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View Full Version : Is it just me, or is this tacky?



PattiTheWicked
01-07-2008, 11:18 PM
So I'm working part time at a book store, to support my book addiction, and last night a lady comes in and says, "Do you have any books by the author who's outside?"

Me: (Blank, dull stare) Beg pardon?

Lady: The author outside, who's handing out fliers. I want to see his books.

Turns out there was a local guy who was standing around the front of the store, handing out fliers advertising his three books. The publisher (NOT Publish America, btw) is one out of Canada. They don't appear to be a vanity press, but at the Really Big Chain Bookstore, we can't order any of their books in, because they're apparently not distributed by our Really Big Distribution Place (I checked). Anyway, I told her she'd need to order them either from the guy himself or the publisher's website.

So then when I leave, four hours later, there's a flier on my car in the parking lot.

Now, I just have to say... even if I had considered buying a book from someone handing out fliers in front of a bookstore, that would've been the deal breaker. I freakin' HATE fliers on my windshield.

Am I just a mean, oppressive, other-author-hating bitch, or is the whole thing just tacky?

Shadow_Ferret
01-07-2008, 11:22 PM
Standing outside passing out fliers is tacky.

kristie911
01-07-2008, 11:22 PM
I'm going to go with tacky.

But that's because I also hate flyers on my car.

scarletpeaches
01-07-2008, 11:24 PM
The guy's name wasn't Paolini, was it? ;)

Jersey Chick
01-07-2008, 11:24 PM
Tacky. I also hate fliers under my windshield wipers.

this could be one of those threads where everyone actually agrees! :D

Sunkissed27f
01-07-2008, 11:28 PM
No not terribly tacky.... you have your opinion on this as much as any one else does.

I have had an actual person come into my office and peddle his book and had to turn him away because we can't accept solicitors.

On the whole it was tacky of him to pan his self out that way.
He said and I quote, "This book is so good it will practically sell its self."
If that was they case, why was he peddling it?

At the same time....not giving these small time authors a shot just because you hate fliers on your wind shied may be selling your own self short....ya dig?

Shadow_Ferret
01-07-2008, 11:28 PM
this could be one of those threads where everyone actually agrees! :D
Can I change my answer then?

IceCreamEmpress
01-07-2008, 11:30 PM
I hate flyers on windshields.

Handing out flyers, on the other hand, is fine as long as you offer them to passers-by instead of forcing them on them.

So the "putting a flyer on your windshield" is tacky, but the "handing out flyers about his books" seems like a reasonable marketing strategy. And, hey, he got at least one person interested!

slcboston
01-07-2008, 11:38 PM
Yeah, I have to say the "under the windshield" is where it crosses the line. Especially if it's one of those smaller fliers that looks a lot like the tickets the Parking Nazi's hand out here. (And no, that isn't hyperbole. I expect the meter maids here to any day now start wearing jackboots and goose-stepping from car to car. :) )

On the other hand, passing out fliers, as long as they aren't too pushy about it, can be enough to get me to at least look at the flier. I'm not sure it would lead me to buy a book... and likely not... but I could then at least say I'd heard of the author and his work. :)

But wouldn't he have had better luck standing outside an agency handing out fliers? :D

Soccer Mom
01-07-2008, 11:39 PM
Handing out fliers: not tacky, just self-promotion.

Doing it in front of a bookstore that doesn't carry your book: borderline tacky. That's not how you get your book in the store.

Flier under the wiper: tacky and messy. I hate litterbugs.


My .02.

PattiTheWicked
01-07-2008, 11:45 PM
Handing out fliers: not tacky, just self-promotion.

This I'll agree with. It's not the concept of fliers or self-promotion that I find off putting. It's these:


Doing it in front of a bookstore that doesn't carry your book: borderline tacky. That's not how you get your book in the store.

Flier under the wiper: tacky and messy. I hate litterbugs.

There ya go.

Perks
01-07-2008, 11:47 PM
I find that anything that smells like a sad waste of time is usually tacky. Shoving a piece of paper into my hand (that isn't a secret code to adventure and a numbered, Swiss bank account) is one guaranteed way to see that my money stays in my own pocket and that you'll get none of it.

A little dignity is good thing.

There are plenty of reasons a person may be promoting his or her very worthy book. Do it with a little decorum and I may even be interested.

Jersey Chick
01-07-2008, 11:54 PM
Annoying me is not the way to get me to buy something from you. I don't care how good a product it is. Having to pluck something out from beneath the wiper and then either find a trash can, or take it home and throw it away irks me.

DeleyanLee
01-07-2008, 11:56 PM
The guy's name wasn't Paolini, was it? ;)

LOL! Whereas my first thought was the publisher is probably Dragon Moon. I'm so bad.

I don't know if sticking flyers under wipers is tacky or not, but it's a waste of time and resources and probably could be fined for littering since so many of them wind up blowing around the parking lot. (Me, no, I've never dropped one! Heavens no! LOL!)

geardrops
01-08-2008, 12:17 AM
Not sure where I heard it, but I'm going to (mis)quote this:

Handing me a flier is another way of saying, "Hey, you throw this away."

I'm on the side of sad and tacky. There's better ways to promote your book. And if you're going to stand outside a bookstore and promote it, try and ensure the store actually sells your book.

PattiTheWicked
01-08-2008, 12:43 AM
Well, that was the sad bit. This guy's out there, handing out fliers for not one but THREE books he's gotten published, but the only way to get them is online.

And the odd thing is, I checked his publisher's website, and it looks as though they sell books to a very limited number of bookstores -- most of which are in Canada -- and not the chains. It appears that booksellers have to buy directly from the publishing house, rather than go through a distributor.

So what stumps me is, why would a guy in the suburbs of Columbus, Ohio, publish a book with this company in the first place? Don't get me wrong, I don't think they're scammers -- and I know at least one AWer has a book pubbed with them -- but I just don't see how this could be of any benefit to the author in this case.

I shoulda grabbed the guy out of the parking lot and chatted him up. Damn.

JimmyB27
01-08-2008, 12:45 AM
Handing out fliers: not tacky, just self-promotion.

Doing it in front of a bookstore that doesn't carry your book: borderline tacky. That's not how you get your book in the store.

Flier under the wiper: tacky and messy. I hate litterbugs.


My .02.
Even handing out fliers is indirect littering. How many people actually keep those things?

Soccer Mom
01-08-2008, 12:50 AM
Even handing out fliers is indirect littering. How many people actually keep those things?


True. I just assume that at least there is a chance people will dump them in a trash can. Sticking them under the wiper seems to guarantee that about half will escape and flutter in the breeze.


It seems odd that if online is the only way to buy the book, that he would be promoting it at a brick and mortar location. He'd be better off flogging it online.

Triangulos
01-08-2008, 12:59 AM
It's a sign of desperation I think. If ever I was tempted to self publish (and there's so much quality unpublished work out there these days that self publishing is nothing to be ashamed of in itself as long as you keep away from the sharks) I'd make pretty sure that I publicised it in ways that didn't look desperate or needy.

Flyers would definitely be out...

Lauri B
01-08-2008, 01:02 AM
Sticking fliers under windshield wipers might not qualify as tacky, but it's not a good use of his time or his marketing dollars, and it certainly gives off an air of desperation. Given his publisher's lack of distribution and the apparently limited availability of his book, that guy would certainly have been better served by saving the money he spent on fliers and the time he spent standing around and spending both on getting the word out about his book online.

JoNightshade
01-08-2008, 01:43 AM
I'm the kind of person who will actually call an organization/business and complain if they leave flyers on my windshield or my door. If you want to reach your audience, do a little market research and then USE POSTAGE. Handing out flyers tells me you have no idea who I am, no idea what I want, and you don't care if I listen or not, but you'd like to waste my time.

Stormhawk
01-08-2008, 01:45 AM
So what stumps me is, why would a guy in the suburbs of Columbus, Ohio, publish a book with this company in the first place? Don't get me wrong, I don't think they're scammers -- and I know at least one AWer has a book pubbed with them -- but I just don't see how this could be of any benefit to the author in this case.

I shoulda grabbed the guy out of the parking lot and chatted him up. Damn.

It's possible this was the only publisher that would take him, or the first to accept him.

Ol' Fashioned Girl
01-08-2008, 01:51 AM
Do NOT put trash under my windshield wiper! It's tacky. It's annoying. It'll be ugly if I happen to wander up while you're doing it. :)

Tish Davidson
01-08-2008, 01:52 AM
Doesn't your bookstore or shopping center have a policy about solicitation on their property? If not, maybe it is time that it does.

Birol
01-08-2008, 02:17 AM
So what are good marketing strategies and methods of self-promotion? What would you be willing to do to publicize your book(s)?

PattiTheWicked
01-08-2008, 02:23 AM
Doesn't your bookstore or shopping center have a policy about solicitation on their property? If not, maybe it is time that it does.

I'm sure we do. We're in a strip with other businesses, and I'd like to think there's some sort of "don't do this here" policy in effect. I mentioned it to a couple of co-workers, and they said it happens a lot. We were pretty busy, so it didn't seem worth it for anyone to go out there and shoo him away.


So what are good marketing strategies and methods of self-promotion? What would you be willing to do to publicize your book(s)?

Sell what's left of my black little soul :)

No, seriously, I think that's a valid question, and I think the key here is having a publisher who's willing to help you sit down and come up with a plan for marketing and promotion that works not only in your interests, but the interests of the publisher as well. It's going to vary from book to book, but as an example, for my Pirate's Alphabet book, I talk to a lot of school librarians, educators, and anyone else who can help me get my book into the hands of readers. Pimping out a flier in front of a bookstore isn't really a good use of my time.

veinglory
01-08-2008, 03:43 AM
Handling out flyers on a competitor's doorstep (i.e. a bookstore not selling your book) = poaching = tacky.

Moon Daughter
01-08-2008, 05:12 AM
The way I see it is that there's no harm done with putting it on the windshield. And as soccermom said before (at least when it came to passing them out) it's just self-promotion.

Zelenka
01-08-2008, 05:24 AM
This just reminded me of a little while ago - I was heading home from work, when we still had studios in the city centre as opposed to in the middle of a wasteground by the Clyde, and I passed this girl standing in a doorway, between Buchanan Street and Union Street in Glasgow. She was calling out to people but to be honest, I thought she was a Big Issue seller (the magazine that the homeless sell) until I was a couple of steps past and actually heard what she was saying, which was 'Buy my debut novel!'

In the end, even though the thing was not the sort of book I'd ever buy normally and I bought it more from feeling sorry for her than anything else, I did end up getting it. I don't know what publishing company that was, though, but she seemed to be the same, only available online, not from chain bookshops.

IceCreamEmpress
01-08-2008, 06:15 AM
In the end, even though the thing was not the sort of book I'd ever buy normally and I bought it more from feeling sorry for her than anything else, I did end up getting it.

Did you read it? If so, was it any good?



Handling out flyers on a competitor's doorstep (i.e. a bookstore not selling your book) = poaching = tacky.

I hadn't thought of that aspect of it. Changing my vote to "tacky" though if he had been doing it on a different street, that wouldn't have bugged me.

veinglory
01-08-2008, 06:23 AM
Otherwise it's just desperate ;) But if desparate sells books, what the hey :)

Zelenka
01-08-2008, 06:34 AM
Did you read it? If so, was it any good?


I didn't get very far into it, I'm afraid. It was a family drama about an abusive husband on a Scottish housing estate, mostly written in the local dialect (which I couldn't follow for the most part).

Icarus Iscariot
01-08-2008, 06:52 AM
after reading a few opinions on this matter, i decided to track down a copy of 1 of his books. it's quite good, reallly. it tells the story of a great author who, despite his talents, is ignored by publishers and mocked by his peers. my favorite chapter, if i had to pick one, was when the great author goes online to discover an entire thread of negative comments directed towards him. but the comments had nothing at all to do with his ability to write good literature; instead, they were obsessing over the fact that he'd participated in a few hours of self-promotion. he laughed. but it was a sad laugh. all these people stepping over each other, each comment was crueler than the last. and on and on they went.
"if only they'd put as much effort into reading my books as they did my flyers..."

Williebee
01-08-2008, 06:57 AM
i'm going with tacky. the windshield wiper thing, that is. the rest? guy's just trying to get his book out there.

I get a publishing deal, I'm going to do ALL that I can to promote it.

Don Allen
01-08-2008, 07:03 AM
Tacky and ineffective.. I will share a self promotion idea that anyone who uses it should send me a percentage... Woman's hair styling shops. Yep, Leave five books at the salon and offer a percentage to to the owner with business cards as to how to get more copies and you will have instant success. I don't really know if it works for books, but I sure sold the hell out insurance policy's that way.... I may just try this myself.

willietheshakes
01-08-2008, 08:30 PM
The publisher wasn't Trafford by any chance, was it?

PattiTheWicked
01-08-2008, 08:59 PM
after reading a few opinions on this matter, i decided to track down a copy of 1 of his books. it's quite good, reallly. it tells the story of a great author who, despite his talents, is ignored by publishers and mocked by his peers. my favorite chapter, if i had to pick one, was when the great author goes online to discover an entire thread of negative comments directed towards him. but the comments had nothing at all to do with his ability to write good literature; instead, they were obsessing over the fact that he'd participated in a few hours of self-promotion. he laughed. but it was a sad laugh. all these people stepping over each other, each comment was crueler than the last. and on and on they went.
"if only they'd put as much effort into reading my books as they did my flyers..."

I don't think anyone here is laughing at the guy -- I actually feel kind of bad for him. He's wasted a good deal of time and effort on a method of self-promotion that isn't really beneficial. And I stand by the statement that anyone sticking fliers under my windshield wiper is doing something tacky.

Furthermore, I think it's a good discussion when writers can sit down and say "Hey, is this a good idea or is it a bad one?" when talking about how to promote their writing. Your getting huffy about it doesn't make it any less useful of a conversation.


The publisher wasn't Trafford by any chance, was it?

Nope.

DeleyanLee
01-08-2008, 09:00 PM
Tacky and ineffective.. I will share a self promotion idea that anyone who uses it should send me a percentage... Woman's hair styling shops. Yep, Leave five books at the salon and offer a percentage to to the owner with business cards as to how to get more copies and you will have instant success. I don't really know if it works for books, but I sure sold the hell out insurance policy's that way.... I may just try this myself.

LOL! My late brother-in-law was a trucker. We used to buy a number of friends books and give them to him to drop off at various truck stops all over the country because truckers do book-exchanges, apparently. It was delightful to get the reports in of finding one of those copies, well-thumbed and well-traveled as quickly as 4 weeks later.

When I was active with SF conventions back in the 80's, we'd occasionally get stacks of books to give away on the freebie table. By the end of the con, they'd all be gone--and it wasn't unusual to read later in Locus that the author's next contract was pretty sweet.

SF publisher Baen has discovered that giving away free, complete ebooks of their newly published titles (either download or CD) has actually increased the sales of those books rather than decreasing them.

If you're going to self-promote, make it count. Get the BOOK out there, even if they don't fit under windshields. People are far more likely to dispose of flyers than books, after all.

mum23
01-08-2008, 09:01 PM
Flyers on windshields= a friggin nuisance

Don Allen
01-09-2008, 12:31 AM
LOL! My late brother-in-law was a trucker. We used to buy a number of friends books and give them to him to drop off at various truck stops all over the country because truckers do book-exchanges, apparently. It was delightful to get the reports in of finding one of those copies, well-thumbed and well-traveled as quickly as 4 weeks later.

When I was active with SF conventions back in the 80's, we'd occasionally get stacks of books to give away on the freebie table. By the end of the con, they'd all be gone--and it wasn't unusual to read later in Locus that the author's next contract was pretty sweet.

SF publisher Baen has discovered that giving away free, complete ebooks of their newly published titles (either download or CD) has actually increased the sales of those books rather than decreasing them.

If you're going to self-promote, make it count. Get the BOOK out there, even if they don't fit under windshields. People are far more likely to dispose of flyers than books, after all.

Yeah, I agree, kind of reminds me of the Sears story, I guess he would take watchs to railroad clerks across the country and leave them with the clerks with instructions as to who would be picking them up and what money should be paid. After a week or two he came to collect the money knowing darn well that the watch would still be there. According to legend he would put on an act for the railroad clerk and offer the watch for sale for a discount so he wouldn't be fired. The clerks bought the watchs, and Mr. Sears became a wealthy man. ahhhh salesmanship...

DeleyanLee
01-09-2008, 12:33 AM
Which reminds me. I've got this tote full of books from WFC I've got to get rid of somewhen soon....