lead in. What it's like to be published...

    As for Roland! Yeah! That's awesome. I'm not really smart enough to read Roland's blog, but I do the best I can to lurk around and try to figure it out.

  31. I think people are pretty savvy about what is advertising and what is authentic. Obviously people write about what they know. If someone is in the process of being published and they have a blog, chances are you're going to hear all about it. I know I'd be giving my thoughts and observations on the whole process.

    I hate to use a specific example but I will anyway because it's positive. The biggest splash I've seen anyone make since I've been on blogger was from the extremely awesome Talli. I thought the way she handled things with her promotion was fascinating. Was she promoting her book often? Sure, but she was so engaging and open about the process that she got everyone else in the blog world promoting it too. I think the absolute key to self-promotion is authenticity. She comes across very real and it worked out well for her. I've seen a ton of promotions from bloggers of their books but to be honest, I don't really remember the names of any of their books but The Hating Game sticks.

    Sorry Talli if you're out there for using your name but I couldn't help it! I think you're great!

  32. Oh by the way. Be wary of Twitter. I used to make fun of people for tweeting all the time and then I gave it a try and I love it. Gives me an outlet for all the random stuff in my head. So be careful, it can trap even the most cynical of folk. But if you do succumb, let me know I'd follow you.

  33. Melissa : As my best friend, Sandra, will tell you : I'm not smart -- I'm just smart alec! Please come out of the shadows to say hello the next time you visit. And again, Jessica, thank you for the mention. I and the Turquoise Woman thanked you on my blog.

  34. I agree with you here. Having a connection with the person, and not just reading a flow of "Review, Link, etc." is better networking--and I find that I care more about the book that's being mentioned if I know something about the author, too.

    Congratulations to Roland. :)

  35. Great announcement!

    I agree with you about the advertising yourself statement. It makes me bonkers as well. And, if I ever start to do that when my book comes out, please refer me to this post.

  36. Oh I agree completely. They are called social networks for a reason! We need to be social--asking questions, interacting, and showing genuine interest--to truly build a network.

  37. You make a good point. I watch for genuine people, too, who really love connecting with others.

  38. Hey Jessica, another Melbournite writer! Great to meet you :)

    I agree with what you've said above. Nobody wants to be marketed to all the time. That's not why we blog and sign up for twitter. I know I check the timeline before I follow anyone on Twitter. If all I see is "Go look at my blog" or "Go buy my book" I don't follow. Same goes for blogs.

  39. I am with you on this. I certainly want to hear something about the book, but I also want to hear about the process in how the book came into being and eventually into the market, professional informaation that can help me and others, and things related to the books promotion. BUT NOT ALL THE TIME! I want to hear how well rounded the author is and things beside their work.
    The book is the book and the author is the author. They are different and I want a balance of the two and how they relate to me the blog reader.

    Tossing It Out

  40. Jessica! I LOVE your new pic! You're so pretty!

    I personally like option 2 as well, where I can relate to the blogger--just like with our MCs? If the MC seems perfect or impersonal, it's hard to relate to them.

    I'll head over to Roland's and wish him happiness! Thanks for the shout out!

    ♥.•*¨ Elizabeth ¨*•.♥

  41. Jessica,

    You make some very good points.

  42. Hi Jessica! Thanks for stopping by my blog earlier and so sorry I didn't get a chance to respond at the time. Crazy week and all! You are absolutely right about social networking. When we focus on friendships we can get excited about helping other people. It's a shame when people forget this because friendship is the most rewarding part of building online social groups. At least, it has been for me =)


“I'm using my art to comment on what I see. You don't have to agree with it.” ~John Mellencamp

“Allowing an unimportant mistake to pass without comment is a wonderful social grace” ~Judith S. Marin

“I don't ever try to make a serious social comment.” ~Paul McCartney

“I'd make a comment at a meeting and nobody would even acknowledge me. Then some man would say the same thing and they'd all nod.” ~Charlotte Bunch

“Probably what my comment meant was that I don't care about the circumstances if I can tell the truth.” ~Sally Kirkland

“We're not going to pay attention to the silliness and the petty comments. And quite frankly, women have joined me in this effort, and so it's not about appearances. It's about effectiveness.” ~Katherine Harris