Thursday, March 31, 2011

All Marketing Companies Are Not the Same

Maybe you're sitting there saying, "Duh!" I know that. But I thought it was important to talk about this for a moment because we authors can be a trusting bunch. In our eagerness to tell the world about our books, we might overlook or try to ignore a little nagging thing.

There are many companies out there who will charge you a great deal of money to help you market your book. Working in online book promotion, I realize that services have their price. People's time is worth something, and you shouldn't be too fast to give away your expertise. That said, I am all for doing as much as you can for free before paying someone else. In addition, if you decide to pay someone to help you market your book, you need to know what you're getting into.

Last week I received an email from a group about their marketing services. They are running a sale on some of their popular services:  book reviews (which I never believe in paying for anyway), video trailers, press releases, and website design and promotion. Their prices didn't make me swallow my gum or anything, but I counted a total of 17 typographical and grammar errors in the message. This is who I am going to send almost $150 to so they can write up a press release and submit it?

Before plunking down your hard-earned cash for any service, here are some things to do:

  • Print or create a list of the services you're interested in and the fee schedule. Share this with experienced writing friends to get their input.
  • Contact the company and ask for recommendations. Don't let them say they have testimonials on their website. You want to talk to or correspond with at least 3 people who have used their services in the past. Questions to ask can range from: "Were you happy with their services?" to "Did you have any problems with them, and if so, were they resolved to your satisfaction?" to " "Would you use them again?"
  •  Before signing up, be sure you need everything they are selling you. It's easy to be talked into a larger package with a higher price tag. I know it's happened to me with landscaping or other home services.
I hope this article has given you some food for thought. Feel free to share your experiences here, but please don't name any names, especially if your experience was less than positive.


Nancy Stewart said...

Great advice here, especially the three referrals. It really is the same with any service, this included. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I'm a bit to eager and go overboard. I get so wrapped up in doing EVERYTHING. I think I spread myself too thin. Luckily the cost is my time.
J. Aday Kennedy
The Differently-Abled Writer & Speaker
Children's Author of Klutzy Kantor & Marta's Gargantuan Wings

Angela said...

Thanks, Cheryl. One reason why I launched Market My Novel is because so many writers had no clue about promotions. I figure if you can pay for it, great, but you MUST understand the process.

I work with clients - many non-profits - that have no idea what we do. They just have this vague notion of online media and that it should work. I find the same with writers.

Doing it will not only give writers experience, it will let them know when someone is trying to sell them a gold-plated turd.

Nicole weaver said...


So very wise of you to post this much needed article. One can never be too careful. I get a ton of emails on promotions, I simply delete them.
nicole Weaver

Cheryl said...

J. Aday, I think it's very easy to spread yourself thin. We all do it. I found that with social networks. Now I concentrate on a few instead of trying to be all over the place.

That's how I feel about it too, Angela. If I try to figure it out, then I'll know what to spend my money on and when to keep it in my wallet.

I'm glad you found it helpful, Nicole. You're smart deleting them if you know they won't work for you anyway.

Thanks for stopping by everyone. I appreciate the comments.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Thanks for the great advice, Cheryl. It pays to be cautious.