Bad Marketing Ideas
There are a couple of things you may notice missing from the WingSpan Press Marketing page that you will find on many of our competitor’s sites.
The first is ‘targeted emails’. One site goes so far as to promise to send ‘ten million targeted emails’about your book. Ten million emails is spam, pure and simple. Ten million people did not ask Authro House to send them an email about every new book they put out. Even a thousand emails sent en masse to internet sites, newspapers, magazines, individuals – any email address they can find evidently – cannot be called ‘targeted’. That’s a shotgun approach that not only won’t help sell your book, it will likely backfire, against both the pubishing company and you.
Ask yourself this: How many other books are they promoting the same way? Ten, one hundred, more? It hardly matters. No one is going to read them. Would you? If you were the literary editor at a regional magazine, or responsible for reviewing books for an internet site, and you got a dozen or more emails a week from each of several self-publishing companies, each touting the ‘Best New Book of the Year’, how quickly would you start routing them to your spam folder?
Fact is, editors hate this sort of thing. It’s one of the reasons self-publishing still struggles for respectability. And while it makes somebody money, that somebody is not you. It’s like the Nigerian money scam. Remember the very first time you saw one of those? You said to yourself, can that be true? Millions of dollars just for letting someone use my bank account?
And of course, two seconds later it hits you – SCAM. By now, thousands of spam emails later, you don’t even think about them. You let your email program route them to the trash and never see them. And any email you got from that same source later, no matter how sincere sounding, would get the same treatment.
That’s exactly how editors, book buyers, librarians and bookstore owners feel about promotional emails from Big House and others who promise to promote your book to ‘10,000 Media Outlets’. Save your $1,999.
Some companies offer to do the same sort of thing with hardcopy fliers in the mail – with the same result. A package with forty flyers in identical format saying identical things about forty different books will go straight into the recycle bin. One got opened once, ten years ago, and that editor hasn’t bothered since.
Unfortunately, social media marketing is going the same way fast. Think 1 million tweets a day. At that point, it’s just noise.
You can promote and sell your book. You can get people interested. But you have to know who you’re talking to, and why. You can get book reviews. A professional, attractive book on an editor’s desk with a descriptive press release, cover letter or sell sheet, will get looked at. A review isn’t guaranteed – they get a lot of material. So yours has to stand out from the crowd. Small newspapers and magazines are always on the lookout for local interest or niche-specific things to write about, and if you position yourself and your book right, that could be your picture on the front of the entertainment section next Sunday. It probably won’t be the New York Times…but who knows?