Marketing is one of my least favorite tasks of the publishing industry. My friend Carrie Sheppard is a marketing professional. When she tells me the formulas for contact vs conversion, I can't imagine doing a more discouraging job. As lousy as the numbers are in regular marketing and advertising, they are even worse for books.
I keep telling Carrie if she could figure out how to sell books, she would be a wealthy woman. (She laughs and says that books are a hard sell.) So why is that? Nearly everyone loves to read. (Even I read, just not much fiction except for mss and almost never the NY Times best seller list.)
I get lots of unrequested marketing pitches for books. I also get lots of marketing pitches for marketing companies. I haven't seen any new ideas in any of the material - even the ones that come in the regular postal mail. They look nice enough, good paper, excellent graphics - and no new ideas.
Maybe it works on other people, but the social networking sites don't work on me. Do they work on you? How many novels have you bought because you heard of them on Facebook or through Twitter?
Have you ever randomly searched through one of the online booksellers like you do the stacks at the bookstore? I don't. Not for fiction anyway. I usually go there with a book or an author in mind. (I'm waiting for a book on import/export rules to arrive.)
I'm just wondering about all of this. Like everyone else, I'm trying to figure it out. Book reviews and word of mouth hardly work on me. I've been burned so many times by bad pitches that I wait until I stumble on a book on my own. What do you do? How do you select your next book?