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There are numerous distinctions between self-published authors and those who work with a publishing house, but we’re all in the same boat for book marketing (with the rare exception of becoming a lead title).
If you have some extra cash to spare, there are a few options such as marketing services and PR agencies, but if you don’t, guerrilla marketing is a must-know.
Below are some tips to consider as you plan your next guerrilla marketing book campaign:
You Have Access to the World Wide Web
We all spend a significant amount of time online. This is where we go shopping, look for information, and watch cat videos.
Take note that no one enjoys being browbeaten into buying books. Some people find it tiresome. Therefore, any promotional campaign must include reaching out to individuals online.
In guerrilla marketing, look at what your competition is doing, what platforms they are using, their messaging, and overall marketing, and do something different. Look at what other industries are doing for inspiration. If authors aren’t advertising on billboards then use billboards. If they don’t have a dedicated 1-800 phone line with an automated message describing the book, try that.
But if you’re wanting to use the same platform (email marketing for instance), do it differently. Use lots of pictures, or gifs, put the whole message upside down, and say “this side up”. Something unique that goes well with your brand. If you’re writing in the horror fiction genre then pick scary fonts and maybe add pictures to make it looks like blood is dripping down. Maybe that’s too graphic for you but these are just some ideas to get your creative juices flowing. Keep these principles in mind while we look at some of the platforms you will want to pursue as an author.
I recommend that you advertise your book using the following tools:
1. Website – Every author should have a web page. It is your “virtual home,” where your readers (both current and potential) can learn everything they need to know about you and your books. I strongly advise you to avoid free websites and invest in your domain name. It has a more professional appearance and allows you to grow your website as your business grows. It doesn’t have to be expensive, you can get build a quality website for under $200 in just a couple of hours.
2. Facebook – Create a personal page for yourself and a separate author page for your book. You can share information between the two, but don’t overburden your page with book announcements. Additionally, consider forming or joining Facebook groups related to the topic or genre of your book.
3. YouTube – Book trailers are essential for any marketing strategy. They should be brief and concise, as well as catchy. It might even get semi-viral if you’re lucky. If you’re writing a nonfiction book, consider making a how-to video series to go along with it. Use your imagination when it comes to communicating your knowledge. Also, don’t forget to include links to your book’s purchasing page.
4. Blog – A blog is essential for your author’s website. Share your skills, points of view, and experiences in content relevant to your audience. Plan on posting once or twice every week. Exchange guest blogs with another author as well. It will benefit both of you.
Consider Thinking Outside the Bookstore
Bookstores are a natural choice for book readings, but they aren’t necessarily the best. So instead, consider locations that might be relevant to your story.
One example of this is Neal Pollack’s first book, “The Neal Pollack Anthology of American Literature,” was launched; he conducted a reading in a train station bathroom, and just 15 people showed up. However, the story of an author who did a reading in a bathroom went global, helping to sell additional books. Because the book was humorous, it worked for Pollack. Although reading in a train station bathroom is unlikely to increase your book sales, keep in mind that bookstores aren’t the only option for reading.
Get to Know Your Reader
You must first understand your reader before you can begin to advertise your book. Who are the people you’d like to pick up your book and read it? Take the time to think about your target market.
Define this demographic to the greatest extent possible. After that, establish ways for getting there. Guerrilla marketing is not a one-style-fits-all approach. Remember, you’re exchanging brilliant ideas for dollars.
For example, if you’re marketing a science fiction book, why not make bookmarks with your book’s cover and hand them out at the next larping convention? You could also make a shirt with the title of your book and a catchy tagline.
Take Caution When Dealing with “Experts”
Because of the spread of freelancing websites, anyone can claim to be an expert. The problem is that many are not. If you’re looking for a marketer or publicist, there are plenty on the cheap—but they’re usually cheap for a reason.
When choosing someone to assist you, look at their track record—who they’ve worked for, and, if possible, communicate with a few authors who have worked with them.
Keep Track of Social Media Mentions
This strategy allows you to determine whether the buzz is positive or negative. It also allows you to engage with your audience and form stronger bonds. This personal touch can increase trust and generate a stronger response to future social media calls to action.
Advertise in the Oddest Places
Always think outside the box while organizing your guerrilla book marketing campaign! It is vital when considering the areas where you’ll spend to promote your book.
A good location to start is where people wait—typically, there’s nothing else to do when you’re waiting, so you’ll read whatever advertisement you come across. For instance, before a movie starts in movie theaters, the ads are an excellent way to publicize your book. Those ads may be out of your budget so just use the principal for inspiration.
Remember to Do What You Do Best
It’s easy to get caught up in one aspect of a marketing campaign and forget to do what you do best. For example, maybe you’ve had a lot of success with direct mail, but you’re so focused on an email campaign that you overlook a potentially successful direct mail component of the overall effort.
In small businesses, guerilla marketing is becoming more popular due to the marketing technique’s low cost and short time commitment. The idea of it using a small amount of money to do something unusual should be part of every writer’s book marketing strategy.