Guerrilla Marketing is the new anti-spam
If you choose to release your book through a traditional publisher, or you are the author-publisher, you are the one who will bear the responsibility for marketing your work. Traditional publishers may provide an initial push of the fledgling novel from the nest, but unless you learn to fly on your own, your precious little bird will plunge beak first into the dirt. All the precious little story ju-ju berries you harvested and hand-squeezed into that novel will seep into the sand until there is nothing left of your book but a chalk outline.
Good target marketing will keep that nestling of a book from disappearing in a feather mushroom cloud, but spamming your book to the farthest reaches of cyberspace is literary euthanasia. We’ve all seen it – the endless stream of Tweets, or Facebook posts, screaming, “Buy my Book, Buy my Book!” That is not marketing, it’s simply obnoxious.
Enter the shadowy world of Guerrilla Marketing
Guerrilla warfare is built upon a smaller force using unconventional tactics to overwhelm a vastly superior force. In our case, as writers, we are the smaller force, surrounded and outnumbered by potential readers. So how do we gain they attention? You can’t play reader whack-a-mole for very long on social media. Your readers become numb to the constant barrage and ignore you like a dessert tray at a supermodel convention.
attacks the target when least expected and uses surprise and concealment takes advantage of unexpected marketing opportunities to reach potential readers. As an example, we carried out a Guerrilla Marketing exercise a couple of days ago – on Halloween.
Trick-or-treaters come to your house right? So we decided to use that in our favor. As the little urchins gathered their candy, the parents each received a glossy promotional card for my novel, Little River. The card has the book’s cover on the front and sales/social media and author contact information on the back.
We passed out over one hundred cards and I was really surprised at the positive feedback. Words of encouragement for a local author, promises to “check it out,” and even a comment from one mom, What a great marketing idea.” You have to take advantage of the opportunities as they become available – and creativity is appreciated.
So, the first test of the Guerrilla Marketing exercise would come on the morning after the Halloween onslaught. I fully expected a trail of Little River book cards lining the gutters along with discarded candy wrappers. A walk with the Corgis around the neighborhood revealed the expected ripped apart candy droppings and assorted Halloween refuse. No Little River cards – not one.
Figuring I must have missed the cards, I took another walk with the dogs the next day and not a single Little River book card littered the gutters, bushes or sidewalks. A good sign. But how do I know the Guerrilla Marketing message got through? On the walk home with the dogs, a woman jogging past, took out her earphones and stopped. I figured she want to pet the pups, because they are kinda adorable. (note to self about using the Corgis in next Guerrilla Marketing campaign) Anyway – she stopped and what she said made my day.
“Thank you for the card about your book. I can’t wait to start reading it.”
The sky turned a little bluer, the sun a bit brighter.
Long term, I will have to see if the sales numbers bump up a bit from the effort. You never know what approach on your book marketing will take hold. Be bold, be creative and be positive.
Have any guerrilla marketing strategies to share? What’s worked for you?