The Wallpaper Effect – Part 1 of 2

WallpaperWhere am I going today with my opinion?

Marketing, and more importantly – self-marketing.

I’ll explain ‘The Wallpaper Effect’ later in this short post, but before we get there I’d like to address what is probably one of the biggest headaches for indie writers.

An indie writer spends months, or perhaps a year or more working on a book. My average is between eight months and a year for a novel, and longer for a book of twelve short stories.

Having taken every care to get the book ready for the world, the writer is then hit with a variety of issues.

Where to publish?
What price to sell the work?
Where to advertise?
How often to advertise?
Produce it in paperback?

That is a short list, but I think long enough to make my point, so let’s move on.

There are those who believe (as I once did), that we should get the book written, publish it, and then plug it at every opportunity, on every available social network, and as often as possible.

I am not an expert, but trust me – that is not the way to go.

Why not?

There my dear reader is where I believe ‘The Wallpaper Effect’ presents itself.

The book is seen so often that it effectively becomes a ‘regular’ sight, so rather than attracting attention – it is ignored. Think of it as negative marketing.

Where did I come up with this theory?

I will use two previous careers to demonstrate my point.

We’ll look at ‘blending in’ versus ‘standing out’.

1 – In my military career, I had to ‘conceal’ my large radio truck in woodland by ensuring I broke up the square edges and straight lines with camouflage. I made it blend in, so it wasn’t seen. If I was on foot, I’d camouflage myself so that I blended in – unseen.

It was desirable to have The Wallpaper Effect.

2 – I now work a couple of days a week as a sales assistant, but before stepping down – for twenty years I was a retail manager, and for five of those years I worked as a ‘support’ manager.

My role encompassed many aspects of the trade, but one challenging area was pointing out to store managers why an in-store display or window display didn’t produce sales. Sometimes it was just badly done – but in many cases it was the ‘wallpaper effect’.

The display had been the same for so long that it became invisible. It had once caught the eye, but sadly no longer.

It was not desirable to have The Wallpaper Effect.

I’d suggest changes were made – and the product caught the eye once again – and sold.

Changes don’t have to be drastic, but we’ll cover that in Part 2 with regards to self-marketing for indie writers.


In Part 2 of this post, which will be with you in a couple of days, I’ll write about my most recent (and successful) strategy. I will also mention a couple of ideas I’ve incorporated into that strategy.

How do I judge ‘success’?

During the past month I’ve had five days when I had no sales. I’m not big on statistics but I thought I’d throw in that small one. Okay, so I suppose that’s no big deal, but it gives my morale a boost.

For now, in summary I would suggest to the daily, blanket coverage, campaigner – ease off a bit, relax – and get onto your next title. Yes, still go for blanket coverage, but only once a week.

If you want to see what type of hornet’s nest can be stirred up when dealing with this topic, please check out fellow author and blogger Andy Updegrove‘s article.

Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you again on Wednesday or Thursday.


P.S. How subtle is that graphic at the top!  😀

10 thoughts on “The Wallpaper Effect – Part 1 of 2

    1. Hi Lucinda and thank you for dropping by. I believe that a blog can help our marketing efforts, but not in an obvious way.
      What do I mean?
      I don’t think it works having book covers bordering the blog. I like to think that the subtle approach of having a menu of titles is the best way to go. If visitors like what they see in the blog, they might then be interested enough to have a look around.
      One of the key aspects of writing a blog post / article is to keep it manageable. If the entries are too long, many folk will think twice about returning, and therefore the chances of them checking out our book titles is lessened.


  1. WK Tucker

    I read and commented on Andy’s post…saw you there as well 🙂
    I’ve been thinking about taking my book covers off the sidebar on my blog, and just have them listed in my “Publications” category. What’s your opinion on this, Tom? I’m looking forward to reading Part Two .

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello my friend and thank you for the visit. I’m heading over your way right now on one of my irregular mini-tours. Before I even get there I would suggest that you are quite right about ‘listing’ your titles.
    I only recently hit on the idea of my graphic in the top left corner, which in the latter stages announces ‘Coming soon …’ and then once published is changed to ‘Now available …’
    When I’ve got the cover designed for my next thriller it will go up there to attract attention in the month before publication.
    See you shortly … 🙂


  3. ramonawray

    Wonderful insight, Tom. But then I would expect nothing less 🙂 It makes perfect sense, though I must admit I haven’t given it any thought previously. Thank you for opening my eyes! Have a lovely week.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ramona and welcome to my latest burst of opinion. I believe it works – obviously, and I hope to prove it when my next thriller is published. I have a strategy in mind, and though it’s nothing too detailed, it will involve me holding back, when what I really want to do is shout from the rooftops.
      I think it is really a case of ‘less is more’, and folk don’t get sick of being spammed by one name. Until later. 😀


  4. Julia Lund

    From a personal point of view, I block adverts selling stuff (anything) from my facebook timeline and glaze over those Tweets that do nothing but advertise something. I like visiting blogs/social media sites that have content that interests me and whose authors interact with their readers/followers. But then in our house we put tv adverts on silent if watching ‘live’, but usually record stuff so we can fast forward through them. Maybe that’s why I’m so rubbish at advertising my books – I feel guilty everytime I do it! And I don’t fancy turning into wallpaper …

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Julia, and a good clear point of view you have too. I’ve cut back a lot in my ‘marketing’ to keep in line with the theory I’ve outlined above, but I think I’m still out there more than some, and a lot less than others.
      Don’t feel guilty about promoting your work. You’re a good writer, and you should be justifiably proud of what you’ve produced. I try to get around the guilt thing by attempting humour with my posts about my books.
      I’m totally with you on the ads. Unless I’m actively looking for something on the Internet I tend to ignore ads, and though I post on Twitter, I rarely use it to locate anything. I suppose a lot of what we try as authors is a bit hit and miss.
      Don’t worry … you will not turn into wallpaper with your writing. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Julia Lund

        Thank you! I’m looking forward to your part 2 and am keeping my eye on Andrew Updegrove’s insights. I have much to learn.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: The Wallpaper Effect – Part 2 of 2 | Tom Benson - Creative

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