The Joy of Not Being Sold Anything


Something happened to me last Friday that inspired this blog.

petrolpump1I needed some fuel, so I pulled up into the Tesco garage and walking over to the pump, removed the black nozzle from the diesel holder. Before I pulled the trigger I noticed a large advert on the grip of the nozzle:

‘You can advertise here and reach thousands of potential customers!’

It seems these days that in the pursuit of getting ourselves heard, we will interrupt people at every given opportunity. No, we aren’t allowed a few moments to ourselves as we pull the soggy handle that leaves your hand smelling of petrol or diesel. Dare to look away from the nozzle and you will be caught by the adverts on the walls that surround the garage. From buying flowers and taking cheap flights, to having your nails done or investing in a face lift, you can’t escape someone trying to sell you something.

Take a motorway stop and the buggers have got you. Visit the toilets and you can’t take a pee in a urinal without an advert above the bowl for fresh mints, condoms, the AA Breakdown Service or Tena Men incontinence pads.

urinal2012Where else can you look when you are using a urinal? Gaze to the left or the right, and you’re in danger of being a willie-watcher. Look down the whole time and you obviously have a poor urinal flow and prostate problem. No, you look up – proud – in control – confident – defiant – and that’s when the buggers have you! For the man with a small wiener, there’s an advert shoved in your face telling you that you need a Red Letter Day and you can be driving an Audi R8 or a Porsche around a racing track, quicker than two shakes and a phone call.

As a writer, I’m left with the uncomfortable realisation that marketing is absolutely essential if I want to sell my books. At first, my approach to selling my first comedy novel, Missing Gretyl, was a frenzied blast on Social Media (Facebook/Twitter) more than a few times a day. It was overkill. Thankfully, someone pulled my attention to the fact that people don’t want to be bombarded with your book on their wall posts and feeds.

I now realise that getting my message across takes time, and as an author, it involves a number of things that include building relationships with my readers and knowing when and where to share my next post or update. I don’t think for a minute that I have it sussed, but I’m sure that drip feeding one’s message is the way forward and a more natural part of life. Shoving an advert in someone’s face who has not asked for it, is invasive and unwelcome.

The Joy of Not Being Sold Anything.


  • 1st May 2015

    Great stuff. Loved it! It made me smile, and also caused me to think about my own tendency to overkill in promoting my books. Keep ’em comin’!

  • 1st May 2015

    Thanks Barrie. As much as we all want to promote our work, we have to think about the messages we are sending out, and by that I do not mean content. 😉

  • 1st May 2015

    This is so true. Unfortunately, we have finally headed into an information overload society. The brain has automatic filters to remove the incoming information that it does not have to deal with. Mind your step? Yip, done that! Read advertising? No, looking at the oncoming track to stop from being killed! We are now bombarded with so much advertising that most of it is becoming ineffectual. People might see it, but their pockets are not getting any deeper.

    I also think that spending time building relationships with people is key to making a sale — or two.


    • 1st May 2015

      True, Jo. Have you noticed just how many books in the crime/mystery/thriller genre are beginning to sound all the same? There are so many ads for them in the book clubs that after a while, I just totally switch off.

  • 1st May 2015

    Sometimes I wonder how much adverts (for anything – not just books) do lead to sales. But then if they didn’t, companies wouldn’t plough so much into advertising in the first place. The ads that annoy me are the ones online that try to sell me a pair of slippers just because I happened to write a post on ageing. I hate being stalked like that.

    • 2nd May 2015

      That’s funny, Fran! It’s all the cookies on the computer that grass us up. I’d stick to the chocolate variety if I were you 😉

  • 2nd May 2015

    great post. I think unless you have thousands to plow into advertising it is a slow progress. I have a small shop and I hate to think how much I spent on advertising over the years now I don’t do any. I rely solely on giving good customer service and letting my customers do my advertising for me. I get most of my business through repeat business and word of mouth which for me is the best form of advertising. I know it’s a totally different industry plus mine is only a local business but it certainly doesn’t do any harm in getting to know some readers/reviewers/bloggers as at the end of the day if they love your work they will share it with all their friends/families/followers for you. Look forward to reading more of your posts.

    • 2nd May 2015

      Totally agree, Sarah. Thanks for sharing. You seem a very jolly lass on FB so I bet your customers love you! x