Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Opinions wanted

By: Joelle Charbonneau

Next week is Bouchercon – a fan conference for all mystery and thriller related.  There will be book signings, awards and panels filled with book discussions.   

One of the panels I’m participating on this year at Bouchercon is about all things promotion.  How much is too much promotion?  

Um…I haven’t a clue.

Honest.  I really haven’t the foggiest how to answer that question.  Probably because I’m bad at promotion.  I’ll write the occasional blog post, do an interview if I’m asked and tweet if I’m giving away a copy of a book.  I even remember to post reviews on Facebook- especially if my agent posts them first and makes it easy for me to hit the share button. 

But when it comes to creating bookmarks, swag, updating my Amazon author page and posting on chat boards or e-mail group loops about my book….I’m terrible at it all.  I feel silly when I carry bookmarks.  In fact, I forget they are even in my bag unless someone asks about them.  That’s probably the reason I don’t make them anymore.  And while I was encouraged to join lots of loops and Goodreads groups, I think I might have posted once one them.  Thank goodness for my publishers or no one would know about my books. 

So…needless to say, I’m probably not the right author to be weighing in on what promotion works or how to know where to draw the line.  Which is why I need your help.  What kinds of author driven promotional things do you like?  Which ones turn you off?  And what would you prefer to see when it comes to the wonderful world of book promotion?   I am taking notes!


  1. If it is an author I already know, I want to know when a new book is out (and which series it belongs to if there is more than one. If it is a new author to me, I want to know a little about the book. Is it noir or funny, who is the main protagonist, etc. Then I'll check it out online or at the bookstore. Swag can be fun, but won't influence my choice to buy or not buy.

  2. I hate when I follow someone on Twitter and I immediately get a automated response with sales information. Any kind of automated response is really annoying I think. It's a quick road for me to unfollow. Social media is for social interaction, not for automated.

    That said, I have no problem with Tweets sharing links to review, interviews, etc. Just not automated responses.

  3. Brad Parks hands out hundred dollar bills with his website address stamped on them. I think that's a good idea you authors should do more of.

  4. From an authors point-of-view, if I didn't promote, no one ever know I had a new book out. I try a lot of things, Facebook, Twitter, blog tour--but I have no idea what really works.

  5. I'm with Kristopher on hating the automated responses the minute I follow back someone who's followed me on Twitter. Big pet peeve of mine.

    I post/tweet links to reviews if they're major outlets, but not all of them because I don't want to overload my followers. If someone says something nice about a book, I'll share or retweet because I think unsolicited word-of-mouth recommendations are gold. If I've got a book launch or giveaway, I'll post/tweet--or an event. Other than that, I try to keep my social media social. Unless I'm announcing a cover reveal, a giveaway, a book launch, or a free excerpt, I keep even my blog concerned with things other than trying to sell my books. I figure most people follow me because they like what I say, not to have me do a forced sales pitch to them. I never want to turn off any of the followers I do have by being too pushy about selling.

  6. Great timing, Joelle! I just had this discussion today as I posted my first PERFECT TIMING signing on FB! But really, unless your publisher is willing to step up to the plate, big time, I don't think anything beats worth of mouth in the book business. Though, at AuthorBytes, we do have a lot of luck with Google Ads... However, there's a science to it, so you have to be willing to pay for the research/placement stats along with the ad.

  7. It's really hard, because you don't know how much is too much. The one thing I would say is important is that your website is up to date.