Friday, May 18, 2012

Tips on Intentional Marketing

Now, let’s break this all down so you really get the beauty of this advanced marketing advice!
Repost with permission: from Rachelle Gardner's blog on May 3, 2012

Guest blogger: Dineen A. Miller

Nothing like a book contract to make you suddenly aware of the need to think about marketing. Before the release of my first novel, The Soul Saver, I started to question if current marketing trends in the Christian publishing industry were working. The big picture out there can be quite overwhelming, like a megastore with more choices in products than I have years to live (don’t ask how old I am).

Morgan says: Dineen's article is full of great information.  If you plan ahead, develop your author PERSONA, and identify your target audience, your marketing efforts can be more pointed and less overwhelming.

Therese says: What really got us excited about this article, and made it worthy of two posts, is that it not only validates our work but takes it to the next level. There are lots of good marketing advice articles but this is the first that we’ve seen to target the difference between fiction and nonfiction.

For nonfiction you can follow a map to build your platform, for fiction you are floating with the currents in a rowboat. We are offering you the oars (and instruction on how to paddle) to maneuver through the currents, this Rooted* and Intentional marketing advice is giving you an outboard motor.

My questions put me on a journey that’s now led to multiple areas of intentional marketing—intentional as opposed to just doing what everyone else is doing. With every marketing avenue we consider, we need to ask why and will it be effective for our particular book/brand/ministry.

Morgan says: Just like our logo illustrates, if you put your PERSONA at the center of your marketing campaign all of your messaging (PUSH, PULL, and POP) can be focused with laser scope precision.

Therese says: The Christian industry is the platform. Christian fiction is the Brand. The type of fiction (thriller, comic, romance, adventure, YA, etc.) is the Genre. You are an individual persona with a specific book, our whole platform here at AM101 is to be intentional instead of buying into myths and following the herd.

One avenue of intentional marketing is something a group of my cohorts and I are calling “Rooted Marketing.”* Rooted marketing refers to planting seeds in your stories to be harvested right before, during and after your book launch as marketing tools. As you’re writing your story, you are literally building in settings, hobbies, causes, interests and anything unique that you can later use to promote your book.

Morgan says: As stated in a question in one of the field trip posts: if your story includes horses, are you targeting the equestrian or rodeo crowd?  Use elements of your story to find your readers in their "natural habitat" to PULL them to your website and PUSH information to them.  Once you have identified your reader's (target audience's) interests, you can design your POP to attract them like ants to sugar.

Therese says: This is not product placement! Don’t have your character drive a certain vehicle or wear brand name clothing to garner advertisements from the manufacturer. Rooted marketing stems from characterization, themes, and setting. An example is – a character who is a remote control model airplane enthusiast, or designs greeting cards, organizes parades, belongs to a letter writing group. These are specifics that need to matter in your story, not as gimmicks.

From these “roots” you can write nonfiction articles for submission to magazines, blogs and other sources looking for special interest pieces. You can even start getting speaking engagements based on these topics.

Morgan says: You can also use these "roots" to garner media coverage.  Cathryn Cade, author of "red hot romance", was interviewed by a local television station about the rise in popularity of erotic fiction.  The local media wanted to put a local twist on all of the national buzz about E. L. James' Fifty Shades of Gray, so they gave Cathryn a call.  Because she had a well thought out PERSONA, Cathryn was able to shine and stay "on message" throughout the interview. Her marketing efforts helped her to get FREE media coverage for her books!

Therese says: Kristina McMorris sold her first novel “Letters From Home” to the publisher because she found organizations that are letter writing enthusiasts. Then she created a raffle, and specific prizes for those potential readers, prior to her release date to create buzz. This WWII novel was shot down repeatedly by agents and editors as a – will never sell… Kristina was passionate about the truths of her core story and repeatedly revised and enhanced those themes, characters, events, and setting, until it became the wonderful novel it is today. It is better to be clear about your core story before you research how to market it.

For example, one author shared recently how her research for her book turned into a series of articles for her local newspaper. Another author built in a common theme of a quilt pattern through her book series and included the pattern (one she designed herself) at the back of each book. And still another author recently shared with me that she loved writing home and hearth stories because this had been a big area of enjoyment in her own life. Suddenly we realized she had unlimited opportunities to write into her stories traditions and celebrations that had meant so much to her, and she could give her readers step by step planning instructions to do the same kinds of events and traditions in their own homes. She had not only pulled a theme from the stories she felt so passionate about, she’d created her brand and an ongoing platform from which to promote her fiction.

Morgan says:  What I love about the examples given above is that they all illustrate how being genuine is key to the development of your PERSONA.  People can tell when you are being phony.  Stick to the things that peak your curiosity, get your blood pumping, or otherwise holds you interest and you PERSONA will sparkle.

Therese says: When you really work through the Persona exercises on this site, keep this “Big Area of ENJOYMENT in her own life” front and center. This is the ROOT of the genuine and engaging Author Persona to present to your audience.

Rooted Marketing isn’t necessarily “new.” Authors are pulling aspects from their novels all the time to reach more readers and sell more books through online promotions, non-fiction articles, and speaking. But why not start thinking it through before you even start writing your next story?

What can you build into that budding novel that can be a handy marketing tool? Can you even produce articles or downloads while you’re researching and writing it? Imagine finishing your next contracted novel and already having several marketing tools harvested from your marketing garden, ready to use to promote that book when it releases. All that research that goes into making your novel realistic can be put to good use later.

There are so many different ways to market today that we have to be intentional about what we choose. Rooted marketing is like preparing the soil for those seeds so when your book comes out, you’re ready to reap a harvest.

Morgan says:  One last thing, notice the box below.  Dineen tells you where she will be speaking by promoting an upcoming training class.  Look at that beautiful cover! (Now you have an image to look for online or at your local book store.)  Notice that she didn't miss an opportunity to link to her blog.  She is also promoting her backlist of books and an upcoming novella.  Finishing with her credentials provides an added touch of validity.  This touch of seamless self promotion is very well executed.

What can you weave into your story right now and build upon later to market that book of yours?
(Find out more at our ACFW Conference Continuing Education class, “How to Market Your Fiction Like a Non-fiction Pro” by Rachelle Gardner, Kathi Lipp, Dineen Miller and Jim Rubart.)
* * * * *
Dineen’s fiction includes The Soul Saverreleasing this month from Barbour, and the upcoming novella, A Love Meant To Be, part of the Rendezvous in Central Park collection.

Dineen has won several prestigious awards for her fiction, and her devotional writing has been featured in Our Journey and Christian Women Online Magazine. She's also a C.L.A.S.S. Communicator and has been featured on the Moody Radio Network, Family Life and Focus on the Family Radio.

1 comment:

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