This is Part Two in a three-part series about what motivates THIS reader to buy books. In this segment I talk about what promotional activities are NOT likely to get me to buy your book. In Part Three on Friday, I’ll discuss which promotions DO work. In Part One, I talked about what book elements (cover, blurb, title, etc.) are effective in getting my attention.
The goal of any marketing, advertising, promotional campaign is sales. Does your effort get people to buy your books? There are many, many ways and numerous media that can be used to promote one’s book, but not all of them have an equal effect on the bottom line. Some have no effect, some even can have a deleterious effect. I’m an author myself, but this week I’m thinking like reader and I’m going to tell you which promotional activities/materials don’t work on me. Maybe these methods work on other readers — I can’t speak for them. But these activities/items will not entice me to buy your book.
The things that don’t work (on me) are:
Bookmarks. If you give away a bookmark to thank someone who has purchased your book, that’s one thing. But if you use them to get your name and book out there so people will buy it, consider this: I have read thousands of books in my life. I have never purchased a book as a result of receiving a bookmark. Probably the main reason is bookmarks don’t contain enough information to sell me. If you read yesterday post, you know that what sells me is the blurb. There is no blurb on a bookmark. And now that I only read ebooks on Kindle, I don’t even need bookmarks, so they get tossed into a drawer. I can’t ever recall using a promotional item (pen, bookmark, potholder, coaster, duffle bag, mug, etc.) from anybody or any company to make a buying decision.
Book trailers. Of the thousands of books I’ve read, only once have I purchased a book as a result of a book trailer. I’m a reader, not a watcher. The only time I go to You Tube is when somebody emails me a link to check out a specific video, but I don’t troll You Tube looking for books to read. I don’t want to sit and view a video of a book. After a lifetime of being bombarded by TV commercials, I don’t want to watch them online. So I don’t. By the way, the only book I purchased as a result of a trailer was Gem Sivad’s Quincy’s Woman. Here’s the one exception .
Online “reader” groups and chat loops. These are the equivalent of singles parties attended by only one gender, and it’s not a gay event! My experience has been these “reader” venues are frequented solely by authors who pitch their stories faster and more furiously than a major league ball player. They are overwhelming, scary places. If a real live reader happened to stumble into one of these events, she would immediately run for her life. As I have.
Contests for free books that require a lot of effort on my part. These are the contests where I have to follow every leg of a blog tour, post a comment on each one, read a chapter excerpt and then complete a final exam. If I wanted to work that hard, I’d go back to college and get my master’s degree. If a contest takes too much time and/or effort, I leave. I don’t even stick around to read the excerpt. However, many contests are effective in getting my attention, and I’ll be talking about those the next installment of “Thinking like a Reader.”
Coming on Friday: Part 3 of Thinking like a Reader: Promotional activities that work on me.
If you missed Part 1 of Thinking like a Reader, you can scroll down or click here.