Mar 8, 2009
Marketing in a down economy
Depending who you talk to or listen to the world is collapsing around us, doing ok, and in a few rare case everything is groovy.
Over all adult Fiction sales are still good. Some bookstores are hanging it up, but others are doing ok, and I even saw one source that reported sales down only 5%. I'm pretty sure that isn't reflective of independents, but thats what I saw.
So, here's what I want to talk about. The economy being what it is means a few things, people not spending as much money (though still buying mysteries apparently). Publishers are spending a lot less money promoting. This means that promotion more than ever falls into the hands of the authors. There are things you can do, even without a big budget.
Naturally I think advertising in Crimespree is a great idea and we are running a anniversary special right now.
There are other things you can do. First decide how much time and money you are willing to commit to your promotion.
Second, you need to work within your own comfort levels.
Play to strengths. Focus on book stores that have been supportive of you. If you can't afford to visit them this year, come up with something special to get them excited that will make them want to sell the book. And I'm not talking about sending them bookmarks. Come up with something to motivate them.
Touring on your own cash reserves requires careful planning. Go to place you can drive to. Stay with friends. Try to book events with other authors and increase the chances of people coming to the event. If you are going to spend the money on airfare and hotel, do it in places where you can get the biggest bang for your buck. A city where you can also do drive bys, or somewhere that will also open to library events is a good idea. Maybe pick a town that you know to be media freindly.
You need to do signings and events, but it can be done carefully and almost affordably.
Reach your readers. Get your readers excited about your book. Utilize your blog and website. Have contests with incentives for people to buy the book.
I think the most important thing is to be smart about your spending. An expensive book trailer won't be as cost effective as a well run ground campaign. Laying out big bucks on a video and then paying a bunch of money to place it is not as economically sound as other ideas which would probably reach more people.
Internet presence is important, but don't forget, everybody else is on Twitter, facebook, myspace and has a blog. While that should be part of your plan, that sure better not be the whole plan. You'll get lost in the crowd.
You need people to get excited about your book and you. Come up with a hook that will grab attention.
I have some ideas that I'm talking to some people about and I think they are going to be pretty helpful. I don't want to be open with all of them because obviously they are less effective if everyone does them.
Keep optimistic. The business may be going through some changes, but everything changes. In the end, I think this could be a real chance for some people to really try some new things and open up some great doors for themselves. Think outside the box, get yourself noticed.
AND KEEP WRITING.