Thursday Fifteen: Book/Fiction Marketing

Today’s theme for my Thursday Fifteen (and here I was afraid I wouldn’t get thirteen items each week!) is book marketing, something many of us assume our publisher will handle. Wrong-o! In fact, if you pitch a book with a complete marketing plan, you’ll have a better chance at getting an agent/publisher. The book biz is hard work for everyone involved, so an author who shows foresight into the process gets brownie points. So here is my list to help you rack up those points!

  1. YouTube. Have any of you seen Meg Cabot’s viral marketing videos? You have to see them, they are hilarious. Obviously this method doesn’t work for everyone, especially if you’re camera shy. But if you have a penchant for acting and/or chatting, people always love a friendly face and a two minute video that makes them laugh. There are also book trailers, but in all honesty, I still haven’t seen one that inspired me to pick up the book.
  2. Author website. And while we’re talking about Meg Cabot, check out her stellar website. This was obviously professionally designed. Even if you can’t afford big bucks, try to find a reputable web designer, please. For some authors, a blog is sufficient for their online presence. It’s up to you to decide what’s best.
  3. Virtual Book Tour. Free and easy for everyone involved, you visit a series of reader/writer/niche blogs and talk about your book, or the issue the book tackles, etc. For instance, when my WIP is ready for full-blown marketing, I mean to find websites dealing with adult grief because that is a major thematic issue my MC struggles with.
  4. Polish your “About the Author” blurb for your book, any blogs you guest post for, your website, and your own personal blog. Then if people talk about you they have solid facts to reference from your press kit.
  5. Use typical marketing materials differently. Bookmarks can be more than bookmarks, you know. Leave a copy when you mail your bills, leave it with your tip at a restaurant, or go to your local library/bookstore and find books similar to yours and leave an unexpected freebie for the reader.
  6. Put your website URL in your e-mail signature.
  7. Make sure to comment on the blogs you read because you’re introducing yourself to the writing community. Making consistent, frequent, and insightful comments are even better, because now you’re impressing the writers who impressed you, and (maybe) they will be more likely to take a chance and write a blurb for you once you’re in the publishing phase.
  8. Everyone likes free stuff! Have contests where you give away books (yours or someone else’s). Provide short stories that relate to your books or are a completely different genre.
  9. Talk to your local libraries and independent bookstores months in advance of your release date. These places love local authors, especially if they have a marketing plan all ready to go. Make sure there’s something in it for them, and they’ll give you the opportunity of a book reading/signing. You self-pubbed authors, Barnes&Noble and Borders are hard to get into. Just a warning. Their policy is to only stock books that sell highly on their website, and they expect to be compensated for their time. Stick with the local clubs, libraries, etc. If there are reading groups in the area, even better.
  10. Join social networking sites like Facebook  (don’t forget to friend me!) and Shelfari. Shelfari is excellent for reader/writers because we’re networking through one of our biggest passions, books.
  11. I live on an urban university campus where there are fliers everywhere for clubs, events, etc. Why not make a flier for your book with tear-offs that have your website address on them? Leave them on your library bulletin boards, etc. If you’re allowed to do the same at work, leave a copy there, though, if you didn’t know that everyone, at one point in their life, has started a book, you’ll soon hear about it as your co-workers realize what you’ve accomplished.
  12. If someone is trying to sell you something, tell them you will listen to their pitch if they’ll listen to yours. (This is a great way to lose telemarketers, and so much fun!)
  13. Have special business cards for your writing career made up with your book cover on one side and your contact info on the other. Think of it as a special-sized bookmark and apply #5.
  14. I haven’t tried this website, but Author Marketing Expert  provides a free marketing newsletter and offers services to those who just don’t know where to begin (even after reading this supremely helpful list, though I say it myself, har-har).
  15. Ask someone (someone objective) to write a book review.

16 thoughts on “Thursday Fifteen: Book/Fiction Marketing

  1. Great list. 🙂 I'll definitely be doing most of these when I'm further along. The 'About the Author' bit is especially important– of anything on my blog, that's the page that's been viewed the most.

    The absence of decent book trailers, I think, is because people simply don't understand media and art, or the concept that something really good is going to take time and skill. Otherwise they'd be hiring artists and animators to come up with something clever. Granted, I'm the girl who hates book covers so much that I got my own artist well ahead of time to see that mine was done right…

    If you had something really good looking, really clever, well illustrated, I think that book trailers have so much potential. I've got one of my own planned and partially story-boarded (a mix of 2d and 3d animation, 31 seconds long). It's going to take at least a hundred hours or so to finish to the level I want it to be, and I'm unsure about how to (legally) commission the music, but still… done right, I think that it could go like wildfire.

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  2. Glad to be of help!

    If you're looking for music, you might want to try out Podsafe Music, or Podsafe Audio. They have music by indie artists in multiple genres who are just looking to get their name out there. So, while these websites are for podcasting, talk to the artist and they'll probably allow you to use their music for a book trailer. It's almost the same thing anyway…

    Like

  3. Great list. 🙂 I’ll definitely be doing most of these when I’m further along. The ‘About the Author’ bit is especially important– of anything on my blog, that’s the page that’s been viewed the most.

    The absence of decent book trailers, I think, is because people simply don’t understand media and art, or the concept that something really good is going to take time and skill. Otherwise they’d be hiring artists and animators to come up with something clever. Granted, I’m the girl who hates book covers so much that I got my own artist well ahead of time to see that mine was done right…

    If you had something really good looking, really clever, well illustrated, I think that book trailers have so much potential. I’ve got one of my own planned and partially story-boarded (a mix of 2d and 3d animation, 31 seconds long). It’s going to take at least a hundred hours or so to finish to the level I want it to be, and I’m unsure about how to (legally) commission the music, but still… done right, I think that it could go like wildfire.

    Like

  4. Glad to be of help!

    If you're looking for music, you might want to try out Podsafe Music, or Podsafe Audio. They have music by indie artists in multiple genres who are just looking to get their name out there. So, while these websites are for podcasting, talk to the artist and they'll probably allow you to use their music for a book trailer. It's almost the same thing anyway…

    Like

  5. Yeah, but it's a commercial, so technically it's being used to sell things. The 'free music' deal doesn't hold for that, does it?

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  6. Yeah, but it’s a commercial, so technically it’s being used to sell things. The ‘free music’ deal doesn’t hold for that, does it?

    Like

  7. I think it depends on the artist and what their copyrights are. If they're using some sort of Creative Commons license (do they have those for music?), then it's worth a shot. Licensing music can get extremely expensive, and will probably overshadow the rest of your expenses.

    Unless you're rich, in which case, don't mind me. 🙂

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  8. I think it depends on the artist and what their copyrights are. If they’re using some sort of Creative Commons license (do they have those for music?), then it’s worth a shot. Licensing music can get extremely expensive, and will probably overshadow the rest of your expenses.

    Unless you’re rich, in which case, don’t mind me. 🙂

    Like

  9. Heh. If I were a rich girl… wait, too cheesy, never mind.

    If all else fails, I suspect that indy bands are easier to reach, and since I work for a game company I suspect that someone has an acquaintance who knows about sound effects and music.

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  10. Heh. If I were a rich girl… wait, too cheesy, never mind.

    If all else fails, I suspect that indy bands are easier to reach, and since I work for a game company I suspect that someone has an acquaintance who knows about sound effects and music.

    Like

  11. Thanks. Now I'll be singing that all day, haha.

    True, true. Use those connections! I was wondering how you had access to 2D, 3D animation programs…

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  12. Thanks. Now I’ll be singing that all day, haha.

    True, true. Use those connections! I was wondering how you had access to 2D, 3D animation programs…

    Like

  13. Heh. Yes, the programs. I got my bachelor's degree in Multimedia, so most of the stuff I use is leftover from college.

    For the 2d stuff I was actually planning on using a combination of Flash and Photoshop: draw simple white lines over black and use the flash masks to animate the picture 'drawing' itself. Of course, that could be done with other, cheaper programs as well, since the technique is simple. I'm also using fighting animations, and for that I was going to ask my martial arts instructor if I could tape him fighting, then do the animation the old-fashioned way with that as a reference. From there it's just a matter of lining the pictures up in a video editor like a flipbook.

    The 3d stuff is mostly going to be used for architecture: quick flashes of buildings and embossed crests. I'm using 3ds max, but if you're going cheap, try Blender or the student version of Maya. 🙂

    No, I'm not a geek…

    Like

  14. Heh. Yes, the programs. I got my bachelor’s degree in Multimedia, so most of the stuff I use is leftover from college.

    For the 2d stuff I was actually planning on using a combination of Flash and Photoshop: draw simple white lines over black and use the flash masks to animate the picture ‘drawing’ itself. Of course, that could be done with other, cheaper programs as well, since the technique is simple. I’m also using fighting animations, and for that I was going to ask my martial arts instructor if I could tape him fighting, then do the animation the old-fashioned way with that as a reference. From there it’s just a matter of lining the pictures up in a video editor like a flipbook.

    The 3d stuff is mostly going to be used for architecture: quick flashes of buildings and embossed crests. I’m using 3ds max, but if you’re going cheap, try Blender or the student version of Maya. 🙂

    No, I’m not a geek…

    Like

  15. Oh excellent! I used to do some animations for my college’s scoreboard, but all of the programs were at the athletic center so I didn’t get to keep any.

    I’ve never heard of Blender, and the student version of Maya slowed my old computer down so badly that I had to give it up. Maybe with my newer one, though…

    …You are talking to a fellow non-geek. This is a safe circle.

    Like

  16. Oh excellent! I used to do some animations for my college’s scoreboard, but all of the programs were at the athletic center so I didn’t get to keep any.

    I’ve never heard of Blender, and the student version of Maya slowed my old computer down so badly that I had to give it up. Maybe with my newer one, though…

    …You are talking to a fellow non-geek. This is a safe circle.

    Like

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