Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wednesday Rant

Not that I don't always have an opinion, but this is worse than usual. Maybe it is because I wrestled the devil all night or maybe one cup of coffee in the morning is now too much for me.

Junk mail. Yep. It is such a waste of time. Sometimes I send myself junk mail -- only I didn't send it -- and no matter what the subject line says, it is for off-the-grid prescription drugs. I can't even report it as spam or I'll block email from myself. That would screw up sending the newsletter notice to 'me' and blind copying it to everyone else. Technology, sheesh! I'm not on any medications, so it is lame to target me.

Tiny URLs. Yep. So what's wrong with such a brilliant idea as tiny URLs? Some of those URLs I add to my blogs are real monsters. Well, mind your manners. The only place tiny URLs are appropriate is (IMO) in tweets. And only then because of the character limit to the messages. I rarely click through a tiny URL in an email, even when it comes from a trusted sender (see above about trusted senders not always originating the email). I want to read the address before I click on it. Sure the full URL could look innocent and reroute to a porn site. But it rarely does. I want a clue to where I'm going before I click on the link. Save the trust games for corporate retreats.

Authors get rich promos. This is most of my spam email. Authors, especially indie authors, are a cash cow. Everyone has a service to promote YOUR book to thousands of readers. None of them give actual sales numbers of a real book, none of them give the name of unknown authors who have used their service and made back the membership fee. One of those spam adverts came today. It only costs $200 a year to showcase my books on their website to thousands of readers. Most of the time, they don't have thousands of readers. Finding readers is like herding cats. They come when they are good and ready. Readers are such an mix of people, how does one target them? No one knows. There are other sites that range in price much higher than that one -- and they think writers can't do math? I've watched these websites come and go. Yeah, and would I like to buy the Brooklyn Bridge too?

There are (book) PR firms around that say all these sensational things about what they can do. They say exactly what the novices want to hear. The only problem is after years of watching their websites, I've not seen them actually do anything more than make a living off of the fees from authors. In this business what isn't on their website is just as important as the advertising copy on it. If you don't see a list of client books that you can trace to other locations (besides on line retailers) then it is unlikely they have actually made an author any money. Exposure, maybe, but money??? I think we would have heard about that phenomena, just like we heard about The Shack selling hundreds of thousands of books. That success can be found in unrelated, independent sources.

So, what works in marketing books? Mostly it is endorsements from trusted sources.


  1. Interesting point about tiny urls - I only use them in Twitter!

  2. Good. That is the only place I think they belong.