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Your thoughts on "goodies"

I'm asking this more as a podcaster than a writer; I was thinking about doing a show on it and I'm gathering opinions.

As a READER, does a NON-BOOK giveaway influence you to buy stuff from an author? I'm talking about a promo such as, buy my book and you'll get into a drawing to win this teddy bear.

As a WRITER, do you think promotions like that are successful?

(And all this is separate from junk with your website addy on it that you'd bring to a con, which has the main purpose of getting people to come back and look at your site.)

My personal opinion on "goodies" it is that I wouldn't want to lure a reader in with a gift basket. But my stories tend to be dark, with people getting killed, and drinking blood, and scary ghosts. I want readers who are into that kind of stuff to find me, maybe by reviews or the recommendations of their friends.

Maybe if I felt like my stories had a wide appeal, I'd be more into giveaway promotions.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 26th, 2008 08:09 pm (UTC)
I've found this technique works best if you are exhibiting at a show with a booth of many things to promote. When I was publishing games and comics (and dealing at big venues such as San Diego Comic Con), we always did some variation of "buy the new comic and you might win [insert whatever]." This was a great way to get customers to spend a little longer at our booth so that we could sales pitch them. Also, people standing around filling out entry blanks gave a subliminal impression that our booth was interesting and popular.

I think for your purposes, giveaways would work best as a benefit to your most loyal readers rather than as a come-on to new ones. I agree that reccs and reviews are best for bringing new book business vs. gimmicks.
Jun. 27th, 2008 12:15 pm (UTC)
I like your idea of filling out a form to get people to linger and be talked to. I could use that idea at my day job, if I could trust the clerks to upsell the things we need to promote. But their human interactivity greatly varies from person to person.

I'm not sure of the efficacy of reviews or not. I think it depends on the reputation of the reviewer or review site.

I like your idea of the loyal reader reward. (I'm in love the the cover of PsyCop: Property and maybe could do a mug at one of those one-off printy places.) How could I pick? Through my newsletter, maybe?

The last winner of a free ebook from my newsletter seemed pretty stoked.

Jun. 26th, 2008 08:28 pm (UTC)
As a READER, does a NON-BOOK giveaway influence you to buy stuff from an author?

I prefer book giveaways or book-related giveaways (like gift certificates to bookstores). Anything else doesn't attract me. Part of the reason is that I have enough junk and I don't really need (or have room for) more, which is one of many reasons I love ebooks.
Jun. 27th, 2008 12:18 pm (UTC)
I'm so with you. I'd rather win the book itself than a bunch of stuff.

I'm not as much on the ebook bandwagon as you because my day job is in a library, so I read 'em and return 'em. But I'm definitely getting that way with music, which I buy the CD, put it on my computer/ipod, then I don't much care about the physical disc anymore. (Assuming I can't get the CD from the library, anyway.)
Jun. 26th, 2008 09:06 pm (UTC)
I love non-book giveaways like signed postcards and bookmarks. I'm always sticking them in the books by the author and they just make me happy.

I would have no use for a teddybear.
Jun. 27th, 2008 12:19 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I see postcards and bookmarks as a different category, and I like 'em too. I guess if your books were all digital, it might be weird to have a bookmark to go with it. Maybe something like a wallpaper download?


Maybe I'll do that with the cover art I was telling Debora about.
Jun. 27th, 2008 03:45 am (UTC)
I don't have much time for non-book gifts, either giving or getting. (I count bookmarks and postcards as book-related *lol*).
It's the writing that'll link me in with a writer's work - giveaways might get me started with them (often does!), but the giveaway needs to tell me something about the fiction, like a download or free read, or it's neither here nor there.
And I can't see that I'd be tempted to buy fiction *because* of a potential prize - unless I was tempted to buy it already for its own sake, and then the prize is just an extra treat and it's not having the effect for me the author hoped *haha*.
Not sure all that make sense...LOL

You've given me some thoughts too, about preparing some free reads etc for next time I peel myself away from my laptop.
Have a good weekend!
Jun. 27th, 2008 12:26 pm (UTC)
I'm with you; free reads are really important to me. I think what I look for is first the blurb. If the blurb is clunky, I assume the author can't write to a level that it would take for me to allow the prose to disappear and become immersed. Likewise, if I think the characters' names are dumb, I won't go there. I don't want to see that name over and over.

Then the sample. It should be flawless, if it's THE sample. If it's technically correct but boring, or the characters feel generic, I assume the author didn't have a better part of the story to pull their sample from, so the whole story must suck.

Not to be hard on authors, but my reading time is so slim-to-none that I really am this brutal in my decision-making process.

I've seen "free reads" parts on authors' sites that have really sub-par stories. Am I going to go and buy their pay stories if the freebies are clunky and weird? Probably not. They'd have to really pander to a specific kink of mine. (Vampire twins, all rimming, all the time!)

Nah, maybe not even then. :D
Jun. 27th, 2008 12:40 pm (UTC)
Vampire twins, all rimming, all the time!

sounds like a damned fine plot bunny to me...*smirk*

But I'm with you, except that I don't even give the blurb much credence, having learned how little that can have to do with a story's style or content (and 'cos I struggle with them myself ^_~). The writing has to have a 'wow' factor for me, and preferably on dialogue.

What hard taskmistresses we are, right?! LOL
Jun. 27th, 2008 02:46 pm (UTC)
Likewise, if I think the characters' names are dumb, I won't go there. I don't want to see that name over and over.

Lol, I do this often too. It does make me feel a bit guilty but you know what... lame names usually make for lame stories. You CAN have a good sci-fi or fantasy story with cool characters that have cool names!

Maybe something like a wallpaper download?

I love this idea and have suggested it to a couple of ebook authors. Alas, nothing happened... I only know of one author who does this, but her wallpapers are just blank canvas with her cover copy/pasted on top. Well if it's going to be that sloppy, I can make it myself in like 2 seconds...
Jun. 29th, 2008 01:25 pm (UTC)
I just found this link from Tor that has promotional wallpapers, and I thought, cool! Now I don't have to scrounge around looking for all the sizes I should make.

Also, I'm really glad you admitted to feeling guilty about dismissing a character by their name, because I do too! I think it's because I'd hate for a reader to see one sentence of my blurb and dismiss a story of mine without giving it a fair chance.

I'm almost thinking that naming a character at the very start of a blurb by both their first and surnames will make the name sound even cheesier than it normally would.

Nick Jacobs is on a cross-country journey...

I think the name-placement makes even a mild and inoffensive name suspect.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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