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Wednesday, 27 November 2013

What's the Difference Between Advertising and Self Promotion?

A sudden thought struck me the other day as I'm getting ready to release my chick lit novel. As it's my first fiction book, I'm already planning to do more marketing than I've done with my other books. And I'm hoping my marketing efforts will be more noticeable as chick lit appeals to a broader audience. However, this does not mean I'll be going on any grand tour of blatant self promotion as I honestly don't believe this works.

So then I thought about the general concept of marketing and what certain terms mean. When someone mentions marketing what they're really saying covers a whole lot of other areas. Marketing is just an umbrella term that sometimes does nothing but confuse people trying to suss it out.

When I first started writing seriously, I thought marketing was just another word for blatant self promotion, or spam as some people say. And as a writer I knew this method was unlikely to work and what blatant self promotion I have done seems to have little affect on sales. So instead I concentrated on writing my next book.

But then I started to think about advertising. Advertising may be more expensive and it may take longer for the results to show but I think it's more effective on long term sales than just promotion. If for example you have your book placed in many different stores it is likely to sell more copies than just having the book in one store and constantly bleating on about it.

Having your book in many different places whether it's online or in real book stores will help increase sales without much blatant self promotion. Of course, you'll have to tell people where it's available but even then I think that's different to self promotion.

If you're looking for a short boost of sales giving your book away for free or offering a two for one offer is a great promotion tactic. But if you're looking for a longer boost then researching advertising strategies may be a better plan.

What do you think - is advertising a better strategy than promotion? What has worked for you?


  1. There's no real difference: self promotion is just another marketing tool. Can't agree with your two-for-one advice, that's best done by the retailer if there is one. It means something when there's a physical book – all that paper – but nothing if the offer's an electronic download.
    And with respect, you've priced your work too low. People should buy your book because it's good, not because it's so cheap it doesn't matter if they don't like it.

  2. Hi Nigel,

    Thanks for your thoughts. I started off at this price and then raised it after a time. I've lowered it again because my books are aimed at backpackers so I thought the cheaper the better. My future books will be works of fiction so they're be sold at a higher price.

    I agree with you mostly when you say this price is too low but I think it depends on who the book is aimed at.