Saturday, June 8, 2013

Velcro and Duct Tape Marketing

Most people know I have a love/hate relationship with the subject of marketing. While I love making new connections and meeting new people, I hate the sheer amount of time, money, and often tears that are spent on marketing ventures gone wrong. I've said it before: moving an idea from the creative realm into reality takes time, love, luck and, quite often, money. Most indie authors have plenty of love, less luck, even littler time, and don't even get me started on money!

That's why I love what I call Velcro and Duct Tape Marketing. It's easy, no sewing involved, very little expense, and even better ... it sticks. This type of marketing came from the roots up, innovated by smart people who had boots on the ground, a ton of enthusiasm, and very little pocket change. I've stalked such people, gleaning as much information as possible, and here are the top five strategies that seem most beneficial.

It's no secret that reviews sell books, but reaching out to bloggers can be tricky. Bloggers can smell a Bob (if you haven't read Hope's article, come back to it ... it's a doozy) a mile away. Find bloggers in your genre, read and comment on their blog, establish a relationship with them first, and then ask. If, for whatever reason, they can't review your book at that time, look at it as a contact you've made for down the road. Never forget the big picture ... you're going to write another book, and their schedule may free up a bit. Whatever you do, always be gracious and kind. My grandmother used to say "Don't pee in the well, you may have to drink from it someday." I think this applies here.

There is strength in numbers
While I have met some authors that don't play well together in the same sandbox, this is usually not true for most. Take for example my friend Kristie Cook.  An extremely successful indie author in her own right, Kristie takes time to help promote other authors, she helps with causes that speak to her, and she does it all with a generous and loving heart. When the Tsunami hit Japan a few years ago, Kristie spearheaded a fund raiser in which anyone in the industry could donate their wares for an auction. Editors donated free edits, a few book designers offered a cover designs, I even auctioned off the opportunity to be named as a character in the third book. Thanks to Kristie's ability to ban us together, we raised over 1,000 dollars for the Red Cross, and I got an incredible character with a spin-off subplot! #win/win

Cross promotion is the key to success
All right, the picture is a bit over the top, but you get the idea. Everyone has something that can spiral beyond the confines of the page, and tapping into that resource is a great way to promote the source .... your work.

Looking beyond Brick-and-Mortar
When you talk to aspiring authors the first thing they say is they want to go into a major bookstore and pick up their book off the shelf. While I love to see my books on the shelf, I also realize that that shelf space is getting smaller. Bookstores are struggling under the weight of change, and so they've shifted their business plan to include educational toys, coffee shops, kids corners, meeting places, and even, in some cases, small clothing centers. Ebooks have galvanized a new industry; one that needs only the touch of a button and a helluva lot less cash. Only the huge names now have ebook prices that match their soft cover counterpart. Most readers can find a great ebook for under 5 bucks, all with the satisfaction of instant gratification. Now that speaks to the I-want-what-I-want-and-I-want-it-now culture we live in. Solely focusing on the Barnes and Noble dream often leaves indie authors frustrated and disgruntled.    

Give more than you Take
It's important to give back when you can. Be loyal to those that have helped along the way. Trisha Wolfe, an accomplished author in her own right, helped me early on with everything from learning how to set up a Goodreads author page to creating countdown widgets. Trish's career has steered her in a different direction, taking her on new and exciting paths. But whenever I see something come across my feed that has anything to do with her work, I shout it out. I now have several of her ebooks on my shelf that I've reviewed on all the major sites. I'm genuinely happy for her and congratulate her on every milestone, every success. Even though we now only speak a few times a year now, if she asked for my help I'd be there in a heartbeat.

After all, in this new Velcro and Duct Tape marketing world the things that stick with us the most are the people that touch our lives.

***in order of appearance, pictures credited to: Katydiddy's blogPKL,  Lifetime momsChantspeaksCarly Allison Thorne