Promo Don’ts

The great Paperback Writer has a fabulous post on promotion:  Lady RaRa

These are things that annoy me personally and so I refuse to do them.

  • E-mail spammer.  I once e-mailed an author about coffee, of all things, and later I got an invite to her newsletter.  I guess I should be thankful I wasn’t automatically added to her newsletter, right?  Never send an uninvited e-mail to a reader solely for promotion.  It’s like getting a telemarketer call in the middle of dinner!
  • Self nomination.  If there’s an award and I’m eligible, I just can’t nominate myself.  Ugh.  Even the Predators & Editors annual poll — I just can’t put my own books in there.  I’m certainly not going to go on every list and public venue I know and beg for votes.  It doesn’t mean anything if I do it!
  • Review Infomercial.  “Review my book favorably on Amazon or Goodreads and I’ll send you a second book for FREE!  *fine print: as long as you’ll favorably review it too!!!*”  This reminds me of the “but wait, there’s more!” annoying sales infomercials on TV.  If you loved my book enough to review it, THANK YOU.  If you bothered to give it a few stars somewhere, THANK YOU.  The best, most priceless reviews are the honest word-of-mouth ones.  Those are the ones people are going to pay attention to and respond to favorably, not the “this book was great, 5++ stars!” in exchange for freebies. 
  • Blog rapist.  Go to another blog or site and post “buy my books” links all over everywhere on a totally unrelated post, forcing myself upon an innocent blogger.  Comment, sure.  If people are asking for recommendations, that’s different. 
  • List hijacker.  Join reader lists only to post “hello, I’m new, buy my books!”
  • Blatant flamer.  In other words, “negative attention is just as effective as positive attention.”  I swear some authors start a blogwar just for the attention, and it drives me nuts.  I abhor that kind of attention and would die if I suddenly found myself in the middle of a nasty blogwar.  *shudder* 
  • Anonymous Fangirl Disguise.  For all that’s good and holy in this world, PLEASE do not rave about your own books in the guise of an anonymous fan!  Yes, I know people who have done this.  Equally repulsive to me is an author encouraging fans to gang attack a reviewer or other site where less than glowing information has been posted.  Hey, we all get bad reviews.  We all say something stupid and regret it.  It’s much easier to wad up a scathing retort and throw it in the trash than live down a blogwar started in the heat of the moment.
  • Reader Basher:  this one I just totally do not get.  I know bestselling lists are important, timing is crucial, etc. but it’s so disrespectful and ungrateful to berate a reader for buying your book: a). too early b). at the wrong store c). in the wrong format.  Hello, did you catch the part that you SOLD a BOOK?  If a reader bothers to buy my book, THANK YOU.  I don’t care where, how, what format, if you found a copy early or you’re reading at home in the bathtub with a plastic baggie to protect your device!

I’m sure over the years I’ve done stupid things out of ignorance.  I’ve said too much about a book I didn’t like.  I’ve complained about slow response times or whined about rejections.  Just remember that once you post something online, it’s out there and available for a very, very long time.  In especially juicy blogosphere showdowns, people are going to capture screen prints of your comments or rants. 

Remember, too, that “anonymous” will only protect you so far.  People can figure out who you are if they’re so inclined.  If I’m afraid to put my own name on a comment, then I’m going to think really really hard about whether I should post as anonymous.

What else do authors do as online promotion that drives you nuts?

8 thoughts on “Promo Don’ts

  1. Blog rapists & spammers (newsletter).

    Also I hate people who msg you via Facebook and/or MySpace and say stuff like, “I’m so broke, buy my books this month to help me out. Please!” :evil:

    • Nadia, man, I’m so glad I’ve never seen that before! Ugh. Emily is absolutely right. Even selling now means at least a month to see any royalties, and much longer if bought at retailers like Fictionwise.

  2. I hate those people too, Nadia, because they are so stupid.

    If you buy their book now, they aren’t going to get their money for at least another month for e-pub, and probably closer to a quarter.

  3. Reader Basher- this is my number one pet peeve with writers. I have other pet peeves but they’re not related to promo:)

    • Other pet peeved, Christine? Do tell! I have a few of my own too. Like a single scene in a throw-away char POV just to get the villain on page. Hate that!

  4. I hate the ‘I’m BROKE so please BUY!’ postings, especially with tales of woe (including but not limited to mortgage foreclosures, utility disconnections, and starving children). They drive me nuts and I just think, well, *damn*, if I was behind on bills and my kids were hungry, I’d GET A JOB. Fwiw, it takes me at LEAST 6 months to get paid for sales, depending on how close they are to my royalty accounting dates (on the one book I’ve earned out on – ha ha) so even if I was prone to begging for sales, it wouldn’t make any rapid financial difference to me at all. The money’s nice when it comes, but it’s never needed to keep us afloat or we’d have drowned long ago. ;)

    The other promo thing that bugs me is an author who Can Do No Wrong and constantly tells me how awesome they are, how spectacular their writing is, and how only an idiot would disagree. Authors need solid egos to endure this job, definitely, but narcissism is a bit much. I never buy their stuff. Ever. I’d rather buy books written by a regular human being. ;)

  5. some of my pet peeves are villain POV overkill.I don’t need to know every time the villian makes a sandwich to understand he has an evil plan. Also hate when an author hints at something between the Hero and Heroine and then never delivers. Also, dumbing down the villian/Hero/Heroine just to make plot work.

  6. One of my promo pet peeves is the habit of linking to a book trailer (or other such multi-media content) without warning. I want to be able to click on stuff while on breaks at work without worrying about what’s NSFW…

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