Authors are expected to do much of their own marketing. Been there, heard that — you can keep the tee-shirt.
So what’s a writer with little or no marketing experience to do? Research.
And get started early. Though my first book is almost a year from publication, I’m working on a Promotion Plan now. Naturally a strategic thinker, I’m thinking ahead. (If you haven’t yet sold a project, this is prime brainstorming season.)
In a previous job, I worked sales and marketing for a clothing manufacturer, where my biggest account was Nike. They are marketing masters.
A minimum of eighteen months out, they plan the launch for any new apparel line. Nike knows the investment in time and energy pays back with interest. They study competitors. Survey customers. Review totally unrelated products. And sometimes, try things that fail.
But in the thinking stage, they don’t toss any crazy idea.
As a new author, I don’t have a mega-marketing budget like Nike. But their basic principles work with two hundred dollars like they do with two million. If you’d like to peek at some of their aggressive 2013 marketing strategies, click here.
Taking what I learned from past experience, here are ten sources I’m using to brainstorm a unique Book Promotion Plan:
1. Read creative thinking books. Some of my current faves are: The $100 Startup, The Four-Hour Work Week, The Power of Full Engagement, The Well-Fed Writer, Red Hot Internet Publicity, The Wealthy Freelancer, Platform, and Shameless Self-Promotion and Networking for Christian Creatives.
2. Hunt for colorful partnering alternatives in the everyday. Look around you with fresh eyes. Is there a marketing marriage in the making?
3. Study other author websites for promotional ideas. In the following examples, it’s the concept, not necessarily the content, that interests me:
- Rise Again — The Novel
- Neil Gaiman
- Torry Martin
- The Cancer MD
- Author Media (Their marketing prowess rates high.)
4. Observe projects, organizations, or businesses of different styles, to spark unique promotional ideas. i.e. Concerts, chambers of commerce, beauty salons, amusement parks, hardware stores, talent shows, and more, are marketing fodder.
5. Create a line of products to complement the book’s message. Brand image magnifies with diversity — and promotional products spread your message further.
6. Target different personality types, genders, ages, and regions to reach a wider audience. Never discount a potential demographic in the brainstorming phase.
7. Ask for ideas. Get your brave on. Ask the checkout person, waitress, plumber, even employees of places you visit on vacation. They may offer fresh perspectives. But don’t fail to tap into your professional networks as well.
8. Help others with pure motives. I believe we get what we honestly give.
9. Stay true to the title. I use this as an editing tool, but it works well with brand marketing also.
10. Consult the Master Platform-Builder. God constructs the sturdiest and sometimes strangest ways to display our messages. Trust Him to know the end in your beginning.
What spurs your book promotion ideas?