“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.”

The Greatest

Bravado and bragging worked for Muhammad Ali but it is a different story for authors. (Sorry about the pun.) Now, I might be behaving like a jumped up Brit about this subject, after all, I am one of those old-fashioned sort who opens doors for old people and still manages to say “thank you” when the spotty-faced individual in the coffee shop manages to slop coffee into my saucer.

I am polite. I was brought up to be polite. So when it comes to selling books, I don’t like to be too pushy. I believe people should be able to read the blurb and decide if they want to buy the book or not. The fact I’m willing to throw in a free stiletto key ring, and an extra signed copy for their Gran doesn’t amount to being pushy, does it?

In my opinion, there is absolutely no excuse to behave like a used car salesperson trying to sell an old crock of a car when marketing a book. Wandering about cyber space as I do, I have seen way too many turn-offs recently.

As authors, we need to promote our books, but there is a right and a wrong way to market and wanting to sell a book is no excuse for doing things to irritate and put off potential readers.

Here is my Mini Guide on How to “Cheese off” Your Potential Reader:

“This is the best thing since sliced bread.”

1. Who needs endorsements by celebrities, experts, fellow authors or reviewers? Do it yourself. Write your own endorsements. Don’t mince your words. Be positive. Write a rock solid statement like “This is the best book in the Universe,” then sign your endorsement “A doctor from Washington” or “Her Royal Highness Pippa Von Achthofen”. No one will suspect they are not real people.

2. Fabricate a testimonial or review. This is easily done on Amazon. Sign up, give yourself a plausible name like Lady Gaga, and write a spiffing review for your book. Don’t forget to give yourself 5 stars too. If it is the only review you have, so much the better. People will look at it and be astounded at what a fantastic read your book is. Never mind that other books have lots of reviews and various star ratings. You have this perfect one.

Better still, get your neighbours or relatives to write a review for you and sign it. Make sure your mother puts “Mum” under hers. We readers are much more likely to buy your book if your Mum enjoyed it. Who wouldn’t trust the opinion of a mother?

Try neighbours too. Who knows if Rex Von Woofenbark is a reviewer or your neighbour. He could be a dog for all we know.

3. Make sure you connect with other authors on Twitface. Follow them and “like” their pages. The more the merrier. When you have collected a few hundred names, put your book covers on their walls, timelines and pages. Don’t worry about annoying them, they are authors too. They’ll be impressed by your initiative.

Write tweets saying “This book is a must-read”, not forgetting the all important link to where you can buy it. Who better to judge if your book is good or not? You wrote it of course, so you know it is brilliant.

4. Send repetitive and unwanted emails telling people about your fantastic book. They’ll eventually give in and buy it, won’t they?

5. Finally, if you ever get the chance to do a book signing or go to a book fair, make sure that no one gets through the door without marching up to them and directing them to your book, even if they only wanted directions to the Tourist Office. Ask questions like “What can I do, to get you to buy my book?”

Be brash. Be bullish and brag. Surely, it’ll pay off. If not, you could always use your training, have a change of career and become a car salesman.

Author: Carol Wyer

Carol E Wyer is a Contributing Author for Indies Unlimited and an award-winning and best-selling author of humorous novels including MINI SKIRTS AND LAUGHTER LINES, SURFING IN STILETTOS, and HOW NOT TO MURDER YOUR GRUMPY. Carol has been featured on NBC News, BBC Radio, and in The Huffington Post. For more about Carol, go to her website or her Amazon author page.

21 thoughts on ““Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.””

  1. So what’s the polite way to go about it? Cos when I try and be polite and self-effacing I notice my sales are much fewer than when I make a brave effort not to hide my light under a bushel. And the people I know who don’t promote much have fewer sales than the ones who do. So much as I hate it I suspect the annoying people method might actually work in terms of sales?

    1. If you tweet your book five times a day, approximately 5x as many will see it as if you tweet it only once in a day. However it means that some will see it 5 times. They will probably unfollow and even block you. Bully for them. They can jolly well do what they please. You’ll probably also make 5 times the sales.

      However, target your audience. Find out who likes it who is reading it and where you can find them without annoying others and you will be able to do both; make sales, (because no one but one is going to do that for you) and annoy other authors the least that you can. Target readers not writers.

      For instance, if you write for young teens and tweens, follow Justin Bieber fans rather than authors. Freebies, a FB friend of mine gives away the first few chapters or even half the book. Readers will read freebies and if they like it and want the end. they’ll buy the book to get to the finish line and find out if you let your characters save the world or get the girl or buy the car or will your run on sentences ever come to an end before you run out of breath . . .

      1. Pretty sound advice David, especially as you are not targeting the wrong people. The problem lies in that you will probably cheese off your followerswho will unfollow you. Depends if your followers are only there for you to sell books to or for a variety of reasons. I personally would rather keep my friends who help me hugely in cyberworld. Guess I am a bit weird though. Please remember I am British. I just don’t like over pushing something. X

    2. Tough question Michele but I think promoting yourself by writing articles for magazines, being seen on television, radio shows, and writing articles for websites increases your exposure. Also friends promoting your work often have more success than you as the actual author. I often mention friend’s books on Twitter and vice versa. I’ll be writing about marketing next time so stay tuned and hopefully, I’ll be able to pass on some useful tips.

  2. Lovely post, Carol, thanks! I noticed that my sales stayed the same (close to zero)whether I “assertively” promoted or did no promoting at all. So I’m sticking with what I like: writing 🙂

  3. Great post! I do try to be polite as much as I can. I admit, I will advertise more when I have a book available for free- who doesn’t like free stuff?

    1. Thank you Kathy. I agree about free books. You must advertise those or it won’t be worth your while having them free. I love free stuff, especially books and champagne! Don’t get too much of the latter though. 🙂

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