That success put author Paula Hawkins at #8 on the Forbes list in 2017.
It was a dream scenario.
That’s not what fascinated me.
The marketing plan surrounding the book and movie’s release did.
There were flash mobs for the sole purpose of taking pictures with the book while on the train. (see what they did there?)
The marketing department integrated snapchat geo filters so people could check in where they saw specific advertising.
Digital billboards went up in train stations and subway platforms.
They went right to their advertising base and met them where they congregated.
On public transporation.
And social media.
That isn’t to say social media advertising works every time. Nothing is a hundred percent accurate but if done correctly it can be effective.
Here’s three things I took away from that marketing campaign.
You have to find out what’s unique about your book and run with it. For example: If your book is Christmas themed your bookmarks could be in the form of a small Christmas card.
Know who your target market is. (Spoiler Alert: it’s not everybody) For example: My current WIP is crime fiction. So my primary market would be women over 30. My secondary market would be men over 40. That’s not to say I can’t entertain the 18-29 crowd of readers. They just represent a smaller percentage of my target audience.
Doing everything on your own is not a badge of honor. For example: Some authors do everything by themselves because they don’t want to spend the money. Cutting corners never works in the long term and readers can see right through a rushed book. I can’t do everything on my own nor would I try to. Part of being a good business person is knowing when to put people in a position to help you elevate your business. The most successful authors have a strong team to assist them on their publishing journey. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
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About two weeks ago my Instagram account was “restricted”. The scary part was that I don’t exactly know what I did. My pleas for an explanation for my restriction fell on deaf ears.
I learned a few things.
1. I need to strengthen the content on my website.
I’m consistently inconsistent.
The name of the game is content, content, content.
And I need to produce more and I plan to.
2. Social media is cool but we all need our own hub.
I don’t own my social media platforms and I can be shut out of them at any time. Don’t get me wrong I sincerely appreciate them but I have to build up my platform outside of social media too. They work hand and hand.
3. I need to beef up my email list.
I’m an advocate for utilizing your network. Full transparency:
I severely underutilize mine.
That’s why I’m big on having an email list.
When it comes to bringing awareness to your projects you need all the help you can get.
Moral of the story is build up your platform and utilize it.
1. Study what worked before… but don’t be married to it.
As a creator I feel like it’s my job to study the creators that came before me.
I use what resonates with me as a rough outline. You get an idea of what works and go from there. I study marketing campaigns to see why people gravitated toward a particular product.
On the flip side just because it worked for another author doesn’t mean it will work for you. You have to find what’s unique about you and your work. That’s the hardest part.
2. Step outside of your comfort zone.
I’m a huge advocate for this. Doing what everyone else does is comfortable. I’ve been there. You’ve been there. Stepping out of my comfort zone is dabbling into other writing genres. I had never written a female lead character and finally took the plunge. I let fear douse my creative fire and that project laid dormant. Now the more I write about this character the more confident I become. It’s an incredible feeling.
3. Try something new
I’ve always been fascinated by marketing campaigns as I’ve stated before. When it’s time to market a book we as authors default to methods that have traditionally worked in the past.
I’m constantly trying to figure out new ways to say the same thing. Bring a fresh perspective to something familiar.
The moral of the story is to gain any traction with your writing you have to be willing to be uncomfortable and try things that aren’t guaranteed to work.
For some writers writing is a hobby. Some writers want to write full time and have a long lasting career.
As authors sometimes our goals are on a straight line:
Worldwide fame and notoriety. A lot of money.
As much as we would love to explode right to the top it doesn’t work that way. In order to be a national bestselling author you have to go through two preceding steps:
Being a local and regional author first.
Somewhere along the way the word local has become a dirty word. No one wants that word attached to their artistry. The thing about being local is every author has a starting point and that’s not a negative thing.
The trajectory of an author would be local ➡️ regional ➡️ national. Once every level is saturated you can go to the next one. None of the levels after local can be attained before you master the local scene.
Even as we navigate through this horrible pandemic check in on your local indie bookseller and library. You can still take out books and e-books from your local library. You can still order online from your local bookstore.
Build a rapport with your community booksellers and readers. You should know their names and they should know yours. The further along you get in your journey the more people you met. The goal is to convert those people into supporters. Give them incentives to continue their support and let them know what they mean to your journey.
Those supporters will make up your distribution network. That distribution network will carry your future titles to success. All because you went from local, regional, to national.
On Writer Wednesdays I will highlight something in the publishing world that I believe would be helpful to other writers.
When I first starting looking for a agent I identified resources that I thought would help my fellow writers. A fellow writer introduced me to a wonderful woman named Marcela Landres. Marcela introduced me to the Publishers Marketplace. Boy did it help. The monthly cost ($25) is worth it for the information you gain. And you can cancel any time you want. The site allows you to see what agents are making the most deals and with who. You can see what genres are selling the most and for how much. That information is valuable because you know who to target and what kind of deals they negotiate.
Before you get to the process above you need a polished query letter. I researched everything I could on query letters and came across the QueryShark. She is a phenomenal resource for authors and she gives in depth examples of query letters that actually work. Definitely a great Twitter follow.
Years ago, I attended a writer group in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania and met an agent named Marie Lamba. She gave a short speech about attracting a literary agent and her words stuck with me. She said your manuscript has to be in the best shape possible before you submit to an agent. The manuscript should be comparable to traditionally published books in your genre. There are thousands of unpublished authors vying for attention and you need something that sets you apart from the crowd. Attention to detail is a start.
I love this writing tip from Margaret Atwood. Too many times we’re apprehensive about starting a project. The truth is you don’t know how something will turn out if you don’t try. I’ve been scared to start projects and wasted a lot of time on procrastination. There is no perfect time. Do it while you’re scared. Start now!
I appreciate you visiting me here on my website. While you’re here feel free to look around and explore. I try to blog multiple times a week. If you enjoy the content don’t hesitate to Text BOOKS to (917) 905-8801 to join my mailing list.
Here is my bio:
Philadelphia native Marc Avery is a a husband, father, entrepreneur and habitual coffee drinker with a great imagination and an awesome beard. His debut novel, Redemption Lost, is a story of risk, restitution, and retribution. Marc lives in Delaware with his wife and children. When he’s not working, or writing his new crime fiction series, you can probably find him at Starbucks drinking an iced latte.