Market Place

As Gunning Down Romance was three months old on Monday, we thought we’d blog about marketing and what we’ve found helps. To be blunt – nothing. So far the only people who’ve bought it are some of our friends on Facebook and Twitter, and a couple members of our family. Ok, our mum, sister and we think our uncle, but he’s staying quiet about it. Whilst 41 copies in three months isn’t bad for newly self-published writers, as GDR is priced at 99c, we only get the 35% royalty rate from Amazon – a point we vehemently disagree with but can’t do anything about. We wrote and formatted the book, why the hell should they get the bigger profit for doing sod all? But that’s a rant for another time.

So far we’ve done the usual promotion on Facebook and Twitter, posting buy links and links to the book trailer, but we haven’t earned back the £16 we spent on images for that trailer. We’ve been guest bloggers and even featured in a couple of magazines, yet haven’t sold a single copy from these. We’ve put up posters, sent out bookmarks around the world and even done two giveaways. A grand total of three people entered the second giveaway and one had already bought it, so we’re giving copies to her to pass along.

So far, what we’ve done, hasn’t worked. But saying that, there’s one marketing ploy that seems to be gaining favour with authors, that we will NEVER do – spamming. We hear about it all the time. Someone follows you, so out of courtesy or because they seem interesting, you follow them back. What do they do IMMEDIATELY? Send you a message, telling you to buy their book. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! We find this unbelievably rude and a major turn-off. They’re just as bad as cold callers and those pushy salesmen who leave a bad taste in your mouth. We’re not the only ones who feel this way, yet these authors don’t seem to understand the concept of decency.

Another version of this is the automated spam messages that clog your Twitter timeline like blocked arteries. Non-stop automated messages telling you to buy their book, it’s amazing, automated links to reviews that say how marvellous their book is. We will NOT buy from robots! Telling us to buy your book isn’t an incentive. We refuse to buy from them out of principle. We’ve also unfollowed people who do that.

Saying that, we have bought books from authors we follow. Why? Because we like them. Because they write tweets themselves, they don’t set a machine to do it. They interact with us. We’ve got to know them and like them and because of this, we’ve bought their books. In return, they’ve bought ours.

As writers, you’re told to build your brand, market yourself, get your name out there. Maybe we suck at that. But we’d rather get one or two sales a month from people we like than five from people we’ve strong armed into buying it. So you made a sale? Impressive. But will they read it? Review it? Probably not. They might’ve bought it just to shut you the hell up. Personally gags work better. So maybe these pushy people can be forgiven for their aggressive sales technique, after all, it’s what you’re told to do. But they seem to have forgotten something – Twitter is a SOCIAL media network. Social means interaction. It’s not a salesroom. If all they want to do is sell, sell, sell then go work for a car showroom. And stay the hell away from Twitter.