If it sticks- Marketing Tactics 101

There’s a lot of shit out there. Yep, I used the word… shit. Originally standing for (Ship High In Transit). Now it’s used to define the numerous marketing tactics one might employ to promote a brand.

Ultimately marketing tactics is a fancy term that encompasses branding, advertising, and promotion involved with whatever you’re selling. In this case I’m selling myself, which let me tell you it’s a hard brand to sell. I’m not a popular, interesting, or even part of the ‘cool kid’ crowd. My weekends are filled with family fun, a few drinks, some cooking, and maybe written words. Yet, each time I’ve got a new book coming out I pull out the list of possible marketing tactics. This time I’m trying a boatload, but let’s review the options.

Blog Tour(s): I pay a service to essentially get word out about my books via multiple blogs. The goal is to hit up sites that will have readers remotely interested in my book. Good Blog Tour services have mastered this and are able to selectively reach out to bloggers within or vaguley interested in my genre. Then I have to write guest posts these can range from character interviews to the detailed spotlight post. I’ll admit to blog guest posting being a challenging topic that many author’s can talk about in great detail. Though, I also enjoy talking about my book so it’s still a win for me. 🙂

Online Advertising: A lot of the book review sites, the ebook retailers, bloggers, and e-zine sites offering advertising services. Prices vary by site, and I admit to not spending nearly enough time research this particular marketing tactic, merely because it can cost a lot of money and I’ve yet to hear of anyone experience a decent amount of success from ads.

Review Sites/Service: This tactic can be a double-edged sword. I’m basically asking people for honest reviews, which could result in them honestly hating my story. At the same time any publicity is good publicity, right? The idea of being skewered in theory doesn’t look as bad as no sales. My publisher submits to review sites and I’ve done a few review requests emails in my time as well. I haven’t received much response and I imagine it’s because the market is chalk full of books being published or self-published. So many authors and so little time to read.

Book Signings: A tactic that’s probably one of the most expensive, but I’ve seen it yield impressive results. By impressive I mean authors selling out of all the copies of their books, others getting pictures with readers, reviews, and even more folks interested in what they are writing after the latest release. This is my next big tactic as I’ve signed up to participate in two book signings next year, with the hope of going to at least two more. Within this tactic is also the ever-fun and varied swag. It’s hard to determine what kind of swag to giveaway at a signing. Do I go with shot glasses again? Stick with the ever useful pen? I’ll admit there’s no easy choice.

Facebook Parties: This is probably my favorite tactic. I haven’t been involved in too many of them, but I love Facebook parties. I enjoy the giveaways, the caption this contests, and essentially I have to devote very little but a few hours of my time in front of a computer screen to interact with potential new readers, fellow romance enthusiasts, and garner a few smiley emoticons.

Teasers: Another tactic I’ve recently begun to use. The Teaser graphics. These are typically images, either the cover or some other picture, and quotes from my book. The main idea is to generate interest in the book via image and words. Something catchy, gripping, and hook-ish. If I thought writing queries would be a challenge, teaser graphics are another piece of work. It’s fun as much as a challenge to find the photos, to choose the words, and ultimately crossing your fingers and hoping people are interested.

That’s the crux of the marketing bits, at least the tactics I can recall. I can honestly say that I’ve used at least one, if not more than one on each book release. The truth of the matter is it’s luck, chance, and a big bit of good story. Each one is a gamble and the goal isn’t money… nope, it’s to get people to read. Because no matter how many times a friend tells you it’s good, a family member says it moves them, a critique partner believes it will be published…

Nothing provides an author validation as much as honest feedback from someone they don’t even know.

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