Enter The Hammer Of Promotion

Okay, I’ve held this in as long as I can. Please note this NettaRant ™ is not directed to anyone in particular — but if you’re uncomfortable reading it or if it pisses you off on some level, chances are this rant applies to you.

If you think I'm talking to you, I probably am. Pay attention.

*Sigh* I really hate having this conversation, and I’ll admit I’m overworked and a bit crabby. I blame the Ring of Fire and the triple digit temperatures. And the fact I may have a normally crabby type of temperament. Plus the fact I just can’t keep a good rant to myself. It makes me feel bloated, like after you eat a large meal including cruciferous vegetables like cabbage or broccoli.

OR! Like you’ve been force-fed something you wouldn’t ordinarily eat!

Just so you know. This is NEVER going to happen. Not on MY plate.

What am I talking about? Marketing. Specifically, marketing a book.

My social networks are full of people who both read and write books, novels, short stories, etc. I understand the need to promote yourself — I’m a novelist, too, and I’ve self-published. Even those who have a legacy publishing contract have to do the majority of their own promotion. It’s a necessary evil of the job. I get it.

But look. If all I ever hear out of you are promotional efforts about your book/interview/blog post, I’m going to unfollow your ass, capish? I appreciate the fact you’re trying to sell your book, but what I don’t appreciate is the constant fucking infomercial about where to find your book, how great people think your book is, the fact your book is now for sale, and the constant begging to “like” pages, reviews, visit here, look at this, SEE ME AND SEE MY BOOK. I get it already!

Posting the same thing forty-seven times a day on every conceivable social networking site is not going to entice me to buy your book. As a matter of fact, it’s going to piss me off. Can you not talk about anything else? Is there no other social engagement of any kind?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about people who promote their book and socially engage. I’m talking about the irritating, annoying, constant barrage of SEEMYBOOKTHISISMYBOOKBUYMYBOOKPASSITALONG

Come on. You know it pisses you off too. From people who never comment on anything you post, never offer a personal word, never engage in conversation unless it has something to do with THEIR BOOK.

You're making me feel very, very STABBY.

Honestly, I do understand how difficult it is to promote your book, how necessary and I support the indie movement. But please, take one minute and think this over, okay?

You’re on Facebook and you have friends/family. You also have a fan page. This is great, and I would expect you to inform both groups updates about your book and maybe teasers, glimpses into artwork, how the whole process is coming along. What you don’t need to do is post every damned hour about where your book can be purchased. Once you post a couple of times, your people are going to know where to find you. Why are you beating that poor, dead horse?

Give the poor horse a break! Can't you see IT CAN'T TAKE ANY MORE!

But NETTA! How am I supposed to sell my book if I don’t continuously bang people over the head with a hammer? Isn’t that how sales work?

Well, that’s how *hard* sales work, but it’s not really all that effective when it comes to the internet crowd. Internet peeps are on to that hard-sell advertising crap, and what you should probably do is understand using social networking to promote your product is a tricky business. I’ve had people tell me promoting via Twitter is totally unproductive — then I look at their Twitter stream only to see nothing but promotion of their work, a few re-Tweets, and no engagement of any kind. They’re called SOCIAL NETWORKS for a reason, people!

If all you do is post stuff about your book and don’t ever have a conversation about something else, you’re doing it wrong. Social networking is about building relationships with people, and believe it or not, the sales follow. Radical idea, isn’t it?

So, yeah. Tweet me once in a while. Comment now and then on a post. Promote other people you believe in. Don’t just toot your own horn exclusively, because trust me, it gets old FAST.

Now you kids git offa my lawn!

This is not my lawn.

All I’m saying is think about what you’re doing before you alienate people with your Magic Bullet bullshit. Yes, promote your book and be proud! You should be. But step away from the Hammer lest it be wrenched from your grasp and used to whip your ass.

Oh yeah. It's coming for you.

13 thoughts on “Enter The Hammer Of Promotion

  1. I love that you used the word “cruciferous.” Now, quit ranting and BUYMYBOOKBUYMYBOOKBUYMYBOOK! Oh, wait. You already have my books. Dang.

  2. I do like what Dean Wesley Smith says about this. He recommends your promotion be limited to a blog post, a tweet, a facebook entry and that’s about it. Now I understand Dean already has an audience, but still, a couple of them will work.

    I do my best to not use the word, “buy” when promoting my work. I’ve set a rule for myself to post links once a week, on Friday–payday for most people, when they have money in their pockets and won’t forget about your book in the intervening days between your post and when they have disposable income–and that’s it.

    The two best kinds of promotion you can have for sales is word of mouth and the next book. If you’re spending more time promoting than writing, you lose. When someone else recommends your book and posts about it? That’s when you’re really going to make the sales.

    So yeah, shuddup and write, people.

  3. What Joe said. And a whole HEAPING pile of more. As usual, this NettaRant(TM) has hit the nail on the head (there are enough hammers around to make this possible, believe you me). Honestly, I feel rather guilty doing too much promotion–every time I post a reminder I want to apologize. It’s not like people don’t KNOW for heaven’s sake. THEY KNOW AND ARE JUST AVOIDING YOU BECAUSE YOU’RE ANNOYING. Sigh. Only one thing left to say.

    Amen brothas and sistas. Amen.

    • There is definitely such a thing as too much promotion, especially if all you’re doing is an endless loop on Facebook and Twitter. If you aren’t in some kind of relationship with the people you’re spamming, they aren’t going to care. They’ll shut your ass down.

      It’s a fine line, but sometimes less is enough.

  4. Oh yeah, one other thing:

    You need to promote. It’s a given. But their are far more effective ways to do it than pumping yourself up like a lead balloon via social networks. Look up the book bloggers. Ask if they’d like to review your book. Send them a copy.

    Ask your beta readers behind the scenes if they wouldn’t mind posting a review of your book on the Amazon page. Make sure you tell them to be honest and that you’d appreciate even a mild review. If they didn’t like it, allow them to say so. All five star ratings are going to be suspect anyway.

    Get a book trailer done and post it on your Amazon and Smashwords page for the book. I tend to check those out and I bet others do as well.

    All these can be done without being an annoying git.

  5. Love love love this post, and you are so right. There are certain people who show up in my feed and I hit “delete” immediately! I know that it’s only a post flogging THEIR book, or the latest 5-star review on THEIR book, or some other fabulous news about THEIR book. It’s annoying ONLY because I never hear from them otherwise. If I did have some sort of social interaction with them, then at least I’d care.

    In real-life networking, this was much more obvious. You never walked into a room, made a beeline for the VP of your company and immediately started talking about who you were, what you did, what you sold blah blah blah …cuz you know why? You’d probably be fired! These actions would ring loud with insincerity and be considered uncouth, unprofessional, and downright rude.

    It amazes me that some people think this “hit me over the head” sell tactic is ok just because they’re sitting behind a keyboard.

    Great rant, netta!

    • Perfect. Just like what it would be like to meet people in person. The best sales people are those who LISTEN to their audience, not just talk AT them. You’re exactly right.

      Thanks, girly-o 🙂

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