Monday, December 12, 2005

Promotional Suicide

The holiday season is upon us, which is a beautiful thing. The Christmas/New Year collaboration is supposed to be, in my opinion, the celebration of the birth of Christ, the joy in our world, and the blessing of being on this earth another year. Many of us celebrate by giving gifts to show our appreciation of one another, having family and friends over for festive gatherings, and possibly getting drunk to forget about all the money you spent and the ill-meant well-wishes you sprayed because 'tis the season.'

Is Wanda D. Hudson a scrooge? No. I absolutely love the holidays. What I don't love is the fact that some people use the holidays as a personal promotional tool. Yes, I do believe in promotion - hell, I have a novel that will be released in January of 2006, so I'm a promoting fool right now. Sure, push your book as a Christmas gift. If someone if going to spend their money to show their appreciation for their fellow man, why not spend it on your work. My problem comes with people who burst down your door to get the job done.

I am a member of a few online writing groups. Every year some of these groups do gift or Christmas card exchanges. Beautiful. I signed up in a couple of the groups. Everyone gave out their home address or PO box numbers and the cards began flying. Well, I received my first card in the mail last week. I was so happy! I mean, to think someone who doesn't even know me included me in their holiday spirit! Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Well, I got so mad when I opened the card and the author's promotional bookmarks fell out! Those bookmarks took my holiday happiness and stomped on it. In an instant I became another stranger at a fair who that particular writer wanted to reach. I know how the author felt, I am the same individual trying to reach that potential buyer.

I just feel that the majority of us in these groups know what each other does. I know you're trying to blow up, shoot, so am I. But the purpose of the card exchange, in my opinion, is to spread holiday cheer. Would it really harm any of us to simply put those promotional items to the side? I feel like my home was invaded. I gave my address to a stranger and then they just came in and did as they please. Yeah, I'm probably turning a mini cupcake into a German Chocolate Cake, but this is my vent space. I had to get this off of my chest.

Maybe I am judging someone's actions and for that I apologize. I haven't thrown the cards away, but I have no intention on purchasing the writer's works. Will keeping my money in my purse hurt the author? Probably not. Promoting until you are on the best sellers list is a dream that many of us have, and that many of us will accomplish. Promoting by entering the back door, when you're welcome thru the front, is promotional suicide.


Nikki Woods said...

Wanda, my bookmark fell in the card on accident! :) Just kidding. I feel where you're coming from. Some things are sacred. I think you're points are very valid and very well said.

Yolie said...

You said what I've complained about forever. Thanks for putting it into words.

Yolanda Barnes

Vanessa A. Johnson said...

Hey Wanda,
I feel you on that one. A few weeks ago while I was an ordering promo items, I also got to order some free stuff so I ordered some Christmas Cards with my book cover on the front. Okay, I'm a newbie! When I received the cards, I realized I couldn't send them out to anyone. It just didn't feel right. So the cards are tucked away on my desk...probably to never see the light of day again.
Happy Holidays to you.

Love & Peace,

Rose said...

You given me something to think about. Though I would never send book marks with a card, I can't get angry cause someone else did. As each of us study ways to promote ourselves,(I believe I saw this in one of those marketing books) I see that folks are using many of the strategies suggested. So if someone sent me book marks, no problem. We are all just trying to sell our work.

Sylvia Hubbard said...

I feel you on this one, but as another promoting fool I do have to add some feelings to this.

First i need to ask: was it one book mark or several? I wasn't sure when i read.

I could possibly understand ONE bookmark. Like Rose said, publicists often promote sending one in every envelope.

Several? I couldn't understand that. That was just wrong and the author used a shameful gaudy promotional tool that just shouldn't be done.

Although sending even one is kinda tacky. Maybe the author should have just signed their name and put a label inside of the card with their website name or even did the Trista Russel thing and incorporated a Christmas type thing for her book.

BTW, I did get one Christmas card with the author sitting on Santa's lap with her book in one hand and the New York Times Bestseller in the other smiling happily and at the bottom it read: You know what I want for Christmas. I hope your Christmas wishes come true too.

I thought it was funny and a good idea.

Anywhoo, no Wanda, you're not a scrooge and yes, you're a promoting fool, and no you should have to say sorry for something that really annoyed you.

Have a very Happy Merry Joyful Wonderful Christmas from Sylvia Hubbard, her three kids in Detroit and of course (promoting myself) Author of Stone's Revenge. LOL.

(Kisses Wanda and you know I'm getting that book when it comes out)

MsJayy said...

Let's not just limit it to author's promoting themselves. How about the folks that sell Mary Kay, Warm Spirits, or have their own products or other businesses? This happened to me last year & I didn't like it either. If it was someone that I'd dialogued with in the group & they included ONE bookmark, I might not have been upset but I got a list of products, prices, business cards, the works. *Sheesh*

author_sonya said...

lol : mary kay and warm spirits. I guess some people strive to reach the "top" by any means necessary. Let go and move on and hopefully the "offenders" will get the message and exercise tact going forward.

Every opportunity is not a promotional opportunity.

L.T. Rashard said...

Hi Wanda, I just wanted to come by and say Hello.


jill terry said...

Came across you site and thought this line was priceless...
"Promoting by entering the back door, when you're welcome thru the front, is promotional suicide."

Best of luck in your writing career.


Jill Terry
Author | Poet | Wordsmith Extraordinaire

"Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good
we oft might win, by fearing to attempt."