It’s Marketing Time, People – I’ve been implementing lots of new and varied ideas this year to change things up, better my book entrepreneurial venture success and ultimately, all of it, in hopes of increasing my book sales. The first post in a three part series, my Throw Back Marketing list is short but sweet and hopefully helpful.
If you’ve been writing for a long time, there were likely several marketing tactics you read about doing (years ago) that are now, unfortunately, obsolete. Times change and those ways of promoting are no longer relevant or they’ve fallen by the way side and it’s a shame they were abandoned completely.
Here’s a couple you may remember: A car magnet to tell people you wrote books and put your website on it? How about put a book mark in all of your monthly bills and any letters mailed to strangers or how about the old mailing list where you mailed out a piece of correspondence EVERY SINGLE TIME you had a new book out or news to share?
What happened to those?
The world got cray-cray, that’s what happened. To protect ourselves, we suddenly needed PO Box’s so no one knew where we lived and we can’t dare send any bookmarks or business cards with our bills- robots open that mail anyway and the person that works there doesn’t have have time to read anything, they are on production to process things as fast as they can before they too are replaced by said robot. Moreover, does anyone pay their bills via paper any more, anyway? Our world has moved to online bill pay, no paper required.
And the magnet, I don’t know who it works for (real estate, plumbers) but they fall off and that’s money down the drain. Plus there’s nothing like telling every crook that passed by that you live here and people already think authors are rich when most are not (you know just incase you forgot to remove said magnet).
So, I do have some tactics that you should revisit and they can be considered of times past BUT they’ve had a little makeover by yours truly. Enjoy. Tell me what you’re doing to increase those sales?
You should be still building your mailing list by having a sign up sheet or go high tech where visitors can enter their info into a spare Ipad or other table /tablet device you have at your book-signing table. (Mailchimp has a great program for this) and do this at EVERY SINGLE EVENT and send them a welcome e-mail per usual, BUT you should also still send a postcard or newsletter – yes this is expensive but one important thing I’ve found that’s hard for many people to believe, NOT EVERYONE is ONLINE. Romance is one of the oldest and largest genres and we likely have the largest age range of people reading-not only everywhere-but at every age. Even in the nursing homes and other places you think people aren’t reading, they are and they still need to hear about you and from you in a way thats accessible to them. So I don’t care if it’s just once a year or once every other year, still keep in touch with some actual paper correspondence. You’d be surprised who likes getting this kind of correspondence in the snail mail and in that, you CAN include a bookmark or two.
For some of us, we visit hairdressers and dentist and other service providers who have waiting rooms, people getting their hair done have likely read the same tattered magazine a gazillion times but they could be reading your book instead and if they like however much they are able to read, they may go out and purchase it or tell a friend. You could leave a couple of cards in there, that say “Like this book? It’s available on Amazon.” My hairdresser has a little table in her office for things just like this and a small bulletin board.
If you do have a PO Box, put your website on the labels that you use and even a book cover pic, and your tag line if you can fit it. For packages I mail out with books, usually the book cover is on there and my website. You can make your own labels and as such make them whatever size you want to.
Book Marketer types used to tell us to visit the bookstore -provided it’s local, a couple days before an event you may be having – talk to customers, shop and hand out bookmarks. You can still do this and even if you’re local, you can make a standard flyer – send to the CSR and ask him/her to post that you’re coming – to the customers or create a little events flyer and put your upcoming event on there. You may go so far as to send a template an ask the CSR to insert the rest of their events on your flyer and put it in everyone’s bag. You never know what you can get, they want people in their stores, they want people to have a reason to come back to the store, so ask. Their printing budgets are so, so make say 50-75 flyers yourself and ask just for the week of your appearance if you can leave them at the register, someone WILL notice. If you go to an independent bookstore, offer to do a quick writing seminar before your signing as that will draw people too and announce it in the local papers calendar.
Cold Calling for events – do people still do this? Telemarkers do it to us why aren’t we doing it to bookstores and other venues where we could get ourselves an event? Because it can be terrifying that’s why. But I used to cold call all the time when I wrote my first book and it WORKED, if I got one nibble out of five rejections, it propelled me to call five more people on my list and I kept going. Here’s a short list of people to cold call and ask to give a workshop Women’s centers, Chambers of Commerce, Homeowners Associations, community colleges and universities, and small business development centers. Even the Rotary and other civic clubs are sometimes looking for speakers. Toastmasters could be one too. We have a Toastmaster to Author and Speakers club that consists of ALL toastmasters desiring to write and publish their first book. You could speak regionally to this same kind of group for an even bigger draw. Now if you hate getting on the phone, don’t do it. Ask a gregarious friend to do this and write out a script before hand if you’re truly the nervous, introverted writer. I continue -all these years later- to be surprised by the things I can get for myself if I would just take the time out to do it. (or also ask your mother – mine also used to do mine for me and she was super good!) It works.
Finally, still send a press release. It’s not going to do much for you but it’s one more person to learn about what’s happening with you. And please note, no one is faxing anymore just in case you’re in the group I’ve talked about in number one above. E-mail is the way to go nowadays. Create a one pager, do it in Word or other word processor so you know what a single spaced page length looks like and send it off to the reporter. You n ever know, one day they may come looking for you. It’s especially good to send to a reporter when you have an event that you can also promote and invite them to. In fact if you have an event, why not send the press release and follow up with a handwritten invitation to your book party and mention the press release in that note. Some people I know have gone as far as taking treats to the press and if it works, hey, try it.
Now that you have some updated spins, go look at ALL those marketing tactics of old and reexamine how you can alter them and make them work for this century.
Leave a comment about an old/revised tactic you’re doing now or plan to update and use.
Good luck and come back next Wednesday for the next installment of my three week Marketing Mindset series.