Sales Tools: How We All Became Unpaid Company Employees


I’m lucky enough to have very supportive publishers, but the emphasis is more and more on the author selling him or herself to the public via social networking. When I started this site, it was with the intention of directing readers to books, but it very quickly became an enjoyable way to talk about all kinds of stuff.

I use Twitter because I like talking to mates about the things that interest me, not because I’m using it as a sales tool for my books (or my brand, whatever that is). When you mail a letter to someone, you don’t include an ad for yourself, so why do it on social networks? Inevitably, my books come into it because it’s what I love, but if I just did it for that I’d lose interest (and you would) within a week.

I rejected the idea of setting up a Links section on the site because I’m sure you already find links for yourselves. Now that social networking has embedded itself deep in the culture, an interesting thing has happened. There are people – many a lot younger than I – who admit they’re not interested in computers. They’ll use them, but only when they have to. It’s no longer taboo to say you don’t tweet or use Facebook. It’s a personal choice.

I love technology but for me social networking has to be fun. I’ve gone back to reading real books, although I’ll buy a next-gen Kindle when they become available, simply because I prefer the original experience. I recently tackled (and gave up on) ‘Kraken’ by China Mieville on two formats. On the eBook it seemed to take forever to get from chapter to chapter. The plotting and language is complex, and it’s easier to refer back in a paperback.

Anyway, the point of this post is a quote from a business magazine which explained the relatively low level of advertising one finds online – it was far more swamped in the early days. The interviewee explained that companies don’t need to banner-advertise now that consumers do the work selling for them. We’ve all become sales tools. And we don’t even need to be offered wages.

2 comments on “Sales Tools: How We All Became Unpaid Company Employees”

  1. Gretta says:

    I think another reason for the low-level online ads is possibly more due to most people using ad- and popup-blockers and the like. I very recently switched my browser to Chrome and was a bit shocked at getting assailed with ads left, right and centre. I’d just been so used to them having ‘disappeared’ in my other browsers.

    I’m glad you mostly talk about other stuff, admin. Not that I don’t love your books, and yes, get as excited as everyone else when new ones are in progress or get released, but you and the other people here have taught me so much about London(and many other places), put me on to new authors and works, and just generally opened my eyes to a lot of things I probably wouldn’t have found otherwise.

  2. madmary says:

    I totally agree with you about the use of social networking. I follow a couple of authors and folk who do things that interest me. I quickly unfollow them if the only thing they do on Twitter is advertise their wares. If they make interesting chat and interact (even if it’s not with me) then I’m probably more likely to find out about what they write, make or whatever than if it’s a one-way street of self promotion. Nobody loves a show off.

    I try to log in to this blog every evening. I get excited to see what has tickled your fancy. Sometime what tickles yours tickles mine. And that keeps me interested in Christopher Fowler the man and of course the writer.

    Thank you for your blog, which is a little ray of sunshine in my otherwise terrible dreary life.


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