When Are You Doing Too Much Marketing?

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I’m sure some of you looked at the title of this post and laughed. Too much marketing? Not possible, you say. But I dare to posit there is such a thing.

So when do your marketing efforts become too much?

  • When you are losing so much sleep you can’t properly function
  • When you are in danger of losing your day job because your marketing efforts are bleeding over into that time
  • When you don’t have time to write another book

I think part of the danger of marketing is that it feels like you are being proactive in developing your career, so you want to do more and more of it. The problem is that with today’s current methods, it’s not really possible to see which forms of marketing actually work. So authors do it all, hoping that something will stick. But the inability to accurately measure those efforts can lead to major burnout, and that’s dangerous. Possibly career-killing. Just my humble opinion, of course.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic of marketing. Do you believe, as I do, in the possibility of marketing overkill? What types of marketing do you think are most effective, i.e. what draws you in as a reader? A website, reviews, books trailers?

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35 thoughts on “When Are You Doing Too Much Marketing?

    Rachel Firasek said:
    April 18, 2011 at 8:20 am

    Ironic that you post this today! lol. This weeks ends my big push for marketing my debut novel and I hope that it has made a difference, because I have struggled with all three of your comments all month. Backing off after this week and going to find my “no”. lol. Thanks for reminding me when it’s time to back off.

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      April 18, 2011 at 8:28 am

      Heh, glad I could help. 🙂

      No really, sounds like you’re doing it right. The key words are that you made a big marketing push. That’s pretty necessary when it comes to a release, but there has to be an ending point, or at least a levelling off point. Otherwise an author faces the possibility of losing their mind. (I’ve seen it.) 🙂

    Terry Spear said:
    April 18, 2011 at 8:23 am

    Hey, Rosalie!

    I see where authors, instead of sharing books they love on Amazon threads, push their own books and readers hate it. I don’t do it, but I thought it was interesting that an author who did do it, has sold so many self-published books, a NY publisher and an agent wanted her.

    I still wouldn’t do it, but it worked for her.

    I agree that if all you do is spend time promoting, you won’t get any writing done. And the best way to promote your books is to have a new one coming out. 🙂

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      April 18, 2011 at 8:30 am

      I think about this a lot, Terry. I’ll see an author push his or her book every now and again, and that makes sense. You’ve got to tell the people in your network what’s going on in your life, and fans want to know about new releases. But pushing your work over and over again turns people off. It’s happened to me. There’s a fine line there, I’m just not sure we recognize where it is until we’ve seen other authors do it.

    Judi Judi Judi said:
    April 18, 2011 at 8:37 am

    Great post and topic. I totally struggle with this. To blog or not to blog–and the kind of blogging I prefer is what’s going on in my life along with pics rather than trying to come up with new a fabulous takes on writing. And if I’m writing on writing, I’m not writing.

    I have a book coming out June 24th and I have no clear ideas about how I’m going to promo it other that tweets and facebook and at a couple of conferences I’ll be attending.

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      April 18, 2011 at 8:43 am

      It’s a tough situation because on the one hand promotion is necessary, but on the other hand what’s the point if you aren’t going to have time to dedicate to further writing? It’s a difficult balancing act, and I’m not sure if anything does it well.

    Lily Harlem said:
    April 18, 2011 at 8:53 am

    Great post and you’ve caught me just as I have a new release out at Ellora’s Cave so I am in total promo mode. But not for long, like you very wisely said, you have to find the time to write the next book. Soon the internet will be switched off and I’ll submerge myself in imagination once more 🙂

    Lily x

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      April 18, 2011 at 8:57 am

      Ooh, switching off the internet. That’s hardcore. I try to do that but end up clicking it back on every few minutes just to stay ‘connected’ to the rest of the world. 🙂

    Suzanne Johnson said:
    April 18, 2011 at 9:04 am

    Great post–and thought-provoking. I think there’s another danger to the “too much promo” aspect, which is reader burnout. I enjoy author interviews, for example, but by the 20th stop on a blog tour, even though I’m an avid reader, it becomes a turnoff for me. So as I think of a blog tour for my own books, I’m wondering where’s the cutoff point? LOL. It might be that I just subscribe to too many lists.

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      April 18, 2011 at 11:32 am

      That’s a really good point, Suzanne. I think it’s possible to burn out readers, but who the heck knows what that turning point is? I guess it varies for everyone. 🙂

      P.S. I’m cyberstaking your book, LOL. I so love the New Orleans theme.

        Rosalie Lario responded:
        April 18, 2011 at 11:33 am

        Crap, I meant “cyberstalking”. “Cyberstaking” would be hard to do!

        Suzanne Johnson said:
        April 18, 2011 at 11:46 am

        Hee-hee. “Cyberstaking” sounds kind of painful, but thank you for “cyberstalking!”

        Rosalie Lario responded:
        April 18, 2011 at 11:50 am

        Yeah, I’m all about being pain-free. 🙂

    Katalina Leon said:
    April 18, 2011 at 9:36 am

    This post is very timely for me. Like Lily Harlem (Hi Lily!) I too have a Ellora’s Cave book scheduled for release this Friday. It’s my 7th book with EC, and I’ve vowed to back off on the marketing. I’m taking it easy this time. Of course some promotion will be done but I’m not going to chase every venue until I’m so exhausted I don’t want to write again. lol

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      April 18, 2011 at 11:36 am

      Yup, that’s the thing. It’s instinctual to want to do a million things to get the story out there, but how helpful is it really, and is it worth your health and sanity?

    Karenna Colcroft said:
    April 18, 2011 at 9:56 am

    Great post, and for me as well it’s very timely. I’ve been struggling with sales on some of my books and wondering whether I needed to do more marketing/promotion. After reading this, I think I’m doing enough, because any more would keep me from writing, spending time with my family, and so on. Thanks for posting this!

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      April 18, 2011 at 11:37 am

      You’re welcome, Karenna. Again, it’s just my opinion, but I think every author knows what their tipping point is. Writer burnout isn’t fun, so why push that hard?

    Jean Hart Stewart said:
    April 18, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    The eternal question for all writers. I don’t think anyone has the answer; I surely don’t. I find I do less promo-ing as I ponder which thing works…Jean

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      April 18, 2011 at 12:28 pm

      If only there were an easy way to measure success rates for promotions, Jean.

    Julia Rachel Barrett said:
    April 18, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    Sounds like we all have similar thoughts and we’re all suffering marketing burnout. I’m not sure what works. The only thing I’m convinced does not work is advertising. It has not, ever, worked for me.
    I think I’m going to go the following route – a kind of laid back push two weeks before the release and a bigger push for two weeks after and done.
    Promo takes so much time away from writing that it is not even funny. It’s a career killer.

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      April 18, 2011 at 1:01 pm

      Agreed, Julia. It seems like it’s too easy to overdo the promotion. I think you’ve got a good angle on it. New books will draw readers to older books too.

    Maureen O. Betita said:
    April 18, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    It is such a balancing act, one I know I’ve been on the tipsy side of lately. I was even discussing it with my agent at RT… How to figure out what hits and what doesn’t can drive one to another breakdown.

    And I need to get back to the writing!

    Great topic and very timely, just after the big push at RT.

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      April 18, 2011 at 2:54 pm

      It’s practically impossible to figure out what will work. I think a lot of it is just blind luck.

    Shawn said:
    April 18, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    I love book trailers and blog interviews. A great cover also has a lot to do with whether or not I buy. And you’ve GOT to have a great blurb and excerpt.

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      April 18, 2011 at 2:55 pm

      I think great covers are key, too. I love book trailers, but the thought of making one makes me want to puke. 😦

    Kinley Baker said:
    April 18, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    Great topic, Rosalie. I’m trying to figure out the promo thing, too. I think everyone had great comments so far. I’m super shy in real life so the marketing thing is tough. You can only hope your book will strike a chord with someone and they will run around telling everyone to read it. If someone else is passionate about a book, it makes me want to check it out.

    I think we can Twitter, Facebook and network to get our names out there. Great advice about having a set time for marketing after a release. I think the most important thing we can do is write the next book.

    I just created a book trailer and it wasn’t as painful as I feared. It did take a full weekend, though. It’s great if you need a two or three day break from writing/editing/reading.

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      April 18, 2011 at 4:06 pm

      To me, book trailers sound like the perfect thing to find someone else to do, LOL. Not my thing, but who knows, maybe one day I’ll grow to like it. 🙂

    Nina Pierce said:
    April 18, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    This is such a tightrope, especially when an author is just starting out. I really don’t like to see promo after promo on Yahoo loops. I have tendency to delete them before I even look at them. But when an author who doesn’t do it very often puts up a new cover, I definitely take a minute and look at the blurb and read the excerpt.

    But I’ve got a brand new self-pub out and this monkey is a hard one to market despite the fact that I have a pretty good readership.

    Of course you’ve asked the million dollar question and I don’t have anything more than a $1.00 answer. Like everyone said, the best marketing is your next book.

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      April 18, 2011 at 4:51 pm

      You said it, Nina. I completely agree with you about promotion/over-promotion.

    Shelley Munro said:
    April 18, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    Promo is such a tricky beast. I think it’s best to do what you can i.e. the things you enjoy and work on the next book. Work on building a backlist and start to promo your name rather than individual books.

    Mimi Barbour said:
    April 18, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    I’m sure the post was written just for me to read today. I’ve been promoting my newest release “Together Again” for what seems like weeks now and I’ve pretty-well blown the budget and the bags under my eyes are scaring people. Time to ease off and do what I love best – write!! At least for a few days…

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      April 18, 2011 at 8:35 pm

      Have you noticed how almost every commenter feels like this post was tailor-made for them? It’s because we all do it! It’s the only thing that feels like it’s in our control, so we go crazy wth it. The problem is we can’t measure the results, or even know if we’re getting any. So frustrating!

    Bronwen Evans said:
    April 18, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    Hmmm – to market or not to market! I have a degree in marketing and have worked in senior marketing roles most of my life, and I struggle with how to market my debut book, Invitation to Ruin, released by Kensington Brava on 1 March 2011.
    I do blog occasionally but I’m a great one for only blogging when I have something interesting to say. There is such a thing as overkill. Also I want my readers to know that when I do say something it’s worth reading. If I blog mundanely why would they bother coming back?
    I also HATE doing any marketing where I cannot measure the results. 101 of marketing – now what you are doing will deliver results by measuring the success. How do we do that with the first book? I can see what would happen to sales of book two if I did no blogging or promotion, but do I want to risk it.
    Many well established published authors have told me the best marketing is getting your book into reader’s hands and then let the book speak for itself. A good book, an enjoyable read, will be talked about by the readers. Word of mouth is phenomenal marketing. So make sure you have places readers can find you – blog, website, twitter, facebook and then do heaps of giveaways. Spend money and effort on direct contact with readers.

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      April 18, 2011 at 8:36 pm

      Nice to hear from an actual marketer. 🙂

      You’re so right. Writing the next great book is the best marketing tool. But still we all feel like we have to do something, especially in this age of social media.

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