Friday, October 15, 2010

More Adventures in Accidental Marketing

economysep I spend a lot of time doing different promotional things to make sure I’m doing my part in marketing my book.

I purchase bookmarks and business cards. I make appearances and sign books. I do a lot of things online.

And then, sometimes, you find out that the most effective marketing is purely accidental.

My mother called me one day to say someone had stopped her at the YMCA to tell her that they didn’t know I wrote books…and they’d gone out to buy them.

They’d found out because my college had run a few paragraphs about me in the alumnae section of their magazine that goes out every quarter to alums.

The next day I heard from another alumna from my college—who didn’t know me. She tweeted me on Twitter that she didn’t realize we’d gone to the same school until she got the alumnae magazine. She was planning on buying my books.

Then I was at the church, volunteering last week, and the other mother in the kitchen with me remembered me from the alumni magazine and started talking to me about my books.

You’d think that I’d gone to a big school…but I went to a small, private, liberal arts school in Clinton, South Carolina. With enrollment at 1,100 students.

And yet, for that month, I think it was the most exceptional bit of marketing out of everything else I tried.

And I hadn’t even run the blurb.

The English department at the college had somehow made the connection, found a bio of me online and a picture, and run the update in the magazine.

My lesson in this? I’m thinking that we should all be thinking outside the box. Sometimes we’ve already got connections to potential readers—from our past—and those can be easier to tap than developing new connections (although those are important, too.) And not be too shy—who knows what opportunities we’re missing?

I think, though, that sometimes it’s harder for us to market to our connections. It seems more like selling. I’m not fond of selling, either. But I like the idea of things like updating my alumni magazine from time to time.

Here are some good resources for the reluctant marketer:

Conquering Book Marketing Fear—7 Tips for the Introverted Writer How Authors Can Participate in Marketing Even When They Don't Like Selling

A post I wrote for Hart Johnson’s blog on marketing tips I’ve learned

Marketing for the non-fiction author

A blog series on marketing lessons

Have you got any tips for painless promotion? How do you feel about marketing, in general?