Guilt and Book Promotion: An Uneasy Match

Lately, I have seen a lot of authors using guilt to sell books. I am all for promotion as anyone who knows me can tell you. I will do anything to help my authors or writers. However, having grown up in the Italian-catholic world where guilt was the first weapon of choice, I try to avoid using it as a tool to sell anything.  As it turns out, that is sort of a stupid stance on my part, and I realized this when I read some of the guilt-filled posts from various authors:

1. If I don’t sell enough books, I won’t have enough for my mother’s operation.  (It turns out that this was true, but the life-saving surgery was liposuction. Apparently, her thighs look amazing,  and her mom is a much more content person so I don’t think I can be  too judgmental.)

2. If I don’t sell enough books, I won’t have enough food to feed my children.  (Not totally false. The children turned out to be the future children she is hoping to create with her future husband who she will meet on her book tour.)

3. If I don’t sell enough books, I won’t get another book deal.  (Okay, a serious consequence, but there is independent publishing! So, this is not a big deal especially in today’s world.)

Much to my surprise, the guilt tactic has had a positive effect on the book sales for many authors—or so they tell me.  Always the curious one, I thought I might experiment with guilt myself. How do you think these snippets  will work? I am employing guilt for my dogs’ book A Canine’s Guide to the Good Life

1. If you don’t buy my book, I can’t get the BB gun the dogs need to fend off attacking groundhogs which are making their lives a living hell and causing emotional trauma from which they will probably never recover.

2. If I don’t sell enough books, I will fall into a deep depression and eat the devil’s food cake that is sitting on my kitchen counter. (Okay, this has nothing to do with book sales except that if I sold enough books, I would not have cake sitting on my counter. Instead, I could afford to go out for dessert every night and probably select healthier dessert choices than the decadent chocolate cake that stares at me  and mocks me knowing my willpower is fading while at the same time offers me comfort  through all my emotional crises. (Yes, my relationship with chocolate is very complicated.)

3. If I don’t sell enough of the books, my dogs will die of a broken heart because they think no one loves them.  (Come on now, look at those faces…this either makes you want to buy a book or get a cat. Frankly, I’m good with either.)


4. If I don’t sell enough books, I will have to continue to freelance for vicious editors whose favorite line is “The check is in the mail” which means they are either lying to me or the Pony Express has made a return to Southeastern Pennsylvania and it truly does take my check 30 days to travel 14 miles

I’m not sure if this guilt thing is working for me, but if it gets to you, let me know. Maybe the catholic guilt that I worked so hard to bury, does have its benefits.


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8 thoughts on “Guilt and Book Promotion: An Uneasy Match”

  1. LOL I’ve already purchased two copies but this guilt laden article will more than likely make me purchase two more!! Just look at those faces!!

  2. Guilt works. At least it has always worked on me.

    Funny, though. You didn’t have to use guilt to get me to buy your dogs’ book. I bought it already for my Kindle. I even gave it 5 stars.

    1. And Donna is wrong about the chocolate cake. Selling lots of books gives you enough money to go out and buy the best chocolate cake you can find. No more supermarket stuff, but sweet, rich, moist, deeply decadent, real chocolate cake, preferably made with dark chocolate. I mean, why go out for dessert when you can have it all right at your fingertips, like the rich people do.

      Top it with a good dollop of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, and you have heaven on earth.

  3. You don’t need to use guilt Don Don’s, just show that amazing picture up above and you can’t go wrong!

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