Monday, December 6, 2010

Shameless Marketing at the Holidays- Too Far?

When my first novel, Letters from Linc, (shameless plug number one) was released in 2006, I made sure I learned all the marketing tricks that were supposed to make me a bestseller. I pursued both the conventional avenues and the questionable in an effort to get the word out. The one thing I did do, and still do to this day, is send an email to everyone in my contact list, whether we're good friends or not, to announce the release. Those I didn't have an email address for got one of my post cards.  Side note- post cards are not a good idea, and I will tell you why another time. I honestly don't know if any of these tactics helped me sell any of my books like the self-help book said they would, but I tried.

In order to try and up the odds, I also subscribed to a marketing web site for writers.  As part of this wonderful service, I get weekly marketing tips. Some I use and some make me scratch my head and wonder who came up with that idea.  The other day, I received an email suggesting I use my book cover as a Christmas card cover. This one put me somewhere in the middle of are-you-sure-this-will-work and that's-the-worst-idea-I've-ever-heard.

With the holiday season suddenly thrust upon us, I find myself getting ready to send out the annual Christmas cards complete with the family photo. I suppose it isn't accurate to say the holidays are suddenly thrust upon me when Christmas comes on the same day every year, but that's a rant for another time. As I was saying, it's time to send out three times the Christmas cards I receive. In preparing to do so, I find myself wondering: should I use this as a chance to plug my book? The angel on my shoulder is telling me that's not what the purpose of the card is while the devil opposite him is reminding me how commercialized the holiday already is. I'm not sure who to listen to or how to do this if I decide to go for it.

There is a part of me that likens using my Christmas card to plug my book to including an annual newsletter in the Christmas card. Don't do it because now is not the time to tell us all how great or not so great your life is. Then there is the other part of me who is clearly considering this as I've devoted a whole blog topic to it. In my consideration of the idea, I'm trying to convince myself that while it's self-serving and a little cheesy, the starving writer must do all she can to feed herself.

Will this net me any new book sales? Possibly not since most of the people I send cards to have either bought my book or found an excuse to avoid doing it.  Will I use my Christmas cards as another marketing opportunity?  I guess you'll know in a few weeks when you get my card.

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