Tuesday, October 30, 2012

How Not To Promo A Book

Yes, it's a known fact that whenever we come out with a new product, we must promote. This has been hammered, nailed, inserted, squeegeed, drilled, gouged and just plain shoved in our ears like a parasitic cockroach an endless amount of times.

We are told that we need to talk about it, set up a multi-pronged platform (Twitter, Facebook, blog), set up multiple blog tours, book signings, book trailers, you name it, we've been told to do it.

But has anyone really told us how not to promo an item?

Think about it for a minute

No one has ever told us, or me for that matter, not only how not to promo a new book, but how to make sure it dies a quick death. I mean, what good is learning how to do something positive if you don't know how to avoid the negative?

Because I learned some of the don'ts the hard way, I feel it's my sworn duty to clue everyone in so that they don't make the same mistakes that I've made (and will continue to make if I don't practice due diligence).

1} Don't talk about your book.

This one is actually a no-brainer. If you have a normal job and write in a relatively safe genre (i.e. YA, Romance, Western), chances are that you can talk about your upcoming book without fear of retribution, and generate buzz/potential sales.

But if you don't have a normal job, then it makes it extremely hard to promo your book. What do I mean by normal? To me, normal is where your employee is not connected with a government agency, or in the private sector where hyper-sensitivity to political correctness/diversity is first-and-foremost.

As most of you know, I do not have a normal job. I work for a state agency that practices a hypersensitivity that is rarely seen outside the public sector, which of course makes it virtually impossible to generate any kind of buzz about a book. Especially this one:

2} Don't talk about yourself.

This goes hand in hand with point #1. If you can find ways to talk about and/or market yourself at work or in the real world, such as using business cards

to let people know, that's fantastic. But if you're the kind of person who finds it hard to toot your own horn, or even strike up a casual conversation with a total stranger, then no buzz for you. Ever.

3} Don't set up any kind of media platform and/or make your current platform restrictive.

I've been blogging for about 4 1/2 years and only recently have I been trying to change the focus of my blog. Part of the reason has to do with the fact that I've got a book coming out (see first pic) and the other part has to do with dwindling readership. So I'm straddling a fine line in trying to attract new readers w/o alienating my current ones.

I'm also doing my second stint on Facebook. Whereas during my first go-around, I made it almost impossible to find me and friend me, the second time has been a lot better.

I basically reactivated my Facebook account at the suggestion of my publisher, who happens to be heavy into social media. I tweaked my privacy settings, made it easier to follow me by adding a subscriber link, and basically offered myself to the masses. So far its been working, but it's still an uphill battle.

I will not do Twitter, 'cause to be brutally honest, I still value my job and broadcasting 16+ years of work knowledge would make me gainfully unemployed.

4} Don't do anything extra for your book.

This also goes hand-in-hand with point #1. When I'd decided to self-pub my chapbook, I tried for use the photo service that ASI offered up for their "authors". Problem was, I wasn't allowed to use the photo I had selected 'cause it wasn't part of the account they had. So after having no luck in accessing the account they did have (the consultant I had wasn't too smart), I had my cover created sans image.

Not very enticing is it?

I've been toying with the idea of fixing the cover and putting a good image on it, but that requires money that I don't have at the moment.

However, I have learned my lesson and have applied that learning to my upcoming novel. Not only did I have an eye poppin' cover made (once again, see pic), but I had a cool book trailer made as well.

So my friends, if you can avoid doing these don'ts for marketing your book and yourself, then you got a good change of become a semi-successful writer. Not like me (at the moment), but like dozens of other writers that make up my Facebook circle. Feel free to check out my profile to see who they is and quite possible you can pick up a slew of tips like I've done.


  1. Getting excited for you! This is so cool. You have inspired me to come up with "how not to" posts as well :)

  2. I don't know, Mr. Miller. I'm not sure if I can take advice from a man like you, who's obviously a total failure at not marketing his book.

  3. I can generally not talk about most of the stuff I write at my work. It certainly creates an issue with promotion

  4. M: Thanks.

    I know I wrote this post with tongue planted firmly in cheek, but those points are legitimate issues that I have at work in trying to promo myself.

    S.R.: I know. I try so hard, but sometimes ignorance is bliss. But please, won't you reconsider?

    Charles: I can generally do the same thing, and whereas I have that problem in my main office, when I go offsite, the issue is less problematic. Probably has to do with working with people who aren't namby-pamby.

  5. good to see your sense of humor returning. But hope for more of da bear, too

  6. Hope all is well in your neck of the neighborhood post Storm-

    I also feel FB n Twitter could be an impediment to new employment as I'm always searching for something better-

    Hmmm just an idea- For the currently image-less Betrayed! cover you may want to look into the price of an imaged heavy-weight, laminated, paper book cover to fold over your existing copies to upgrade n be less expensive.

  7. I guess I'll remain cheerfully unpublished. :)

  8. Darth: Thanks.

    I'm going to try to work him in a little more from time to time, but you know, he's been spending the past month bar-hopping from forest to forest and it's been really hard to drag him away from those honey shots.

    Snaggle: We came out relatively unscathed here in my neighborhood, thanks for asking.

    FB & Twitter can be a major impediment not only for searching for a job, but getting one as well.

    A lot of employers are now doing background checks on social media for potential employees as well.

    Sounds like an intriguing idea for the chapbook.

    Lynn: Somestimes being cherfully un-something is a great way to pass the time. :D


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