by Gina Burgess (using part of an excerpt from Using the Ripple Effect)
Guerrilla marketing—the idea of using a small amount of money [or zero money] to do something unconventional—should be a part of every writer’s book marketing strategy (Scott La Counte – @buzz_trace)
This is probably the most fun thing, but least used thing to market books.
It takes brain power.
Think quirky not weird. Unusual will get attention. Do readings somewhere besides a bookstore. Do a giveaway that pertains to your story or non-fiction book. Almost everyone has a Kindle or Nook, think something besides a book. You can even do a Reader’s Beach Grab Bag for a summer read. Sunglasses, towel, book, and tote (you can get one that you put your book cover on with your name and website address for $20-$30 at VistaPrint.
When I was a sales manager, I had to devise several kinds of contests to motivate and boost morale. In one of my evaluations, I was told that my contests were boring and the prizes I chose were ho-hum. It wasn’t something that would get me fired, but sales reps (especially the younger ones) needed some spark. I finally settled on a clue game, not the clue game, but one kinda sorta similar. It had to motivate sales, boost morale, and spark interest in meeting goals.
There hadn’t been any contest like it ever before; and my reps talked about nothing else. They had better sales, less loss, and got to work earlier than any other time before, all because they were competing for that one clue that would help them solve the mystery and win the grand prize. The grand prize? A golf shirt with the company logo. In our five-state area, that contest was the talk of the town, and other managers followed suit. It was a boost to morale around the company. Cool! It was unusual, it got attention, it caused buzz, and people focused on it so much it was shared with other offices nationwide.
A guerilla marketing idea out of the box
An interesting guerilla marketing idea comes from Dominoes’ Pizza. They’re out on the streets filling in potholes so you can get your pizza unruffled and not sticking to the top of the box. It’s a community service. It’s quirky. It’s terrific public relations. Is it working? Don’t know, yet. This is a full-blown campaign, not a one-day-thing. But it is definitely out of the box. But don’t miss the key component here. You don’t have to fill in potholes to do some community work. Who would connect potholes with pizza? Find the connect between what you are writing about and community work, no matter how tenuous the thread.
Think out of the box to grab the attention of people who are interested in what you are writing about. Talk about your “deal” everywhere you go on the ‘net, and your readers will find you. Connect with a school and read your book or chapter to students. My mom and I sent flyers home with the children of an elementary school about the book she wrote and illustrated. Then we set up a time and read the book to two classes. We sold eleven books that day.
You wrote your book because you were passionate about the premise and the characters. You want to motivate readers to buy your books. So, help your readers get passionate about all of it: story premise, characters, and genre. Only you can pour your creative juices into creating a guerrilla marketing idea.
Most guerilla marketing is location, location, location. That’s why authors in huge cities might find it more effective. However, almost everyone is close to a public library, and it is full of readers.
So one that comes to mind is:
- Dressing up like your main character and sit at the pubic library reading — most people will look at you like you’re weird. So, have a sign that you flash when you catch people looking at you. Get them talking, tell them about your book. Have a stack for sale, and sign them. Of course, you’ll need the librarian’s permission, but I bet she’ll grin and love the idea.
How about some guerilla marketing for online?
- Podcasts with cliffhangers.
- Create some kind of game. Brandilyn Collins had a Facebook Friday picture caption game. She would post a picture and fans would write captions. Which ever caption won, received something–usually a mention on her blog, but sometimes that person’s name would be a character in her next book.
- Facebook groups? What might work for your favorite Facebook group?
- How could you use video?
- One favorite is memes–what are some ideas for a meme?
What ideas are churning in your head?
I’m posting this so we can brainstorm ideas. What are some ways to guerrilla market a romance novel? a mystery? an action adventure? a children’s book? science fiction? non-fiction?
ˈbrānˌstôrm/nouna spontaneous group discussion to produce ideas and ways of solving problems.
Gina Burgess is an editor, writing coach, illustrator, and a grandma. You can purchase her book Using the Ripple Effect from Amazon.
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