Writing Words With the Tips of My Toes
Preface: I just want to give all of you a bipolar update, basically. It seems my mood has stabilized, and there is a summer going on in my head. I will admit that yesterday I was manic, but I believe I induced that mania by eating too many espresso candy beans, so I’ll have to be wiser about caffeine in the future; however, it wasn’t dangerous mania. It was more of the go-go-go type of mania, where slowing down just annoyed me, and I just wanted to listen to loud music, talk all the time, move constantly, and act, well, like a teen on meth, basically. But, for once, I did not crash from this mania. I generally crash into depression, but I just slowly wound down, got tired–for once, not irritable–and just went to bed knowing I was no longer manic but feeling like I could wake up early and not sleep in. And I did wake up early: 8:30. I could have woken up earlier, but I’ll probably have to cut down my sleep meds, as I had to raise them because depression makes it difficult to sleep, even with meds. I think the higher dosage also makes me dream tons load, but I was actually dreaming good dreams last night, instead of nightmares. I am so getting off topic, but one of my dreams was about this ensuing flood that was coming, and the water level kept rising, but, for some reason, I felt so heroic throughout the whole dream because I was the one leading everybody to higher ground. In any case, without further ado, here is my post about marketing…finally.
I consider myself a very marketing-minded person. I realize that marketing books is an enormous passion of mine. I love it. It’s fun. My publisher can do marketing and take care of the business aspect of things, too, and I can do marketing myself because When Stars Die is my baby, so why wouldn’t I be happy to market it?
In any case, let’s start with those four words over there. My publisher took care of basically all four of these, but especially price and place. He set the price of my book based on what he believed to be a competitive price, and people don’t seem to mind this price because, again, the book is out of stock. He also chose the places this book would start at, such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble–online. But he also chose his wife’s store to put AEC’s books in. He is also encouraging me to go to The Book Tavern downtown to establish a relationship with the business owner so he isn’t making a cold call about getting my book in stores. There are also some other things about place, but those are a surprise and a work-in-progress.
I mainly provided the product, but my publisher also helped to whip that product into shape. A product’s quality is the NUMBER ONE thing when it comes to marketing, and without my publisher, the quality of my product wouldn’t exist. If you have a crap product, no amount of publicity is going to help that thing. He also helped with promotion, through press releases, encouraging of ARCs, social media, an anthology, among a few other things. But for the promotion, I just took off from there like a steam train because it’s my book, I love it, I love my fans, and I want to be out there, out there, out there. I am proud of my book, and so of course I’m going to parade it around like it’s my kid who just won a Nobel prize for discovering magnematter (a total hint at Raymond Vogel’s ‘Matter of Resistance.’ Seriously, people, get the book).
First off, marketing a book is not like marketing Coke (not the drug, you gutter rat). When you see an ad for Coke on television, you aren’t going to immediately go out and buy a Coke. However, if you see the ad enough times, your brain subconsciously picks up the messages within the advertisement. Your brain registers how great Coke is, what it can do for you, this for you, that for you, ect., so the next time you go to the store and want a drink, you’re more apt to pick up a Coke. Now we all have our drink favorites. I prefer Sprite myself, but if there is Coke in my fridge and no other drink, I will drink that Coke, and I’ll eventually find myself wanting another Coke. For example, I bought some berry vodka a few weeks ago (I don’t think I’ll ever be drinking alcohol again. I think even a little alcohol will sink me into a depression), and I bought Coke for it because I REALLY wanted Coke after having drank it so much from it being in my parents’ fridge. So, essentially, because Coke is primarily in my parents’ fridge, that fridge is basically advertising Coke to me constantly, which sounds silly, but the more you see something, the more apt you are to buy it because you’ve heard so much about it. So even though ads have become white noise to us now, our brains are still picking up on these ads, and whatever ones our brains remember the most, those ads are likely going to be the products we buy. We may think we buy something simply because we’ve been perusing the shelves and have seen it, but most of us have likely seen it in an ad first. I know my favorite clothing line, Princess Vera Wang, is at Kohls’ stores, but I first saw it in a magazine and thought the clothes were cute. So it’s now my favorite clothing brand.
Unfortunately, advertising books is not like advertising Coke. For one, you don’t see ads of books on televisions or billboards, unless you’re James Patterson. You may see them on Google, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Goodreads, but you’re likely to not even click on them. They’re just white noise to you. So why are ads still being used? Many try to use ads for branding, trying to treat it like Coke, but since these ads are primarily online, no one is going to click on them. Perhaps 1 out of every 100 or 1000 will do it, but those ads are VERY avoidable. Apparently Google ads will work, if you know how to use them, but for those of us who can’t pay for someone to teach us how to use them, we can think of more creative, fun ways to create exposure. We as people don’t like ads. We hate them on our Youtube videos, so we skip those. If we can skip an ad, we will. However, it is primarily the big books that get the ads, so advertisements probably work for those books because they remind people that this popular author’s book is coming out, but ads won’t work for someone who has just started out, like me, so I have to think of other ways to promote myself. Books are not like advertising Coke because, for one, reading is down, competing with other popular forms of media, and people are mainly buying books now through word-of-mouth, or for books that are similar to the previous books they’ve just read.
So what did I do to advertise my book before and after its launch? I set up a cover reveal with Lady Amber, did a bunch of interviews, sent out ARCs, and my publisher sent out some press releases before the book. Now the marketing for the sequel of the second book is going to be MUCH stronger before the launch, but this post will primarily concentrate on what I did on the launch date and after.
So on the launch date, as you know, I bought a blitz from Juniper Grove. This created enormous exposure for my book, and, really, as a first time author with a first book out, you want exposure, exposure, exposure, so that way you can build yourself up like Coke. My publisher also sent out a press release that received enormous attention. There was also a basic press release from YA Interrobang, where my book was with the likes of Veronica Roth’s, Allegiant–so, in that way, I was very lucky. I also won a free three-hour launch party, so I was also lucky, but I won’t have to worry about finding launch parties in the future. So all of this happening on my launch day just skyrocketed exposure to ungodly degrees that I can’t even tell you how many people must know about my book–or, at least, remember it.
But, after the launch date, I also bought a blitz from YA Bound, which still kept the exposure going. It also helps that I have an e-ARC with them for a month, so the adds have been continuing on Goodreads, even though they have been small–however, I have near to 500 adds, and I expect this number to REALLY rise once the e-book is out. What helps exposure even more is having only ONE print book to give away on Goodreads. You should only ever have one on Goodreads so you can use the rest of your print books for more exposure elsewhere. I gave away two print books during my launch party, one will be given away on a blog with good exposure, and another one will be given away during a radio interview I have in December–so, exposure, exposure, exposure. I also have a lot of interviews and guest posts happening during this month, and hopefully I’ll have a radio interview at the end of this month, if things go according to plan. I am also going to go to my local bookstore downtown and talk to the owner about getting my book in that store, and I will then refer him to my publisher. Also, I know When Stars Die was bought at my publisher’s wife’s bookstore, and the person who bought it loves it, and my publisher told me she just couldn’t stop gushing about it, so that really helps.
Another thing I’m doing to keep this exposure going is library visits and school visits. They are not set up yet, but a creative writing teacher at a high school where I live does want me to visit her creative writing class. Another teacher who I knew in my high school also wants to set me up for his economics class (about branding and all that, especially as it relates to my book), and two other English classes. He also wants to refer me to other high schools in the area. My publisher will be giving me materials to help me out with these things. And I should be having a book signing whenever, a radio interview in January, a big read-long on Goodreads in January, among a myriad of other things I’m going to continue to do to keep my book out there and continually increase exposure. And if all goes well, things for me are only going to keep increasing from here. I know it’s a lot on me, but it’s the job of an author, too, to keep marketing. Even if you’re with a big press, you need to also keep marketing your book thereafter. It is YOUR book, after all, so why wouldn’t you want to do everything possible to get it out there? It’s silly to just stagnate.
One last word: Spamming your book will not work. I see lots of others do this on Twitter and elsewhere. Also, I have noticed Facebook author groups where advertising is encouraged do not work. I don’t think they will ever work, so don’t even try. You need to be a lot more creative in getting your book out there. Hopefully I’ll eventually attend conferences and all that, as I know that will help, too.
Do you guys have any questions for me? Also, for readers, what has made you buy a book?