Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Support Your Local Muse

by Bethany Maines

Last time I blogged about identifying ways of marketing a book in preparation for making a marketing plan. My list, to recap, was…

Tip #1: Identify Marketing Message Distribution Channels
(aka Think of ways to promote yourself and your book)
• Live Audience – signings, guest speaking, launch party
• Internet Presence – website, facebook, twitter, youtube, goodreads, linkedin
• Internet Ads – Google AdWords, facebook ads, ads on websites
• Email – newsletters, e-fliers, personal email
• Video – book trailers, promo videos
• TV - news, reality shows, talk shows
• Radio - programs, ads
• Written Word – “expert” articles, reviews of other books, blogging, guest blogging, books, short stories
• Print – newspapers, magazines, print ads, fliers, posters, mailers
• Word of Mouth – book clubs, fans, bookstore staff, reviews

Farhad Manjoo recently wrote a piece about the fact that he didn’t really care if independent bookstores failed. (Don’t Support Your Local Bookseller) He made some salient points about Amazon strengthening US readership and book sales (and annoying hipster sales staff), but when came to the idea that independent bookstores don’t offer authors anything compared to Amazon, I had to shake my head. As a reader, I think bookstores are good things in general, but as an author, bookstore signings are the fastest, easiest way to talk to people about my books and to me that equals sales. Bookstores are an essential part of the writing economy and an essential part of every local economy (To quote the Washington state economist, “Please go buy things.”). So needless to say, I will not be following Mr. Manjoo’s advice and I will be keeping my relationship with bookstores strong (aka buying books and shooting the breeze with staff).

To me talking to readers is my primary sales tool and one that is happily free. Other tools, like social media, are very important, but more secondary. Some of the secondary tools, like having a Facebook page or twittering are free, but many items like ads, book trailers, and giveaways (like book marks), all cost money. So in determining my marketing plan, I will be assessing a “distribution channel” for three things: how much time will it take, how much will it cost, and what will be my ROI (Return On Investment). A Facebook page is fast, free, and has a return of increased awareness and legitimacy. Facebook ads? Definitely not free, and the return depends on many variables. Better stop and consider.

Of course, as I look for ways to market my books I should keep in mind the fact that a marketing goal goes nowhere if I don’t meet the writer’s prime directive (no, I never watched Star Trek, and no, I don’t totally love everything that Data ever did including those two episodes of Night Court, shh, go away now): To be a writer, one must write.

1 comment:

  1. Bethany, I'm with you: I wholeheartedly support brick-and-mortar booksellers! I don't know what communities would do without them. They enliven neighborhoods and bring people together. And I agree that meeting readers is so important. As a reader, too, I realize how much more I get from books by authors I love when I've seen them speak (and sometimes meet and get to know them). It only enriches the reading experience. Hope you had a Merry Christmas!