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Book marketing tip: give and take

Posted by Maria Murnane | July 31, 2012

I received an email recently from a self-published author with a description of his book and a link to where I could buy it. I had never met the man, and the email was generic, so it was obvious that he was spamming a lot of people with the same message.

I replied politely, asking him if he had read (or even bought) my books. He replied sheepishly that he hadn’t, and I never heard from him again. Big surprise there.

I decided to blog about the incident because this wasn’t the first time it has happened. I’ve received many emails from authors with similar requests. I’ve also received many emails from aspiring authors asking me to read their entire manuscripts and provide feedback, for free. (I just got one of those last night.) When I reply to the senders asking if they’ve bought or read my books, their answer is always no.

The following may sound like common sense to most of you reading this, but apparently it’s not to a lot of other people out there, so I’m going to say it here: If you’re going to ask authors who are complete strangers to buy or read your books, you’d better buy theirs first.

If you're going to take, you've got to give

There’s nothing wrong with trying to generate interest in your book by reaching out to potential readers. In fact, I encourage it. But if those potential readers are also authors, you’ve got to put yourself in their shoes before hitting “send.” Authors make their money by selling books, so it’s only courteous to buy one before asking them for help. If their book isn’t up your alley, buy one and give it to a friend. Just buy one. Then send an email that begins with “Hey, I just bought your book…”

If you use a give-and-take approach, I guarantee you’ll have better luck getting a positive response.

-Maria

This blog post originally appeared on CreateSpace.com. Reprinted with permission. © 2012 CreateSpace, a DBA of On-Demand Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.

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One Response to “Book marketing tip: give and take”

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  • John Mosley says:

    Hi Maria,

    Thank you for the information you provide in your blog. As an aspiring author, I have been learning a lot from your posts here as well as those I have read on createspace. Though your books are not up my alley, I did purchase a new copy of Perfect on Paper and plan on giving it to my sister as a gift. I will encourage her also to post a review and let her know of your other books. Congratulations on your book launch. Best Wishes, John. :)

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