Monday, August 05, 2013

Promotion: Is ignorance bliss?

These days, authors need their work to be both visible and memorable to stay on top. But are we being as careful as we should with our promotions? Well...

When authors employ questionable tactics, two things happen:

1. They put themselves in danger of getting caught—which could mean anything from having their material taken down to facing legal action.

2. They harm competition. Readers see these flashy promotions, and the bar is raised to unattainable levels for those doing the right thing.
Media Militia Shattered 3D Font
So, here are a few points to ponder:

Note: This should, in no way, be misconstrued as advice.

Contests/Giveaways on Facebook

You’ve seen themmaybe you’ve done one yourself. An author posts a status like this:


"The first person to comment on this post wins a free copy of Book Title!"


Or


"Who is your favorite character from Book Title? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll choose a random winner to receive a signed bookmark!"


Guess what? According to Facebook, that’s not cool.

If you’re going to host a contest/giveaway, it has to be done through a canvas page or an app. And even then, it’s subject to strict-ish rules. Fortunately, Rafflecopter's blog has a great post on this subject.




Book Trailers


Have you ever seen a really great compilation of movie clips and popular music in a book trailer? The way things are presented, it breathes new life into the material and makes it seem like it’s really about Book Title! Such creativity, such vision, such...


...copyrighted material.


You know how you can’t use images without proper permission or license? Same rule applies here.


Retail Logos


You have a graphic floating around for your 99-cent sale, including the logos of every retailer that stocks your book. Is that okay?

It depends.

KDP says you may use an Amazon-provided logo, as long as the words “Available for _____” or “Available on _____” are above or to the side of the logo. You also have to agree to their terms and conditions. Personally, I would not want that mega-beast coming after me, so be sure to play by their rules.

 And there you have it! A few missteps to avoid. :)

Question of the week: Can you think of any other sticky situations related to promotion?

64 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Glad my publisher creates all original graphics for my book trailers. Obviously that's why.

Donna K. Weaver said...

So many sticky issues. Thanks for the heads up.

JeffO said...

*filing away for future use* Thanks!

Natasha Hanova said...

Great post! I'll have to go recheck how I'm using Retail Logos. I'd love a book trailer, but don't have one for many of the reasons above.

Cassie Mae said...

Ah crap. LOL!

Melissa said...

Great post.
There's so much to think about! :\

ilima said...

I've seen all of these things before from authors. Good to know.

Crystal Collier said...

Excellent points to keep in mind. Of course, having worked for an audio/visual production company, the book trailer one wasn't anything new. Copyrights are copyrights, people. ;)

Juliana Haygert said...

Wow, I didn't know about the facebook thing. Good to know. Thanks, Carrie.

Samantha May said...

Definitely will have to save this post for future reference! Thanks :)

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Oh crap. I just violated #1. I didn't realize FB didn't allow that sort of give away. Maybe I best delete...

I did know about the trailers and I am very careful to steer clear of logos.

Thanks Carrie! You are ever so wise. :)

Carrie Butler said...

Yeah, you have one of the most original trailers I've ever seen! :) I stick to royalty free songs and backgrounds in mine.

Gwen Gardner said...

I did hear that FB was cracking down on that kind of giveaway. You used to be able to put a rafflecopter on your page - I don't know about now, though. Thanks Carrie! This is a great reminder that we should mind the rules.

Morgan said...

Haha! Totally entertaining, Carrie. Clever post.

And gosh, it seems like it's been too long. I hope you are well and fabulous. You're SO talented. :D

Nancy Thompson said...

I tried to warn a friend recently whose fans created a book trailer for her book using a Springsteen song. Even though she didn't make it herself, her book & name are featured, which worries me now that she has knowledge of it.

E.J. Wesley said...

It's very easy to get on the wrong side of TOS these days. Blogger, Facebook, Twitter, etc. all have their little issues with various things. It's what happens when people trying to make money are at the mercy of other people who are trying to make money.

I say Amazon and Facebook have made enough and they should share with us willingly! *pleads secretly* Please don't ban me, bro! :D

Angela Brown said...

I suppose some ignorance is not bliss if it can invoke the wrath of FB or the mighty Zon. I like the work Kevin Macleod does (I think I spelled that right). He was my go-to person for the music I did for Neverlove's book trailer. He did have the stipulation for making sure to mention hem for the music, which I was and am glad to do again for any future use of his music. And that's the same for other royalty free sites. Make sure to check for stipulations of the free use of their material.

Sheena-kay Graham said...

With Amazon I've always provided a link and will continue to do so. These are great examples of how we writers and promoters need to be careful not to trip up.

Aldrea Alien said...

Wow. Didn't know about the facebook thing, but then, I don't use it very often.

I'm glad I've managed to use good ol' common sense and steer clear of the other mistakes. When in doubt, I always try my best to find out what's acceptable before I do anything.

Leigh Covington said...

OOH! Good information to have! Definitely have to be careful with things. :)

Carrie Butler said...

Anytime. :) Thanks for stopping by!

Carrie Butler said...

No problem! :)

lgkelso said...

How about making people up to promote your own work? Sadly, that seems to be "Acceptable"...

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, Natasha!

And it's totally feasible to do a "legit" book trailer. Just keep it text-centric or find appropriately licensed material. :)

Carrie Butler said...

Well, that doesn't sound good. LOL

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, Melissa!

Ugh. I know, right? So many eggshells lining this path...

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, Ilima! :)

Carrie Butler said...

Nice! I bet that background comes in handy. :D

Carrie Butler said...

I learned after my release event and almost spazzed. LOL

Carrie Butler said...

No problem! :)

Carrie Butler said...

I've never been called wise before. Well, unless there was an a-double-s after it... *grins*

Thanks, Elizabeth!

Carrie Butler said...

As far as I know, you can still use a Rafflecopter. Those things come in pretty handy! :)

Carrie Butler said...

It has been a long time. Too long! Did you know I'm going indie? :)

Thanks, Morgan!

Carrie Butler said...

Ugh. That's so sticky! Hopefully, nothing comes of it.

Carrie Butler said...

*edges away in case Internet lightning strikes* I've never met this man before in my life!

I mean...

Thanks for stopping by, EJ!

Carrie Butler said...

Yes! Kevin Macleod is amazing. I love what he's done for the Internet community. :D

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, Sheena-kay! :)

Carrie Butler said...

Better safe than sorry, right? :) Nice to see you around here again, Aldrea!

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, Leigh! <3

Carrie Butler said...

That is a whole other level of stickiness. I wouldn't touch that one with a ten foot pole! LOL

David List said...

Thanks for the advice Carrie. Moving toward this phase once again and trying to make a game plan. This helps me narrow it down!

Carrie Butler said...

Glad to help, David! :) Good luck with the game plan!

Caryn Caldwell said...

Love this! I had no idea about the retail logos. And your bit about movie trailers made me laugh. I'm going to have to remember all this for...someday. Thanks for the advice!

tfwalsh said...

A lot of things to consider... I'm actually making my own trailer with photos I took... :) Might not look super duper great, but it will be personalized:)

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I think a lot of people don't know about the FB rules. I only knew about them because of an online workshop I took.

I'm doing a post on giveaways on the Querytracker blog later this month (while I'm away on vacation!!!). Yep, it's in preparation for my own. It's amazing what I discovered while researching the topic.

Carrie-Anne said...

I think constant self-promotion is also a big no-no, if that's all you use your social networking page for. I follow at least one writer on Twitter who seems to Tweet almost nothing but self-promotion, and it's pretty obnoxious. I also second the suggestion that it's not cool to make up reviews to promote yourself, as I've seen reported as happening at Goodreads by some desperate, pathetic people.

I've seen some writers offer contest prizes of having a character based on the winner in a future book. That could get sticky, if the winner doesn't like how the writer ultimately creates this character or the winner changes his or her mind along the way.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Glad I haven't fallen victim to these practices. I had no idea. Thanks for pointing this out, Carrie.

Tammy Theriault said...

wow! that totally can be the buzzkills of all promotion newbie parties! halt, police! who sactioned this crap-amonie newbie promotion party. *everyone runs*

i swear, this is branded in my head for when my book is done. thanks carrie! you deserve a huge batch of my famous awesome sauce. yours will be spicy, diplomatic, and yet sweet.

Cally Jackson said...

I didn't know about the Facebook rules. Thanks for the heads up! Will have to note that down in my memory bank for future reference. :-)

Julie Luek said...

Great points. I also don't like promotions that are tied into reviews. Something not cool about that either. Also on the trailers, the music is often used without permission. As creatives making our living from our original writing, we need to respect other artists as well.

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, Caryn! I'm glad you stopped by. :D

Carrie Butler said...

Oo, that's a great idea! You'll have to let us know how it turns out. :)

Carrie Butler said...

Oo, I can't wait to read it! You always have such informative posts there. :D

Carrie Butler said...

Absolutely! There's a reason we call it social media. It's meant to be engaging. :)

That's an excellent point. I would hope there would be some kind of signed agreement in place, prior to the book's release!

Carrie Butler said...

Anytime! :) Thanks for stopping by, Joylene!

Carrie Butler said...

We would make excellent buzzkills! FB could employ us to bust people. Maybe give us costumes or something... LOL

And thank you! :D

Carrie Butler said...

You're very welcome, Cally! :)

Carrie Butler said...

Yes! Respect is crucial. :) Thanks, Julie!

klahanie said...

Aha, I love it when somebody asks a question at the end of their posting! :)

Sticky situations? I've no need to worry about promotions. I like being a well-kept secret. And 'Farcebook', oh my.

I know an acclaimed 'pawblisher'.

I'm going now.

Carrie Butler said...

Would Penny be this pawblisher? If so, you're in great hands! Er... paws. :D

Milo James Fowler said...

I'm always raffling off goodies on my FB page / FB events, but I don't on my personal FB. We'll see what happens...

Carrie Butler said...

Milo the Rebel. ;)

DMS said...

You made so many good points in this post. I used to do giveaways on fb- but I heard that they can shut down your page because of it and I stopped right away. I think most people don't realize that rule because so many people do it. Very informative about trailers- so many times people use music/images that they don't have permission for. Thanks for the reminders. I can't think of anything to add!
~Jess

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, Jess! I was the same way. Once I figured out the rules, I stopped doing little giveaways--which sucks, because they're more fun than forms, but oh well. I guess we can't really complain about free services. :)