Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Think before you promo

Posted to the Amazon Romance board, on the "Have You Written a Romance Book?" thread: Yes, I have written a romance book. But it is a bit different than the average romance book - I like to call it a "Thinking Woman's Romance Book."

I don't mean to pick on this writer; she got the post on the right thread (although she forgot to leave a link, so I had to go look up her book via the search function, which is not the best way to make sales), and there are no spelling errors. But this is a good example of a post which could have been worded a little better. This is a romance thread, so presumably most people perusing it enjoy romance. Saying your book is different from the "average romance book" isn't terrible (though you need to back that up with something really interesting-- and the premise of this one is unusual, so we'll stipulate that she has done so). Romance is a very broad field, however, so it might be better to break that down... tell us it's different from the average contemporary romantic suspense, or Regency historical, or whatever. But the real crux of the issue is that by calling it a "thinking woman's romance book," and implying that is different from run-of-the-mill romance books... well, reflect on that, and you'll realize you're insulting the typical reader of that thread by implying most of the books she likes aren't for "thinking women."

The author finishes by concluding, "This one is a bit different than your average bodice ripper." That's also a bit of a diss, since no one writes "bodice rippers" any more-- it's an often derogatory term for older romances with nonconsensual sex in them. When it's applied to newer romances, it's usually by people who don't know much about modern romances. So this sentence isn't likely to do much to win new readers, either.

In short, be very careful what you put into a promo. It's fine to say your book is different from other books in the genre, but be aware of correct terminology for the genre, and take care not to imply that most other books in that genre aren't very good. You can't win over genre readers by suggesting their tastes in books are poor!

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