Are you Sabotaging your Sales?

Good morning! The solstice was yesterday, the sun’s warmth will be returning soon, and I’ve got two kids awaiting Thursday morning. Me? I’m thinking Muse is going to have a fun time with piles of paper and boxes.

I’m not big on twitter, but I do get on there once or twice a day. It’s a great tool for authors to connect with readers, but only if you do it right. Unfortunately, my message box and newsfeed are flooded every day with writers who are sabotaging their own sales.

Simply put, stop screaming about your book non-stop and start talking to people.

I see it all the time. I get followed, and I follow them back. Next thing I know, I get a direct message from them about how I should buy their book. Guess what? I never have. Same goes with the people who schedule tweets that are nothing but sales pitches for their book.

Why? Because I detest high pressure sales tactics. Because, as a reader, I want to know more about the author than them shoving the link to their book in my face every 15 minutes. I want a connection, that spark of humanity that makes me go, ‘hey, I can relate to that!’, to share something with them beyond the story they wrote.

Seriously, stop talking non-stop about your book. It’s going to alienate readers, not increase sales. Take the time to say hello, wait for them to decide to buy your book. Bide your time. Be patient. Be kind. Be polite. But, please, for all you or I consider holy, stop the high pressure screaming of ‘buy my book’. It’s not working. It’s annoying. It puts readers off. The constant push is making you look like a literary used car salesman!

BB

4 thoughts on “Are you Sabotaging your Sales?

  1. Hm, as they say, good points to ponder. That being said, all the social media out there are said to be precisely those kind of high-pressure sales tools – it’s what makes them attractive to authors who need to promote without expenditure of serious promo money. It’s your “cold-call-door-to-door” sales without the dreaded face-to-face that such salesman would have to endure. It’s very easy, almost effortless, to bombard the social sites with so-called high pressure sales – blasting promo about your book at anyone and everyone.

    Does it work? Maybe…sometimes, maybe not as often as the author would like but there is no magical tool out there – physical or electronic – that will work the way every author envisions the marketing tool works.

    Establishing a so-called “human connection” with the readers is another elusive marketing tool that is difficult to prove or disprove when it comes to its effectiveness. You can run contests and give away dozens and dozens of free books to the winners, you can send promo materials to conferences that you could not possibly attend (think here as being held in Hawaii) and the results will likely be the same as the social media high-pressure screaming self-promo — little or no results when it comes to sales. You may develop a few “human connections” that way – readers asking for free copies of your book in exchange for a review they’ll post on the Amazon, but that’s about all you’ll get in human-connection-spurs-sales category.

    So, what works? There isn’t any single one magical tool that will do the sales job for you. If you have $7,000+ to spend on a professional promo campaign for each of your novels, do it. It will be worth every penny. But few of us do.

    What we do have, is the endless stream of social media and the screaming self-promo on countless sites and blogs that will spare us some time and space. We have inexpensive promo materials, such as bookmarks and pens to send to many different organizations that support our genre so they can take them to book fairs and conferences. We have our websites and contests and free book-giveaways and email lists we develop with such promo tools and we have the word-of-mouth distribution. We have the footwork associated with going to local libraries, local bookstores, local hospitals where we can leave copies of our books and we have world-traveling friends who will take our bookmarks and our attractive business cards to far-away places and leave them there in hotels.

    Will any of that result in sales? Maybe…but probably not. Over the past five years I received a dozen email inquiries from far away places I’ve never heard of – think interior of China and places in India I never knew existed – asking me for free handouts of my novels. I felt more than knew for sure that those asking for the copies of my novels couldn’t afford to buy them and they did not have electronic means to read the ebooks — but could I afford to pay the astronomical postage that would take to send the trade paperback books?

    Basically, as authors we do what we can to promote our books. Some of the campaigns may be irritating but hey, anything emotional is human connection.
    Edita A Petrick

    • Yes, it’s a form of promotion. I don’t disagree with that. But, there’s a line in the sand that I choose not to cross. I won’t turn myself into a literary used car salesman and connect with people via in your face promotion. Why? Because I personally hate it. It annoys me to no end. Sliver in the foot you can’t find/paper cut on the wrong finger annoyance level. If you want to say thanks for the follow, fine. But I really don’t like it when the thank you comes with a sales pitch attached. If you want to know about my books, you can ask me. I’m usually pretty thrilled you asked! But I treat others as I want to be treated, meaning I’m not going to shove my book links down your throat if that’s what I hate being done to me.

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