Great marketing promotions stick with you. No matter the product, or its quality, a great promotion or advertisement is what catches our attention. So why is it that when it comes to marketing strategy and promoting books–we’re still in the dark ages?
Some publishers have hitched their trailers (literally) onto the Hollywood bandwagon–creating 60 second filmed previews to lock in an audience. Some publishers push social media onto their authors as if it is the end-all-be-all of obtaining market sales. Some stick to radio interviews, book tours and author readings.
None of this is wrong, bad or ineffectual. It’s just all mundane.
STUCK IN THE MUD
Marketing has always been an innovative industry. If it weren’t, how would our attentions continuously be caught for the same products over and over again?
The fact is publishers, authors, and readers alike are all adhering to the incorrect thought process that books are now a difficult sell. Reading is a daunting task. Reading takes effort and brain power and is just more trying on a person than simply watching an episode of Bones.
Instead of building a marketing strategy around the many worlds into which readers will be transported with simply one page of writing, we’re trying to sell the new HBO series inspired by a book. It’s gotten to be rather pathetic.
I went to Barnes and Noble the other day, killing time before a meeting, and just perusing the fiction section I saw more books with “Now a Major Motion Picture” seal or revamped with a new cover with Orlando Bloom, Robert DeNiro or Sean Bean staring back out at me than ever before.
Is this the best we can do? Is this actually the marketing strategy businesses are paying for?
There’s only been one marketing push for a book that has caught my attention in recent years. That was for Jay-Z’s autobiography, “Decoded.” Granted, there were a ton of marketing dollars behind the project–but its innovation was key. The publishers placed a page of the book in cities around the world where something pivotal in Jay-Z’s life took place. Readers were encouraged to seek out the pages (you could do so online as well as in person), and they could start reading the book and “decoding” messages in order to read the book prior to release, win a trip to see Jay-Z live, etc. My one word summary? Genius.
Money did play a large role in that marketing push, certainly, but even bigger was the thought process behind it. Why aren’t more publishers and self-published authors for that matter, looking to more unique forms of getting the word out there about their book? This can be done in smaller scales and even with unknown authors. The point is to break out of the mold, to not simply follow the leader. Doing so will get your book nowhere but perhaps on the shelves with thousands of other books and no way to differentiate itself from the masses.
Build a Better Marketing Strategy
It’s high time writers and publishers invest some thought and creativity into their marketing. Why not? They’ve already put so much time into the book already, why not make it worth it?