Monday, June 4, 2012

Seducing The Reader

Today's post is inspired by a tweet I fired off last week: Promo is about seducing a reader, not slapping them in the face. As a confession, I had to edit the tweet a few times before I finally sent it because what I said originally wasn't...ladylike.

The undeniable fact of the matter is, there comes a point in every reader's life they will encounter author promotion. With the tough economy and even tougher publishing atmosphere in today's market they're even more likely to get bashed over the head with it. Add in the popularity of social media growing by leaps and bounds every day, and author promotion saturates the interwebs.

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This seems to breed the idea that authors have to work even harder, saturating social media by blasting out propaganda to brainwash the masses to buy their books. As a reader, this completely and totally turns me off. So it has the opposite effect the author intended. Instead of having me remember an author's name positively when I go book shopping (be it in a brick n mortar store or online) I'll see the name and remember negative things. In turn, I would not buy their book.

The trick, as always, is finding a balance where you're not screaming in the reader's face, but you're also not wilting away in the darkness because you do nothing at all. It's a precarious tightrope to walk and usually you can only find that balance when you experiment and figure out what works. It doesn't help, of course, that what works for one person, doesn't work for another. Though, IMHO, constant tweets/posts/blogs where it's all promo, all the time, no matter the book, doesn't work for anyone. Social media is SOCIAL for a reason and it's not to saturate your tweetstream or Facebook timeline with 90% promo. Really, you're not doing yourself any favors by abusing a free avenue of promotion this way.

Chatting about everyday things with readers in those places is promo. It's subtle and it works. Sometimes more effectively than any promotion an author pays for. That bit of personal contact can mean the world to a reader (and hint: it usually means a lot to the author as well).

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