I just broke into the top 50,000 Kindle bestseller list on Amazon with my new book, End of Mae. I rose over 300,000 ranks in the last two days alone. I’ve spent less than $50 on my entire promotional campaign. This is my second month since publication, and I’ve spent nothing. So how did I rocket a first time indie fiction so far, so fast and for so little? By thinking like a performer.
With the plethora of multimedia opportunity so easily available across the web, it’s a shame to release a simple PowerPoint book trailer and then sit back and wait for sales. To paraphrase one of the greatest literary performers of all time, Shakespeare, “All the ‘net’s a stage, and all the avatars merely potential readers.”
Here are my top five tips for breaking your book out of the pack;
1. PowerPoint has its good points. Use all the tools available to you, but the trick is to use them creatively. When I saw the recent Goodread’s Slideshow Story Contest I didn’t notice it for the prize. I noticed it because it presented me with yet another opportunity to promote my work in a different way. The result was my Story Behind the Story, a picture book-styled telling of the marketing plan that helped launch my new release so successfully. As of this post it is steadily climbing past 4,000 views. That is a lot of free, effective publicity for an afternoon of work.
2. Virtual worlds make an excellent stage. Many people were amazed by the colorful, rich imagery in my slideshow. I received messages and emails asking me how on earth I made those “amazing animations.” Using the virtual world of Second Life, making whimsical and creative imagery tailored to my specific needs was literally easier than walking. I logged in, smiled for the camera and snapped my perfect images. I also chose Second Life for my book trailer, created for me by Kira S. of Ember Marketing.
3. A book trailer should have barbs. You wouldn’t use a marshmallow to catch a fish, so you shouldn’t use a bland trailer to tempt readers. I’ve seen trailers that play like an English 101 slideshow designed to cure insomnia. Make sure your trailer communicates your message by capitalizing on the use of image, movement and sound. My book trailer is fashioned like a movie tease. The opening scene of the book was performed using machinima, and takes full advantage of music, lighting and sound effects to excite the viewer. I’ve been told several times that someone that wasn’t much of a reader purchased End of Mae because of the trailer.
4. Share the love and be shared. You are not the only one looking for promotion. By helping spread the word about other authors, artists, musicians and the like, they will promote you in turn. It’s the karmic law of what you reap what you sow; do good deeds and they will come back. This isn’t just limited to other creators, though. Corporations need your love too. Recently I was privileged to do some review work for Cadbury Chocolate through word of mouth marketing organization Vibe Village. My assignment was to try their new chocolate and then share my experiences. My experiences just happened to include the arrival of a box of my books in the mail. The result is an interesting review for Cadbury that has gotten a lot more exposure than their regular assignments because I’ve shared it with End of Mae fans.
5. Stay appreciative. None of us are God’s gift to art. The most important key I have found to success is constantly remembering that it was people that got me here. A long line of family, reviewers, friends, fellow authors and more are truly behind my skyrocketing sales. To say thank you, I make sure I do my best to answer every email and message, try to visit friends’ blogs and return support whenever I can. The best book in the world will gather dust if no one takes the time to share it. Ego is the death of cooperation. Take the comment I saw just today posted in response to an article on the importance of rewrites and accuracy; “tru dat btw – am ex cds trader during implosion writing financial conspiracy trilogy and seeking representation. snooze u loose.” Beware that your attitude isn’t killing your chances.
These are just a few of the things that have helped me raise End of Mae so high, so fast. New opportunities are always presenting themselves, and I share them as often as possible in the column MarketShare that I produce with my husband. The entire story of how End of Mae has been promoted for so little cost is in my upcoming release, All You Need Is Like, to be released on 16 July 2011. Be sure to watch my blog, Dandilyon Fluff for more marketing tips that won’t kill your budget.