An Important eBook Marketing DON’T

The first few times I saw this, it baffled me. Now, I find it annoying bordering on offensive. I mean that it offends me as a consumer, as a reader.

Do not use your wordcount as a selling point.

I shouldn’t even have to think about this, let alone write about what a bad idea it is. I can’t even think of the right negative word to describe it. “Stupid” doesn’t cover it. Nonsensical? Counter-intuitive? It’s almost upsetting, when you see it enough times.

Let’s stick with “bad idea.” What is it that makes this so ill-advised?

Actually, I want to ask what it is that makes anyone think it’s a good thing to do. I’ve thought about it a bit, and all I can come up with is that it has to do with pride. A lot of amateurs participate in NaNoWriMo. One of the many flaws in the way that people use NaNoWriMo is that they place too much importance on wordcount.

On the one hand, it simply happens because the writer wishes to brag. “Here’s my book, I totally wrote 64,082 words! Buy it!” This, I believe, is why the wordcount is almost invariably listed before any other marketing tool, including the summary–and sometimes it even comes before the title of the book. If you do this, please stop. Think of the business side of selling books. You are wasting your potential customers’ time with completely useless information.

It’s honestly worse than, “If you liked this other book that is commercially successful, then I’ll tell you mine is like it so you’ll blindly buy it!” Although there is something infinitely more sickening about seeing someone use the space for description of their book to just list several best-selling authors.

Sigh. If it isn’t pride, then what is it? This isn’t your homework and we aren’t your teachers. You don’t have to turn in your metadata to us.

On the other hand, maybe they think that it makes their book look better, or that it implies something positive about the book. The Map of Time has a higher wordcount than Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Which one of them sold movie rights and launched an international franchise?

Flatland has 31,886 words. Does that make it better than The Metamorphosis? The obvious answer to that question is, “No.”

Let the book stand on the merit of your great idea. Sell the book, not your hard work. It’s a cruel world–nobody cares that you worked hard. They only care that the book is about the space pirate captain’s thrilling fight against the armies of spidermen. Use your marketing space to tell us that. Stop talking about your word count, your best-selling influences, and the stupid awards you won (we don’t believe that one anyway).

Just say what the book is about. The other stuff is pretty meaningless to people who just want to know whether or not they wish to read the book.

…i wrote this while falling asleep on the couch.


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