when does promotion become annoying?

I think with people publishing, and self-publishing, and advertising on Twitter and Facebook, everyone comes across this question sooner or later. A lot of promotion is white noise you’re happy to glance at but otherwise ignore, or file for later use, depending on whether it interests you.

The threshhold to the realm of annoying marketing is not the same for everyone. Some people aren’t bothered by promotion, others want none at all. Most of us are somewhere in the middle.

We don’t mind self-promotion on a site or blog, if the site contains other, non-promotion material.

We don’t mind posts on Facebook and Twitter, as long as the promoter takes part in the social network of these sites as well.

I suspect that most of us draw the line at personal messages. Personal messages come up on your email program with a beep. You can’t ignore them. You hope to receive a piece of communication you’ve asked for, but instead you receive an ad you haven’t asked for.

I think promotion crosses the line when it no longer allows the recipient to casually glance at it in his or her time, and put it aside. It’s annoying when it’s phrased in language that demands attention (so-and-so invited you to so-and-so launch halfway across the planet). If you are going to target people with emails, select your recipients carefully.

What do you think?

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7 comments on “when does promotion become annoying?

  1. I like the policy of promotion interspersed with interaction especially on twitter. Twitter for me is a social experience and twits that using to endless promote links usually don’t find there way onto my follow list.

    Sending emails or direct messages, that’s a no no for me.

    • I don’t like it when people use their facebook and Twitter accounts to solely blather on about their books, the reviews they got etc etc., but sometimes I’ll keep following them anyway, because I want to keep up with who’s who and what they’re doing. I don’t mind so much, because I can ignore the noise. When, however, they send me DMs, they’re out, immediately. I don’t care whether it’s on Twitter, FB or goodreads.

  2. I’m rapidly losing patience with an author on Facebook who is constantly posting messages such as, “Another 1000 words on ____ today! I am so stoked!” I think they’re linked from her Twitter account but they’re useless … I want real info or a link to something related to why I’m following that person. Don’t just blah-blah-blah for the sake of getting your name/book title out there.

  3. I don’t like emails od DMs (does anyone?). Also, while I usually don’t mind promotion sprinkled in with other blog posts, I have seen some authors where every post ties back into promoting themselves, even if it didn’t start off that way. For example, they post a link to an article about ancient bricks and then talk about the bricks in their book. When every single post is like that, it grates on me.

  4. I agree. If someone who knows me wants to send the occasional message on facebook/twitter etc. promoting their lates work, then I’m okay with it (though it’s not something I do my own self), but I don’t understand why folks who I’ve never had any contact with before think I’d want a personal invitation to come to their book launch/party.

  5. Thanks!

    This is pretty relevant, since I’ve just started a new blog on spec-fic. I agree with Patty et al. Spam/advertising mail isn’t on. Interesting posts (blogs and facebook) are more likely to pique my interest.

    I recently bought books by a couple of authors* I’m following on facebook because they’re writing (on other things) was interesting, and they interacted with their followers, and even me personally.

    *Kim Falconer and Mary Victoria if you’re curious

    • Agree. I think advertising is more than natural on a writer’s blog. After all, none of us would be authors if we didn’t want to sell books, but it has to be on a take it or leave it basis, and has to be accompanied by other things.

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