Sunday, October 17, 2010

My Secret Marketing Weapon

With my novel Bumpy Landings coming out in just over two months (That's important background info, NOT shameless self promotion. Really.), I've been hard at work pulling together a marketing plan. In making this plan, I have come across what could be a significant challenge.

While the themes of the book are universal--integrity, self worth, and kissing pretty girls--the main characters are all LDS, which means the bulk of my readers will also be LDS, most of them living far to the west of my home in Texas.

Being a thousand miles away from family, friends, and coworkers has been a challenge. Activities and gatherings and day-to-day life all take place without me, and I'm left on the sidelines, watching from afar. I expect in-person book publicity to be equally challenging.

Every once in a while I'm able to make a trip to Utah, and then I get to participate in the fun. I've noticed that since I'm not around all that often, my very presence in town constitutes and event. My friends organize dinners, my family plans barbecues, and we all make the most of the time I am there.

If I am especially fortunate, I can time my visits to coincide with a writing event, which is what happened a few weeks ago. My travel schedule put me in Utah at the same time as the UVU Book Academy, and I made sure to go. The classes were great. The company even better. And I was blessed with some insight as to how I can turn my distance from my readers into a strength rather than a weakness.

Two different classes, one by Josi Kilpack and the other by Annette Lyon and Kelly Smurthwaite, emphasized the importance of giving book buyers and media people EVENTS that they can get excited about. Not just another book signing, but something bigger.

Josi talked about Launch Parties, and how their main purpose is to let the author crow about their book. It's an event, and the potential buzz around that event is as important as the number of books sold there.

Annette and Kelly talked about Media Publicity, and how the media needs a hook for a book to become newsworthy. That hook is often found in a related event.

Just being in town is enough of an event for my mom. I realize that Jane A. Reader and Bob D. Newsman are going to need a little bit more. But if I focus my efforts on creating an event every time I'm in the neighborhood, I can take the weakness of my distance and turn it into a strength.


Rebecca Irvine said...

I have a similar problem living in Arizona. But even worse is that I have no relative in Utah to visit or stay with, making trips all the more expensive. I ended up focusing my marketing efforts on those that were internet based as a result.

Rebecca Talley said...

Same issue here living in CO. I'll have to think about what I can do to make an event.

Angie said...

Great idea. I hope your book is a huge success! I know I'm excited to read it.

Michael Knudsen said...

Don, if you can bring "Aloha" to Utah in January, that will be enough of an event!