Tuesday, March 27, 2012

{Guest Post} A Happy Medium for Promotions by Wayne Zurl

If you book blog, twitter, or facebook; you are going to want to read this fantastic guest post. Wayne Zurl, author of A Leprechaun's Lament, gives some great advice regarding etiquette and promoting your book.

Find a Happy Medium for Promotions
by Wayne Zurl

Every morning, the local NBC network affiliate floods the commercial breaks with ads for car dealers and furniture stores—sometimes the same thirty second messages back to back.

They assault the senses. My wife now mutes the ad time and only returns the sound when the Today Show resumes.

That doesn’t sound like the advertisers are getting the desired results.

Are you getting favorable results for your efforts in book marketing?  Are you tweeting or posting enough? Or do readers regard you as annoying—like a Toyotathon?

  I’m not an advertising or marketing genius, but I know what may turn off readers or listeners and your potential book buyers. Repetition may foster retention [of your name] but in my opinion, saturation sucks.

Don’t we want people to say, “Oh, yeah, Wayne Zurl. That’s an interesting little message. Maybe I’ll try one of his books.” And not: “Jeez, that bastard again. I hope he gets the flu and stays off facebook for a week.”

Let’s take a hypothetical pair of writers, follow their marketing strategy and the effect it had on others.

They’re both members of several writer/reader groups—associations designed to bring two main factions of publishing together, but often end up being nothing more than venues for shameless self-promotion. I sometimes wonder if any readers remain in the respective audiences looking for previously undiscovered literary talent.

Okay, on with the show. Mr. X debuts his book and shows his Amazon link. Other members wish him well, like, tag, tweet, and post the news to their Facebook walls. Mr. X responds cordially and thanks his new supporters. Several hours later, he repeats his actions trying to catch any Johnny-come-lately members. X gets more action from the group with additional liking, tweeting, etc. Conspicuously absent, though, are his reciprocal efforts of liking, tweeting, and all that jazz for their books.

On the same day, Ms. Y showcases her new book. All group members lend a hand and give Y plenty of cyber ink. She’s thankful, but unlike X, she also expends considerable energy tweeting things for her new group-mates. Everyone thinks Ms. Y made a great beginning.

Several days pass and now X and Y have graduated to sending out hourly blurbs about their literary endeavors in tandem. Miraculously, 5 star reviews are pouring in like the monsoons of Southeast Asia. Ten, twenty, thirty . . . more. And we hear about every stinking one. Something smells fishy. Are they organizing and pooling their friends and family to pepper the review sites? Then enter the interviews and guest posts. Me. Me. Me!

Soon X interviews Y and Y hosts X on her blog. They’ve openly joined forces. Then they review each other and of course there are more 5 star accolades. Never less than a 5.
Hour after hour, promo after promo . . . On each of the six groups to which we all belong. Me. Me. Me!

But the camaraderie and help from others drops off drastically. Then it becomes non-existent. The groups look like they’ve turned into satellites of the X & Y Show. Familiar faces disappear. No one except the occasional newbie posts anything. Enough is enough! And too much is . . . Well, it constitutes invasive saturation.

So, how much is the correct amount of media marketing? Beats the hell outta me. If I knew the definitive answer to that, I’d be an ad executive instead of an ex-cop writing police mysteries.

I do know you can’t sit at your typewriter wishing people knew about your book. But you can’t assault the senses of those huddled masses without incurring your share of negative feelings.

Look for that happy medium. And it’s subjective. My toleration may be more than my wife’s. Yours may be more liberal than mine.

And when you’re telling everyone about your beloved book, I have no doubt someone will extend the favor of passing that information on to their followers. Return that good deed in kind, immediately or when the appropriate time comes. Do it without being asked—remember the Golden Rule.

You may want to consider the term: Pay it forward. Help other writers before you begin your marketing campaign. Then continue to give and take. Who likes someone who only takes?

Today’s term for what people recognize in you is your brand. Years ago it was called a reputation. Getting a bad one is generally more harmful than being unknown.


Wayne Zurl grew up on Long Island and retired after twenty years with the Suffolk County Police Department, one of the largest municipal law enforcement agencies in New York and the nation. For thirteen of those years he served as a section commander supervising investigators. He is a graduate of SUNY, Empire State College and served on active duty in the US Army during the Vietnam War and later in the reserves. Wayne left New York to live in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee with his wife, Barbara.

Thirteen (13) of his Sam Jenkins mysteries have been produced as audio books and simultaneously published as eBooks. Zurl’s first full-length novel, A NEW PROSPECT, was named best mystery at the 2011 Indie Book Awards, is currently a finalist in the 2012 Eric Hoffer Book Awards, and was nominated for a Montaigne Medal. His second novel, A LEPRECHAUN’S LAMENT, was released on St. Patrick’s Day, 2012 in hardcover with eBooks coming soon.

For more information on Wayne’s Sam Jenkins mystery series see www.waynezurlbooks.net. You can read excerpts, reviews and endorsements, interviews, coming events, and see photos of the area where the stories take place.


  1. What a small world! I live on Long Island in Suffolk County! lol

  2. Hi, Lauren. Small world indeded. But I haven't lived there for 20 years. Still miss the pizza, bagles and saltwater.
    Kristen, thanks very much for the opportunity to meet your fans and post an article.

  3. Damned well said and overdue. I'm just a retired RN/lawyer, B'klyn-born 'n raised, schooled by the Jesuits to ALWAYS 'question'. I, too, belong to the writer/reader 'Ship-of-tools'. The 'X/Ytypes, thankfully in the minority, really serve only to 'brand' the rest of us as 'all-about-mes'. The GOOD news is that little 'x' in the upper right-hand corner of these self-serving tripe, allows one to 'mute' the thing which, at least, dissipates the negative assault on MY aesthetic sensibilities. BTW, I'm writing a book AND write a blog. I also REVIEW bks on KMK. Therein lies my 'trash-the-tool' weaponry. I can simply IGNORE THEM. In time, perhaps they, like their 'plugs', will be muted. Lorane Leavy. . . .



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