Saturday, September 28, 2013

Five bad kinds of promotion

Going far beyond the usual sockpuppetry or spamming message boards with mentions of one’s book…

1. Anthrax scare

Sending an editor a can labelled with Anthrax and the biohazard symbol. That’s a good way to make sure no one ever opens anything with your name on the return address.

2. Telemarketing

I once saw this posted on an author’s Facebook page :

“this may sound crazy but ... it's also certainly determined! How about opening up a phone book and just start calling people and asking them if they like to read?”

My first reaction: “This may sound crazy?”

3. Fake publicist

I heard a strange idea at a meeting. The marketing guru suggested "creating" a publicist to help you set up your appointments and events. You introduce him or her with their fictitious persona and they sign all the news releases etc., even though it's really you. It gives the idea that you have a publicist.

I suppose that could work until someone wonders why this publicist has no internet footprint, no apparent experience and so on. And even the best publicists can’t do much without a good product and adequate distribution on the publisher’s part. So at best, this isn’t likely to go far.


Our concom got a packet from a self-pubbed author's "publicist." It was one of the most GA things I'd ever seen. In addition, the author was asking for things we can barely afford to provide for our top guests.

4. Inappropriate locations for book signings

Even if an author has written the definitive book on abuse, a therapist’s office is not the best place to hold a signing. Of course, that’s trumped by the idea of hawking one’s books in a women’s shelter, though I suppose the shelter residents could be considered a more or less captive audience.

Though not as captive as those who aren’t going to walk away no matter what the circumstances…

Once my novel, [title redacted--Marian], is available, I too will target a market other than bookstores. It has a huge story line of murder, so I plan on doing signings at the local morgue. Funeral homes too!!!

5. Shooting yourself

Alveson said that even as she waited with the wounded Dolin for emergency personnel to arrive, he began talking about his memoir.
Talk about suffering for your art.


Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Clicked over here from AW. Thanks for the Saturday morning dose of humor.

asnys said...

Good grief. I know intellectually that there is no upper bound to the desperation and insanity some authors put into self-promotion, but these still managed to shock me. I mean, shooting yourself?

Linnea said...

Signings at a morgue? Guess they forgot a couple of things. Dead people don't read so no joy there and I doubt they'd turn up the heat for living attendees, for obvious reasons. :)

gypsyscarlett said...

I'm trying to picture a mortician's face if they received a phone call from someone who wanted to do a reading at their place of business.

Marian Perera said...

Ruth - Thanks for reading!

asnys - It could be worse, right?

He could always have shot someone else.

Linnea - Good point. I don't think the smell would be all that great either.

Tasha - Well, that quote was from the PublishAmerica message board. People there have suggested doing signings at flower shops and flea markets. It was only a matter of time before someone took the "let's be radically different approach" too far.