Right away I need to tell you something personal. Not the TMI-kind-of-personal, but personal in the sense that this won’t be the typical “how-to” blog post about book marketing. Why? Because sales and marketing turns me off completely and causes my skin to itch.
I’m fiscally skeptical to my core, the kind of girl who skips commercials and doesn’t care who designed my shoes. This shouldn’t come as a surprise—I write cyberpunk, so a certain level of anti-establishment goes with the territory.
Perhaps this makes me a poor example. After all, experts say if you want to sell your book, view it as a product, and view the readers as customers. Your job as a published author is to move that product, grow your customer base, and write that next book so there’s more product to sell. The more you write, the more you have to sell, the more customers you’ll get, and the more money you’ll make.
Good advice, right? Yes, of course. But personally, I can’t do it that way. Not without selling my soul in the process.
Now here’s something else you need to know about me: despite this deep, dark issue with marketing, I sell books all the time as an associate editor at Henery Press. Even when I’m on break, even on weekends, even after hours...I do it without violating my conscience, and I enjoy it. How? Because I believe in the authors and their books. I think anyone who has the guts to write a novel is pretty darn amazing, and I want to support them.
So here’s my secret to selling books without selling your soul: **BELIEVE IN YOUR IDEAS**
|Mr. Robot is a fantastic example of idea-based marketing.|
Let’s say you write about zombie insects. For whatever reason, creepy-crawly zombies really float your boat. So go forth and find other people who like zombie insects, either in person or online, and strike up a conversation. Just geek out for a while with all those other awesome zombie-insect lovers—people who aren’t going to judge the fact that you think zombie ladybugs are the bomb—your kind of people.
If you view your book as a product, you'll feel like a salesperson every time you talk about it. But with idea-based marketing, talking about your book will come naturally as you engage with others about the ideas that inspired your writing in the first place.
The cool thing about idea-based marketing is that you can do it anytime, in any place, across any platform. In-person signings could become lively discussions about topics you enjoy. Tweets could entertain and inspire. Facebook posts could inform and even raise awareness about important events or causes.
You don’t have to have an active product, just an active idea. My sci-fi thriller OPEN SOURCE doesn’t come out until January, but in a sense, I’ve already started marketing and building my audience around its core concepts. The best part is that most of the time it doesn’t feel like marketing, because these are things that really do matter to me. I fully believe in my ideas, and I want to talk with other people about those ideas. It’s a natural outflow of my interests.
One last note: idea-based marketing only works if you MAKE IT EASY TO BUY YOUR BOOK. I won’t go into strategies here, but all your social media profiles should clearly identify your author name, your book title, and provide a buy link (when available). If you make it easy to buy your book, you can spend more time talking with people about the ideas that inspired your book, and less time telling them to go buy it.
Maybe book sales will follow, maybe not. But you’ll still have your soul, and that’s a good thing.