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?


publicity for authors

A lot is being said in the Twitterverse about the subject of writer publicity and promotion. How to build an author platform, how to promote your book, blah, blah, blah.

For one, I find it terribly annoying to be constantly peppered with requests from people to become a fan of their unpublished selves, or their unpublished novels on Facebook. I find it equally annoying to follow an author’s blog or twitter account or whatever when all they do is promote their own material.

Promotion is not as cheap as all that.

If you want people to follow your blog, you should make interesting posts. The subject is not terribly relevant, but it can’t be constantly about new books you have coming out, or, even more annoying, raving reviews your work has received.

A blog offers your readers (whether you’re published or not) an insight into whatever aspect of your life you choose to share. This could be writing technicalities, as done by Ilona Andrews. It could be tv, movies and aspects of society (or your cats) as done in the very entertaining blog of John Scalzi. There are excellent blogs by writers as yet unpublished, such as the services and quizzes for writers by John Gibbs.

The point is, if you want people to follow you in the blogosphere, you have to give them content. Advertising is not content.