Guest Post – Cindi Myers: Setting Fire to Dollar Bills

By Cindi Myers

Julie Kazimer’s article about her experience paying for a blog tour prompted a lot of great comments, including mine that I could write a long list of promotional efforts I’ve wasted money on over the years. This led Julie to ask me to elaborate in a blog post, so here I am.

My list of promo efforts that turned out to be money wasted – for me. YMMV.

1. Paid blog tour. Julie pretty much covered this when she shared her experience.

2. Hired a publicist. The publicist I hired worked really hard trying to get media coverage for the book she was promoting (Learning Curves). The book got a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly and was featured on the cover of PW so I figured that would help generate a little buzz, right? She sent out a boatload of press releases and managed to get the book mentioned in In Style magazine. So yes, she did her job. The problem? I spent a lot of money on these services and the book totally flopped in sales. In fact, it never earned back its modest advance.

3. Paid for giveaways at conferences. I had really adorable hot pink tape measures made to promote Learning Curves. People loved them. Did they sell more books? No. Were they expensive? Yes. Since then, I’ve done my share of postcards, magnets, pens, bookmarks, etc. When I moved last year I threw out tons of this stuff –everything from tote bags to drink Koozies that authors had spent money to have imprinted with their book info. While it’s nice to have a bookmark or business card to give someone who asks about your book, I’ve never bought a book because of a giveaway tchotchke. You can waste a ton of money on this stuff and most of it will end up in the trash soon after it is received.

4. Print ads. I’ve done ads in RT Magazine and other romance-oriented magazines, both group ads and single ads. They’re usually very pricey and as far as I could tell they had absolutely zero impact on sales.

5. Book trailers. Unless you have something really unique and share-worthy (I still remember Mario’s Lego book trailer from years ago) your average book trailer is not going to get you much attention from anyone but your friends and relatives.

So that’s my short-list of things that I feel were wastes of money and time – for me. I’d love to hear if you’ve had better results from these kinds of things. Next blog, I’ll share some promo efforts that yielded better results.


Cindi Myers sold her first book in 1997 and since then has had “somewhere north of 60” books published. Currently, she writes romantic suspense for Harlequin Intrigue, women’s fiction for Kensington Books, and self-publishes historical romance under the pen name Cynthia Sterling.

J.A. (Julie) Kazimer on Email
J.A. (Julie) Kazimer
J.A. (Julie) Kazimer is a writer living in Denver, CO. When she isn't looking for a place to hide the bodies, she spends her time with a pup named Killer. Other hobbies include murdering houseplants. She spent a few years as a bartender and then wasted another few years stalking people while working as a private investigator before transitioning to the moniker of WRITER and penning over 15 titles. Visit her website at

7 thoughts on “Guest Post – Cindi Myers: Setting Fire to Dollar Bills

  1. Such great information. Thanks for sharing. So far I’ve held back on these but I keep wondering if I ought to buy SWAG or hire a publicist. You answered my questions!

  2. I too have bookmarks and postcards from earlier books to throw away. And I’m convinced book signings anywhere but my home town are a waste. This year I had my “one big book signing and party” and then decided to stick to online networking and my blog to reach readers. IMHO, the only thing that truly works is reader buzz, and I still haven’t figured out how that happens (other than having the right story published at the right time).

  3. I think an author actually “burning dollar bills” might generate more buzz than anything else. At lease we can laugh wickedly in the face of astounded onlookers as the money turns to ash! Looking forward to the positive effort post.

  4. My mean response is better your money than mine–though I don’t intend this to sound mean.

    I guess more diplomatically stated I’d say that we can learn from the experience of others. Thanks for sharing what you learned along the way. Some of these things might work for others but you give pause for though before taking any of these on.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

  5. I’ve had some success with bookmarks, especially at conferences and other events, but beyond that I agree that swag is often not as useful as people may think.

    I’d love to hear what does work for you Cyndi. In my experience, the best advertising for a book is…writing and publishing another book. From there, I think the effectiveness curve slopes downward fast.

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