No Money Marketing
Written by Author Angela Yuriko Smith
Somewhere, the next J.K. Rowling is being ignored. Perhaps she is a self published author, part of the growing wave of writers that have decided to invest in themselves as professionals. She has worked tirelessly on her book, perfecting it, and it is indeed a thing of beauty. After the initial excitement of publishing dies down, she excitedly watches for her sales to take off. A few books are bought by friends and family, and nothing more. Her book is doomed to sit on her shelf, unloved and unnoticed.
This is happening all the time; independent authors are being ignored not because they are bad, but because the writer lacks the money and know -how to get their book noticed. Having witnessed this unhappy phenomenon for years, I formulated a plan before I published to avoid being shelved myself, and it worked. In its first month I managed to get my book, End of Mae, nearly 50 reviews, 4 author interviews, 2 Q&A sessions and an editor pick that exposes it to over 150,000 plus Second Life fans on Facebook. Additionally, 2,000 unique visitors experienced my book in an interactive way. That was accomplished in less than 30 days.
That is a lot of attention for one little indie novella in its first month. I will be honest and tell you straight up that it’s not because End of Mae is an amazing work of fictional genius. It’s definitely worth the price, but to be honest, the secret of my success has been the marketing plan. The best part of all is that I probably spent under $50 on the entire campaign. Most of that was to pay for a few paperbacks I gave away as gifts and prizes.
Of course I can’t tell all the details of my plan in one small post, so I have been taking notes and recording my plan in the book I am finishing now, titled All You Need Is “Like”, and I hope to release it in the next month. It’s a tell-all expose of thinking outside the box and turning your internet into your hardest working employee. For now, I only have the time and room to share my most effective methods, but you can find more information on my blog, dandilyonfluff.com.
1. Use your social network. As the title says, all you need is “like”, but if you have less than 300 friends on you Facebook, internet job sites like Microworkers won’t even pay you a penny for your influence. When I learned this I started bulking up on my friends, and managed to bring my friends from 200 to over 1,000 in a month. My primary source of FB friends was to seek out individuals in the same boat; namely artists, crafters, media and the like. They need friends like we do, and are very happy to reciprocate. Once my list started building, I started getting friends requests from them. When you see a business listed, request a friend connection. You will soon be part of an interconnected web of like minded individuals. A bonus of this is that marketers and media tend to be in those circles, and make excellent professional friends. Please note that before I did this I removed all my children’s pictures and information from my profile for their privacy and safety. If you don’t want to do this, I suggest having two profiles.
2. Get virtually successful. There are virtual worlds, such as Second Life, that are turning into very real sources for networking. Universities are setting up virtual campuses. Corporations are setting up virtual headquarters. There are virtual television stations, magazines, news agencies, writer’s communities. Don’t think of virtual worlds as “a game,” think of it as your portal to the world, each avatar represents a person and potential reader. In Second Life I managed to send a press release containing a one chapter mini book, promotional shirts for him and her, all the pertinent information as well as a method to travel back to where I had created the house from the book virtually. This went to over 500 bloggers and magazine editors. The rewards were being featured permanently in Second Life’s Destination Guide as an editor pick, shared with their 150,000 and growing fan base. Many of them followed up with a visit to my virtual “Heylel’s House”. I received 30-50 unique visitors a day. There, fans can interact directly with scenes from my book, I can have live readings and parties and share links to the book trailer and other information as well as give away free gifts. This barely scratches the surface of the promotional potential available online. There is so much more I could say on this, which I guess is why I have to write a book on it, but while we’re waiting, consider exploring Second Life as a serious marketing tool.
3. Be graphic. If a picture is worth a thousand words, than a trailer must be worth a million. A book trailer can be as simple as quotes from your book imposed over related photos, or as complicated as a re-enacted scene. I went the route of Machinima, a viral trend that uses games and virtual worlds to create music videos and mini movies. I am lucky enough to have a talented daughter make mine, and it has become a major tool in my marketing arsenal. We recreated the spooky woods from the opening of the book, but I won’t take space to describe it when you can see it for yourself on her new channel. Here I can only tell you why and how it has been so effective. First off, trailers are as viral as lice in a preschool. A video can be shared not only through Facebook and Twitter, but on your Smashwords and Amazon author pages, on Youtube, in blog pages. It can be left as a video response to Youtube videos on similar topics. Your friends will share it, and if it’s well done, their friends and so on. Even big picture Paramount is recognizing the power of viral video, and they have formed a new branch called Insurge, devoted to the low budget and easily shared. Like a movie trailer, a book trailer should raise questions to potential new readers. I have been told on two separate occasions that someone bought my book to see what happens to the girl in the trailer, which we incidentally filmed in Second Life. I laughed happily when I was asked if the pixel girl in the film was “really Mae”. That was what I’d hoped to do, form a relationship with the viewer that could continue into my books.
These are three of my most effective marketing tools that I have used to promote End of Mae. I am always happy to answer questions and share information, so please feel free to contact me through my blog, FB profile or visit End of Mae with a “like”. Good marketing will not sell a bad book, but it will get a good book the attention it deserves. And with the internet bringing the world to your desktop, now all you need is “like”.
**Originally Published on TeamNerd Reviews**