As writers, we are free thinkers and do our best not to focus on the rules while we create, but those rules are there, looming even bigger if you’re just getting started as an author. If you’re attempting to gain a literary agent, there are all the query rules and format rules and acceptable approaches rules to consider. There are the rules about clean genre, clean manuscripts, clean elevator pitches. If you’re going the independent or small publisher route, they have their own set of requirements and each one is different. If you self-publish, there are perfect editing necessities, a formatting learning curve and of course, all the distribution and promotional systems to master.
With all these rules floating around, crowding and confusing the process from point a) the finished, beautifully imaginative novel you wrote, to point z) the actual book sales, how creative can one really be? It’s as though the course of action we must take simply chokes the creativity out of us. There are so many tiny commandments to follow it’s too easy to get sidetracked into pleasing the process and forgetting the book buyer.
I’m here to talk about breaking those patterns we learned in nursery school. Don’t follow the rules. Don’t worry about being correct. Don’t question the process I’m about to suggest because if you do, you may just find yourself spending more time satisfying the “system” and never reaching your own goals.
Yes, sorry. I am from the sixties. It’s time for a little REVOLUTION in the marketing process. It’s time to tap into all the beautiful colors and emotions and excitement you felt while writing your book. Because frankly, if you don’t recapture and convey that intensity … why should anyone want to read your book, much less pay for it?
See, it’s not always just the perfect crafting of a 10 word sound bite or 25 word elevator pitch that gets someone’s interest … it’s the author’s energy. That flash of excitement can and should be in those few words, but it also must be present in the process the author uses to communicate with the prospective buyer.
It’s time for a little mind-blowing magical mystery tour. Yes, this will seem weird for anyone born after 1955 but this will be fun. AND, it’s vital! I’m going to ask you to take ten minutes out of their crazy day to just sit and clear your thoughts. Come on, you can spare a few minutes away from twitter, facebook, your iPhone and texting. This is important and it’s most important you do it AWAY from your technology. Go outside and sit in the grass if you can. (I said SIT in the grass, nothing else with the grass, just sit.) I know it sounds stupid but really, when your book idea came to you, what did you do? Get onto twitter and facebook? Text the world that you have an idea? My bet is that you didn’t even sit at your keyboard right away. You sat someplace quiet … and you thought. I need you to get back to that emotional space. Be peaceful. Clear everything else from your mind. Breathe nice and even, meditate for a few moments if you can. Now that you’re there, you can start …
Recall that process of your story, how it came to you, all the curves and u-turns it took before it became the final novel. Feel the characters, what you like and don’t like about each one, explore the emotions in the events and then plant yourself firmly into the locations. Even if your book is fantasy, science fiction or deep historic, get yourself there, feel it, smell it, taste it. No grumbling. If you went this route to develop your story, it’s not new to you. If you love your story, it’s no hardship. AND, most importantly, if you reconnect this way, everything about marketing and cross marketing the astounding book you wrote will be that much closer to you. So get into this. I promise, it will be rewarding.
Now … come back from your journey slowly so that you can retain the magic you originally found in the story. Examine what you brought back with you. While still sitting quietly, jot down the biggest impressions you got. Now set it aside and do the whole thing again for ten minutes the next day, and the next. Do this for four or five days then collect your jotted notes and begin.
If your goal is to seriously attack and gain visibility and sales for your book, this process may seem a little bohemian, but just go with me here.
Start with the biggest impression. Perhaps it was “Green”. Maybe your book is about ecology, or raising milk cows, or a romance about a playground planner falling for a beautiful politician who hates kids, but “Green” was the impression you wrote down. The key here is “Green”. If “Green” stuck with you, it will stick with readers, but the key here is to get MORE readers than the average marketing strategy will reach. Let’s play a mind stretching game and find a few cross markets. How many people can you capture with “Green”?
- Green – plants, the color, ecological organizations, paint stores, interior decorators
- Park – city parks, town parks, park developers, art parks, car parks, antique car clubs
- Farm – dairy farm, farm markets, vineyards, wine gift stores, wine tasting gatherings
- Garden – gardening clubs, online gardening groups, florists, flower arranging schools
- Herbs – cooking, chefs, culinary schools, cooking gadget stores, cookbook clubs
- Forest – Forestry groups, camping groups, Robin Hood, survival groups
- Mountain – camping, hiking, rafting, skiing, climbing, wildlife preservation
- Money – teaching, becoming the expert, cross marketing, making BIG sales
That last one is me, getting you back to practicality but first let’s talk about the other ideas. As you can see, some of these directions went way off track, but did they? Can they possibly work for the book at hand? The idea here is not to think logically, but to let a concept like “Green” flow into as many different directions as you can find. Play with this. Laugh at it. Enjoy this process because that’s a big part of regaining your joy for the book you wrote.
Getting back to feeling and seeing the creative process of writing your book is the ONLY, I repeat, ONLY road to being creative with marketing and cross marketing your book. Using strategies and tried-and-true systems are good, but combine them with TURBO creative direction is the key to cross marketing success.
Now, of the ideas above, if the book is the romance about a playground planner falling for a beautiful politician who hates kids, let’s see how many of the “impressions and ideas” above could work.
Aside from the standard romance avenues for marketing, you can now cross market to:
- Playground designers associations
- Safe and ecological playground and park organizations
- City, county and local community center book stores
- Vineyards and wine gift stores (for the romance aspect)
- Gardening clubs
- Romantic cookbook stores or cooking classes
- You can teach about safe playgrounds or ecology, or cooking for children or making romance part of everyday life or including kids in helping in the garden or cooking in the kitchen – in other words, you can become the expert on these subjects and speak to parents, single parents or community clubs.
Not one of these ideas fall into the standard “romance” marketing category because NOW you’re thinking about Cross-Marketing … and thinking about it in a TURBO creative and productive way!
You can put away your bellbottoms, tie-died tee shirt and headband now, LOL.
Next week we’ll discuss … Taking your platforms to even more effective places for awareness and sales results. See you then!