Marketing With Attitude
Practical Tips for Indie Authors
by Robert W. Walker, author of 56 Kindle titles, 33 audible.com titles
Trust me, Marketing Responsibly can be a barrel of fun, if one comes at it with the right attitude. It helps if you are, or have ever been, a closet Advertising Executive. It helps if you have a steady stream of creative and inventive ideas streaming through your skull or if ideas are being channeled through your fevered brain by the deceased creator of The Pillsbury Dough Boy or the Ajax Dutch girl.
You definitely want to approach selling of your book with a proper good emotional high that involves convincing yourself that it can be done, and then going about doing the job.
Indie authors are lucky today as never before. With the ease of a keystroke nowadays we can access our book on a site like Amazon.com/Kindle and place our book cover and description onto our Facebook wall or pin it to Pinterest or add it to our Twitter feed. This is tempting in and of itself, and historic in and of itself, but don’t do it without flair.
How can one add flair to a post about one’s own book? First get into character—the one you conjured up to pitch your book; the one who wrote the book’s dynamic description. Own that character as the way to book sales. You wrote copy for your book when you did the book description. You put copy-writer hat on for that. Now it’s sales marketer hat.
It all begins with humor and insider information that only you have ready access to. Information about your book and a self-deprecating attitude toward your book. First off, do not be afraid to poke fun at your own title or your genre. People love an author who can make himself the butt of the joke.
In addition, everyone loves a clever SEGWAY and a good joke. Use humor. Especially self-deprecating humor. For example, I might call my Instinct serial killer series “palatable—raw yet crunchy and binding” followed by a hehehe or an LOL. Else post a line in the story that might get a laugh, or a bit of dialogue that might be humorous. I will also make jokes surrounding the genre. A specific example here: Speaking of my title Werewolf’s Grief, I might easily joke thusly: “And you thought only Charlie Brown experienced GRIEF. It’s not easy being hairy all over.” The fine line between humor and horror is as thin or as thick as blood. 50 Shades of Blood Read Orange. You get the picture. Utilize what is current, what is in the hopper. Read Orange not Red Orange. “Blood Red is the New Black.”
Another approach to getting a look-see at your opening pages via the peek inside the book on Amazon.com for Indie authors is to work with your platform or one of the issues raised in your book. If autism, for example, is a part of the storyline or child homelessness or the supernatural, or if said issue has a part in the list of characters, highlight and emphasize the issues close to your heart in your ads. These issues would not be in your book if not important to you, and if important to you, then they will be important to others.
Finally, the tried, the true, the clichéd are all wonderful boons to crafting clever commentary surrounding your gem of a book. A quick run through of a book of clichés could really help here, but I simply use print magazines. Pick up lines, I call them. “A book is a terrible thing to waste…” or “Here is your book, here is your book on speed!” Open any magazine and scan the advertisements for any and all products, be it cereal or soap or electronics. Clever advertisers utilize that which is familiar. Familiar comes from the collective unconsciousness ala family. Familiar is warm and cozy.
A familiar line such as “The Sky is Falling” actually fits in my Pure Instinct where the sky indeed is predicted to fall and it does. So I’ve utilized the phrase for that title. You see an ad for Campbell’s Soup that reads: “It warms you to the bone” but for my suspense novel it reads: “It WARNS you to the bone.” I often cite the “Surgeon General’s Warning” against reading my books while anywhere but below covers, and certainly to not listen to one of my audiobooks while driving.
A familiar turn of phrase or new twist on one is an immediate attention getter, and that is what all advertising is meant to do – get attention for your book. So you find an ad in a magazine for a muscle car that reads – “Finally, a car with real muscle and torch.” You rewrite it for your sales ad to:
“Finally, a book with muscle, torch, and verve enough for the most jaded reader.” Almost any print ad can be helpful in posting thusly. I suspect you can find between 5 to 10 ads in a single magazine that you can apply to your book. With magic marker, mark out the word CAR and replace it with Book or your title or Novel.
Without a dime out of pocket, these three steps have helped sell many of my books. Set your timer. Go on social media for a set time, visit your book on Amazon, keystroke the link for other venues and ADD your AD. Remember keep a positive and humorous attitude. People respond to confident and positive and humorous and clever approaches to selling any product. Why not the same with a book?
Bio: Robert W. Walker is a graduate of Chicago’s Wells High School, Northwestern University, and the NU’s Graduate Masters in English Education program. Rob has taught writing in all its permutations (“All writing is creative writing but not all writing sings,” he says.) from composition and developmental to a study of the literary masters to creative and advanced creative writing. His first novel was one only an arrogant youth could have conceived — a sequel to Huckleberry Finn (now published as Daniel & The Wrongway Railway, Royal Fireworks Press, NY), but his first suspense-techno-thriller-sf-mystery came in 1979, after college, a novel that won no awards entitled SUB-ZERO.