Why Book Promotion Sucks

1. It’s tedious. Not at first. At first it’s new and exciting. Kind of like falling in love. But as time passes, monotony sets in. How many ways can you say “buy my book”? How many times do you have to say it? The answer? Forever! It’s an endless Groundhog Day of tweets, blurbs, and blogs. (Groundhog Day. The movie with Bill Murray where he lives the same day over and over. Just rent it and watch it. You’ll see what we mean.)

2. Everyone else is doing it. Yep. Me, you, our plumber, your mother-in-law, and everyone else on the block. The result? A cacophony of white noise in which nearly everyone’s attempts to be heard are lost. Like The Cricket in Times Square. (A book by George Selden. Go to the library. Borrow it and read it. You will see what we mean.)

3. It’s time consuming. Hours and hours every day. Must post. Must blog. Must check stats. It eats loads of time. Time that could be spent writing. Most authors are aware that the more books you write, the more income you bring in. And writing is what authors love to do. But who has time to do it? (Yes, we can already hear the writers who will say, I network, raise children, sew my own clothes, bake my own bread, and write ten novels a year. We admire you. We also promise to send flowers when you drop dead from over-work.)

4. It’s painful. In several ways.  Physically. (Repetitive strain injuries from being on the computer too much. Also headaches from banging one’s head on the desk. ) Mentally. (I can’t possibly think of one more blog/post/tweet. Plus my head hurts from banging it on the desk.) Emotionally. (Riding the roller coaster of feelings as we watch our stats rise to new heights only to tumble back, dashing all our hopes. And the drama of restraining each other from banging our heads on the desk.)

5. We suspect it is not quite as necessary as everyone believes it is. Do our tweets, blogs and posts really make a difference? Probably not. We don’t have enough followers on any site to claim that we have reached a broad range of people. And yet our books are selling; sales are steady. (Phew. We can stop banging our heads on the desk.)

The bottom line? Ratings, reviews, and pricing seem to matter the most in promoting a book. What do authors do when they want their books to be noticed? They cut the price and have a sale. Some give a book away for free, knowing this will draw attention to their work. The hope is that if readers like the free book, they will be willing to pay for other novels by the same author.

We are going to try an experiment. (Actually it is already underway.) We are cutting back on all the social networking. Not abandoning it, just reducing the amount of time spent on promotion so we can spend more time writing. for when it comes right down to it, a good quality story is the best promotional tool of all.


About jmdattilo

J.M. Dattilo is our pen name. We are the authors of the Time's Edge sci-fi/fantasy series.

Posted on February 4, 2012, in Authors, Humor, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Because of some things others have said, I’ve been wondering if I should join Twitter. My problem is that I already spend a bit too much time keeping up with blogging and Goodreads. I’m afraid Twitter will really keep me from writing. Reading your article has helped me calm down. Thank you!

  2. You’re welcome, Amy! If you have to choose, always write. We’re on Twitter and, believe us, it’s overrated. Stay tuned for a blog on Tweets and white noise.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: