Here are five ways to easily convince me that I should not read your book:
1. Tweet or update your Facebook status about it all the time. You bombarding me with messages about it (that all say the same thing) is not going to convince me that your book is good, or that you are a credible author, or that I should spend money (or valuable time) reading your book. All it will convince me is that you don’t know what marketing is, which probably means you’re not very up-to-date about how to get people to read your book, which probably means that you’re not really serious about being a success, which probably means that your writing isn’t serious enough to make you a success, which probably means that your book isn’t all that great.
2. Tell me about all the 5-star reviews it’s gotten. You know what 100 five star reviews mean? They mean you’re either Cormac McCarthy or your readers are inflating their reviews. Unless you’ve won a Pulitzer, don’t tell me about all your five-star reviews. Tell me about your four-star reviews – or your three star reviews! Those are the interesting ones. They were probably written by people who actually thought about your book instead of spitting out good things to say because you asked them to. Those are the ones that may convince me to read your book.
3. Tell me about how many other people have looooooved your book. (This is similar to #2). You know what? Lots of people are dumb. Additionally, lots of people like books that I do not like. Don’t tell me that other people liked your book. Tell me why I’ll like your book. What’s good about it? Tell me what is worth reading about your book– don’t tell me that a zillion other people liked it. What are your strengths, in your own opinion? Do you have great characters or an awesome world? Really powerful dialogue? Page-turning plot? Philosophical interjections? Tell me about THOSE things!
4. Hashtag every possible genre your book might fit into. Okay, so I realize that a lot of people like this, so I’m kind of going against the grain here. But you know what? I’m sick of hearing how a book is “dystopian” and “paranormal” and “mystery” (and for the love of God if I see one more #vampires hashtag my rage blackout will probably destroy the known universe). If you’re spending all day marketing on Twitter or Facebook, odds are you’re an indie author. We’re indie authors because we’re trying to be different. So why are you categorizing your self-published books into categories that were built so booksellers knew where to put the books on the shelves? (Not to mention the fact that, by definition, putting your book into a bunch of different categories probably means it doesn’t fit smoothly into any of these categories.) Tell me about your book. Don’t tell me what category it’s in – tell me why it’s different from the other books in that category. Can’t figure out how to fit that into a 140 character tweet? Maybe think about taking out all the damn hashtags. Or finding a different career.
5. Tell me your book is the next Hunger Games, Divergent, or Da Vinci Code. Because guess what? On a million to one odds, it’s not.
Well. That post was cathartic to write. And probably controversial. So tell me, writers and readers – what do you think? What turns you off in terms of marketing techniques? What can entice you to buy – or not to buy – an indie author’s book?