How do you keep the MARKETING love alive? We authors have a massive load on our shoulders! We have to work to pay the bills, take care of family, socialize occasionally with friends, write books and … Dum dum daaaaaa … promote and market them too. It’s a lot to ask of anyone, but asking an author who is basically creative to suddenly become an analytical and business-like person is sort of like asking a dog to be a cat two days a week.
Guess what? We have to do it anyway.
I’m sure you’ve all faced the dilemma of starting some kind of marketing strategy for your book and discovered that after some time (a few days or weeks or months) that fantastic strategy has sort of fizzled out. What’s an author to do? We don’t want to start from scratch but we can’t just stop marketing and promoting or demand for our next book will be next to nothing! Catch 22? Nope, it’s just time to put on our thinking caps again.
Creativity is creativity and if you look at marketing and promoting your books as part of the whole creative process – rather than look to what other authors have done and try to imitate that for success (i.e. giveaways, FB ads, book marks and imprinted mugs) – you are sure to find the perfect formula for success that works for you and your book.
The reason most “tried and true” marketing strategies fizzle out so quickly is that they are basically overused. The prospective book buyer has seen them a thousand times. The key to keeping your marketing push alive, well and hopping is to keep it moving like a good boxer with great footwork.
Here are three tips to reboot your marketing efforts that won’t take a ton of time or energy, just a little creativity.
It’s the ugly truth – your book is in the same genre and tapping into the same market as a thousand other books. You do what the most successful authors are doing, at least you try, but it always falls flat quickly.
This is a simple study in looking the other way, or in this case, ANOTHER way. I’ve always found that if everyone is taking a particular freeway at a particular time, it’s easiest on my gas tank and my nerves to simply take a different freeway. Apply that to your marketing and everything gets a whole new light.
For example, if all the authors are slamming away on the newest trick of the day … giveaways or contests or scavenger hunts … you need to look at doing something they are not doing. In fact, this works best if it’s something they never even thought about doing.
Consider creating a high visibility promotion that includes publicity: a walk for cancer by zombie book lovers (in costume of course), or blood drive where vampire authors donate blood and attempt to reach a goal of a certain number of donors in a limited time. This kind of publicity gets noticed and if you are the author who created it, it also has long term positive ramifications as you move ahead in your writing career.
Have you thought about doing an event at a nurses group or meeting of the local garden club? Trust me, nursing and gardening aren’t all these groups talk about or all they do. These people like to read too. If you offer to do a reading and Q&A at a meeting of the local women’s club, they might jump for joy. These organizations are always looking for interesting subjects and speakers for their meetings. And while every other author in your genre is pounding away, trying to give a way a free book on twitter, you’re signing a selling fifteen or twenty books at the Ladies Auxiliary meeting right in your home town.
Looking elsewhere is always a great way to keep your sales hopping. When you go back to the regular grind of twitter and facebook, you suddenly have some really fun and interesting experiences to talk about.
Ever been to Vegas? Even if you haven’t, you know the odds and what they mean. If Dan Brown writes a book, everyone buys it. He has all the odds in his favor, a big publisher, extraordinary talent, high visibility thanks to his wonderful marketing and publicity experts, and fans by the boat loads. How are we supposed to stand against all that?
Simple. Change the odds. For example, even if your book touches on similar subjects, has a similar story and similar characters, SOMETHING about your book is different and extremely unique. The only way to battle something as formidable as the Top Ten Best Sellers of the World is to find your hooks and make sure they’re sharp.
Is your hook the unique character traits? Use them. If your main character is a cigar expert, you need to tap into the cigar industry. If s/he is into vintage clothing or fine whiskey, there are two more audiences. The magic of changing the odds falls under the category of cross marketing. If you can cross market your book to music teachers or coffee lovers or the home building industry because your story and primary characters are connected with that subject, you are tapping into a new market.
Here’s the kicker, it’s not only a new market to connect with, it’s the same market Dan Brown is tapping into. He’s just doing it as the author of a few best selling books. You are stepping into that arena as the author of a book that fits the reader’s personal interest. You’re doing this without an expensive publicist or big publisher, you’re doing this as you. AND it really does change the odds because now you can sit at the same poker table with any author in the world. Stepping into this cross marketing arena also feels and looks different than how all the other authors are trying to market, so it’s a great freshener for your strategies.
When you want to do some marketing, where do you look? At other authors, of course. It’s a great place to look, right?
Yes, other authors are doing what authors do and I’m not telling you to stop doing the tried and true marketing techniques. I’m simply suggesting that you look outside the publishing world for interesting and powerful ideas.
Did you notice a slogan on the passing exterminator’s van that caught your fancy? A billboard that used just the right push for the product? A radio or television campaign that you can’t forget. Marketing and promotion is going on all around us and there are some fantastic approaches to the market just outside the publishing world. Don’t have narrow vision, lift your head and look around.
If you take a week and keep a small note pad at your side, you will find yourself observing and jotting down cool ideas from all kinds of products and services. These concepts impressed and intrigued you. They sparked your imagination and made you smile. All you have to do is think them through and see if one of those kinds of approaches will work for your book. Maybe you can’t do a teaser promotion on the radio like you heard for the new Tide with bleach … but you can do something similar with teasers in your blogs, on twitter or facebook. If the fun event to raise money for your local zoo can’t exactly work for your book, perhaps there’s an element of that event that you can implement for your own marketing.
All I’m suggesting is that you can seriously impact your marketing approach if you just step away from the computer screen and look outside. Marketing is happening all around you! Get influenced by some of the best of our time.
So, there you go. Three tips for keeping your book marketing momentum alive and vibrant. Give them a try and let me know what you come up with!