I Hate Marketing

In the world of independent publishing, there’s a huge focus on marketing and all the tips and tricks to getting the word out about your work. I’m not particularly adept at it and fully admit to hating pretty much anything having to do with marketing. And yes, I realize this is something I need to change, if I ever hope to be financially successful. But one thing I’ve come to realize as a result of reading about marketing techniques is this: virtually none of them would work on me as a buyer of books.

I see recommendation from some “experts” to get reviews, even if you have to pay for them. And while I’m sure there are some paid reviewers out there who really do give honest opinions, I find the whole thing too suspect to try. Yes, I do solicit reviews for my books, but won’t shell out a buck for them. I know some people do care about these things, so they’re nice to have. But as for me, the only reviews I pay any attention to are those from actual readers. Sure, sometimes those reviews are very shallow, but for the most part, I find them helpful enough, especially the negative reviews. I do this for the same reasons I ignore “professional” reviews of restaurants and such. I’d much rather hear from regular people who’ve been there.

NOT looking at a book review site.

In the days before Amazon, my method of discovering new books (aside from recommendations from friends) was typically by browsing the shelves at the local bookstore, and the sole factor affecting my decision to buy the book was the blurbage on the back of the book. Even then, I didn’t go in for reviews. Or advertisements. Try as I might, I can’t think of ever in my life having purchased a book because I saw an ad for it.

But today’s marketing is so much more than reviews and ads. It’s Search Engine Optimization. I may hate this more than anything. Because “good SEO” often gets in the way of creativity. According to SEO, a “good” title for a blog is one that plainly states what the blog is about. Certain key words need to be in the article title, the page title, the URL, the content, the meta description, etc. As a writer, I sometimes like to make intriguing titles that wouldn’t necessarily tell you exactly what the blog was about. “Days of Coffees Past,” for example, is a title that I think is intriguing enough to click on. It’s not SEO-friendly, because it’s not especially about coffee, but it’s a much better title than “Using Nostalgia to Improve Your Writing.” Is that title accurate? Sure, I guess. But, good grief, it’s boring.

Despite my abject hatred of marketing, I’m trying to be better at it. Yes, including SEO crap, even when it leads to boring article titles. Sorry about that. (Ironically, the title of this blog qualifies as a “good” title.)

And don’t be shy about chiming in with your thoughts and comments, here. I enjoy hearing from you all. Plus, it would be nice to see a comment on one of my articles that wasn’t spam. (Prediction: I will received multiple spammy comments on this article from SEO people offering to help me.)

Until next time, SEO later.

Posted by vmwales

1 comment

I think there’s good marketing and bad marketing. Paying for reviews is an unethical gaming of the system. Writing blog posts, making newsletters, engaging with fans on social media, and giving away the first book in a series are all fine methods of generating interest/trust.

Have you checked out the Self-Publishing podcast guys? https://sterlingandstone.net/series/self-publishing-podcast/ They talk about marketing a lot but they also stress not being manipulative about it.

I really liked their book Write Publish Repeat: https://www.amazon.com/Publish-Repeat-No-Luck-Required-Self-Publishing-Success-ebook/dp/B00H26IFJS

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