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.


  1. *applause* I agree with you completely.

    • thanks Isis 🙂 It’s almost as though people have forgotten manners. You wouldn’t go up to someone in the street and tell them to buy your book, so don’t do it on Twitter. Fine, promote, but don’t spam

      • “You wouldn’t go up to someone in the street and tell them to buy your book”

        Damn! that’s
        why that guy punched me.

      • ROFLOAO! Mystery solved… 😀

  2. I applaud this post.

    I have used Twitter to spread the word about my own scribblings, and I have posted quotes from reviews. I will not, however, use robots to post 24 hours a day and I try to keep the self publicity to acceptable levels. For instance, I’ve just lowered my sale price and will Tweet later to let people know.

    There is an organisation called the Independent Authors’ Network that has a condition of membership that you dedicate x-hours per day tweeting about fellow members’ books –

    “Members are asked to Tweet and Facebook their IAN Member page and the pages of the other authors. If a member has a new book releasing, a book signing, a blog tour or any event the info would be posted to our blog and the others Tweet, blog, Facebook etc. the event as their time allows.”

    This is OK, but I had to unfollow half-a-dozen people when they started posting 50 or more consecutive tweets each morning (UK time).

    I found ‘Gunning Down Romance’ via Twitter, and am grateful for it, but it was your personalities that made me want to read it. It is brilliant: well written and edited, hilarious, twisted and perverse. If anyone is reading this – buy it.

    Following on from yesterday’s Tweeting, I still think you should instigate the Twisted Twins’ Snack Food Initiative to increase sales. And where’s my marzipan person, eh? I’m still waiting …

    • LOAO! brilliant. We’ve also unfollowed people who do nothing but self promote. It drives us mad! Especially if you try to interact with them and they only ever seem to reply to those who praise them. We mostly get so caught up talking to people on Twitter and having fun that we forget to Tweet about our book. Thank you so much for buying it. We’re thrilled you enjoyed it. Think we’re going to learn how to make marzipan…

  3. Excellent post!

    I chuckled out loud at “gags work better”. 🙂

    I totally agree with your post and am annoyed at the constant barrage of promotion & RTs of promotion on Twitter. I, too, unFollow the insta-DM people “Buy my book. Here’s the link”, and the consistently only-promoting tweeple.

    The best thing about Twitter is the connection to others it engenders. Finding friends all around the world. Like the two of you. If it hadn’t been for Twitter I’d never have found you and I am SO glad I did. You both are AmazinglyAwesome.

    Thanks for sharing,

    • thank you so much! 🙂 we’ve met amazing people on Twitter, including you and it happened because we talk to people, not sell to them and they talk back to us.

  4. Excellent post!

    I totally agree with your post & I chuckled out loud at the “gags work better” line. I, too, have unFollowed the auto-DM people “Thanks for Following. Buy my book. Here’s the link” & the consistently only-promoting people.

    The best thing about Twitter is the connections it engenders. I’ve found friends all around the world through it. If it hadn’t been for Twitter I would never have found the two of you and you both are AmazingAwesome!

    Thank you for sharing,

  5. Really liked this post and totally agree with what KJ is saying as well. It really annoys me when you follow someone and then they direct message you asking you to buy their book. I just won’t out of principle. The other thing that bugged me was when a quite well known indie writer kept sending me direct messages telling me to retweet his tweets, I asked him to do the same for me and he got arsey about it. Honestly!
    I’ve met some great people on Twitter, you guys of course, and they have been really supportive. But the constant feed of buy me buy me from some authors is so off putting and it makes us feel bad for putting up the odd tweet with links at key times to do a bit of self-promoting rather than spamming the hell out of us.
    Ok, rant over!

    • totally agree. A lot of people on Twitter are complaining about the link in the DMs from new followers so this is clearly a problem that needs to be sorted out. When someone does nothing but promote their book we will unfollow them. Apparently it’s bad etiquette to unfollow people who follow you but screw it. It’s bad etiquette to shove things down peoples’ throats.

  6. You’ll never get rich quick but at least you stand up for waht you know is right, Good on you.

    • thank you. You taught us well! 🙂 We’ve always been strong minded and fought for what we believe is right. Feel very sorry for you 😀

  7. It’s such a fine line. No tweets = no exposure (or rather, no direct exposure). Too many and you’ll get unfollowed/ blocked.
    It’s all about finding the right audience, and that takes so much time it’s unbeliveable.

    I think if you provide quality content (read, amusement or information) then that will eventually lead back to your work as long as you link to it on your profile.

    I’ll still post if I get a good review or hit a sales milestone though. I’m only human 🙂

    • We agree. There is a fine line and mentioning it every now and again is perfectly acceptable otherwise people won’t know you have a book out. But spamming is a definite no no. And of course you want to share the good news of a great review or milestone! It’s the people who are constantly spamming and only seem to use Twitter as a salesroom we have a problem with.

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