As you’ve probably gathered if you frequent these boards, I have a new novel coming out tomorrow. DARKBEAST, by my pen-name Morgan Keyes, will officially be in stores on August 28. With the challenge of promoting a new-to-me sub-genre (middle grade traditional fantasy) by a new-to-me name, I’ve been exploring all sorts of publicity and marketing options. In fact, I hired a consultant to help me hone my word-of-mouth marketing skills. (Okay. I didn’t hire her. I bartered with her — baked goods and tea for advice. But the advice is really good — good enough to share here.)
First off, I learned the following techniques for enhancing word-of-mouth marketing:
- Make it easy. Make it easy for friends and family to talk about your book. Give people short news summaries (“the book is available for pre-order!”) and ask them to do ONE easy thing. For example, ask people to post a review online. Or post a quick note about the book release on their Facebook page. Or (pre-)order the book.
- Thank people. Express your gratitude to those who have helped you in the past. At the same time, include a link to online sales venues — no special requests here, just make the information available so that people can easily find your book.
- Remind people. Within a reasonable time period, remind people about your book. Target your reminder with specific actions, keeping the requests easy. For example, if you’ve already told people about a book launch party, remind them of the party and ask them to bring a friend.
- Let people advise you. Ask people to share their own expertise. Find out who knows what about local book groups, or school visits, or independent bookstores or whatever. Remember to make it easy — give people your email address or prepare a computer form for them to complete.
Yeah. How many times have I used the word “easy” in the above post? Forget about Keep It Simple, Stupid. Your new mantra should be Keep It Easy, Einstein — because it’s not always easy to structure things for others. But it can be well worth your time.
After discussing various suggestions specific to Darkbeast, I confessed my greatest fear to my consultant. I told her I did not want to alienate my audience by sending them too many items too frequently. She nodded in agreement and provided some rules of thumb for that very real danger:
- Keep the message short and personal in tone. Use the “Subject” line well, so that people know what they’re getting before they open the correspondence. For example, use the subject “Will You Bring a Friend to the Launch Party” instead of the much more generic “Update”.
- Tailor the list of message recipients, so that you know you’re only reaching out to people who really care. (Are they on a listserv? Are they on a mailing list? Did you raid your personal contacts?)
- Allow people to opt in to communications, using Yahoo groups, Google groups, or some other free group manager.
- Cross-purpose your content; put your messages on your blog, Facebook page, and other places.
So. Those are my insights for building word-of-mouth marketing. Do you agree with these techniques? Disagree? Have you used these or other techniques successfully?
And will you drop a line on your own blog, Facebook page, or twitter account today, letting the world know that Darkbeast, by Morgan Keyes, will be in stores tomorrow? People can read all about it at www.morgankeyes.com
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