Thursday, February 24, 2011

How Much is Too Much Promotion?

A post by Sue Ann Jaffarian on Inkspot posed the question when does self-promotion become self poison? While Sue Ann didn’t have any definite answers, there were many in the comments. Earlier this week, Elizabeth Spann-Craig touched upon over-promotion when she discussed promoting oneself rather than one’s books.

How much is too much for you?

For me, when every post and/or comment mentions the author’s book/product/service, then it’s too much. That’s why I don’t mention my own books very often. (Although recently several people commented that they didn’t realize I’d written so many books, so maybe I should mention that fact now and then?)

Authors pour so much effort into their work and it does consume a large portion of our lives. However, there’s more to our existence than just our books! They are but one aspect of our world.

So, when is it too much for you? What turns you off?



Nothing to me is ever too much, the only thing that I get confused with why does someone sign on as a new follower, you never hear from them then find out you can't read theirs because they haven't got a blog.
Please mention your books more often.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I don't talk about my book often, although I mention reviews and stuff. Just don't want to be annoying!

Jess said...

I would say if your books are the only thing you blog about, then I probably won't tune in as often (unless you're JK Rowling). Talk about yourself/being an author as much as you like, but I don't like feeling like I'm constantly being "sold." All in all, I agree with you!

Simon Hay said...

I've unfollowed some followers on twitter because the same promotional tweet annoyed me. I probably promote my links 1/10 tweets. I expect to see promotion, but I believe the best promotion is to be social, and build a community. This way other people promote you. Hope you're well :)

Cherie Reich said...

It's such a fine line that we walk when dealing with promotion. I even know an author was accused of being a spammer because he was just trying to promote his book.

If a book is mentioned in many posts, I tend to tune it out a little more. I've heard about the book. Enough said. I understand promotion when a book comes out. That's when you want the word out, yes, but I sometimes stop listening when every blog has the same post about the same book.

It really is hard to tell, though, when too much is too much.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Diane .. If people are asking, as you say you're not promoting your books enough ..

Yet - the tab is there .. perhaps a bracketed phrase in your front page bio .. (see books 'here') .. or similar ..

Good luck - Hilary

Unknown said...

Social media should be social-a two way conversation. A one-sided conversation is not much fun.

Helen Ginger said...

I would prefer not to read about a blogger's book or be asked to buy a book in every post. Having said that, I am okay with using examples from an author's work when they're talking about something like characterization or character arcs or query letters, etc. But if every day is sell, sell, sell, I'll probably stop dropping by.

Diane, you have so many areas of expertise to talk about, I can't imagine you overselling your books.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Yvonne, I know I have several followers (who do comment) that have a Google account but no blog. It happens. And thank you, I will mention my books now and then.

Jess, I think that's what most want - to know more about the writer behind the books. Makes us human.

Simon, the few times I visit Twitter is to post a link - sorry, I'll try to just comment now and then!

Cherie, that's like when ALL the book bloggers are raving about a book. Yes, it turns me off, too.

Hilary, maybe I need to add that...

Helen, sometimes even that can be overdone.
Thanks for your kind words!

N. R. Williams said...

I agree with what others have said. On the positive end, I think we can use our blogs to occasionally have a short story, I like blog fest for this, to highlight our writing. We can also display our writing skills in the pages. Which gives me an idea. Off I go to write.
N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium

Arlee Bird said...

Depends on the timing, context, and newsworthiness of the mention. As the book release (or whatever) approaches I think it is somewhat important to keep it in the public eye to build up anticipation. Afterwards, it's nice to have updates to see how things are going and information that will be useful to readers.
I don't think anyone should rest on their laurels and just keep talking about the same thing with nothing new to add.

If I can learn something or get something out of the promotion I don't mind it.

Tossing It Out

Eric W. Trant said...

It's rarely okay to self-promote. A little self-promo is a must-have, and a vile necessary evil for most of us, but the best promotion is word-of-mouth.

Mention your work in passing, every once in a while, as part of a larger topic and not as a topic all itself, and be humble about it.

- Eric

Hart Johnson said...

I have a fair few authors/books that I signed up for their Facebook page and they drive me NUTS with the constant messages. FINE if you want to put something on your page, but don't email me. The only time i should get an email is if you (meaning anyone) have a rare event like a book release and need help FOR THAT (and I should... you know... KNOW the author... I won't do this just for being supportive enough to 'like' a page)

I would agree that it is also important to interact in OTHER ways (and support other peoples stuff)--that buys you the right to push your own now and then--STILL, though... for when something HAPPENS. It should be NEW information.

Talli Roland said...

This is a tough one, and one I'm very conscious of. I don't want people to think that I'm pushing my book at them all the time. I might tweet about it and post about it, say, one in 20-ish or so times. I think as long as you interact with people and make it clear you're not all about your work, it's okay to throw it in there every once in awhile.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I think it's great to mention your book when you have something new to say. Like a new review, or a release in a new format. I have a few writing friends who only blog about their own books. I try to support them anyway but I know they would get more followers if they shared other things on their blogs.

Faith said...

I don't mind the occasional promotional comment, especially when there's something new to add, like "good review here" or "look, a sale!" or even "vote for me!". It's when the promotion turns into every post or Tweet without interaction with those very people he/she wants to purchase the book that I get annoyed.

Social media needs to be a give-and-take, in all situations.

Jemi Fraser said...

I think it's too much when it's all the time and it's really the only thing the person discusses. I haven't met too many people who do that though - thankfully :)

Ben Langhinrichs said...

The best kind of self-promotion is the kind that offers something to the reader where the promotion is the example. For instance, if you post about writing dialogue and give an example from you book that just sings, I am likely to check out your book. Or offer part of your journey and how you found an agent, and I'll respond positively when you say your agent got you this great placement with Penguin.

Anything that a) offers value to me as a reader, and b) offers positive strokes to somebody other than you (e.g., your agent), is more likely to interest me,

That said, occasionally mentioning you book/product is okay, so long as it is occasional.

Twitter is the hardest, because you have to provide a link to offer much of value, but make it to a blog-post with interesting stuff. Mostly, social media should be social.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Nancy, I usually don't participate in writing blogfests because it's too much reading.

Lee, nothing new to add - precisely!

Eric, I agree!

Hart, I share your Facebook sentiments.

Faith, you got it!

Ben, occasional is key.

Ben Langhinrichs said...

I'm simply appalled that I managed to type 'you' instead of 'your' twice in my comment. I have a sticky 'r' key on my laptop, but I should read what I wrote before posting.

The Old Silly said...

As long as you provide value to your readers - I'm talking blogging and social networking in general - most of the time and balance it with a prudent amount of self-promo I think it can be done without being/feeling 'pushy'. And let's face it - as aspiring authors/artists, we HAVE to toot our own horns, cuz nobody else is gonna do it for us yet!

Jai Joshi said...

I agree with you, Diane. When an author mentions their book all the time and points out where everyone can buy it at every opportunity, that's too much.

Self-promotion via a true platform with something worth saying is a much better way to go about it.


lotusgirl said...

I completely agree. I don't mind hearing occasionally, but, even from close friends, it gets old when it's all you hear. Moderation is best.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Ben, that's okay!

Marvin, we do indeed.

Lotus, I think that's the key to all things in life - moderation.

Sharon Reece said...

Great comments that gave me a lot to think about as a newly published author. We're in that position right now of trying to figure out how to get the word out about our book. My gut feeling tells me that promoting it myself isn't the best strategy so I've been sharing comments and reviews from readers as they come in. But maybe that also constitutes self-promotion. Anyone care to share the one best thing they have used successfully to promote their book?

Connie Arnold said...

You definitely need to mention your books sometimes, with a mixture of other personal things about yourself and things of interest to others. It's hard to know how much to promote, but some is necessary to get the word out. Since I write poetry, when I share a poem then mention my books, that seems to get the best results.