Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Write by Wednesday-- Book Marketing

I am on a roll with my self-publishing series (see Supply and Demand and Quality posts), and so I want to continue with a topic that is near and dear to my heart: Being a respectful and effective marketer of your own product.

Ironically, despite working as a marketer, and having an MBA with a marketing focus, and loving my profession, I find the act of marketing my own work... well... icky and uncomfortable. I've learned a lot since I started this blog and started using social media to create some awareness online, and thought I might share some.

Since blogging is the venue most of us use, I thought I might start with some book blogging "dont's." But let's make it easy, let us use a metaphor: You've just published your book. You're very proud. You go to a party, which is an excellent opportunity to meet new people and maybe get a couple of them interested in buying your book.

Don't be the guy who stands in the corner and talks to the wall! Sound obsurd? Well, this is in effect what just plosting blog post after blog post without reading other blogs is like. Blogging is a conversation. I made this mistake like woah when I first started, arrogantly thinking "I wrote a book... people will come." But many of us bloggers have written books, and there are so many awesome and engaging blogs available (by authors and not-authors). Be part of the conversation! You'll learn stuff, make friends, and won't be talking to the wall.

Don't be the high-pressure Girl Scout cookie Mom. Most Mom's: "Hey, Sue is selling cookies. Let me know if you want some." This Mom "Sally is selling cookies. Here is the order form. I will take a check. Why are you only ordering 5 boxes. Do you hate children?" Most authors "Hey, great blog post, I really like XYZ. Hope you check out my blog" (unsaid: and while there notice I read a book that maybe you will read). High pressure author "Hello. I wrote a book. I am going to ignore everything you spent so much time writing on your blog and simply tell you to go read my book." Guess what usually WON'T happen in this case? Trust me, Thin Mints sell themselves more than your novel does.

Don't be the "Want to See Pictures of my Cat" guy. This sort of goes with the above, but the social media world has many of the same rules as a party. There is a conversational arc. People are talking about stuff. So if you're at a post talking about someone's kids, don't start a comment thread that talks about writing. It's not subtle. "I love kids... they remind me of how, when I am writing... because you know, I am a writer..." Even though you aren't hard selling, this is akin to the guy at a party that can turn every conversation into a diatribe on his cats. No one wants to talk to that guy.

Don't be that woman that wears white to another woman's wedding. If someone has a blog post up annoucning the launch of their new title, acknowledge that they likely spent years of their lives and poured their heart and soul into it. Adding on a shout out to your own work, subtle or no, is like trying to steal thunder. Let people have their thunder.

Any others? I know we're all out here a lot and I am wondering what good, bad, or ugly book marketing tactics we all see...


  1. Hi, interesting post, I don't have a book to sell as yet, but take on what you are saying. I found myself nodding to several of your comments.

    The one that annoys me more than most is when someone follows me on Twitter, then asks me if I'll write a review on Amazon about their novel. As a reward they will enter me into a draw for a free copy!

    Quite shocking, from folks who I have never interacted with in my life.

    1. Yeah, I also don't understand how giving me a free copy of what I just did you a favor by reviewing carries much intrigue :) A good edition to the list!

  2. Good points. I would never leave info about my book in the comment section. If I wanted to expand on something in the post about writing in general, I'd do that.

  3. Thank you for the good tips! I worry so much about being the "wanna see pictures of my cat" guy that I clam up about writing at social events.

    On Twitter, I can't shut up about it, but I hope it's more writing-in-general than "Hi look at my book." Actually, it can't be "Hi look at my book" because I haven't published one. :)

    I'm cruising the blogs of everyone who commented on my MSFV story. Hi!

  4. Sounds like good advice. I'd love for you to share more of your wisdom with my blog readers. ;)

    I'm looking for some ninja writers to interview for my Ninja spotlight series. If you're interested, go to to find out more!

  5. Great tips and so funny. I particularly loved the one about wearing white to someone else's wedding!

  6. One of my CPs has a degree in marketing. I've learned a lot from her.

    Great post. Loved the wear white to a wedding analogy - I've seen someone do that...literally. :D (And it was a jumpsuit, not a dress.)

    IWSG #179 (At least until Alex culls the list again. :P)

  7. Oh sigh, I'm socially inept so I think I'll just reread that piece again.

  8. Mmm...May not be on the same level, but the "I'll follow you if you'll follow me" crowd really irks me. What it amounts to is that they follow, then unfollow as soon as you follow them (or if you follow them, they don't bother to return the favor). It's one way to increase readership on a blog, but at least be honest about it!

  9. funny post. Great tips. I'm a new follower from my friend Lauren's Eclectic blog.