Be Wary of Marketing Offers for Your Books

Sunday, October 10, 2021
You know that saying, "If it's too good to be true, it's probably too good to be true"? I was reminded of it recently when checking my email, and I thought: This subject would make a good WOW! blog post. Probably other writers are receiving emails like this or will be soon, and so let's discuss...

These are the kinds of emails I'm talking about:

Dear Ms. Dill:
We want to market Finding My Place for you. It is such an excellent book! We will put your book in front of thousands and thousands of our followers on Twitter by tweeting about your book every day for XX days for $XXXXX dollars. Don't wait. 

Book Marketer Extraordinaire


I'm not trying to be mean or condescending. I know that there are some legit marketing firms out there, including services that help authors promote books. But I also know that if someone is contacting you to promote a book that is not famous and where you recently promoted it yourself through a legit eNewsletter, most likely, this is not a good deal. And I also know that tweeting your book title with a link to a bunch of people who may have no interest in your type of book will not sell books. It just won't.

Even if the above email came and the person said they would do it for $1 or $5, I wouldn't do it. Most likely, here's what happened. This person subscribes to a newsletter for children's books that are being offered for free or a discount. They saw that I ran a promotion on Finding My Place. They Googled my name, and they found my website, where I have my email address. Then they emailed me and made me feel "special", so that they can send out tweets that no one will care about, and they can take my money. 

My point? If someone is emailing you and asking you to market something for you for $XXXX, I wouldn't do it. In 999 cases out of 1000 (or maybe even 1000 out of 1000), this won't be a good ROI for you. They may even do what they say they're going to do, and Twitter may show you that they have 200,000 followers, but you have no idea if those followers are mostly bots or readers of a completely different genere you write. 

So my advice--delete those emails--send them to spam. Don't waste your time.

What does work? 

I think offering the first book in your series for free still works. I don't think it works as well as it used to because there are so many free books out there. But if you offer your ebook for free and advertise it in a newsletter for people who love that genre and free ebooks, you will get a lot of downloads, and some of those people will read the book. Some of those people will review it for you, and some of those people will buy book two. 

What are some good newsletters?

My two favorites are Free Booksy and The Fussy Librarian. There are more, I'm sure, but those are the two I always use. As for Twitter, we tweet at WOW!, and we get some love on there, but none of our book packages for authors are just for Twitter. We use our blog, our eNewsletter, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter--plus sometimes banner ads on our website. It's a combination of strategies that works to sell books.

If you want help with marketing, it works much better if you find someone to help you. You are in charge. You find the service or the person, and you tell them what you want. This October, in the season of Halloween, you don't want a bad and wasteful book marketing service/package to scare you away from your writing career! 

Margo L. Dill is a children's author, editor, publisher, and writing coach and instructor, living in St. Louis, MO, with her fifth-grader and almost three-year-old rescue dog. You can find out more at 


Sioux Roslawski said...

Margo--Obviously it works sometimes, because writers get so much rejection, so when they get some notice, some attention, they leap at it.

Obviously they don't do their due diligence--when it comes to research. Do they think you're a mere writer--not a publisher as well?

Great post, as usual.

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

Dear Margo-
Have I got a great deal for you...

I recently had to explain to someone in my critique group that the message in her in-box simply meant that they thought she would give them money. It was not a fun conversation.


Angela Mackintosh said...

We receive a lot of similar Instagram marketing offers. I feel like social media is so saturated now that it doesn't work as well as other avenues. Personally, I buy books from author interviews on podcasts, plugs in email newsletters, blogger reviews, Goodreads, and word of mouth from fellow workshop student or instructor's recommendations. Book reviews and author interviews (whether written, podcast, or video) are the best promo.

Thanks for the newsletter recommendations. I'll check those out! :) Love your zombie sign. :)

Margo Dill said...

Thanks, Ang, and I totally agree.

Sue: Ugh, uncomfortable conversations like that are the worst.

Sioux: Thank you! Yes, I think that these people definitely are taking advantage of how writers sometimes feel hopeless with how hard this business is.

Renee Roberson said...

Margo--Thanks for this reminder! I'm starting to get a lot of similar marketing e-mails about offers to promote my podcast and there have been a few that made me give it a second glance. Those people are persistent!

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