Don’t Annoy Potential Readers while Marketing your Book

When I was child I went door to door to sell my mother’s crafts. Now I think some of my success was because it’s hard for women to say no to a kid, but the other part is my penchant for asking questions. I showed a genuine interest in people. Yeah, I was there to make a sale, but I didn’t let that get in the way.

Now some might say I’m a horrible marketer, because I don’t employ any of the popular techniques of marketing and promoting with my books. I don’t want to be the Tweeter that posts nothing but book links. Once or twice a day is fine, as long as there are other statuses. But when it turns into the car salesman screaming “Sale! SALE! SALE! Buy now! NOW! NOW!” it turns me away from that author.

I’m one of those people who cringe at the thought of marketing, and there is a whole long story behind it, but in order to keep it short I will say this. I don’t care about sales rank. I don’t do contest. I don’t do guest posting or interviews unless someone asks me to. If I do a giveaway, I actually give the books away for free to anyone, no strings attached; although, I may ask them to leave an honest review at their favorite book sites. If I like an author’s work, I have no problem promoting them on my blog. And I try to stay away from reviews on my books.

In the three years since I published my first book, I haven’t done much more than create a blog/website, write more books, and connect with people whose blogs I like to read. But as a writer friend pointed out to me that other day, I sell more books in a month then some of the author’s she knows who employ a more aggressive style of marketing and have been published longer. I jokingly told her that if I actually put some effort into marketing think how many books I could sell in a month. But it really wasn’t a joke.

Yeah, I love my books. Yeah, I’m passionate about them. Yeah, I’d love to tell everyone I meet about the story I wrote. But I don’t want to do the telemarketer’s style of promotion and pitch my book to people who don’t care.

Over the years I’ve learned that part of good, non-aggressive marketing is realizing when you’ve lost the sale. If you meet someone and are having a good discussion and you mention to them that you are an author of whatever genre and they shut down, move on to another topic, because if you push the issue, you run the risk of annoying a potential reader and not only losing their sale, but others. No one wants to feel hounded. If they ask questions or show interest, be ready to answer their questions and maybe have a business card to give them.

Remember, word of mouth is the biggest seller. Readers share with each other. If you annoy one, they will tell other readers about your behavior, and you lose even more potential readers. If you impress a reader with your professionalism, they will tell others about experience, and you will gain readers. And who doesn’t want to gain readers.

What things do you see other author’s doing that you find annoying? Why would you repeat their mistake?

13 thoughts on “Don’t Annoy Potential Readers while Marketing your Book

  1. brackloontales April 29, 2012 / 12:44 am

    Hi Stephannie,
    I got to agree with you that pushing your book aggressively can turn off potential readers. What I find quite annoying is when I follow an author on twitter and they then reply asking me to buy their book. Not a lot do it, at least. But others constantly hammer away at pushing their books and telling everyone what great writers they are. I end up unfollowing these types. I find the best thing is to offer people something for free to get yourself noticed. That’s what I try to do with my posts. Advertise your posts rather than your books. That’s wat you do. That’s what this post is about. You are offering good advice for nothing and who can object to that. Thanks for your posts. I find them useful.

    • Stephannie Beman April 29, 2012 / 9:46 pm

      You’re welcome and I’m glad they are of help.

      I’m an avid believer in unfollowing Twitter and Facebook people that continually fill their twitter stream with advertisements of their books. My favorites are people who mention things about their day–as long as they don’t go overboard–maybe a book that they just read that they really liked, links to informational posts that others have written as well as posts that they do.

      On a blog, people expect to be entertained, learn information about the book, find advice, or read about the latest book from the author. They go to an author’s site to learn about the author and the books they write. Not to be “attacked” in advertisements about buying the book.

  2. maggotchik01 April 29, 2012 / 12:48 am

    would you be willing to share my blog and maybe help me promote my book, cause I really try doing the same thing you just described but I’m not really known?

    • Stephannie Beman April 29, 2012 / 10:25 pm

      I’m sorry, but SPAL is not a promotional site for authors. I would contact book reviewers and ask them to review the book.

  3. brackloontales April 29, 2012 / 1:03 am

    Hi Stephannie,
    I agree that it is annoying when authors push their work at you. I find that when following people on Twitter, some of them will ask you to buy their book straightaway. Why do they do that? I don’t even like it when they offer me a book for free. The reason is that many of these people can’t even write, or it may just be that I don’t read this sort of stuff. Or they want you to go to their Facebook page and be a fan. The worst kind are those who hammer away at pushing their stuff in almost every tweet while talking themselves up as some sort of great writer.
    Readers are getting sick of writers who advertise their books on Kindle threads, too. I did it once or twice until I realised readers hate it. I tried to delete what I’d put on but was unable to. What is really annoying readers, also, are those who get friends and family to give them five stars reviews on Amazon. Then someone buys their book based on the reviews and find it to be the sort of work that has never seen an editor. Some of these readers are really disgusted by the poor quality.
    What you are doing by writing these blog posts is very useful. At least you get your name out there, and who can complain about getting some good advice for free. I write a blog post a month and try to say something useful generally about my subject matter. Then if they like what I write in the post they may go to the next step and click on a link to buy a book from Amazon. John Locke taught me that one. At least this way I haven’t annoyed them with a direct sales pitch.
    I find a lot of your posts useful. Thanks for writing them.

    • Stephannie Beman April 29, 2012 / 10:16 pm

      It is an annoying occurrence on Amazon. Sadly, I also know of some authors who get accused of getting friends and family to give them 5 stars reviews who haven’t. She was complaining to me that friends and family seemed the less interested in reading her book, but was happy that readers she didn’t know read her book. Just as I know some readers who don’t care if the story has seen an editor as long as the story is good.

      The biggest problem I’ve found with editors is that some of them know less about editing then the writers who wrote the books. One friend had 6 editors look over her book and still got the “this needs an editor” reviews. It makes it hard to trust editors after a while.

  4. propertia April 29, 2012 / 3:57 pm

    God, this is so true. I am so glad you posted this because it SO needed to be said! It is such a turn-off when people incessantly post “VISIT my WEBSITE – buy my BOOK” status updates. I was thinking just yesterday how few posts would have been on my feed if I had screened them for the word “my”!! Word-of-mouth recommendations from people who consistently recommend good reads, an author’s (written) reputation, integrity, and subject matter are all much more intriguing draws. Thank you so much for making your point with gentle, adept articulation. Do you mind if I link to this most excellent post from the blog where I post book reviews?

    • Stephannie Beman April 29, 2012 / 10:23 pm

      I’m with you. I just went through my Twitter feed recently and deleted about 200 people from the feed for annoying “BUY this” and “FOLLOW this person” statuses. I’m more willing to buy a book from a recommendation or because I like the information I found on it, then I am from someone shouting that I should buy it.

      I don’t mind it you want to link to this post at all.

  5. jakeescholl April 29, 2012 / 4:10 pm

    I really don’t like mass emails style promoting. It’s just as annoying as a telemarketer.

    • Stephannie Beman April 29, 2012 / 10:24 pm

      Amen! It annoys me when people do that.

  6. williamkendall1 May 2, 2012 / 10:44 pm

    The aggressive pushing of a book, constantly, whether it’s through facebook, twitter, or even through the blog, can be a real turn off. I think of it as carpet bombing your readership with “me me me” messages.

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