Thursday, May 22, 2008

Marketing Talk

Tip of the Day: Keep a word document entitled “Marketing Ideas” open on your desktop all the time. Then, each time you see a cool idea from another blog, listserve, etc., copy/paste it into your document. Some day you’ll sit down to sort it all out (at least that is what I tell myself) and you’ll have loads of great information.

It’s getting about that time. The time when I need to start obsessing about how I will market my book. Only thing is, I haven’t a clue. Sure, I know some of the basics like have a Web site (though I really should work on a better one), have a MySpace, blog around (that sounds kinda dirty doesn’t it?), and I just recently joined Facebook (still not sure I’m doing that one right). But I haven’t thought of any really great marketing ideas for when my book comes out. Yeah, I have over a year before that time but being a true writer I must obsess about every little thing NOW. Right? It seems like everyone else has super fantastic marketing ideas all the time!

People make lots of cute bookmarks and buttons, postcards and pens, but what is really effective? Or does it all just become stuff that no one really pays attention to? I kinda like the postcards myself—because then I use them as a bookmark for that book when I read it (or other books by the author). But other than that, what kinda swag is really a good investment? (really dear readers, what kinda swag do YOU like?).

I know I should do some coffee related stuff—obviously. Just not sure what. Maybe give away free espresso mugs? Or have a party or some book signings in coffee shops? Drink myself silly on espressos before a reading to give everyone a good laugh? Hmmm…this stuff is hard.

And then, how do you market directly to teens? Maybe magazine ads would be a good idea but are they really memorable? And are they worth the huge cost? I wonder if Red Bull sells ad space on the back of their cans.

I’ve heard some authors say that marketing at all is a big waste of time. That your book is either going to be a bestseller or it isn’t (depending on how many copies your first print run is. And that is entirely decided by your publisher. Apparently you need to sell X number of books to hit the bestseller lists and if your pub hasn’t printed that many then your chance of hitting the list disappears). These authors say you should spend your time writing the next book. Which I do. Since selling Espressologist I’ve written 3 more books. Of course, I’m always revising them but that’s how it goes. I’d really like to do some kind of marketing but not get too crazy. And something fun.

Take YA author Stephanie Kuehnert (whose book comes out in July and I will be interviewing her for A2A in June). She and the author of Frenemies, Alexa Young, are setting up something called ROCK AND READ. They are going to host events combining readings with music. How cool is that?

I know I still have time to come up with something snazzy to do but I do feel a nagging pressure to work on marketing now. Or at least figure out what I’m going to do. What about you other authors? Do you worry a lot about marketing? Or just focus on writing the next book?

Kristina, Miss Soon-to-Pub


Kate Fall said...

Tina, you're a marketing genius. Who else could come up with ads on cans of Red Bull? I can't believe this isn't being done already. Like right now, I'm drinking a Diet Coke. Look at all the wasted space. Nutrition information, please people, it's a Diet Coke. Let's make that ad space for great books instead!

Emily Marshall said...

The thing about teens and books is that so much of it is word-of-mouth marketing. And it being in a place they can find out about it (i.e. in a good location at the bookstore). And that depends a lot on your book and your publishers push behind it, how it's reviewed and what bookstores/libraries will buy it then. So much of it is out of your control apart from making the book great. But it's not like some marketing can't help with that. Sounds like you already have good ideas brewing, so I think you are on the right track.

DeenaML said...

I feel like if you did a certain number of coffee mugs with the cover, isbn, tag line, and sent those out with the ARC of your book -- or even without it! -- to some booksellers/librarians, the mug would get used (who doesn't drink tea or coffee in their office?), and it would be a constant reminder.

Anonymous said...

Speaking as a teen here:

As much as I love getting postcards and/or bookmarks at a signing, it doesn't sway me one way or the other towards getting the book or telling people about it. What will get my attention is if I pick up the book and really enjoy at least one aspect of it: then I'm extremely likely to mention it to the friends I know would like that kind of book. How to get that first link in the chain to bite, though, that's the tricky part, isn't it? Fabulous launch parties would definitely get my attention -- if you take the idea of a reading/party at a coffee shop a step or two further, these are some possibilities:

- have someone there to be an espressologist, "working" the crowd (for lack of a better term)
- have someone demonstrate how to make certain drinks
- if there's a particular drink that's important to the story, suggest that people be drinking that as you read from the book

Lisa Schroeder said...

I think it's easy to get sucked into the vortex of fear as it relates to your book and selling. There is always something else that you could do marketing-wise, you know? But does any of it really work?

I was just reading something by Donald Maass (he wrote that BREAKOUT NOVEL book) and he said the most important thing is to write a good book. Basically, the idea is that good books find readers. Good books sell.

I do what I can, which isn't much. I don't stress about it. I keep writing. Because I figure the bigger the body of work, the more chances for people to find me.

Kristina Springer said...

Thanks for the comments!

Deena-- that's a good idea!
Tori-- Great ideas! Do you do marketing on the side? ;-)
Lisa-- I hear ya! I was just saying that to my agent--that the more books I get out the better.