A word about promotion – it’s about making the sale

I attended a book signing a while back and came away empty-handed because the author blew her chance to make the case for buying her book. It was a tell-all ditty about a famous couple she’d worked for. The premise of the book is that the couple wasn’t as fairytale happy as they had let on, and this woman’s book was to expose the great lie.

Ok, I only attended the event because I happened to be in the bookstore at the time. I detest tell-all books. But I’m glad I stayed because I witnessed a valuable lesson on what not to do.

The premise, as I said, was to expose the Great Lie of this couple’s happiness. She ran into big trouble at the very beginning by saying that not all couples get along, and no relationship is a bed of roses…after all, her mother didn’t talk to her father for three days after letting the dog poop in the house. So, marital un-bliss happens. No big deal.

And that’s the way I felt about her book. No. Big. Deal. She shot down the very elements that make her book a saucy tell-all for those who get into that kind of thing.

If you’re going to promote your book, you have to support your thesis by saying, “Oh, the lamps flew, the screeching matches shattered windows, the public shows of affection were a crock…”

That is how you get people excited. You don’t normalize the situation and say it’s no big deal. She sold one book…to her mother.

People buy books because they are interested in learning more about the story inside. If an author trivializes that story in a sudden fit of humility, then book sales are going to plummet. You have to remember WHY you wrote the book. What was your message? What was the point?

These are exactly the things this author forgot. Ironically enough, I saw her on a major morning show, and she did the same damn thing. The hosts were gobsmacked and were trying desperately to squeeze some blood out of the turnip by asking about the couple’s problems, and at every turn, the author would dilute the problems by saying, “ah, these things happen with any couple.”


Had I been her publicist or editor, I would have tossed myself under a garbage truck and hoped for a quick, painless demise.


3 Responses to A word about promotion – it’s about making the sale

  1. authorguy says:

    I saw the same sort of thing at my very first event.


    People seem to need lessons, but why?

  2. Jayne says:

    It sounds like the author was embarrassed by her subject matter if she spent the whole time trying to play down the very thing her book is pitched upon – sensationalism.

    Authors absolutely have to be passionate and believe in their story 100% – after all, they are the book’s greatest advocate.

    Lovely phrase – ‘squeeze blood out of a turnip’. 🙂

  3. MK says:

    Could it be that she was trying to avoid a lawsuit? I am not familiar with US laws, but in my country one can get sued for publishing stories about other people’s private lives that portray them in a negative light, even if those stories are true, unless there is a valid reason for it. Maybe she was afraid she might be accused of defamation, especially if her stories were “exaggerated” to make the book more exciting and then felt that by downplaying the importance of what she wrote would protect her in some way.

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