I’ve been thinking a lot about promotion lately. (But really, if you ask most authors, their marketing concerns rank right up there with their looming deadline and the next line edits.) Because, let’s face it, our books might as well just be sitting on our computers if they’re not out their finding readers.

But then again … there is such a thing as TOO much. And I wonder when an author knows when they’ve crossed that line. I mean, I think everyone else knows when a promotion, whether it’s blog/contest announcements or a promotional excerpt that’s blasted everywhere, is driving them insane. Eventually, that cool promo the author was so excited about, becomes the spam that every receiver just deletes with an eyeroll.

And you know, I’ve begun to wonder if I am that author. I know there’s a balance between letting people know my new book is out and becoming a nuisance in the inbox. The fact is, when you hit that point, people no longer see you anyway.

Yet there is that 10 exposure thing before a person consciously recognizes your name. That’s right. We need to see something an average of 10 times before it works its way into our psyche. And of course the same 10 things aren’t going to be seen by the same 10 people so that means a smattering of promo across different avenues to be sure you’ve hit everyone more than once…or does it?

There are so many ways to market that a gal can go crazy trying to keep up with it all. And the old addage, do what you enjoy doesn’t always apply, because quite frankly, I enjoy more than I should. Sometimes to the detriment of my writing. LOL! There are times when I’d be just as happy sitting around chatting on twitter or making a book trailer as writing my next book. Heck, that other stuff is easy, which meant I did it A LOT.

Well no more. I’ve dropped out of Yahoo loops I wasn’t really using. I’ve stopped blog surfing (which is rather ironic since I blog) and I’ve limited my twitter to a couple days a week. You see, I’ve been watching some really successful authors and they don’t market. They write. Now isn’t that a novel idea?

Anyway, I just thought I’d share with you the newest in my “paper” marketing…romance trading cards. They came out beautiful. I’m so pleased. Frauke at Croco Designs took my vision and turned it into these …

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Aren’t they gorgeous? I’ve just started sending them out. (And yes, Zane is noticeably missing from the “Bonded” set … there was a glitch that’s been fixed and he should be arriving soon.) They’ll be making their debut appearance in some goodie bags at RWA National Convention in a couple of weeks.

So what do you think? When does an author’s promotion become an annoying buzzing in your ears. Because you know me … I just gotta know!

0 Responses to The Buzzing in Your Ears

  • Hi, Nina. Great website! and your blog topic, too. I don’t know what is “too much” or “not enough” and I’ve struggled with the same issues you’ve mentioned.

    I only know I have to write, hope others will like my voice, and figure if readers remember the characters after they’ve closed the book, that’s promo.

    *whispering humbly* But it sure would be nice if more peeps found me. 😉

  • Hi Nina, this is really a great insight. I am a newbie, but I have heard this concern before. Thank you for sharing.

    • Sharon – I think if you know what kind of trips your “over the top” trigger, you won’t do those things. Of course we all have our own things that drive us nuts, but it kind of gives you a line you don’t want to cross.

      Best of luck!

  • Hi Nina – I’ve kind of gone into lurk mode because promo was exhausting me. You’re right. Too much exposure causes me to delete everything someone sends me without opening it – not you! But in general I hit delete.
    I actually feel better and I’m working on a plan for scaled down promo for my releases. It was getting to the point where I was forgetting where to be, who I was with, where I was featured…stupid.
    Like the cards!

    • Julia – LOL! Glad you’re not deleting me. And I hear you on feeling like I’m overdoing. I just felt like I was everywhere … and nowhere. Because I’m pretty sure those places did nothing to garner me new readers. One of the reasons I’m scaling back as well.

      Aren’t the cards gorgeous?

  • Hey, Nina. Great post. I’ve begun to think about the benefit from marketing V the time and effort it takes. I’ve also scaled back where I am online and what I’m involved with. It really can be exhausting and time consuming. Your cards turned out fantastic!

    • Kaily – I’m hoping my new scaled back approach becomes the “quiet” kind of marketing.

      And thanks for the compliment on the cards. They’re even prettier in reality. Very shiny.

  • hi nina, what beautiful cards! thank you for your thought provoking post – i hear a lot of fellow writers talking about this issue. that rule of ten is interesting.

    best, therese

  • It’s true, there is such a thing as too much promo. You know it when you don’t have time to write. Me, I’m raising my hand.

    Your cards are beautiful.

    • Sandy – The fact that there is no writing time is most definitely a clear indication that it’s time to scale back. Glad you enjoyed the cards.

  • First off the cards look amazing…I can’t wait to get my hands on them…I think when it comes to marketing and promo it is hard because you need to try to do what you can to stand out and you are fighting to stand out among a huge crowd that is trying to do the exact thing..I think then it comes to bad promo it is when someone constantly bombards your private email with promo when you did not ask to be added to their promo list or only stops by your Facebook to promo and run..

    • Savannah – Yeah, the drive-by promos drive me nuts as well. But you’re right about trying to stand out in a sea of authors who are trying to stand out as well. That’s when it all gets really hairy.

  • So far I’ve only found too much on twitter.

    When people post the same book release or freebie announcement 15 times in a 5 minute period it gets annoying – and will get you removed from me following you. Even if I would have read your book.

    • Beth – Fortunately I’m not on twitter so much that I’ve run across people who do that. Yeah, that would be an auto-UNfollow for me too.

  • Excellent post, Nina, and a subject I think all writers deal with. I’ve just begun promoting my new novel, Amaranth, and I’m definitely struggling with how much is too much, especially within social media, targeted ads, and forum circles. You get to know people and they end up expecting a certain reaction from you, whether you’re talking about specific topics, or even your own work. They eventually become inundated with your ads and you risk getting too many eyerolls. I’m a freelance writer by day, and I’ve been taking the advice from marketing clients of mine who often focus on the psychology of selling and advertising–be a conversationalist as often as possible, make your promotions(whatever kind) about “them” as best as you can, and you should maintain a fairly healthy balance. Granted, that’s easier said than done, but I’m working on it bit by bit each day. Thanks again for the post and best of luck.

    • Rachael – That’s what great marketing people say … it’s about the other person. The fact is, readers want to care about the author as much as their stories. Being a conversationalist and letting people learn about you is probably the best selling tool there is.

      Best of luck with your new novel. Thanks so much for weighing in.

  • Nina, this seems to be a hot topic at the moment. I’ve read similar post elsewhere. I feel like the universe is speaking to me. 🙂 I’ve got my first novella about to be released at the end of June. Marketing is a new thing for me, and I’m trying to learn from others.

    The twitter comment. I’m not own much, but the other day I noticed someone doing just that, posting over and over again the same message. Seems useless to me – I removed them instantly from my follow list.

    Great cards.

    Best wishes,
    Cher Green

    • Char – Congratulations on your first release. It’s exciting isn’t it? I hope you find a nice balance between writing and marketing right in the beginning. I wish I could share some words of wisdom, but obviously even after all my books I haven’t figured it out. 😉 Best of luck!

  • Nina, I often wonder how much promo is too much–and I’ve scaled back on things that annoy me when I see them from too many other authors, such as announcing releases and reviews on author loops as well as on reader loops, Facebook, Twitter, and so on. I use Topaz Promotions to spread the word of releases far and wide–I figure that people who see the promos will realize it’s not me, personally, cluttering their inboxes, LOL.

    I realize I get annoyed easier than some, but I try to limit my online presence to announcements of covers, releases and GOOD reviews on my Facebook author page and Twitter (when I remember). As for other promo items, I’ve jumped on the Romance Trading Card bandwagon and have even geared my conference promo for this year toward them in the form of trading card cases.

    • Ann – It’s hard to know when it’s too much. And many authors have gone with promo companies in hopes that the word will get out without 1) having to spend the time surfing the net and 2) annoying the potential reader. I wish there were a crystal ball telling us what works and what doesn’t.

      And I love your promo idea. What a perfect gift for readers. Make sure you have them leave room for my cards. 😉

  • I think this is a topic that drives most of us insane–how much promo do we do and what works? I’m a publicist, mostly for non-profit clients, so one would think I know the answer to this question. However, Social Media 2.0 has completely changed my profession, and it’s not just media you are targeting anymore, you have the ability to reach the reader/donor directly. I do know that there is a point in the non-profit world where you hit donor oversaturation (ie too many requests for money). So where do we draw the line?

    • Melissa – It’s difficult to know for sure when it comes to that nebulous line. And I agree that social media has changed everything when it comes to the publishing industry.

      I don’t envy you trying to work with non-profits and skirting that line of overwhelming people who are willing to donate to a cause. Even with the few times I’ve volunteered to help with some fundraisers, I kept thinking we were asking the same people for different things.

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