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Friday, October 18, 2013

Marketing 101: How NOT To Do It

So, I got yet another request for a book promo. I could have had a copy of the book, but the blurb told me it was not my kind of book, though YA. Because the PR firm handling the marketing had addressed me by name instead of making it sound like a mass mail-out, I replied. I wasn't really interested in reviewing the book, but that didn't mean it wouldn't interest my readers. I was prepared to offer the author a guest post. I've done this many times before and it has worked nicely.

They didn't get it. Either that or they hoped if they bustled about enough, I might just go along with what they had planned, which was a blog tour with a press release, a character profile from a book nobody has read yet and one of those fancy Rafflecopter giveaways. Giveaways have never had much success on this web site anyway, except once, when it was being hosted by another site that specialises in giveaways. I think the best result I ever had was about six entries and that included my Goodreads invitation. Honestly, you guys, anyone would think you don't want a free book! Maybe you just love reading my fabulous posts. ;-)

No, I said. I had offered a guest post and ONLY a guest post. I was, however, happy to include a less formal giveaway with the post. And I sent a link to a guest post on my site to give an example of what I had in mind. They admitted that the giveaway was US only. I don't live in the US and neither do half of my readers. I asked them to give my email address to their client so I could explain what was required.

This morning, they sent me their press release again, asking if this was okay for my post today! Today?

I said no, it's a press release. I don't publish them. I explained why the author should write it, and suggested that as I was clearly holding up their blog tour, perhaps we'd better forget about it for now and get the author to contact me later to do the guest post outside the blog tour. I would even CC them.

So that's that. Can you see what these PR folk have done wrong? The only right things they did were to choose a YA site and address me by name. After that, it was a waste of my time and theirs.

And it's a pity. I have, out of curiosity, visited the author's web site and was quite impressed. Yes, it's a self-published book, but this person didn't just rustle up something on CreateSpace or whatever and start emailing blogs to please, please review my book. It's bigger than Ben-Hur! A boutique publishing company with admittedly only one book, printers, distributors, editors, quotes from friends in the business and a crowd funding campaign. And getting copies into bricks and mortar stores. You have to take your hat off to that sort of enterprising nature. I was almost tempted to make direct contact, but thought no, that's what the PR firm is being paid to do. Up to them. They wouldn't like it.

I hope still to do that post, because I think this person deserves promo, so I'm not naming author, book or PR firm.

So, what do you think? I know I did the right thing for my blog, but what would you have done if you had offered one thing and they had tried to push something else on to you? I know it's a PR firm's job to be pushy, but I don't like pushiness. Sorry!


Tsana Dolichva said...

I would definitely have said no as soon as they started being pushy! How rude.

The worse I've had was once when an author emailed me with a very slick "here's why you should review my book" spiel that struck me as a bit too strong on the marketing front and also wasn't quite the sort of thing I usually review (but wasn't that far off). I googled him and quickly learnt he was one of those *cough* silly authors who get very aggressive at bad reviews. Backed away slowly.

Sue Bursztynski said...

When I said no to the giveaway, they apologised. I assumed they would do the right thing after that, but they didn't, so I said no then. If I hear directly from the author, politely, I might agree. I won't reply to the PR firm again. Thanks, Tsana.