Sunday, October 23, 2011

Promotion. How far is too far?


I’ve been blown away to have already received six 5* reviews on Amazon.co.uk for the new Prosper Snow novel, Killers. A couple of said reviews have even said they think it’s better than the first book, The Kult!

Now I know I’ve been blogging and posting about the book’s release, but it still surprises me how many people in certain places, such as on the Amazon forums actively dislike authors promoting their work (Amazon.com even went so far as relegate such posts to a single area titled ‘Meet our authors' forum). I find all this animosity unusual for people who supposedly like reading. I read a comment on a post recently where the person said that they would never buy a book from an author that promoted their work, because if the work was good, then it would speak for itself and people would buy it. I thought WTF. The problem with this theory is that people first have to hear about the book, and one of the best ways to get the word out is to promote. It’s the old catch 22 scenario really. I personally have no problem with people promoting their books. Hell, I know how hard it is to find readers, so anything that helps in this respect is good. I wouldn’t have heard about half the books I purchase if I hadn’t read posts by the authors themselves.

So what do other people think? Can you promote too much? Does it turn potential readers away? 

8 comments:

Rosen Trevithick said...

How is a book supposed to speak for itself if nobody knows it's there?

Obviously, when books get very successful people hear about them through word of mouth etc, but the first readers had to hear about it from somewhere.

Many people in forums, particularly the Amazon ones, are very bitchy and I shouldn't take any notice of them.

Obviously, there's a fine line between sensible self-promotion and spam, but everybody's perception of where that line lies, is different.

If you promote your book it results in three criticisms and one sale, have you really lost anything?

Ros said...

The people who say that kind of thing are probably the same ones who don't realise how much heavy promotion has gone into most of the bestselling books. The hundreds of review copies sent out, the signing tours, conference appearances, school visits, interviews, and so on. All of this gives a book a better chance of getting word of mouth interest, but it's invisible to most people.

So carry on promoting as before. The chances are high that the people who complain about it wouldn't have noticed anyway.

Spot said...

First, Killers is getting great reviews because it deserves them. I've even recommended it to my sister and father. I'm still finishing The Kult.

As for promoting, I think it depends on how you go about it. If the author mixes other things with promotion, I don't mind so much. I'll unfollow an author on twitter if all they do is promote. I want to see some personal tweets as well. And also some re-tweeting for other authors. Same thing with Facebook and blogs- give me reasons to like the author and I'm much more inclined to not only read the book, but help promote it as well.

Its the constant smack-em-over-the-head with promotion authors that bother me.

Stacey

Caledonia Lass said...

Those people who post that they will never read a book promoted by the author have got to be lying. How else do they find books to read? What if a friend of theirs said, "Hey, I read this cool book by so and so, you should read it."
Do they ask, "Did the author promote this book or are you?"
Personally, I'm right there with you in that I have found most of the books I like from posts from the author. I have several books I am waiting for to be released so I can read them!
Sorry, but people who post stuff like that are just trolling to start an argument, in my opinion.

Variance Publishing said...

I have to whole-heartedly agree with you on this one. Why make places that allow everyone to introduce themselves to one another if you'll just get crucified? There is no doubt that many people put their faith in the NYT authors or international bestsellers and skip over those who will replace them... if not those who may be better than them who are just starting out and don't yet have the buzz that so many of them deserve. Best case scenario, let's say that one or two people say something nice in your community about a book from a new author, and tell their friends... will that spread nationwide? Doubtful. What if you make friends with the local bookshop, will their voice spread to the national chains? Not likely. You as the author need to state your case and sing to the mountains.

One thing to make sure we are on the same page about though, promotion is one thing, but if not done carefully it can become invasive and one-sided. Remember, promoting yourself and making contacts as an author is equally important - if not more so - than promoting just your newest title. People don't want to listen to a sales pitch every time your voice comes up, they want to have contact with a person who has hopes, dreams, and appreciation for those along for the ride.

Shaun said...

Thanks for the interesting responses.

J.G. Franklin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J.G. Franklin said...

No worries, Shaun!! You're doing right by your readers and right by yourself in terms of how you promote!! Keep up the great work and keep blogging about every good work you read or write!!