Bad Publicity Equals Bad Reputation: Things Authors Shouldn’t Do While Promoting a Book

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We see articles all the time outlining how to promote a book the right way. However, what's the wrong way? The truth is there are plenty of bad ways an author can promote themselves and their books as well. Bad publicity is worse than no publicity because it can harm your reputation as an author and cause you to lose sales instead of gain them. Below I've comprised a list of helpful tips to show authors what they should never do in terms of promotion.

  1. Spamming

  2. If you want a reviewer or any other media contact to get offended then spam them. Authors have argued about this very thing but spam is what it is and we cannot dress it up to make it appear any different. Whenever you send something out that's unsolicited, technically that's spam. But there are types of spam and spam should never be an author's choice while promoting. Spam is sending out email blasts to people informing them about your books. I've seen this done by authors and so-called publicists. Even though it burns me to get these from authors, I can excuse their ignorance before I can a publicist's. A publicist is supposed to have contacts and know the right ways to promote. Any publicist who spams in order to try to sell your book is no one you want to work with. Their practices will ultimately damage your reputation if it keeps up. Spam is also sending out countless announcements to people who did not ask for them. Spam shows the recipient that you do not take your book seriously and that you lack professional PR skills. That's not a great quality in an author and it will harm how people perceive you.

    So what's not spam? A personal letter to someone is not spam. If you write an email to someone personally with their name and addressing them, this is not spam. But sending form announcements to a hundred people at one time…is. Do not do it.
  3. Not Having A Web site or Having A Web Site Without A Personal Domain Name

  4. If you want to not sell books then don't have a web site. That's the bottom line. If an author does not have a web site then that shows how much they care about selling their books. If you don't take the time to have an online presence then don't sit around waiting for royalty checks because believe me, none will come in. Everyone who expects to sell anything needs a web site. You can build a web site for free with the use of step by step templates so there is no excuse. Other options are using a MySpace page as your main site. I have a web site but I also use my MySpace page as a site as well. You have to have something that informs potential readers about your books.

    Do not have a web site without a domain name. If you have a tacky web site without a personal domain name this is as bad as not having one at all. I don't care how beautiful your site looks but if it has the words "free" anywhere in its address it's looked upon as cheap. Visitors will wonder what kind of author cannot take the time to register a domain name to have a truly professional site. Company domain names cheapen your sites and this gives out a certain perception of you to readers. Get a domain name. They do not cost that much.

    Also, if you can't design a decent web site then there are companies that will do it for you. We must at least make an effort.
  5. Burning Bridges

  6. You can always tell a new writer or someone who is inexperienced because most new writers think they know everything and know nothing. Ignorant writers burn bridges the first time out of the gate. This is a surefire way to lose sales and harm your reputation. Examples of burning bridges would be cursing out a book reviewer who didn't like your book. Everyone isn't going to like your work and if you think that you shouldn't be writing. Other examples would be, being rude to fans, not answering fan mail (even if it takes you a while to get back to the person, make an effort to write back. You can simply email them if they emailed you. Let them know you were appreciative that they bought your book in the first place), being difficult to worth with is another example.

    Many new authors do not know how to be professional with anyone, including their publishers. The more promotion you do, the more promotion the publisher will help you out with. If you sit on your butt, they will not give you that extra push. You need to show them how proactive you are and they will make more of an effort to help you out. Also, it's not a good idea to be disrespectful to your publisher or to develop an attitude. You may be published now, but that could change. Publishers are more likely to deal with authors who are easy to deal with then troublemakers. Do not burn bridges and learn to take a professional attitude with things.
  7. Developing the "I'm Published Now, So I'm Better Than You" Attitude

  8. Another way to not sell books is to become arrogant, conceited and big headed towards people in the industry. I know a famous writer (who shall remain nameless), who has sold tons of books but is the most arrogant man on the planet. He snubs his nose at fans, authors and anyone else he feels isn't worth breathing the same air as him. What has this gotten him? A reputation of being unappreciative to the people who've made him what he is. It doesn't matter that you're published or how many books you've sold, treating people disrespectfully can harm your reputation. It's worse if you're a new author because you are relying on how well you do that first time out of the gate. Authors do not realize that how they act outside of being an author affects their sales. Published authors are considered celebrities in the literary world. Fans and readers want to know more about them. If you have a bad reputation and conceited attitude, they will find out. Nothing is a secret once you're published. Also, watch out whom you disrespect or treat wrongly within the industry. This can cause you your entire career.
  9. Getting Fake Reviews & Threatening People Who Give You Bad Reviews

Okay it's bad enough when an author gets upset over a professional reviewer's opinion of their book but it's ridiculous when an author gets upset at a reader for their opinion. We all want people to love our books because we love them but this is not going to be the case. If you expect a long career in writing you should remember to hold onto that thick skin that got you published in the first place. Some authors, mainly self-published ones have started a trend of having fake reviews posted at Amazon, glorifying their books. This turns off the reading public immediately because they can tell a fake review from a real one. Even the most famous of writers will not have five star reviews for every book.

It's just not possible that everyone will love your book so this is easily spotted as deception. In return it harms your reputation as a serious author. What's worse is that some authors have resorted to threatening readers that give their books a negative review! Where some authors get off bullying, I do not understand but you cannot make someone like your book. You also do not have the right to threaten anyone who has a right to state his or her true opinion. If you do this, you might as well kiss your sales goodbye. Your unscrupulous practices will spread fast and this kind of behavior kills book sales and diminishes your fan base.

Authors should remember that even though selling books should be their main concern, there are ways to go about this. An author's reputation is important and sticks with them throughout their career. We must make wise decisions and watch how we react to things even before we're published. What may seem minor at the moment could end up harming your livelihood as a respected author in the long run as well as diminishing book sales.


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