DUMBEST MARKETING STRATEGIES By Alina Adams

Remember the episode of “Seinfeld” where George starts doing the opposite of what his instincts tell him to do and suddenly his life becomes wonderful?

 

That’s the approach I’ve decided to take when it comes to promotion.

 

Everyone tells you that the best way to promote your books is to submit them for reviews to influential gatekeepers, do bookstore appearances, go to conferences and network.

 

And that’s what I did for my fist few titles, romance novels published by AVON and DELL. I had good reviews. And average sales.manloveswomen

 

Then in, 2001, I wrote a book about Sarah Hughes, an American figure-skater who would be appearing at the 2002 Olympic Games. Sarah unexpectedly won those Games, and the book went into first a second, then a third printing. Without me, personally, having done anything to make it happen. (Thanks, Sarah!)

 

In 2006, I pitched and wrote a tie-in novel to the soap-opera, “As the World Turns,” in conjunction with its 50th Anniversary. “Oakdale Confidential” spent two weeks at #3 on the NYT best-seller list. Not because of reviews or bookstore appearances or conferences (or because it was considerably better than all of my other books), but because it was on a TV show.

 

This suggested to me that perhaps there was more to book promotion than what common wisdom would suggest.

 

In 2014, all five of my Figure Skating Mysteries that had previously been published by Berkley Prime Crime, “Murder on Ice,” “On Thin Ice,” “Axel of Evil,” “Death Drop” and “Skate Crime” were re-issued as a one volume edition of enhanced ebooks, featuring not just all the text of the paperback series, but also skating videos to compliment the story.

 

When it came to promotion, I could have gone the tried and true route. Or I could have tried something out of the box.

 

FSMysteryOmnibusCoverTo promote my books, I partnered with 2-time Olympic Men’s Champion Dick Button. I produced his live commentary of the Sochi Games figure skating events on Twitter and, during the TV commercials, I put up blurbs and links to my titles. That February, sales went up 300%.

 

Now, I am once again breaking a cardinal rule of publishing. Common wisdom says that authors should only send out their very best work. They should polish and edit and revise until their manuscript is the best it can possibly be.

 

Been there. Done that. Getting kind of bored with it.

 

This summer, I launched a potentially career-sinking project. I am writing my next book, a romantic family saga, completely live on the web at: www.AlinaAdams.com/live/. Readers can literally watch me type each word. They can then watch me erase it and search for a better word. They can virtually look over my shoulder as I move sentences around and, when I delete two chapters completely, they’ll know why. (It’s because I decided that if one character was a bore for me to write, he’d be even more boring to read.)

 

I have spent twenty years (my first book was accepted for publication in 1994), writing to please editors. Now I want to write to please readers.

 

Don’t like something I’m writing? Tell me! Maybe I’ll change it.  And if I won’t, I’ll at least tell you why.

 

Editors are only guessing at what they think readers might like. I’d rather hear from the readers directly.

 

Even if that means showing them my raw first draft, my inevitable typos and misspellings, and all the wrong story roads I’ll meander down before hitting upon the right one.AWRCover

 

I’m hoping they’ll enjoy being a part of the process. I’m hoping they might learn something they can apply to their own work. But, most of all, I’m hoping this’ll be a blast for all of us.

 

Just call it George Conztanza Marketing 101.

 

 

Alina Adams is the NYT best-selling author of soap-opera tie-ins, Regency and contemporary romance novels, and figure-skating murder mysteries. Come watch her potentially destroy her career by writing her next book live on-line, typos, mistakes, sex scenes and all, at: www.AlinaAdams.com (Would you rather learn from her mistakes, or your own?)

 

 

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One thought on “DUMBEST MARKETING STRATEGIES By Alina Adams

  1. I am the publisher and owner of Flying Pen Press, I have 28 years experience as a professional author in a variety of fields: author, journalist, marketing, public relations, editing and publishing. I make a living out of marketing books, and I am currently working on a guide for book marketing, Fishnets & Platforms: The Writers Guide to Whoring your Book.

    So I certainly understand what you are saying.

    Platform is everything for an author. Your book has to be seen by a large number of people before a large number of people can buy it.

    Blogging, tweeting, book tours, all the usual advice, is one way to do it, but it’s a hard, long, and difficult journey.

    You’ve stumbled on the easy way. You and your book have to have a platform, but there is nothing that keeps you from piggybacking on an existing platform, or as is most common with non-fiction books, riding the wave of a natural platform.

    For instance, we have a poker rule book. It is very clear and is meant to be used at the poker table. The rules are researched through four different independent sources. No book has been written like this since Scarne and Hoyle, back in the Nineteenth Century, and those are not very good because today, there are tournaments and casinos and online games and such.

    There is no other book like this, but the platform is natural. Every poker player, from beginner to champions, needs a thorough and useful rule book. That’s the natural platform. Our rule book sells well, especially around the World Series of Poker and the November Nine final table of the WSOP, because of that natural platform. No marketing has ever been necessary.

    I often see many author struggling with social media and blogs and book tours. Especially novelists, who find it hard to latch on to an already-established platform. I wish all of them would read your article.

    Still, social media is important. I found your article from your tweeted link, and I am about to retweet that link, because my followers will love this article.

    Thank you for your time and insight. I look forward to reading more about your successes, of which I am sure there will be many.

    Keep ’em Flying,
    David Rozansky, Publisher
    Flying Pen Press
    @DavidRozansky

    P.S. Can I reference and quote this article in my book-marketing book, giving you credit for the term “Costanza Marketing”? I can contrast it to “Kramer Marketing” where you burst in uninvited and say “You gotta check this out!” which doesn’t work very well for books— even though it seems everyone is saying to be a Kramer.

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