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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Killer Campaigns is Coming Back! --Maybe

Late in 2008 and almost all of 2009, I wrote a regular column called Killer Campaigns, focusing on the various venues for marketing yourself and your book.

Through my research, I learned along with you, the cost of each marketing strategy and whether I thought it would work.

I didn't always agree with the running favorites, like bookmarks or book trailers. But I gave them a fair shake to see how they held up to my litmus test of exposure and profitability.

And I examined them all, whether I planned to use them for myself or not.

In the end, I learned, both from research and experience, that you had to choose your battles carefully. There's no benefit in running yourself ragged trying to cover all your bases with promotional pens, bookmarks, chat rooms, interviews, contests, etc., etc.

You can't do it all and even if you could, you probably couldn't do it well--not without spending an extraordinary amount of money.

So I concluded that the best promotional plan for us are the ones we're most comfortable doing--and the ones we do well.

Look at me. I live in the middle of nowhere. It takes me an hour just to reach the fuzzy edge of Dallas on a good day. (Don't even ask me how long it takes on a bad day.) I have to rely on the internet to get my name out. I can't afford to go to book signings, attend conferences and give speeches.

Worse yet, I have no talent for chat rooms, no time for Twitter, and no money for loads of goodies. What's a new author to do?

You do what you can, with the resources you have and your natural talents. I like to blog. I think I do it well. So for me, blogging is a way to reach out to a myriad of potential readers.

I like to write articles too. Even though I haven't had one published in a while, I still get visitors from the sites that carried my articles. Google my name. I'm everywhere!

This year, I'd like to do an update on Killer Campaigns, giving tips on how to complement your promotional efforts. I'm thinking we might do a series of what-if scenarios.

What if:

• Money is tight and all I have is $50 to spend on marketing this year. What should I spend it on?

• My book is erotica. What are the best ways to find my audience?

• Ack! I self-published, now what do I do?

These are just a few ideas, but I'm open to suggestions. If you have a particular quandary, you can leave it in comments, or email me if you'd rather keep your superhero identity a secret.

I'll do this series twice a month if you show enough interest. Of course, if no one comments, I'll assume it's not important enough to make it a series.

Drop me a comment, email me a question, or send up smoke rings. I'll bet we can have a lot of fun brainstorming this and getting everyone involved.

I want to color outside the lines and not fall into the same old marketing routine. You ask the questions and I'll start the ball rolling by analyzing it for public scrutiny and putting it up for discussion.

For those of you who are new to this blog and don't know my background, I recently retired as the art director for an advertising department of a major corporation where I saved the world from bad advertising.

My specialty is print advertising, but no matter what you use to market your book or your brand, the elements are the same, and so is the goal.

What do you say, guys? Should I bring back Killer Campaigns as a new series? What questions should we tackle?

For past Killer Campaign articles, go here.


Marian said...

This is something I may try myself, Maria, but I would really like to see a detailed review of John Kremer's 1001 Ways to Market Your Books. I've heard both good and bad things about it. Have you read it?

Sherri said...

I'll have to think on this a bit, LOL, and get back to you.

E-format: the good, the bad, the ugly -- I know a lot of new authors seem to be going this way. Don't know if that's because the market is headed that way or if it's the easiest, fastest, cheapest, or whatever way.

Maria Zannini said...

Marian: I had not read the book and like you, the reviews I'd seen went in both directions.

I'll have to look it up next time I'm in town, at least to get a feel for it.

Maria Zannini said...

Sherri: That's an excellent question! I am putting it on my list.

BeckySue said...

Hi Maria, I'm so glad you touched base with me through Goodreads. I've already added Touch of Fire to my TBR!
I've just started reading through your blog and am enjoying it immensely. I find it interesting that you are retired from the same field I'm trying to get into!
I just graduated with my master's in Integrated Marketing Communications but in my area it is very difficult to find a position in that field.
What was I thinking?!

Anyway, I think your exploration of marketing techniques for authors is going to be very interesting and I'm looking forward to reading your posts.

I was amazed at the variety of marketing items at the 2008 Romantic Times Book Convention in Pittsburgh. I don't know if you've ever been to one of those, but they have tables set up with buckets, baskets and trays of author related freebies. I ended up with 2 tote bags of goodies!
It makes you wonder if these types of marketing techniques work. I do know that the ones that I've kept and displayed are those that are truly unique.

I think that instead of offering a bunch of pens or key chains, authors would be wise to design something that relates to their books. My favorite takeaways from that convention are a small mirrored compact from Jackie Kessler and a little gargoyle statue that I have glued on my monitor.

Let me know when you're ready for chickens and I'll fill your head with "flocks" of ideas! :-)


Maria Zannini said...

Becky! Great to see you here.

Ref: I find it interesting that you are retired from the same field I'm trying to get into!

Good luck! I enjoyed it while it lasted.

We will definitely need to touch base when my chickens come home. I am hoping to get some Araucanas and some Orpingtons.

Thanks for popping in.

Shelley Munro said...

Maria - I'd love it if you continued your posts about promo. Like you, I have to do my promo totally online. I'm currently starting to think about promo ideas for a book coming out at Samhain in April. The problem I have is that I'm going to be away for six weeks and won't have Internet access. So now I'm thinking how do I promo without the Internet and with limited resources?

Maria Zannini said...

Shelley: You pose a very interesting problem. A real challenge! I'll see what I can figure out.

catie james said...

YES! Bring back Killer Campaigns! Woot! Woot! I loved that series; so informative and interesting. My apologies for not commenting sooner. I have fallen way behind on my blogs (like two months) and am only now catching up. Meep!