Pretty much every day I see some self-published author or other promoting their latest book. By and large I don’t have an issue with this, other than when said author posts in a forum that explicitly bans promotion, after all I might do the same myself one day. What does annoy me is how frequently these posts are so badly thought out that they have the opposite effect of what’s intended.
This example, from someone called D Allen Rutherford, is probably the worst example I’ve seen in a while.
What follows isn’t an attempt to rubbish his work, but rather to critique this single promotion and hopefully give you pointers on what to avoid when you’re promoting your own material.
Where did he post?
The promotion was placed in the correct part of the Science Fiction forum: specifically a section given over to blog and writing promotion. However, his topic appears not to be sci-fi.
Only post your promotions in forums that cover your topic, that allow promotion and in the right category
Take a look at the image attached to the promotion…
Just about every rule connected to visual promotion is broken in the image, only not in a good way. It’s cluttered, has an overflow of information that’s poorly organised and a primary image that’s so badly photoshopped as to be laughable.
Invest time and energy in creating a clear and supportive promotional image. If your photoshop skills aren’t up to much don’t use it.
What’s it about?
There’s nothing in the promotion that sets out what the book is about. There’s no blurb, no social proof (a review by another author for example). In short, the message doesn’t sell.
Entice readers to learn more about your work.
I’m coming back to the message to look at its structure. The message is blunt and poorly formatted:
“Wargs: Curse of Misty Hollow” is on sale this week for $15.39, you save $6.60 through http://www.lulu.com/…/wargs…/paperback/product-22211452.html #thriller #suspense #mystery #kindle #ibooks #kobo #werewolf
So we have a title, a price (which apparently is a saving though on what we know not), a link (more on that too) and a whole bunch of hashtags all in a single sentence. Even on Twitter we now have line breaks to make messages clearer. Maybe with some reworking this could have worked as an post-script on the piece, but not as the entire message.
Structure your message to be clear, sell the next action don’t overload the reader with information.
The call to action?
To put it bluntly there isn’t one. Thanks to a rogue line break, the link is broken. It means even if this advert had prompted a positive response there isn’t a way to buy it. Even then, what format are you buying? The logos imply the book is available on multiple platforms, yet the promotion is just for one.
Have a clear “call to action” that tells the reader what to do next and make sure you’ve tested the promotion so that links work correctly.
Whether this book is the next Harry Potter or just a pile of trash doesn’t matter: the fact is few people are likely to find out. Put simply poor promotion means your work won’t get in front of an audience and won’t stand a chance of getting noticed.