Thursday, January 20, 2011

Asking For Help

It has been brought to my attention that I suck at marketing. Repeatedly. And I can't lie, it's true. There are valid excuses but they don't counteract the fact that I suck at marketing. I'm just not very good at tooting my own horn.

I think part of my philosophy stems from my crazy busy life, but also from the reality that I can't quantify the success of anything I do. I'm a touchy feely kinda girl. I wanna know how something works, see the results, or I lose the enthusiasm for doing it. Unfortunately, there's just no way to quantify marketing. There are too many variables and no good way to interview every single person that purchases a book to find out what made them pick that one up off the shelf.

So, that's where y'all come in. I'd really like to know what influences you to pick up a book. Have you ever bought a book based on a blog that you read? A bookmark you received? Or do you only buy based on cover or blurb copy? If you have an ereader has it influenced how you purchase books? Do you instantly buy anything that a trusted friend recommends?

I know that for me, my Nook has really changed the way I shop for books. I'll always buy based on a recommendation from friends who read and enjoy the same kind of books that I do. But I've found myself purchasing authors that I've never heard of (in genres that I don't usually read) because of recommendations from B&N. And really enjoying them. I honestly don't think I've ever purchased a book based on a blog that I've read. A blog might remind me to pick up a book I was already interested in (as in, oh yeah, I forgot that was out this week). But, maybe that's just me?

I really find this subject fascinating because I've discovered that my buying habits aren't necessarily the norm. This was a possibility I'd never thought of. I'm not sure if that means I'm out of touch with reality or just really blinded by my own life. I'm not sure either of those things is good. I'm honestly wondering if I need to reevaluate my take on the whole book buying process. What do y'all think?



Jean Hovey said...

I have bought books based on blogs, bookmarks (though few), and browsing online catalogs and bookstores.

I am very likely to pick up a new author that an author I love recommends. I also find new authors by reading anthologies. Usually, I've picked it up because of a particular author but end up liking all the stories.

I don't take a lot of recommendations from friends. I don't know why. Recently, my MIL handed me a book that sounds very depressing and I thought, "Oh, great. Now she's going to be asking me if I read it." Which she will and I probably won't.

That's why if I volunteer to lend someone a book, I always say, "You may or may not like it. Don't feel obligated." And I never asked if they've read it.

Problem Child said...

What's the saying about marketing? Only half of it works, and no one knows which half?

I've never bought a book from a bookmark, but I do think it helps put my name in front of people. That's the first step, right?

That said, I am doing a lot of marketing for the March book. I did get one email letting me know it had worked and that she'd pre-ordered my book. So we'll see.

Playground Monitor said...

I buy based on personal recommendations and I read cover blurbs. I have Kindle but it's so new I haven't bought any books for it yet; I'm still working through the paperbacks I have stacked up.

It's hard to know who your target audience is. I have a friend who reads a LOT and I was surprised to learn she buys a lot of erotica. There's nothing wrong with erotica. My friend just didn't strike me as the erotica-reading type.

Like Jean, I'll pass along a book to someone and tell them the same thing.

Marie said...

I usually buy based on whether I've read the author before, the blurb on the back cover or a recommendation from a friend or some combination of the above. Once I bought a book because of the cover (hawt guy on the front plus the blurb sounded good) but the book was a dud. That happens though I guess. Good luck with your marketing.

Smarty Pants said...

Yes, you suck so badly at marketing that even now, in this post, you don't even bother to mention you have a book out in stores RIGHT NOW. So, as unofficial marketing for Kira Sinclair - hey everyone, if you haven't already picked up a copy of CAUGHT OFF GUARD, do it now, it will only be in stores a short time longer. If you can't find it in your area, you can also order it at online retailers like amazon or barnes and noble.

That done, I typically buy books based on recommendations from friends. Or if a cover really grabs me and the blurb meets my expectations. But that's rare.

Problem Child said...


yeah, Insti, that's a bit of a lapse...

Instigator said...

*Smacks forehead* Honestly, it never occured to me to plug the book in the blog. This, I think is why I suck at marketing. I don't SEE the opportunities to do it.

Sigh. Is there a 12 step program or something?

Thank you, SP, for plugging my book for me. :-) What would I do without y'all? (really, don't answer that).


Jennette said...

I've bought books I've seen in blogs or discussed in Yahoo groups. Once, I bought a book because of the blurb in the author's sig in a Yahoo group. I don't think I've ever bought a book because of a bookmark, and I know I've never bought because of little giveaway items.

But like many readers, it's because of who the author is. But the best promo (at least, for me) is free books, at conferences, or by judging published book contests. I've discovered some fantastic, new-to-me authors that way, and went on to buy their subsequent books and backlists.

catslady said...

I like to get recommendations and when I hear about a book more than once, I find out about it. Friends, family, blogs, authors, sites...all good ways and of course winning a book is a great way of finding out about a new author :)

Cheryl said...

I will buy books based upon prior knowledge of the author. I also read the blurb then I thumb through the book to get an idea of how the writer sounds. If that appeals to me then I will read it. I rarely listen to other people about books because I am weird and have certain likes and dislikes. I think a wonderful marketing plan, based upon my thumbing, would be to post a chapter of the book, a hot one. That should get some people clamoring for the book! Just a thought...

Anonymous said...

I have read all of Instigators books and the latest is the greatest. Which leads me to say I typically stick to the authors I've read before then, genre, covers that draw my attention and lastly the blurbs on the back. If the blurb sounds like a storyline I'd be interested in reading then I'll read the first chapter prior to purchasing.


Angel said...

My personal observation is that marketing isn't so much about THIS book, but about YOUR AUTHOR NAME. In promoting your current book, you are getting your name out there. The reason I see this as important is because that's one of the ways I buy.

If I become familiar with an author's name, then see a book in the store or online, I'm 3 times more likely to click on it and check out the blurb. Now, the blurb is the deal breaker for me, but half of the books I wouldn't have even picked up if I hadn't recognized the author's name.

How I find out that name varies: luncheon promo, conference (classes and promo), meeting someone, goodies, pens, blogs, etc. It all adds up.

That being said, I've also looked at books for a couple of other reasons (notice I didn't say bought, because the back cover blurb is the deal breaker): bookmark (2), blog (several), hearing them speak or meeting them (several), and sometimes other promo (only a few). Recommendations from family/friends who enjoyed it and read what I like: quite a few.

But of those I've picked up, many are now an automatic buy for me, so I guess it works out.


Instigator said...

Thanks, Cassie! I love hearing from people who enjoy my books. :-) Makes my day!