Another Publishing Parallel – Marketing
I’m going to make this story easy and have it take place in the writer world.
Once upon a time in the magical kingdom of Writer Haven there was a great famine.
The famine became so great that many writers gave up. Some citizens of Writer Haven started wars with each other because they felt like there wasn’t enough to go around.
A great flood of new technology caused many new authors to flock to writer world in hopes for prosperity.
Some writers wanted to close the gates and not let anyone new in. It was fight every day to horde and protect resources.
The king of Writer Haven looked over his kingdom and saw the war about to start by desperate writers trying to get their books out into the world.
They all believed they had limited resources and avenues.
Some believed the only options to get books distributed was through a publisher, bookstore, or Amazon.
Some thought their only way to market was social media and blog tours.
The king reminded the whole kingdom of the daily feast. This was a feast that every citizen could attend any time they wanted. No one was limited and everyone could eat until they were full everyday.
Thousands of writers flocked to the feast for dinner and noticed only ten pies.
They each grabbed a knife and plate and started fighting for a slice of pie. Everyone knew that ten pies couldn’t feed thousands.
The king raised his hands and stopped the commotion and asked why they were fighting.
They said they felt like there wouldn't be enough room for everyone to market, they has to be the loudest, they had to have the most friends on Facebook, they had to have the biggest blog tour etc. in order to beat the rush of marketing authors.
The king looked confused and asked. Did you not see what else was out there besides pies?
The authors looked and suddenly realized the table went on for miles. There wasn’t just pie, but cake, roast turkey, rosemary grilled potatoes, pasta salads, jello salads, baskets of exotic fruit from the Philippines, authentic Hungarian soup bowls, bread made by the Amish, popcorn from Disneyland, Smoked fish from Alaska, blackberries from Oregon. The options for this marketing feast were world wide and endless.
Some authors rushed and ate so much that they got sick. Others stopped and really had to think about what they wanted on their plate and what was the most important.
I want all my author friends to think about this.
This is Marketing.
Your table is miles long and your options are worldwide, but you can’t “eat” everything even if you think everyone in the world will want to read your book and your goal is to be richer than Stephanie Meyer, and own a bigger castle than J.K. Rowling, and have an epic movie made like Tolkien.
Lets talk now about carving out a niche.
You need to think about your goals for your book. I’m not saying you can’t have a castle like J.K., but as with any goal there are steps to take.
Let’s pretend you have a children’s book about gardening. What are some niche markets you can tap into that will bring your sales percentage up?
- Farmer’s Markets
- County fairs
- Speaking to Elementary age kids about the importance of gardening.
- Parent and children gardening blogs
- The local FFA
- Social media involving Outdoor activities for kids
- Homeschooling groups
- Get a booth at a Homeschooling convention
- Host a contest for kids. Whoever grows the biggest pumpkin etc. wins a pair of gardening gloves.
- Join the local Chamber of Commerce
- Start a gardening club for youngsters
- List your book on www.Kidsgardening.org
- Connect with America the Beautiful (a non-profit providing free seeds)
- Connect with Captain Planet Grants
- Talk with owners of gift shops. See if they would be willing to sell your book during their farm festivals or let you do a reading on a hayride.
- Connect with EPA Environmental Kids Club
- Connect with Farms for City Kids.
- Check out local gardening clubs.
- Home depot and other home improvement stores could also be used as distribution outlets.
The list can go on! I found a whole world of kids gardening stuff by spending 10 minutes on the internet.
Will these same marketing ideas work for someone with a medieval romance book? Well, maybe, but it won't be as effective.
My concern is that I see authors, let’s say with the children’s garden book, that have one of two attitudes. The famine attitude and the food glutton attitude.
The famine authors think:
I don’t have a “real” publisher. (So? Go do it anyway.)
My publisher will do all this for me. (No. No they won’t.)
There is no way for me to market this type of book. (I just proved there are hundreds of unique ways to market this book.)
These are the authors who give up before they really tap into their market. Or they look out how their author friend with the medieval romance book is marketing and try to follow her and they are not as successful in her niche market.
The glutton authors think this:
All I have to do is spam the internet and everyone will buy this book
I’m going to become as rich as God off this book.
Everyone else will see their sales go down because of how well I’m doing.
Every book store in the world will carry this book.
This will soon be required reading in all schools.
I’m going to sell more books than Stephanie Meyer.
These are the kinds of authors that everyone complains how annoying they are on social media or they try to start wars with other authors because they see only the "ten pies" instead of the whole table.
We can take any type of book and come up with a huge list of unique ways to market it.
Remember that table? There is enough for everyone. If authors really understood this then authors would not look at each other as competition, but as allies and friends.
Soon you realize that the feast can be a potluck and we can help each other out and still have plenty.
My wish is for authors to be as creative in marketing as they are in writing their books.
Steps to finding your niche:
1. Determine who best would like your book (age, gender, culture) be specific.
2. Find other people and organizations (festivals, conventions, novelty shops etc.)
3. Ways to make public appearances (schools, signings, teaching engagements.)
4. Media ( Podcasts, radio, news interviews, radio readings etc.)
5. Social media (be specific and don’t market only to authors. See hobby groups, education groups, etc.
6. Mass distribution (advanced marketing) For most authors, I would suggest the help of a publicist or marketing specialist to help in this area.
Some times its easier to think about marketing when its not your own book.
For practice, what are some ways to market a book about how to draw fairies?
What are some ways to market a book about American Law?
What are some ways to market a book about African History?
What are some ways to market a fantasy book about mermaids?
Feel free to share ideas.