Copyright © 2013 Susan Schreyer
Originally published by 1st Turning Point
No, this isn't romance advice -- unless you consider promoting your book on the same level as a romantic liaison. With so many Guppies getting their work "out there" by so many different routes it's worth it to remember we all face the same dilemma of promotion and marketing.
Selling is hard work. There are many different approaches and no silver bullets. However, whatever paths you choose to pursue one thing remains true: you can't do it alone. You need help.
What I'm talking about is finding "selling partners" for your book. People who have the ability to reach out and influence the buying decisions of your audience. These are folks you'll contact in addition to your usual social networking, because (and here's a news flash), you don't know everyone in your audience. Another news flash: You can't find them, but other people can.
There are people "out there" whom author Malcolm Gladwell calls "connectors" (read his book The Tipping Point - how little things can make a big difference). Those are the special someones you need to find, and believe me that's no easy task. Marketing companies devote a lot of energy and dollars to locating these people, blanketing the airwaves, cyberspace, TV, and magazines with advertisements to entice and influence the public's buying decisions.
Umm…but they're hitting us ALL with those ads.
That's because they don't know who those "connectors" are. Oh sure, there's a few people who are well known for their influence, but there's more people who aren't. Am I going to be more tempted to buy a new mascara from Cindy Crawford who touts its virtues in a glossy ad, or am I going to take the advice of my friend Joan who is the cosmetics maven of my world? Yup, you guessed right. Joan's the one who will influence me. A lot of people take her advice. A lot of people seek out her advice. Do the marketing corporations know about her? Nope. But I do.
Once you find these people who will sell your book for you, you're golden. So, how do you find them? They don't exactly hang around your front door with signs around their necks.
Look for them.
You know some of them personally. They could be family members, the woman who cuts your hair at the salon, the clerk at the grocery store, anyone. They are people whose opinion you listen to, who you ask a question of and get a great answer from. They're easy to chat up. They like people. When you say, "I'm so excited, my new book is published," they ask you what it's about, and don't simply say, "Congratulations." Those are the folks you give your promotional material to for give-aways. They're the ones who will tell their friends about your book -- people you will never know -- and add to a ground swell of interest.
Go on. Go out there and chat with people you meet every day. Tell them about your book. If they're the right person to help, they'll jump right in. You won't have to force it down their throats. You'll probably develop a sense for those natural sales people (hint, they "sell" when they don't need to sell, and hand out opinions as a matter of course), and you won't need to find that many of them -- just the right ones.
Is that all there is to marketing? No, of course not. It’s one of many pieces, and a way to nudge along that all important “word of mouth.”
Susan Schreyer is a local author who combines her love of mysteries with her passion for horses in the suspenseful, humorous and romantic Thea Campbell mystery series set in Snohomish, WA. Shooting To Kill, the fifth book in the series, has just been released in e-book and print. Susan is co-president of the Puget Sound chapter of Sisters in Crime and a former board member of the Guppies Chapter of SinC.