I am a genial soul, but I swear if I get another telemarketer telephone call asking me to buy some woman’s memoir about how bored she was in Miss Cadiz’s kindergarten class I may hang up instead of breaking down and buying a copy I don’t want just to be nice. I don’t even answer knocks on the door anymore. The answer is no. I don’t want to buy your novel about a shape shifter who can’t get a date because all the ladies think he looks like me. If he’s a shape shifter make him look like Brad Pitt and leave me out of it.
Marketers alienate people. I never watch CNN without my finger on the mute button anymore because I know every time there is a commercial break here comes the same old Liberty Mutual Insurance Company commercial. No, I did not hydroplane into a ditch. No, I don’t want to hear about it – again. I did not want to hear about it the first thirty times.
Somewhere Donald Maass said the story sells the book, not the author. Any thoughts you have are welcome.
Your comment proves the effectiveness of marketing: you remember the name of the Liberty Mutual Insurance Company. That was their goal, and even in annoying you they succeeded. You may not be their target customer, but you can bet that when someone needs to buy insurance for their hydroplane they'll remember. [Oh wait.. you meant hydroplane your car into a ditch. Much less interesting, but probably a larger customer base if it's car owners not hydroplane drivers]
Effective marketing means a reader remembers your name and book title and when they see it in the bookstore think "aha! I've heard of that."
That means you have to have put your name and book title in front of their eyeballs at least a dozen times. (It used to be far less, but we're working in a very noisy marketplace these days.)
What you really want to know is how to make those impressions without annoying your audience.
And the answer is easy: you don't do it. You have someone else do it. And I don't mean a paid publicist or cheerleader. I mean your friends and well-wishers.
For readers of this blog, if you've been reading the comment trail you'll know several readers here are champions of Donna Everhart's upcoming book, The Education of Dixie Dupree.
Jenny Chou is a champion of The Drifter by Nicholas Petrie.
Julie Weathers is a champion of Diana Gabaldon.
There are other examples of course, but I can think of these just off the top of my head as I write this post. That's prima facie evidence that I remember and that the "marketing" has been effective. Marketing in this case is a reader loving a book and talking about it. Or talking about the author.
So, how do you find those kinds of friends? You don't ask, certainly. That's the kind of thing that can lead to something like this "review request" that read more like instructions.
The way to get those friends is to BE one of those friends. You talk about books you love. You might write reviews. You might make comments on this blog and others.
You might write a Facebook post. You might tweet.
You might ask your library to buy the book.
You might ask your indie to stock the book.
You might have your reading group BUY the book and discuss it.
This is something you start long before you finish your own novel, go out on submission, find an agent and get a pub date. Making friends is a long process. The earlier you start the better.
You keep a data base of book friends.
You have a mailing list.
When the time comes, you reach out with your good news.
You respect your friends by having an "unsubscribe" button on your newsletter or email.
And you keep up being a friend too.