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?