When most of us say the word, we say it with a certain amount of contempt. Why should I have to self-market, people should just know good writing when they see it. They should come seek me out.
Me market to the masses? Fooey.
Well here’s the real deal. If you are a writer and if you want any chance of having your name heard among the many millions being screamed out there, you need to start doing some shouting yourself (Lord knows, your publisher won’t have the time or money to do it.)
Times have changed. Book stores are fewer, and the internet is now how people find out information (just look at the viral success of the book 50 Shades of Grey!) It means you’re going to have to create Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin accounts and you’re going to have to use them not just create them and then wipe your hands and say you are done. (check out some of our earlier posts on using Social Media.)
It also means you need to think about swag, especially if you are published or are going to be published. Swag is those little items intended to be given away either at independent book stores, book signings, or sent to bloggers who can use them in blog contests (you know, those events where you leave a comment and a randomly picked person gets the prize?) If you can get in with the all-powerful bloggers, you have a foot in that oh-so-important internet door.
You have a chance of being heard. More importantly you have a chance at creating some BUZZ!
A friend of mine, Gina Rosati, who has a book coming out on August 7th (Auracle) tells me that between getting a website built, buying a new computer, buying books from those in her support group, and buying swag, she has spent most of her book’s advance. She sees it, however, as money well spent. If her name gets out there, she’s got a chance at getting another book deal. And more books deals are what it’s all about.
For the swag, she has bookmarks (on which she ties charms and crystals – quartz crystal and rainbow moonstone for positive energy), stickers, postcards, magnets, and silicone wristbands. Most of the items incorporate her book’s cover (that lovely dark blue waterfall with the ethereal girl) That image is becoming her brand image for this book. She wants people to see that picture and think of Auracle.
Her plan is to, as her release date gets closer, send the swag out to bloggers to be used in contests.
It’s a smart plan. Nothing draws attention like getting something for free (hey I won my Kindle Fire at an online book release party and because of it, I’ll forever buy Jonathan Fields’ books.) It’s a way to generate excitement and get people talking about your product.
And if you can create a product related to your publication that you can sell (t-shirts, coffee mugs, bags – see cafepress.com) – that will bring in money, keeps the devoted fan base going, and (best of all) serve as free advertising (just take a look at the Twilight brand – someone is getting rich off of all those promotional items.)
When my book gets published, you can bet I’ll be having chicken-related products to both sell and give-away. I’d be a fool not to.
For now, even if you aren’t published, imagine you are or will be soon. What is it about your book that can be marketed? Is it a food book? Could you create measuring spoons with your book’s image? Is it about a trip to London? Could you use a crown in your promotions?
Take some time to think about what the image is you want people to see in their mind when they think about your book.
And then think of ways you can get that image out on the internet and into people’s hands and minds.
Wendy Thomas is an award winning journalist, columnist, and blogger who believes that taking challenges in life will always lead to goodness. She is the mother of 6 funny and creative kids and it is her goal to teach them through stories and lessons.
Wendy’s current project involves writing about her family’s experiences with chickens (yes, chickens).
I got your swag right here. Gina has given me some swag to hand out (yeah, I know, whose da blogger?) I have 4 sets of bracelets (one pink, one blue), 4 signed bookmarks, 4 signed postcards, 4 signed stickers, and 4 magnets. Leave a comment on this post and Friday afternoon, 20 random commenters (pretty good odds here) will be chosen to receive some of this great Auracle stuff. Ready? Go.