I met our guest, Angela Wilson, in person at a Love is Murder Conference a few years ago where she was setting up podcasts for Pop Syndicate.Com. Since then, I've virtually bumped into her countless times on the Internet. It seems we travel in many of the same circles.
I and other Acme Authors Link bloggers were fortunate enough to be guests at the Pop Syndicate blogspot this week. In May, I also had the honor of doing a virtual book tour under Angela's auspices at
Pop Syndicate.Com in May, 2008. Here's one of my blogs from that week, which ties in with the subject at hand:
I'm happy that Angela could stop by today. She is one busy person with a wealth of knowledge to share.
Angela Wilson is a newsletter columnist, Web producer, author publicist, and marketing/PR specialist. When not writing, she manages the author virtual book tour blog at www.PopSyndicate.com/books.
And now for some marketing tips from an expert in the field, Angela Wilson...
Fresh ideas for the marketing weary
It's tough to find fresh ways to market your work. After long, grueling hours of hard marketing using standard techniques, your brain is fried, and trying to think of a new technique is the last thing you want to do.
Finding those ideas isn't as hard as you think. You just need to get inside of your story to find outside-the-box marketing ideas. Your novel may offer a key component that will offer new venues to sell, subtle ways to promote your work or a stroke of brilliance that you can promote to other authors.
Here are some great examples from successful authors – and a few tips of my own.
• Maggie Sefton pens the A Knitting Mystery series featuring protagonist Kelly Flynn. Inside her latest, she includes a recipe and knitting pattern and Sefton signs and sells her books at fabric stores like Lambspun of Colorado.
• Offer value added items to your site – not just summaries, cover art and sales pitch. For example, if you have a character dying of cancer – even a minor character – put links and information on your site about cancer. Not only is it a value to readers, but the meta tags will spread your messages throughout search engines anytime someone looks up information on the disease.
• Coffeehouses are not just for poetry anymore. Many coffeehouses are looking for talent to fill an hour or so a night. Hook up with local coffee shops that offer entertainment and arrange a book reading, where you can also autograph and sell. Better yet, if a character in your book likes a particular drink, see if, just for that night, the shop will name it for your character – an added sales feature for both yourself and them.
• Austin Camacho, author of Successfully Marketing Your Novel in the 21st Century, decided to check out airport shops to introduce readers to his signature character, Hannibal Jones. He was an instant hit – and continues to get invites back. Camacho puts a "local author" sticker on the books so people can use it as a trip memento, or for an in-flight read.
• Doctor's offices always need new reading material. Consider printing up the first chapter of your novel in a mini-book to leave in waiting rooms.
• Book club members love to meet authors – and with technology, you are not constrained to just your hometown. Consider using Skype or even a call on speaker phone to chat it up with readers about your latest and what's ahead for you. Not only do you have immediately sales for readers in the group, but the personal touch will help sustain them as fans and customers.
• You can post all the flyers you want on bulletin boards, but inevitably they will get covered. Consider doing buttons of your book cover instead. It can't get covered, and people will use it to hold up other items, so it will always be prominent. Button machines are inexpensive. It is also likely your local school district will have one that you can borrow.
• How do you market a children's book about making candy turtles? That was Sara Ann Denson's quandary as she worked to promote her book, Christmas Turtles. Denson targeted elementary schools for speeches, where families could preorder books, but she knew she needed something more to sell her print run. A Google search led her to several pecan growers associations. She signed on for the Texas Pecan Growers Association convention – chosen strategically because of it's location in the center on the nation – and found instant success among pecan growers. Many bought her books to sell with their products – especially the tins that hold pecans, which were prominently featured in the book art. They also recommended her to other growers, who passed along those recommendations when they called to order. As a bonus, Denson was not expected to purchase items from vendors, which eased the financial pressure. (After all, how many people need a machine that shakes pecans from trees?)
• Get inside a Mom Pack. This innovative idea allows moms everywhere to network with other mothers and put their announcements into packets, which are left at doctors' offices, garage waiting rooms and other places where people are craving reading material. Find out about current packs at http://www.mompack.com/mompack/.
• The library isn't the only place that takes book donations. Check with your local Ronald McDonald House, developmental centers, daycares, senior centers and other community areas to see if your genre fits their needs.
• The Fall 2007 edition of Visit Detroit featured a short vignette about P.J. Parrish, the pseudonym for native sisters Kristy Monte and Kelly Nichols. This slick glossy is published by the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau. Put your local chamber on your news release list. Develop contacts and campaign (quietly) for a feature story or other item highlighting your work and connection to the region. This could be especially useful in smaller, touristy areas.
Creative marketing ideas are just a thought away. Delve into the back story of your novel or your own life to find them.
on the Web at:
Want details on Pop Syndicate virtual tours? E-mail Angela at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tomorrow, catch our resident blogger, Rob Walker, at www.popsyndicate.com/books, hosted by Angela Wilson.
Also, Thursday, Craig Johnson, our Man of Mystery, will appear here. You don't want to miss his inteview by Rob Walker.