It IS Possible, It IS Effective…
If you’re not remotely open-minded, then look away now. But for every other new (and not so new) author out there, tap into your own creativity and inspiration (something you have in reams, right?)
‘Scuse the literary pun…
And prepare to toss the standard set of book marketing rules over your shoulder like confetti at a wedding. Well, just the ones you don’t like. Just the ones that make you want to throw your laptop out the window like a rock star, never mind that ever sought after status of bestselling novelist.
Top of that list for me would be the yawn-inducing mailing list.
Yes, I know, I know they are supposed to be amazing, awesome, absolutely ground-breakingly successfully brilliant and every other superlative besides.
But I find them soul-destroyingly boring (sorry if you have one, but I do). And if I as a reader will not read one… will likely delete the flurry I have felt compelled to sign up for over the years the moment they ping onto my computer screen… then I sure as hell won’t enjoy putting one together. Now, maybe someday that will change. But until it does… I’ll focus on all things more fun that float my boat, thank you very much.
A marketing professional would whoop my arse for daring to buck the trend of the ‘shoulds’, of course. But I’m a rebel in writing (something I wholeheartedly adore; both the story side and the rebellion bit), so damn right I’m going to be a rebel in marketing, too.
There’s a reason we procrastinate, and it is always, every time and without exception, because our gut instinct doesn’t want to go there.
They call it gut instinct for a reason.
We could label it inner self (hey, I did tell you this article was going to get a little woo-woo), higher self, and a whole bunch of other things besides. But basically, the purpose of our lives is joy. And anything that feels akin to wading through hot sticky treacle, well, it feels like that for a reason: if it’s not fun, something’s trying to tell us: don’t bother doing it!
Marketing should be exciting.
Marketing can be exciting.
My kind of marketing is always exciting.
Because what’s the point in doing anything that doesn’t light us up? Even self-promotion of our books.
And yet, we really DO have to let the world know about those thousands of words that we have crafted into a story – in some shape or form. Few are even the large publishing houses who are happy to let their top authors rest on their literary laurels and simply churn out chart-toppers all day long without some kind of trumpet-blowing contribution.
So never mind the statistics… or what everybody else is doing: focus on the areas that bring you the most goose bumps (or as close to goose bumps as possible… a demi-smile, perhaps, a light twinkle in your eye) and go there instead.
If this is still sounding completely nutty and Pollyanna… then whilst we’re on the book subject, treat yourself to the latest read on Quantum Physics (one of my favourite subjects). We are vibrational beings, right down to our atomic make-up. When that vibration is HIGH (elation, joy, satisfaction, excitement, interest) from engaging in marketing activities we enjoy – and in my case that would be:
Instagram – there’s nothing better than capturing foodie/drinkie/travel/bookish/inspirational quote shots and sharing them with the world. This particular social media outlet really lends itself to my branding as an author, but above all else, it’s a riot of joy for my imagination. I truly love to hang out on Instagram. It’s my go-to for ‘book selfies’ (both mine and those I am reading by other authors). And it’s also my go-to for sharing fun snaps of my Book Fairy drops (more on that below)… In short, it’s the ideal place for me to market my book and has really garnered some interest in my titles.
Twitter – sharing my random observations with the world, without really caring too much about likes and re-tweets… and spacing that out with quotes from my book (and daft time-wasting GIFS), as well as interacting with my ‘tribe’ – fellow writers, bakers, travel lovers and positive thinkers.
Making Canva memes – (to be shared on Twitter and Instagram, above).
It’s time-consuming at the outset but really quite rewarding to see a quote from your book matched up with a striking image. Visit http://www.canva.com for a design tutorial. Pixabay offer some fantastic images in their free library bank, but you can also use your own photography if you’re a dab hand with the camera.
Playing Book Fairy – Now, admittedly, it might not be the cheapest activity in the world, but I LOVE it. Nothing can be more fun than dotting copies of your book about in the locations mentioned in your novel… or in cafes, or bars, on park benches, train seats and tourist attractions. The sky is the limit with this active variety of book marketing.
N.J Simmonds (author of the epic YA novel, The Path Keeper) did this recently in London with drops taking place at Northern Line stops on the underground, where Zac and Ella’s story plays out. She created hashtags for the adventure, updated her social media accounts and had a ball in the process. It’s an excellent marketing strategy and it’s a definite high vibe generator. A bit like setting up a treasure hunt, except instead of gold, the finders keep books!
Then you sit back and witness the joy on a recipient’s face… which is priceless. And when you’re giving out freely and from the heart, for the sheer fun of it, you can bet your bottom dollar the universe will magically augment your book sales. That’s not just rose-tinted glasses wishful thinking, it’s Newton’s infallible law.
You can be your own Book Fairy, as the author has above… or you can do what I do and order your ribbons and stickers from the official Book Fairies website. This voluntary organisation has taken the literary world by storm. I had my parents acting as Book Fairies in Somerset dotting copies of my debut novel about, and the lovely Book Fairies in London and Bristol also kindly dropped my book at locations all over both cities.
Making Bookmarks featuring your Book Cover – It’s low cost, it’s another fun thing to do and you can easily share them out among family and friends. Rather than them simply using word of mouth to tell their family and friends about your brilliant new book, they can add a visual aid to the mix by handing out your bookmarks. It really is an excellent reminder for potential buyers. And once again, you too can play fairy (bookmark fairy) by leaving them lying around in appropriate places.
NB. This does not mean car windscreens under the wipers. Is there anything more irritating in this life?
Pinterest – On the face of it, Pinterest doesn’t seem to do a lot more than cause us to ‘procrastinate’.
Besides being an excellent source for accurately depicting sights, sounds, smells and atmosphere when it comes to creative writing, it’s a brilliant place to share your current blogs, your book covers and your memes featuring quotes from your books. Just remember those all-important hashtags which help your potential readers to discover you. You could also invent your own and watch them (hopefully) grow in popularity!
I don’t know about you, but I always have a smile on my face when I’m on Pinterest. When that comes to book marketing (forget the followers or re-pins… and remember, this isn’t about the current statistics, but having fun… which in turn will generate marketing momentum), this can only be a very good thing.
Hosting other authors whose work I find interesting on my blog – it’s a great way of making new friends in the business and it’s a great way of simultaneously increasing your blog post reach.
Writing a blog – you don’t have to do this weekly, but as and when you feel inspired, there it is, ready for you to update with your musings.
Facebook Live Videos – call me weird but I genuinely enjoy these now! Just this morning I did one (using coloured pieces of A4 paper to explain to my friends and family how a Facebook online book launch party works… I topped it off with a little Lenny Kravitz playing in the background… and a bit of dancing – as you do). Not that I was particularly counting, but this fun jump out of my comfort zone netted me a few more RSVPs to said event.
The beauty of these kind of videos (or indeed, YouTube, which I don’t feel *quite* ready for yet!) is you can be spontaneous and chat to your followers about anything at any time.
So, when we focus on the side of marketing that most appeals to our inner child…
…then we are equally HIGHLY likely to yield results. It’s simply the magnetic Law of Attraction at work.
And work beautifully it does, as long as we don’t get in our own way by narrowing the channels of the universe. For example – setting a goal to get 1000 Instagram followers by our publication date, or making our Kindle book free with the expectation of hitting that sweet number one spot in our Amazon category. That’s economy of the falsest kind. If it doesn’t happen we get despondent and narky and vow never to write another word, let alone a book.
So leave the intricate details of the manifestation up to the universe and you’ll open yourself up for something better (a surprise magazine article about your book, a random message from a book club who’d like to feature it for their monthly reading material, a very surprise double-take moment when you ‘just happen’ to board a plane and the person sat in the opposite row is reading your paperback!)
All of these are examples of what CAN happen when we don’t get too specific, but instead just trust in the flow, lose ourselves in the moment and go downstream.
Now a brief look at the opposite:
Abraham Hicks refer to this as ‘efforting’, and, even if that word doesn’t truly exist in any dictionary, the vibrational equivalent definitely does.
I’m talking about pushing, fighting, striving, trying too hard, engaging in boring chore-like ‘strategies’. The emotion feels desperate, sometimes fearful or angry, and determined (when you’re marketing your book, even ‘determined’ can be too upstream). It’s often a task steeped in comparison (this top-selling author does that… so I’d better do it too).
And before you know it, you are knee-deep in the hideous ‘shoulds’ all over again.
The activities that do this to me are things such as:
–Feeling I need to ‘speculate to accumulate’ by advertising my novel on Bookbub (or any of its cousins and paying a small fortune to get my book seen by the masses).
I don’t dispute that this nets great results for those who are aligned with it. Personally, I know of authors who shout from the rooftops about it. But for me, personally, it feels too rooted in effort and pushing. Again, maybe that will change one day, and in that case I’ll be joining them and lavishing the idea with praise. But for now, it’s a big turn off
–The aforementioned mailing list!
–A physical launch party
I live in a transient part of the world where friends come and go, and where the people who do stay live hectic lives. I simply cannot guarantee that everyone will come together under one roof at a set time to celebrate the launch of my book. And I’d rather not risk that mortifyingly embarrassing situation that is a venue rattling around with half a dozen people!
So for now, I’ll stick with the online launch party instead. It’s cheaper, less stress and just as much fun. Better still, nobody has to invest in fancy outfits, nobody has to even leave their house.
So there you have it, although I have only scratched the surface of possibilities when it comes to thinking outside of the box. Our imaginations are the limits when it comes to satisfying ways of getting our book out there.
Marketing doesn’t have to be the thorn in the side of your publishing journey. Keep it light, fun and simple, and most of all enjoy it… else what’s the flippin’ point?
Then sit back and watch the magic of the universe unfold.