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Monday, November 4, 2013

Promotions That Sizzled and Fizzled

I seem to be seeing less book promotion lately, probably a side-effect of NaNo and the upcoming holidays. For this I'm grateful. If promo was sugar, I'd be in a promo-induced coma.

I don't blame authors. In the over-saturated world of publishing, you need to call attention to your book, but I wonder if the blitzing and blogging has jaded the general public. It's gotten to the point that if I don't already know you (as in people who visit or comment here regularly) I delete promo posts without a glance.

This begs the question, does blasting your message work? Is there any particular promo you'd gladly do without?

I really dislike book signings. For me, at least, I'm too far away from any sizable bookstore. Worse, I'm uncomfortable around strangers who are equally uncomfortable walking in to find yet another author pitching her book.

My favorite method of promotion is a blog tour, but only if all my posts are original and upbeat. I was very proud of my Indie Road Show tour that I did a couple of years ago. I forget now how many stops I made, but every post was unique and got a lot of mileage. They were some of my best posts.

On the other hand, I will never do another cover reveal spree unless it's strictly a reviewer blog where readers congregate to see what's new.

For my cover design business, Book Cover Diva, the Facebook event I did in early 2013 with Gwen Gardner was surprisingly fun and effective. I was a nervous Nelly, but having a partner in crime took the edge off. It was a great relief to see so many people show up too. I was stunned at the response.

So how about you? Is there any promotion you'd rather not do--or see from others? Is there anything you particularly enjoyed?

34 comments:

Angela Brown said...

Like you, I have certain promos that I respond to better. I find the blog tour/blitz with unique material at every stop is fun for the readers as they get a chance to read something different and fresh and not the same excerpt, blurb and photo plastered all over the place. Twitter blasts are currently up for debate with their effectiveness. For me, I'm not the biggest Twitter fan so I mostly scroll through tweets as so much of it feels like static. I had some fun with the last Facebook event I did, my author Q&A. I'm looking forward to the one I'll be involved in this coming weekend :-)

Maria Zannini said...

Angela: There's a FB event this weekend? If it's on in the afternoon, I should be home. I'll see if I can catch it.

Mike Keyton said...

I'm watching all this on the sidelines, learning from others.

Like you, if it's someone I know I respond, but only if it's a genre I'm interested in. Otherwise you're just making noises out of friendship

Sandra Almazan said...

I didn't enjoy the blog tour for Twinned Universes, as all I got were a bunch of the same people commenting over and over, feigning interest in my book so they could enter to win a gift card. I will admit that due to time constraints, I didn't write fresh blog posts for each stop. Maybe that would have made a difference.

The only promotion I've found that directly sells books are paid ads in BookGorilla and other companies. I've had the most success with BookGorilla (and I get a lot of books through them too). BookBub is supposed to be the best, but they don't take novellas.

Maria Zannini said...

Mike: It's hard for me to comment on a genre that I'm either unfamiliar with or not interested. But occasionally, I'll show up for moral support.

Maria Zannini said...

Sandra: This is why I rarely comment on posts that are holding giveaways. I don't comment for the prizes, just the interaction.

I hadn't heard of BookGorilla, though I'd heard BookBub is popular and seemingly successful.

Anne Gallagher said...

I don't promote. At all. I just generally announce it once on the blog and maybe once or twice on Twitter and that's about it. Some would say I'm stupid, but I don't care. I can barely come up with a coherent post for my own blog once a week, never mind 20-30 for a month. Besides, I've heard it doesn't work anymore anyway.

Once the book is out, I may write a post with a related theme and mention said book, or another one I've written, but that's as far as my promotion goes.

Renee Miller said...

Book signings creep me out, but that's because I don't like strangers talking to me. I'm not sure how effective they are if you're not already a "big name." I find the blog tours, depending on the blogs and the posts, have pulled me in as a reader now and then, but as a writer, I didn't see good enough results to ever do it again.

I think the most effective promotion depends on the author and the book. How's that for a non-answer?

I don't like bombarding people with my books, but I do try to be "visible" online. Kind of like promoting by just being me, if that makes sense.

Okay. Fine. I have no idea.

R. Mac Wheeler said...


I haven't done any tacit marketing...other than mentions on my blog and FB...with a few begs to share.

I've only been published a couple years, and while I have 20 novels out there now, I expect the miracle of being found out is beyond my active search.

So...clearly...I don't have a clue either. *smile*

I mostly hope my weekly Sunday Safaris draw enough people to my blog, that my covers will draw a bit of attention, and word of mouth will explode over the next generation (I hope my grandkids benefit from my novels...that is) Argh.

Stacy McKitrick said...

I think doing events with others is probably the best. You get people looking at you who wouldn't normally see you. And I'll be doing that big book signing at RT. I don't expect much, but I've already got some new friends who are excited for me, so maybe some good will come of it. Who knows?

I'm not a fan of blog tours, especially when the author or blogger isn't even interacting with the audience. It's just posted up there and nothing else. I'd like to know if the blogger has read it or if they WANT to read it, otherwise, it's just an ad and I'll ignore it.

Barbara Ann Wright said...

I like going to conferences as long as I don't have to shell out too much moolah to get there. I like doing guest blogs, but you're right in that there can be too much too fast. People's interest wanes pretty quickly.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I like book signings but there are fewer and fewer venues for those. I really don't like blog tours and only tried one once. I have enough trouble keeping up with two blogs. If I could afford it, I would pay someone to do my promotion for me.

Sarah Ahiers said...

Yeah i'm not as excited about book cover reveals anymore, just because it seems like they're everywhere. Unless i know you. Then i'm all over it

Darke Conteur said...

I rarely, rarely promote my books on social media. Only when they're about to be published and about a week after they are. I use some promo sites every four to six months, but that's about it. I think the LESS you push your books, the more special your promotions become when you do them.

I think the constant bombardment of self-promotion has fallen on deaf ears. I help out when I can, signal boosts and all, but if it's a constant promo, I back off.

Maria Zannini said...

Anne: Promotion is a funny beast. It does work to a point, but a lot of it has to do with the people who share and distribute your news. It requires not just word of mouth but it has to come from mouths who naturally influence others. That's the tricky part.

Maria Zannini said...

Renee: That's my modus operandi too. I try to stay visible--through blogging, commenting, popping in on FB from time to time. Not enough to be a nuisance but enough to show that I'm a live person who's interested in others.

Jenny Schwartz said...

Breaking through the static is really difficult. Your book tour was amazing, Maria. Best I've seen. Since I don't aspire to those giddy heights of being amusing and original anywhere, I've stepped away from guest blogging on the whole. There is a definite downside to that though. NO ONE found my last release.

I'm going with the thought that building a backlist, actually writing more books, will work best longer term. Then the one book that finally hooks readers' attention will send them scrambling to buy them all.

And yes, in my land of hope and candy, the candy is calorie-free!

Maria Zannini said...

Mac: At least you're being visible in the things you love to do. I think one reason people get jaded is that they do stuff they just don't enjoy. It becomes a chore. Readers can sense when an author phones it in.

Maria Zannini said...

Stacy: Events overwhelm me. If it weren't for the fact I buddied up with someone else, I'm not sure I'd do it. It's a lot of responsibility to entertain a lot of people.

Maria Zannini said...

Barbara: Yes! I love conferences, but the bite on my wallet usually keeps me from participating as often.

Maria Zannini said...

Susan: If I could afford it, I'd hire a beautiful woman to pretend she was me so I'd never have to go out in public. LOL!

Maria Zannini said...

Sarah: As a cover designer I'm interested in cover reveals, but there's only so many times you can say, "nice cover". And then what if it's a rotten cover? I'd schlep away silently.

Maria Zannini said...

Darke: I've noticed there aren't as many people commenting on promo blitzes anymore either. Definitely deaf ears.

Maria Zannini said...

Jenny: LOL! I want to live in YOUR land.

The best advice I ever got from Angela James was to build my back list.

My way of gaining visibility is slow and methodical, but I'd like to think in the long run it'll have staying power. Five years from now I want people to say, oh, that Maria. She's been around forever so she must be good. :o)

raelynbarclay said...

I'm not a promo person. Reading/hearing it generally bores me. Most of my comments on blog tours are to support the person I know (the blogger where the stop is or the author on tour). I do enjoy seeing cover reveals but like you mentioned Maria, how many times can you say, "nice cover."

I'm not to the point where this is a factor for me. So I'm just going to soak up all this advice :)

Karen Jones Gowen said...

I'm with you about signings. I don't do them, nor speaking events either. I'm just not good at personal interactions so why go to all the trouble to set things up when it's not my strength? Also agree with you about blog tours. I want to get some great blurbs from book blog reviewers but as far as blitzing and guest posting? Nah, really don't see it for book promotion. Although I often get asked to do guest posts for other reasons and I will nearly always agree.

Rebekah Loper said...

I've found myself more and more jaded to a lot of the promo events that happen on blogging and social media. I understand the purpose for them, and sometimes they can be effective, but they have to be interesting.

My new policy is that I don't do any promos for people I don't know, or for genres I don't take a regular interest in.

I... find cover reveals a bit annoying, especially. I will only do them for people I know, and where I've read their work (whether it's in the same series or not).

Blog tours can be fun if, like you said, there's fresh, original content at each one. Sadly, I must admit to being one of the people who frequently ends up being just another review/promo post because of time constraints, so I've found myself not signing up to be a tour stop lately.

And I won't do a blog tour for someone who won't give me a free (digital) copy of the book to read ahead of time. I won't recommend something blindly.

I like the idea of book signings, but not necessarily as a purely promotional event. They seem more like a connection thing, where it will draw more of the people who are already fans, vs. new ones.

Maria Zannini said...

Raelyn: What I find surprising is that the people who are most annoying intimate that their books are doing fabulously well.

Either they're lying or their mind-control spiel must be working on lots of people. Apparently, I'm immune to mind control. :)

Maria Zannini said...

Karen: I think it's a testament to your blogging abilities to be asked as a guest blogger. :)

Maria Zannini said...

Rebecca: It never occurred to me to ask for a copy of their book. I give mine away to anyone who hosts me, but I'd never to think to ask for a copy if I was hosting someone else. But that makes perfect sense.

If nothing else, it shows a sense of gratitude.

Rebekah Loper said...

An author not offering a free book ahead of a blog tour hasn't happened to me often. But a couple of times, I've seen a blog tour I was interested in, and instead of a saying somewhere to ask for a free review copy, they've specifically said that the book is available for purchase at such-and-such link. I usually just close the window at that point.

I personally couldn't imagine asking for reviews and publicity on other blogs, and then say the hosts have to purchase the book. It is definitely a gratitude thing.

Maria Zannini said...

Rebekah: Agreed. To me, it's a small token to offer the book to people willing to host you. And it's a nice gesture to show appreciation.

For me, pie works too. :)

LD Masterson said...

Too often a promotion/blog tour/cover reveal seems to be limited to the same circle of blog friends so it's the same people visiting and commenting on the same promo.

Maria Zannini said...

Linda: I've been saying this for years.

In a good blog tour two things should happen. The host blogger should introduce the guest to NEW people. And the guest blogger should bring along HIS or HER followers over to the host blog. This is how networks expand.

In a really successful blog tour you'll be saying such clever and entertaining things that other people will also tweet and share your post.