Books Ain’t Tomatoes. They Don’t Have A Use By Date

4.88/5 (8)

Books Ain't TomatoesBooks do not rot on the shelves

From some of the book marketing I see now, one could easily think that books have a shelf life or use by date by the way a number of authors approach their marketing.

More like hard selling than marketing. Always the same techniques.

Annoying emails, Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter spamming as well as being link pests on blog comments.

Then after a little while, they fade away and give up. So are their books like tomatoes and likely to go off after sitting on the Amazon bookstore shelf for a week or two?

In a way, I think it’s probably true, as there seems to be a parallel between the quality of the product and the level of marketing aggression. I’ve taken a look at a few preview reads of some of these hard-sell books and wasn’t surprised to find that they were of very poor quality.

Like any golden opportunity, there will always be those who are in it for the quick buck.

Unfortunately, self-publishing has turned into a wildfire and the huge number of people who now class themselves as authors is in danger of outnumbering readers.

In the process, however, hardworking, honest and talented authors are being tarnished by the abuse of the new self-publishing platforms.

I read so often the ‘tar the lot‘ opinions of book aficionados that ebooks and self-published books are unworthy.

Unfortunately, this attitude is difficult to argue against when so much rubbish is being published.

So what can an honest self-published author do to differentiate themselves from the daily wave of crud being added to online ebook stores?


In my opinion, books sell themselves. They always have in fact.

The only difference nowadays is that instead of sitting on a shelf in a bookstore, your book is sitting on an online shelf. So, as it was with a bookstore, you need potential readers to wander by and notice your book.

Instead of picking it up and flicking the pages, they will take a look at a preview or sample.

Therefore, to create the same situation online, have soft marketing elements that attract readers. A well written and entertaining blog, some reviews, making new social contacts on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads and other social networking sites.

Used well, you can create a positive image and reputation and then if your book is good enough, people will notice and take an interest.

Nothing much has really changed. People buy books that interest them.

No one buys books that are forced down their throat by the hard sell of a shoe in the door.

Just remember that writing a book is for the long haul.

It won’t have a use by date on it, so be patient and work on attracting interest, perhaps for years to come.


More reading: Publishing A Book? Give It The Best Opportunity For Success


How helpful was this article for you?

1 2 3 4 5

Derek Haines

Derek Haines is an Australian author, living in Switzerland.

One thought on “Books Ain’t Tomatoes. They Don’t Have A Use By Date

  • July 11, 2018 at 5:49 pm

    Absolutely spot-on. Before downloading any book, I read the negative reviews, then the critical reviews, and occasionally the positive reviews. Negative and critical reviews tell me what I want to know: 1) does the writing meet standards for competence and quality; 2) does the book include elements that I’d prefer not to read; 3) does the story end on a cliffhanger? If the cover blurb is poorly written or rife with grammatical errors, then that informs me of the (lack of) quality of the book itself.

    A good story written well never goes out of fashion.


Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.