Not My Cuppa

First of all, I know I’m a little odd in some important ways. For example, I don’t have any author friends. Nor am I a group person, so I don’t belong to any writer’s groups anymore. I’ve never attended a writers’ convention.

Frankly, writing is more than a job to me. It’s who I am down deep and personal. I write when I hurt, when I’m happy, when I want to be funny or profound or just connect with readers.

I think I might be called a traditionalist. That might be correct, since I came up through the traditional publishing model. I’m still under contract to HarperCollins/Avon, although I do publish my paranormal series independently.

From the beginning of my career there have been people and practices that have appalled me. From the woman who swept into a bookstore when I was having a signing, did a twirl in front of the table where I was sitting, and announced to all and sundry: “I’m XXX and I’m here to sign all my books for you.” She was wearing a kind of a cape and had a red rose in her hair. My eyes pretty much bugged out and stayed that way until the signing was over.

Or the writer who gave out jar openers with her name on them and then got abusive on a forum when another writer made the comment that she didn’t think jar openers were a good publicity tool.

I’ve seen a lot of different marketing materials. I used to send out huge mailings to readers. I also sent out book packages to bookstores that included all sorts of promotional materials. Those mailings took lots of man hours and oodles of cash. I greeted email almost tearfully. When I got my first domain and website back in 1996 I was one happy camper.

One thing about my memories of past marketing attempts – they weren’t tawdry. The other day I got an email from a book blog that I have – up until now – considered professional.

Here’s what they said:

Want to read 25 panty melting stories from bestselling authors?

Okay, look, you are never, ever, never going to intrigue me or talk me into buying something with the description panty melting. Ewww.

Oh, and I’ve never heard of any of the 25 authors.

I realize that the culture is generally in a coarsening mode, but I think there are a lot of us in the world who are embarrassed by that kind of terminology. I know I am.

I can’t help but wonder about the authors participating in this bundle. Did they know what the blog was going to call the collaboration? Frankly, if I had participated and they’d used the term panting melting I would have pulled out so fast you could see my contrail. Hopefully, my writing deserves a little better description than that. Oh, and it wasn’t a collection of erotica, either. It was billed as general romance.

What do you think? Have you encountered any odd marketing techniques? 


14 thoughts on “Not My Cuppa”

  1. I enjoy a book that I can learn ftom. Laugh at. Maybe tear up. When I buy a book with sex right off the bat I don’t finish but donate. I enjoy when authors send bookmarks or postcards of their new books

  2. This is why we like you. You are down to earth and so like your readers. Some writers go a little too far in their writings at least for me.

  3. I don’t like the smut so if I get any in my email I delete it immediately. I’m not into the panty melting stories. I like romance not porn.

    • I guess I was just surprised at the wording of that email. I would think that you would run the risk of alienating possible readers, but what do I know?

  4. We get a lot of strange marketing items in the field of economic development. Several weeks ago we got a small cardboard basketball hoop with the netting attached. I looked for a ball to see if we were supposed to put it on our desk for amusement when we wanted to take a break. There was no ball and I never did understand the message. Sometimes we receive nice items but it always surprises me when they are not made in the geographic location from which they are sent. I went to a romance convention a few years ago and got some pens with silk flowers attached. I rather liked that promotion because I have a bouquet of flowers on my side table and a good writing pen whenever needed. When I receive a promotion like you did it always starts me wondering who the target audience is. I would love to hear from a marketing expert what is trending in romance books and which group of people is likely to buy the most books. I don’t understand the BDSM (I don’t know if I even got the letters right but you know what I mean) craze. I tried reading a couple but they were both boring and demeaning to women. I also read a romance about two mature adults but there was absolutely no sex or even hot petting scenes. I found that book boring and unrealistic. I recently received an e-mail from a historical romance author whose books I had not read for quite a few years. She stated that she was going to close the bedroom door and remove the sex scenes from her books. I felt that was a strange e-mail and wondered what prompted her to even send something like that. I avoid books that either promote sex or are clean and sweet. Both make me want to gag. I like your books Karen! Keeping you in my prayers.

    • Thank you, Lynn. I can always use prayers. 🙂 Great question about why she would send that email.

      I read a writer forum occasionally and the other day one writer asked, “Should I smut up my books more?” That offended me no end. Evidently, she saw any sex as “smut”. As I have said – many, many times – it’s easier to write a sex scene than a love scene. A love scene connects the hero and heroine, continues their relationship, and reveals their vulnerabilities. It’s not smut.

    • I can’t believe how offended I was. I’m not a prude. It’s just that it startled me that anyone would market to me with those words.

Comments are closed.