Authors are great at pulling from life’s experiences, good and bad, to make their stories the best they can be. When it comes to marketing those stories, however, they often hide under the covers and pray the book takes off with any strategies or effort on their part. Oh, if only they had a magic wand, something creative and fun, to help get the word out about their books. Then the process of marketing could be as enjoyable as the task of writing.
Those of us who are represented by MacGregor Literary are blessed because Chip and Amanda give so freely of their time. They want us to excel as marketers and give us the tools to do so. Their yearly marketing seminar is above and beyond. I’ve attended for three years running and always come away with a thousand ideas running through my head.
Then again, I’ve always been a creative soul. I’m pretty sure I came out of the womb doing a song and dance number. Mom says my first sentence went something like this: “Hey, do you want to put on a show?” Okay, okay, totally lying about that part, but it’s true that I thrive on creativity. So, when it came to the task of marketing my books I decided I needed a unique, fun approach. I began to explore new options: using Facebook groups, for instance. Back in 2012 I came up with a fun virtual cruise idea to market my novel Queen of the Waves. Chip was kind enough to let me blog about it at the time. Since then I’ve used every creative angle I can think of to plug my books.
I complied some of my ideas into an ACFW Continuing Education course titled Creative Marketing Strategies: Innovative Marketing Tip FOR Authors FROM Authors, which I co-taught with Kathleen Y’Barbo and Anita Higman. The response was overwhelming. Novelists at every end of the spectrum got so jazzed at the idea of marketing their books in a fun, innovative way. Many wonderful authors couldn’t attend the conference, though, and I knew they needed the inspiration. With that in mind, I started a Facebook group titled Creative Marketing Strategies. Authors are flooding in. Fiction. Non-Fiction. Traditionally published. Hybrid. Indie. Doesn’t matter. All are welcome!
How does the group work?
On Mondays I post a teaching, usually something really creative. I pull from my online course materials and from our ACFW course. All innovative ideas. Then, on Tuesday through Friday, we work together to come up with a marketing plan for one author per day. It’s a lot of fun! The author fills out a basic “Getting to Know You” form and uploads it to the files section of the group. The others open it, get to know the author and his/her book, then come up with a flood of ideas. And trust me when I say they’re creative! We’re trying to think outside the box, after all. Our “project of the day” is always pinned to the top of the page, so there’s never any searching. Of course, other conversations whirl around us in other threads, and that sort of chatter is encouraged, as well.
Whether you’re writing, pitching, publishing, editing or launching a book, you could benefit from this group. Because it’s a closed group I will have to accept you. (Doesn’t it feel good to know you’re accepted?) Once I sneak you in through the secret door, a world of possibilities will await you. Go to the top of the page to the “files” section and open the calendar. Choose a date to market your book, then download the “Getting to Know You” form and re-upload with your name in the title. (Example: Getting to Know You Janice Thompson). It’s really that simple! Then join in the conversation to help the author of the day. Make sure your ideas are creative. That’s really the only catch.
Marketing doesn’t have to be a chore. In fact, with the right tools, it can be every bit as much fun as the writing, itself. I could carry on all day about this, but, alas, I’m off to market a book. Be blessed, y’all!
Award-winning author Janice Thompson also writes under the pseudonym Janice Hanna. She got her start in the industry writing screenplays and musical comedies for the stage. Janice has published over ninety books, crossing genre lines to write cozy mysteries, historicals, romances, nonfiction books, devotionals, children’s books, and more. In addition, she enjoys editing, ghost-writing, public speaking, and mentoring young writers.