Buy My Book – Or Else?

KittyThe last few days have seen some very funny and very sad attempts by a number of authors who have tried to convince me to buy their books. From the lazy and repetitive to the imaginative and then to some who really need a course in basic human reactions to people making a complete idiot of themselves.

Here’s a classic example of the slothically lazy book marketer on Twitter who either can’t read the instructions or just can’t be bothered at all as surely everyone will just be racing to buy my book..

‘Check out my book – ‘XXXX’ – on #BookBuzzr -http://tc/uYr5DG’

Now this is really going to attract my interest and have me darting off to buy this terrific book. Well, no. This is the default setting for Bookbuzzr’s nifty little auto-tweeter. A great tool, but you are supposed to edit it and put in your own clever ‘writerly’ phrases to interest people in your book. It also has the ability to rotate different messages so you don’t bore the pants off people with the same ugly message every day. The crying shame is that there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of these default Tweets going out every day. Book marketing? No. Pollution? Yes. If you’re guilty, stop reading this and go and fix it pronto. This default message drives away prospective readers faster than rabies.

Then there were a couple of absolute darlings who thought of a very clever ploy. I received a number of messages saying, ‘I’ve just downloaded your book. How about buying mine in return?’ Well, that was a very nice thought, but it was my free book they downloaded, and they then expected me to buy their books in return. Oh dear me, dream on!

Another approach I think really goes down like a lead ballon is when I follow someone on Twitter and within five minutes I receive a Direct Message saying, ‘Hey thanks for following me! My book is available on Kindle for only $2.99!’ Well, the likelihood of me even wanting to know the title has now disappeared off into the never, never. Goodbye, nice knowing you – for five minutes. Bad luck we never had time to be properly introduced.

But my favourite is really a clever one; ‘Buy my book, or your cat gets it!’ Bad luck, however. No sale. I don’t have a cat!

Goodreads has become another haunt of the very un-savvy book marketer lately. One very polite message to say hello, and WHAM! The next message is ‘Buy My Book’. I think I delete about ten a day.

The simple truth is that some people are really stupid. Would they buy anything from anyone who tried to flog products to them using these techniques? No way. So why do they think anyone at all will take them seriously?

Well, I suppose only those of you who have a cat might!

33 thoughts on “Buy My Book – Or Else?”

  1. I equate these idiots with the equally stupid fools who call themselves “Steve Jones Author”, or, “Author Steve Jones”, a really big no no.

    No one gives a toss when they are bulldozed into something. It’s far better to just quietly go about advertising your work with perhaps a link or to indicating where it can be bought, or better still links to reviews.

    Some people just never learn…


  2. Glad to see this is driving someone else insane. I was on the receiving end of a “Please review my book” Twitter blitz the other day and was completely horrified. I wonder if these are the same people…

  3. That would drive me crazy if people did that. I’d follow suit and delete/stop following them.

  4. So very true Derek. I’m pretty new to the whole Twitter thing and am already so annoyed with authors (and other “consultants”) pushing their wares that I’m thinking of quitting the site altogether.

  5. Denise Grover Swank

    Yes, yes, yes!!! OH MY WORD! YES! You just said everything I’ve been wanting to say for weeks!

  6. Antonio Angelo

    Well as a horribly ineffectual marketer of my own first attempt at writing eroctica. i just have to say thanks for several idea’s not to try. :) ps my short story is free, I am not trying to sell it to anyone i just want to know if it is even worth reading? i understand it sucks to be pestered to read stuff from people you don’t know or even from those people you do know. But i don’t know any other way to get a stranger to even look at it.

    1. Andrew Claymore

      The best thing you can do is to sell Antonio, not his books. Just get yourself out there and make friends. It’s like going to cocktail parties, if you show up flogging your book, you end up standing in the corner by yourself feigning interest in a vase.

      1. I agree Andrew. Once people know what you do, then they’ll make their own decision. However, the odd reminder from time to time doesn’t hurt.

        ‘It’s funny you mentioned Morocco. I set a couple of chapters of my last book there.’

  7. banana_the_poet

    And yet – when I had auto tweeters going from bookbuzzer for my poetry books I regularly sold a couple of copies a day. Since I stopped (which means I keep forgetting to mention them at all) last month I sold half a book a day and so far this month NONE :(

    Y’know however annoying it may be – and however it may not work as far as writery types who are already trying to sell their own – I think it might work for readers. But I still can’t make myself do it.

    When it boils down to it – if a writer or poet genuinely has a book well worth reading they have a DUTY to share it and readers will thank you for it. Trouble happens when it is just a book.

    1. I think the Bookbuzzr Twitter posts are fine as long as they are well written and not overdone. The odd tweet letting people know what you do is good marketing.

      But there are too many writers who leave the default ‘Check Out My Book’ setting and have it blasting out repetitively 7 days a week. Often as their only tweets, which I think is simply pollution. Worse is when they give up on Twitter because they sell hardly any books, but their Bookbuzzr tweets are happily still blasting out on auto forever and a day.

  8. I have noticed more and more of twitter being this kind of stuff. I will link if I get a good review, or if I have actual news about my book, but that doesn’t happen more than once a month if that. I would not THINK of pushing my stuff on people via Twitter, and I’m getting really tired of everyone who does. When someone follows me on Twitter, I check their feed and if it’s made up of tweets about their book with links, I don’t follow back.

  9. Alas, I have no wares to flog but now I know what not to do. :-) Thanks Derek!

  10. Alas, I have no wares to flog but now I know what not to do. :-) Thanks Derek! I’m still not taking the “Writer” out of my Facebook. :-P

  11. Jannet Ridener

    Oh yeah, I removed “author of” from my Twitter bio early on and have since been using quotes from The Simpsons to fill the empty space.
    What’s strange about your post is, my most recent blog addition is similar; I determined the majority of people following me were fellow authors selling their wares! With that bulb being lit, I’ve decided to find and follow people I can have fun with instead of joining the herd. I know my book is good, and someday, someone will figure that out, but until that dam breaks, I’ll be sitting at the Thanksgiving kid table … I’ll be more comfortable there.

  12. Glad you’ve seen the trend Janet. I must admit the light came on for me a short while ago too. I’ve got a post coming up about the ‘author cuddle huddle’ later this month.

  13. Hmmm…I have often encountered this on Twitter as well. I usually ignore them. I do post links to my newest blog posts but I usually lead off with a preview sentence or partial sentence from the actual piece.

  14. I hate this behavior in anything people are trying to sell. I work with promoting natural beauty brands and I can’t tell you how many cheesy pitches I get on Twitter. My favorite: two minutes after following me they tell me they are the ONLY non-toxic or natural beauty brand out there. Really? Cause I rep about 30. I thought they were natural. My bad. I’m convinced that gobs of people are just dumb.

    1. Dear Todra,
      I read your notification. I sense a negative energy about others trying to make a living by selling. You mention twitter… but there are more channels… explore…

      I guess you have a point, but… what is wrong with trying to sell something through internet, for the buyers or the interested party it is a medium to get connected to the enthousiast sellers with a good motivation. If you are not interested in them just ignore them and move on. Everybody has to make a living somehow or other. It is not dirty or bad to sell your products or services through internet. If you talk of behavior in selling, yes sometimes the agressive behaviour is disturbing. Bottom line is every entrepreneur will try in their own way to promote themselves or their companies to get somewhere…. global!
      If they are not innovative they may wither and die off. I support promotional activities on a mild level. It should not be too indoctrinal. You have to make promotions as well for your natural brands right? like you said you rep 30! How do you go about doing this I would like to know if you will share the secret?
      Live and let live, or survival of the fittest without hurting the other is my favourite behaviour. Thank you for bringing this out of me. No offence meant. Just sharing a thought. I promote my products and services to help the less fortunate. Like Robin Hood of Sherwood! hihi BUT I do not rob nor steal, just encourage. Have a nice day!

  15. What’s really sad, is that I believe a lot of people, like me, never read direct messages on Twitter. If you do DM me, and we aren’t having a genuine conversation, I will unfollow you immediately.

    I question the usefulness of Twitter as a marketing tool, really. I just want to connect with other creative people. If I want to connect to readers, I don’t think I’ll find them on Twitter. I’ll find them where there are books. But what do I know?

    1. There are readers on Twitter Bill, but probably in a smaller proportion than say Goodreads or Shelfari, which are dedicated to books. However, the proportion of pesky book floggers is about the same. I think it’s a matter of doing a little on a few platforms. But Twitter is still a good platform for making connections as is is so open in nature. With regard to it being a marketing tool, I still believe you should market yourself on social media, and not your product.

  16. I agree with the book buzz thing I ignore them and never RT them. Disagree with you Bill Jones – I’ve met lots of cool writers thru (:)) Twitter, and a few cool readers – I’ve never asked anyone to buy my book.

    I’m seriously contemplating removing anyone who uses book buzzer because it really does annoy me – like white noise.

  17. HI there,
    I guess you have a point there. The trouble is people are too busy and trying too hard to connect that they surpass the interested parties on the way. They look on the way to their unknown destinations but they do not see the signs on the way there! Like a blinded spot.
    First the trend was hyves, than facebook, now twitter than blogs? what’s next? IT will wear and tear I guess. I am trying to see the usefullness of twitter as well. What interested me was the fact that I got followers from all over the world. I can choose who to follow etc… Privacy control is a questionable thing! But that is with all internet connections, even the top governmental departments are not safe from hackers. so..
    Just to share a thought.
    Have a nice day.

  18. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a tiny bit of self-promotion as long as the rest of your online communications are genuine and personal. I hate the automatic DMs and seriously consider unfollowing anyone who sends me one. I will admit that one of my goals in using social media is to get my name out there, but I want people to genuinely be interested in my writing and my opinions. You have to take the time to get to know people, and that’s where the fun in it is anyway. Otherwise, you’re just being an annoying impersonal advertiser.

    Traditional advertising techniques can’t work on social media, and I wish writers would understand that.

    1. You’re right Alana. Traditional heavy handed selling doesn’t work on social media. It is very useful however for promoting yourself. This can be done in many communicative and entertaining forms and from there your book (or product) can be associated with yourself. Too many authors are doing it backwards. When I see a profile saying ‘Author of X book, I really feel they have missed the reason for being on Twitter.

      1. Alana & Derek,
        I agree. I get annoyed when I get the instant DM “Thanks for the follow back. BTW, check out my site and my latest book venture. Here’s the link.” Then I never hear from them again until they want to push something else. I make a point not to follow people who act as their own personal bot. I think it is about you being you, not a media blitz. I mean, the concept is SOCIAL networking, isn’t it? I like getting to know people and seeing what they’re about. Then, if I’m interested in taking a look at their wares, I will. I have met some really great people on Twitter, but there was something about THEM that attracted me to them, not their goods and services.

  19. Scott Fitzgerald Gray

    I think the short answer to the question “Why do they think anyone at all will take them seriously?” is “Because they’ve been told that this is how things are done.” Reading a lot of blogs and the current crop of “How I Sold X Ebooks in Y Days” author-focused how-tos, there’s a horrid undercurrent of hard selling that seems to be winning many authors over. However, i don’t think these authors are misguided or evil — they’re just getting bad advice, which can and should be countered with good advice.

    The problem is that a certain number of the self-styled ebook gurus have come up with a formula that, unfortunately, works: If you annoy a thousand people but one of them buys your book, then if you annoy a million people, you’ll sell a thousand books. It’s the worst kind of salesmanship, and it needs to stop.

  20. I’m with everyone else who dislikes the hard sell, but I disagree about not putting your books in your bio (as long as there’s more than just “I’m a writer, buy my books”) because I often find interesting stories on Twitter through bios. I ignore the auto response DMs, but no matter what anyone says, I will always send a personalized DM to those that follow me. No, I don’t mention my books, but It’s first contact and I want anyone who’s interested enough to add me to know it’s appreciated. And if I’ve chosen to follow you back, there’s a reason and I like to mention it (nice blog, cute bio, book looks good, etc.). An @ message to every new follower would definitely make my tweet feed boring – too many of them. Good points though, Derek. There’s a lesson here. Thanks for posting.

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