Jack Kilborn’s Top Eight Bad Self Promotion Tips

Talented author Jack Kilborn, a.k.a. J.A. Konrath, is on a 30 day, 100 blog tour promoting his new book, AFRAID. Are you afraid of the dark. You should be. Lock the doors and leave the lights on for this page-turner.

For the authors among us, Jack talks about something else that has most of us shaking in our shoes. Self-promotion.

Coming March 31st

available March 31st

My name is Jack Kilborn. I’m currently on a blog tour promoting the release of my horror novel, AFRAID, which hits stores March 31.

Over the course of this tour, I’ve picked up a lot of really bad sales techniques that I’d like to share. If you’re an author, here are some ways you shouldn’t sell your book.

#1 – Threats

Example: “Buy my book, or I’ll track you down and set your house on fire.”

Why it doesn’t work: While extortion is an unavoidable part of everyday life, I don’t believe Stephen King or JK Rowling threatened anyone with arson in order to hit the bestseller list.

#2 – Begging

Example: “Please please please buy my book, because I’m all out of money and my children are starving and they cut off our electricity and we all got frostbite and have had to self-amputate eleven toes so far.”

Why it doesn’t work: Pity works for charities. Your book is not a charity.

#3 – Nagging

Example: “Dear Facebook friends!!! This is just another hourly reminder to inform you that my book comes out in 182 days!!!! You’ll be able to pre-order it on Amazon sometime next month! I’m soooo excited!! I love exclamation points!!!

Why it doesn’t work: A few gentle reminders are okay, but if you’re bugging people more than twice a month, you aren’t going to stimulate a buying frenzy. You’ll stimulate a hate-fest.

#4 – Pushiness

Example: “I can’t help but notice that you’re buying some canned ham. I’ve taken the liberty of placing a copy of my latest book in your shopping cart as well, because I’m sure you’ll love it just as much.”

Why it doesn’t work: People don’t want to be sold anything, and the hardsell is especially off-putting. The less pushy you are, the better.

#5 – Non-Sequitur

Example: “Thanks for seeing me, Doctor. The rash appeared a few days ago. Also, my new book is coming out next week.”

Why it doesn’t work: Most people don’t care you wrote a book, so you don’t need to worm that factoid into every single conversation you have.

#6 – Swag

Example: “To promote my new paperback novel, which earns me sixty cents in royalties every time one sells, I’ve printed the book cover on these original Prada bags and am giving them away to 5000 people.

Why it doesn’t work: Seems like a bit of a loss lead. But even things like bookmarks, postcards, keychains, and magnets all wind up costing more than you’ll actually earn if the people you give them to all buy your book–and they won’t all buy your book.

#7 – Bragging

Example: “This is the best book ever written. You’ll love it so much you’ll want to buy me dinner when you’re finished reading it. You might as well buy 17 copies now, because you’ll want to give them to everyone you know. And of course I’ll sign them for you.”

Why it doesn’t work: Confidence is sexy. Cockiness makes people want to mace you. Leave the reviews to other people.

#8 – Nothing

Example: “I don’t need to do anything to help sell my book. That’s my publisher’s job.”

Why it doesn’t work: You’re living in a fairytale land with magic elves and cotton candy rainbows. It’s your name on the spine. If you don’t help sell a few copies, you won’t ever have your name on a spin again, but I’m betting your publisher will still be in business.

#9 – Lies

Example: “You say you only read books about talking horses who like jazz? That’s one of the best scenes in my novel!

Why it doesn’t work: You may get people to buy it, but ultimately you’ll tick them off when they discover you’re a dishonest sack of talking horse manure. Also, jazz kinda sucks.

So what does work?

I’m a fan of writing entertaining blog posts, then leaving a link to my homepage if people want to find out more about me and my books. Like this one: http://www.jackkilborn.com.

Hope some of you drop by. I have a lot of fun freebies on my site. It also cures cancer and will help you get the sexy body you want while giving you winning lottery numbers.

Okay, I’m stretching the truth a bit about the cancer part…

20 thoughts on “Jack Kilborn’s Top Eight Bad Self Promotion Tips

  1. Great post! And timely too.

    Did I mention that MY book comes out on March 31st too?


    (writing as D. B. Reynolds)

  2. The pleasure is all mine! It’s been a while that a good, true horror novel has come out — one that is reminiscent of King’s earlier works.

    Looking forward to March 31.

    Kaye – Yes, he’s loads of fun. For those reading – Joe has one of the best blogs on the net. Warning, though. You can spend hours reading.

  3. Begging is the worst. I remember this one writer awhile back saying something on his website about how he liked being a published author and wanted to do it full-time so would everyone please buy his books and tell their friends to buy his books and at the bookstore turn his books so the cover was facing out … it was just pathetic.

  4. Wouldn’t we ALL like to write for a living. Write the best book you can.

    I like Joe’s take: Offer something. The best story you can write is a great start. Blog tours among the writer community and word of mouth work wonders. Definitely the word of mouth. The internet is a great tool. People will seek YOU out.

    And just like a book, marketing needs a good hook, wouldn’t you say? Give people a reason to read a teaser, a blurb, a great review, see what you are about as a writer.

    I’d equate the writer Robert mentions is like those door-to-door salespeople canvasing the neighborhood. Whenever I see them I close the shades and don’t answer the door.

  5. Pingback: Rabia Gale » Blog Archive » linkatopia

  6. Does the threat thing hold true for governmental agencies as well? ‘Cause I sent an email to the director of the FBI, in hopes of trickle down advertising…and now…well…there’s there’s a bunch of guys walking up towards my house. Some in suits, others in cool black coveralls with goggles and helmets, biker types maybe?

    Anyway, I think my letter must’ve been successful. I mean they must want a bunch of books judging by the number of black Suburbans parked on my lawn and the armed guards in my bushes.

  7. Bwahaha this is awesome, I know one author who twists like an Olympic gymnast at using at least 4 of these in one of her famous -whamm bam thank you mam – Facebook posts and nagging emails… And who knew that Konrath is this funny, I love it.

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