This month at Aussie Owned we’ve been talking marketing. The others have written excellent posts covering everything from school visits and marketing plans to Facebook advertising and ways to go viral. Their posts have been comprehensive and, if you’ve missed them, are definitely worth a read. They’ve given me a ton of ideas.
They’ve also meant that I, as the person posting last in the month, have had to really rummage around in the old brainpan for other ideas. Luckily, I have huge ideas. The very best. (I am also drafting this on cold and flu medication, so … there’s that.)
Here are my five top totally legit ways to market your book (that the others haven’t already covered).
Book cover tattoos
Get a tattoo of your book cover somewhere visible on your body (or — with their consent — on someone else’s). Your upper arm would be a good spot for a summer release tattoo, but for winter releases I’m afraid it will have to be your forehead or cheeks, especially if you live somewhere cold. Don’t forget to leave space on the ol’ noggin for the next book in the series.
As an alternative, tattoo your website URL there instead. This is a good alternative for those planning a LOT of books. Just make sure you don’t let the domain name expire.
Sky writing — the scrawling across the sky of words by an aeroplane — is limited to, well, words. You won’t be able to emblazon your book cover across the heavens or anything. Think of what you’d put into a 140-character tweet and then go with that. For example:
Hot new urban fantasy <YOUR TITLE> out now! My mum gave it five stars! #aussie #ebookonly <YOURURL.COM>
Sky writing is about as temporary as a tweet is, and is a LOT more expensive. But you love your book baby, right? Besides, you will generate enough buzz that people will be talking about it for days. Or maybe minutes? Who knows?
Convince your friend to name their newborn after your main character
Speaking of book babies…
This idea works particularly well if you’re writing in a speculative fiction field where the names are made up, such as sci-fi or high fantasy. If your main character is an “Isla”, like mine, that isn’t quite as distinctive and will generate less word of mouth. (“Melaina” is more unusual, but people keep misreading it as “Melania” these days. Sigh.) It works even better if your friend’s child is the first one born in the new year or on Mother’s Day — or if they were born in the back of the car on the side of a freeway. The newspapers LOVE to write a heartwarming story about those kids.
Look at all the babies out there named Bella and Edward. It worked for Stephanie Meyer.
Serialise your book on Twitter (or in chalk graffiti)
This idea has the benefit of being free, if somewhat time-consuming. I just did the maths, and my Lucid Dreaming — which is a total of 407,501 characters (including spaces) would require 2911 tweets. And that’s if I don’t include any hashtags or links.
Unlike a lot of marketing ideas, this one has LEGS. That’s months or years of fresh content, and people will get so impatient to find out how the story (or sentence) ends that they will totes buy your book.
As an alternative for those who don’t like Twitter, consider serialising your book in chalk graffiti at the local pedestrian mall. I’d suggest using chalk rather than anything permanent as you can reuse the same space every time it rains. Besides, you don’t want to do anything illegal, right?
Sneak your book into the local bookstore; leave a fake “staff picks” five-star review
There are some drawbacks to this idea: if the bookstore then sells your book, you won’t see any money for it (unless you lurk near the till and wait to demand your cut, which can be … tricky). But this is about raising customers’ awareness of your book, right? And what gets more notice than a jaunty little note praising a particular work? I know I always read those things!
For bonus points, take a photo of the lovely review and share it on all your social media platforms so your grandma can “like” it. Maybe then she’ll forgive you for the facial tattoo.
Leave your other ideas in the comments
Book marketing is a tricky business, and the book community is a supportive place that loves to share its ideas. In that spirit, if you have any other totally legit, legal ways to market your book, please leave a comment!
Cassandra Page is a speculative fiction writer who doesn’t actually endorse any of the above ideas. Tattoos are kind of permanent, you guys, and book covers can change over time, what with new editions or changes in publisher.
Still, if you want one, you do you!