Thinking Outside the Box Marketing

Thursday, March 22, 2012
by lunarpersuasion (
Earlier this month, Jodi wrote a great post titled, "Promotion Is More Than Just Bookmarks." If you missed it and the wonderful comments after it, you can view it here. I've noticed authors doing a couple of what I like to call "thinking outside the box" marketing ideas lately, and so I thought I would share these with you. I don't know, maybe we should make March WOW! Women On Writing Share Your Marketing Ideas Month. With two books coming out sometime this year, I am always on the look out for what works. So, here's what I've noticed:
  • Our very own WOW! blogger and columnist, Darcy Pattison, gave away a free e-copy of her new picture book, Wisdom: The Midway Albatross, for 48 hours in honor of the anniversary of the Japanese tsunami. Wisdom, one tough bird, survived that tsunami, and so Darcy tied a marketing promotion with the anniversary. Why give away e-copies of your book? Well, it's smart for picture book writers like Darcy because parents, teachers, and librarians can view the book on their e-readers and then purchase the hard copy for their kids, classes, students, etc. I blogged about Wisdom after reading it because I liked it so much. Sometimes, you have to give stuff away. . .And I found out about this free book because Darcy used the Events feature on Facebook to invite me (and all her contacts) to this book giveaway event. Another lesson learned here--use social networking!
  • Currently, WOW! has a blog tour for  The Smiley Book of Colors by Ruth Kaiser. Besides doing a blog tour, Ruth is also collecting photos of smiles readers find in nature. She gives money to Operation Smile for each photo, and one photographer (from WOW!) will win a book. (For more details, go here.) How does this help her market her book? She has people EXCITED about finding smiles. She is helping children, which everyone wants to do. She has people going to her website. She has kids and adults talking about her book. "Hey, I see a smile in your tree. Can I take a photo to upload to this author's website?" And imagine the conversation that will follow after that question. So, learn from Ruth. Do you have some way that fans can interact with you or your book on a website or blog or even Facebook page?
  • Shhh--don't tell anyone, but this next great idea is from a male author! (smiles) Mike Pemberton wrote a novel about basketball and mental illness titled, Transcendental Basketball Blues . So, what did he do that was a great marketing idea? He sent his book to different coaches around where he lives. The women's basketball coach from a nearby university liked his book so much that he is going to recommend that all his players read it AND he will use it as a textbook in his coaching basketball class! Time to put on your thinking cap: Who could you send your book to that can get behind it 100 percent? A few free copies sent out strategically while thinking outside the box may create tons of sales later. 
Okay, there are three ideas. Do you have any to share?

Post by Margo L. Dill; Check out Margo's Advanced Social Networking Class beginning on April 13 and see how she can help you use social networking to market yourself and your work! Sign up here.


Darcy Pattison said...

Margo, thanks for the Shout Out on Wisdom, the Midway Albatross. The free giveaway of the book had 1776 downloads and generated over 100 sales. Sometimes, I am sad there were so many FREE downloads, but I doubt any of those would have bought the book. Hopefully, there will be more word-of-mouth from those giveaway, exactly like you just did! I'll repeat the promo around Earth Day, since this is a science/nature book for kids and hopefully do even better.


Margo Dill said...

Darcy, thanks for sharing how it all worked! :) All those downloads show a definite interest in the subject matter--it's a great addition to an Easter basket, if I do say so myself. :)

Debra Stang said...

Thanks for sharing these great ideas. My book, HOSPICE TAILS, for which you arranged a blog tour last November, will be turning one year old in June, and I've been looking for some creative ways to market it.

Margo Dill said...

Debra: I remember your book and your blog tour. The first thing that pops to my mind is something with veternarians and/or humane societies or even Love on a Leash. I'm not sure what you could do, but those are some people to consider giving a free or discounted book to--maybe for waiting rooms? We would love to hear what you come up with.

Anonymous said...

To expand on Margo's thought...Maybe you could team up with some of the pet rescue organizations. Non-profit orgs often run donation drives, walk-a-thons, or contests and need prizes donated. As a sponsor, you/your business gets a lot of exposure. (and you hit the "animal-lover" market)
The other "up" side to this is...the more people realize that the retired race dog, the three-legged cat, etc... still have so much love to offer, and a purpose, the more people will think twice before euthanizing them.

Anonymous said...

These are great out of the box ideas for marketing books and blogs. Thank you. I especially love the 3rd one about photos capturing smiles. Just the thought of it makes me smile.

Angela Ackerman said...

I am a huge fan of out-of-the-box marketing. I don't care for the hard sell angle and I really like doing things a bit differently. I believe in a social media-saturated world of promotion and marketing, marketing has to stand out to be noticed.

My brand (and the brand of my co-author) is Writers Helping Writers, and I believe that one of the best things you can do for this audience is make things useful. So our promotional stuff (like bookmarks) follow that thought process. For example, the bookmark we've made is designed to be a 'revision buddy' and comes with a list of overused words to weed out of a manuscript. So, it isn't just a promo tool that will get lost or tossed. Hopefully the writer will hang onto it. I'm also planning to send out batches of these to 'helpers' who are attending conferences or workshops so they can share them with other writers. :) In this sense, I hope to spread the word about my writing tool.

I'm also doing a secret project for my May book launch. It will either stand out, or flop, lol. The success of it will depend on if I can find enough like-minded people to do something fun and different, but something that makes the heart feel good too. The writing community is pretty awesome, so i think it'll all work out. People are pretty great about supporting and helping. :)

Anyway, great post--I'll check out the other post you linked to as well.

Angela Ackerman

Margo Dill said...

I love the bookmark idea. Thank you for sharing it with us. :) Good luck with your May book launch.

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