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Friday, May 21, 2010

Killer Campaign: Darlin', It's Not About You

Authors, think promo is about you? Think again.

Put yourself in the reader's chair. When you bounce around from blog, to forum, to review site, do you really want to read about some author wildly pimping her latest book?

You know the kind of pimpage I mean. The author is so excited about her book, you're afraid she's going to orgasm in front of you. There are promises of adventure, sex, and whirlwind romance. Every page will knock your socks off and you'll get the nitty-gritty details on how that book rose from the ashes to publication.

Some of it will be mildly intriguing, but the rest you'll skim. Don't feel bad. I skim too.

The reason we speed read is simple. The article is all about the author, when it should be all about the reader.

Have you noticed that I rarely make crazy, hand-waving, look-at-me posts? You'd think I was almost invisible, yet I've slowly acquired faithful readers and friends. My posts aren't always about writing. Heck, sometimes they're not even about reading. They're about life.

I used to be good about following stats, but I don't pay much attention to them now unless they spike dramatically.

What makes the numbers spike? When I talk about dogs, chickens, arthritis and husbands--er, make that husband. I only have one. (One is enough.)

People want to know about my homesteading experience. They like to see the projects we turn out. I get tons of traffic from Google on gardening, frugal living, and chipped kneecaps. Yes. Kneecaps. I kid you not.

While it might look like I'm talking about myself, I'm really talking about you. I ask YOU about your experience while I'm sharing mine.

And somewhere along the way, if you wander around my blog, you might think, hmm...that Maria, she writes a pretty good blog post. I wonder if her books are just as good.

Some of you will take a chance on me. Some of you won't. But I'm like an itch. If you keep reading me, eventually you'll think, you know, I really should check out her books.

If I guest blog away from my home turf, most good hosts confetti the post with my book cover and links. I'll meet new people. Maybe some old friends. Either one is good. It gives me another chance to talk about life.

This might not seem like a typical Killer Campaign post, but it's the most candid one I've ever written.

Everyone does promo when they have a new book. The trick is to not make it about you, the author, but about the devoted readers who will spend good money in the hopes that you will entertain them for a few hours.

Don't let them down. When you hawk your wares, remember where they're going.

Today's marketing post is simple: Make it about your reader. What's in it for him? Why should s/he care about another new book? They can care and they will care, but give them a reason to support you.

You could have the best agent in the world, the hardest working publicity guru, a giant publisher backing you, and
be wildly popular with your peers, but if you don't respect your reader's time, you're paying homage to the wrong people.

If you agree, go ahead and retweet this. If you disagree, let me know in the comments.

Killer Campaigns is an ongoing series of promotional tools and marketing options. For more articles in the Killer Campaign series, go here.

Copyright © 2010 Maria Zannini --

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India Drummond said...

I can tell you based on my own stats, this is absolutely true.

Maria Zannini said...

I've felt this way a long time, India. I want people to want to read more about me, rather than cross the street when they see me coming. :grin:

Dru said...

I've read many new-to-me books based on author's blogs that I have enjoyed.

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

I don't bother with Twitter these days, but I did blog about your post and linked to it.

Maripat said...

Excellent point, Maria. I hate to admit this but I tend to skip author interviews unless I've already read the book and enjoyed it enough that I wanted to know more about the author.

Maria Zannini said...

Dru: Believe it or not, when I think of promo, I think of you because you are the quintessential reader.

You are every author's dream.

Thank you.

Maria Zannini said...

Thanks, Sandra!

Maria Zannini said...

Maripat: You bring up something that was always my dark secret. I don't read author interviews either unless I know about the book first.

--okay, I do make an exception if the author has a dog in the post. Or if her book has a dog in it. LOL

Although once I read an interview because the author was packing a pistol, and I just had to know why.

A good interview has to hook me faster than a novel.

Marianne Arkins said...

That's why I think guest blogging is WAY more effective -- with maybe a little blip at the end about the author's book... a "by the way", if you will.

Or, do something clever -- like when I had someone who interviewed my cat instead of me :-)

And the most hits I get on my blog come by way of other people fighting voles! LOL...

RE: ...and husbands--er, make that husband. I only have one. (One is enough.)

I second that! *G*

Maria Zannini said...

Marianne: You know every time I see something about voles I think about YOU. You are now synonymous with voles. LOL

My favorite interview about me was when they interviewed Tank to tell readers about me. I loved that one!

Tank is very personable. And much cuter than I am.

Shelley Munro said...

Maria, I couldn't agree more. I get way more hits on my non-writing posts about gardening, cooking and travel. As Marianne said I think a blog post with a bio and a book cover at the end often works better. I'm more likely to read the bio that way.

Maria Zannini said...

Shelley: And to top it off, if it's an intriguing bio, I am 90% more likely to find out more about the author on my own.

Jackie said...

As a reader of almost any genre out there and someone who would rather not read long drawn out interviews but read about the books conception and the characters created therein by the author, be they old or new to me, I have to say it is refreshing to come to your site Maria and just read about things you find interesting. There are so many things you post about that I go, hey she likes that too and how cool is that!!!
I am very happy to see you have your published work on your sidebar and love the About Me short and sweet description, it makes me smile every time I read it on the blog sidebar!!!
I so need to check out your Touch Of Fire, but will admit do not "buy" very many books right now because my TBR shelves have 200+ PB and HBS in them to read right now so I am trying to be good and whittle them down. That being said, I like your post today and wish more people felt the same.

jackie b central texas

Maria Zannini said...

You are so sweet, Jackie. Thank you.

You are the reason writers have the privilege of doing what they do.

broken biro said...

This sounds like excellent advice, Maria - except the part about one husband being enough. Call me bitter & twisted, but I'd say one is too many!! I'm sure yours must be very nice though. ;-)

Maria Zannini said...

Brokenbiro: LOL! I spurted fizzy drink all over my keyboard.

Someone once asked me if I would marry again if anything happened to Greg and I said: Are you kidding!

I love being married to him. After 35 years, he still makes me laugh. And maybe for that reason I doubt I'd ever marry again. Husbands are a lot of work--even the funny ones.