I’ll probably be talking about book-release stuff next week when Mermaid’s Madness comes out, which got me thinking about some of the really bad publicity strategies for authors.
I’m not claiming to be perfect. In the past five years, I’ve tried any number of things to promote my work that make me wince to think about ’em now. Bad home-printed bookmarks, obnoxious begging for reviews, etc. But I’ve tried to learn, and I do my best to keep my promotional efforts in check–trying to model them as the occasional commercial break as opposed to an infomercial, if that makes sense?
Anyway, I figured this might be a good time open things up for a discussion of some of the most annoying, ineffective, or downright bizarre promo efforts you’ve seen. Starting things off with five of my personal favorites:
- If a bookstore isn’t carrying your work, sneak in and leave a copy on the shelf. When someone goes to buy it, they’ll be forced to add you to the computer. Voila! Now you’re in the system, and sure to sell millions of copies.
- Stick your book cover on postage stamps! (This one comes courtesy of Writer Beware.)
- Run around posting five-star reviews of your own work. In your own name. (Yes, I’ve seen this done on multiple occasions.)
- Spam. Including e-mail, message boards, blog comments, and so on. ‘Nuff said.
- And my all-time favorite, Photoshop yourself into photos of successful authors. (Related: make up sockpuppet accounts to harass anyone who calls you on it.)
What else have you encountered that makes you cringe? What bad advice have you come across? (“You must spend your entire advance on promotional efforts, or your book is DOOMED!”) What annoys you to the point where you’ll deliberately avoid buying, reading, or even being in the same room with a book?