On Monday, I posted a list of 10 Book-Marketing/Self-Promotion Techniques Which Annoy Potential Readers.
High on my personal list was the old, ‘*Buy my book and I’ll donate a percentage of the profits to charity’ method. I didn't do a very good job of explaining why I think that could be seen as a bad thing, either in my original post or in the clarification I first wrote here, so I've edited them both to reflect (what I hope is) a better, clearer argument.
Here's how 2: ‘Buy my book this week and help save an orphaned kitten!’ now reads:
'I'm not talking about donating stories for charity anthologies, donating books; time; merchandise for auction, or any number of generous things writers do to help a worthy cause. Those are simply good deeds and not marketing techniques at all.
I'm talking specifically about when an author announces a special offer eg: 'For every book he/she sells this week, the author pledges to donate some money to [INSERT: name of worthy charity here*]. If you're doing it as part of a larger community effort, or to help out a local church, school etc. or if your personal story (or the one in your book) is somehow related to the cause in question, no reasonable person could have a problem.
However - and this is where I think writers need to take care - there's an invisible line between using your work to help a good cause, and using a good cause to sell more books. If you cross that line, or give the impression you crossed it, folks will notice, and not in a good way.'
Speaking of charitable writers, do you know of a current auction, story donation anthology, or other writing-related effort to raise money for a good cause? If so, feel free to link to it in a comment below. I'll cut and paste them into the main entry throughout the next week.
Southern Fried Weirdness: Reconstruction By way of Kam (aka nineteen68)
[All profits from this anthology will be donated to The American Red Cross to benefit disaster relief efforts.]
By way of M. G. Ellington (aka xjenavivex)
[All proceeds from the sale of this bundle will go to Colin's favourite charity, Above and Beyond.]