I’ve always found that the easiest way to talk about marketing with authors is to take the whimsical approach. It helps to show the creative side of this so-called monster, and makes the author comfortable with this challenging and sometimes overwhelming task. Like learning to cook or sew, it all starts with exploration. We learn how to use a knife, how to choose fabrics, and how to create something delicious or beautiful. It’s how we learned to write. A story seed drops into the mind and the creative juices take over. Marketing is no different. Every new and exciting thing we try requires taking a leap of faith. Learning how to ride a bike, how to run a marathon, how to knit or raise children are all pretty much the same. Learning new things, the rules that govern those activities or results, and exploring ways to be the best at it is just part of human nature.
Unfortunately, most authors look at marketing as a foreign concept designed to interrupt or corrupt the creative writing mind. Not so at all. Great marketing is a creative process, just like great writing. It generates excitement in the creator as well as those viewing the marketing efforts. It connects prospective readers to your book and all the wonderfulness you put into it. The only difference between writing a great book and marketing a great book is that to write it, the author had no fear of leaping willingly down the rabbit hole.
Now, it’s time to consider taking that leap again … this time to create great, powerful, and super creative marketing to help get more sales for your book.
Here are 3 ways you can take that leap down the Author Marketing Rabbit Hole to find solutions you might have thought were too difficult to locate or implement. In that rabbit hole are all the answers! Be brave and jump right on in with me!
Alice might have been bored, she might have been curious, or she might have even been rebellious; all three qualities work great for an author afraid of marketing. Like Alice, you need to follow an idea all the way down the rabbit hole before you can actually see how it can work for you and your book.
Being brave is not new to authors. You had the courage to write your idea on paper and watch it go out into the world. The rules of marketing involved locating the right audiences for your book, creating a bond with those prospective book buyers, and allowing those buyers to make the purchase. None of this is familiar to authors, but those things are techniques easily learned.
For now, take that brave soul that helped you write your book and jump! Take the leap and let ideas flow and clatter, crash and burn, meld and explode. Do this for fifteen or twenty minutes every few days. Sit quietly and slip down the rabbit hole. Imagine yourself as the customer and think about what touches you, connects with you, compels you to make a purchase of anything…not just a book. Explore the creative and not so creative marketing approaches you’ve seen for everything from cleaning products and car advertisements, to commercials for burial plots and coffee creamer. Let these thoughts come and go. Don’t be analytical, just feel. What emotion made you want to buy a product or hire a service? Which promotions entertained you? Which movie trailers made you want to run and buy a ticket, and which commercials or billboards made you smile, but gave you no desire to react to the offer. Marketing is going on all around you. Let it all play in your quiet space for a few quiet moments, then simply let it go.
This is the true essence of dropping down the rabbit hole. Because you let the concepts and ideas simply flow across your brain, subconsciously your brain snagged a few that will stick with you. Because you didn’t think hard and worry or put the concepts under a microscope, the process has a chance to become second nature. You’ve just introduced your mind to the creative marketing process by allowing it to observe what made you feel and what entertained. This is the truth of marketing.
By willingly slipping down this rabbit hole, you will discover that marketing is a) less scary than you thought, b) far more creative that you imagined, and c) needs an emotional connection to work. Bravo. After just a few rabbit hole sessions, you will have learned far more about marketing that you would have by reading a hundred books or listening to a thousand other authors. You’ll also discover that you no longer need to sit quietly to do this, it will become a constant little wheel turning in your mind all the time.
This approach to the rabbit hole is very different. The queen sits at the bottom of the hole and waits to see what will drop into her queendom. Before it even arrives, she’s got a plan.
Are you a planner? Does blindly following Alice down the rabbit hole terrify you? Are you the kind of person who packs for a vacation weeks ahead of time, repacks various items, and watches the weather at your vacation destination like a hawk? The Queen of Hearts doesn’t like surprises, so she has a plan for everything, even a wayward author falling into her grasp.
If you want to use strategy for marketing, you have to first of all acknowledge that the marketing rabbit hole exists. It’s the hallway to success and you will need to take that path. Instead of jumping in and letting ideas flow, you may want to plan for what may come up. For example, if you are specifically seeking a way to approach a particular audience—lovers of motor cycles because that is a primary unique hook within your story—introduce that into your mind before you start your quiet slide down the rabbit hole. You’ll be amazed how many concepts will slip and slither past your thoughts and how many directions to that audience become clearly visible during a quiet marketing rabbit hole session. It’s all about guiding your subconscious toward your goal. Like Alice, you’ll get better and better at seeing the solutions as you familiarize yourself with this process. A strong strategy will point your mind in the right direction.
Here’s one crazy dude, but the Mad Hatter is a perfect tour guide for the marketing world at the bottom of the rabbit hole. He’ll show the right and wrong paths to take—he just might not always guide you correctly. Mad Hatter is all about making mistakes and laughing about it as you turn around and try another direction. He’s all about making it okay to fail, and making success all the sweeter because of the journey.
I clearly understand that many authors want to know the lay of the land before they proceed. These are the serious researchers, the detail people, and the authors who make a strong book business plan before moving ahead with a project. Learning the lay of the marketing world isn’t hard, but it is a convoluted path that can, like Mad Hatter, easily lead you down a hundred wrong roads before you locate the right one. Here’s the trick—every path is right, but only for the right author. What works for one authors and sells thousands of books, may crash and burn for another author.
Marketing for a book is as personalized as the author’s taste in Indian food. It all varies. Learning the lay of the land could mean reading hundreds of books on marketing, taking workshops and classes, and asking every marketing professional who’ll listen and answer your questions. One technique could be a gold mine for one book, but not work at all for the next book. Twitter alone might be a boon for one genre and author but for another, three different networks working in harmony may be required. Understanding what works best for you and your book requires taking everything learned from the resource you use…then taking the leap down the rabbit hole for creative ideas. Everything you learned from your resources will help strategize the creative solutions you discover on your journey. You already have an idea of the terrain, so when a wonderful, creative marketing concept emerges for your book, you can apply everything you know to create the sales you want.
Just remember, the Mad Hatter loves to laugh, so laugh with him when something doesn’t work. Be ready to create your own hybrid of marketing techniques that will work for your book. Oh, and have fun!