A marketing plan for REVENGE or a literary revolution?September 14th, 2011 by Gabrielle Faust received No Comments »
Since I posted on Monday about the recent decline of the traditional book signing event in America, I’ve been wracking my brain in an attempt to come up with a completely unique guerilla marketing approach for REVENGE, one that, preferably won’t take an entire ad agency and thousands of dollars to implement. Because, let’s face it, marketing isn’t cheap. Anything outside of pure social media streams costs money and, in this day and age when we’re all waiting for the other economic shoe to drop, it’s not exactly wise to go out and throw a few grand into a campaign that may or may not deliver the results you are in need of to at least recoup your investment and then, ideally, make a profit. Before embracing my life long passion of becoming a published novelist I spent nearly 15 years in the advertising and marketing industries with a focus on the boutique ad agency world. As an art director I worked with clients spending millions of dollars to promote their products. A single magazine ad can cost you up to $10,000 (sometimes even more) for a one-time run. And that is JUST the fee for placing the ad, the “media buy” as it is called. That does not include the cost of actually developing the ad itself. A full-blown marketing campaign that includes all the bells and whistles needed to gain truly noted attention today can range from $40,000 to over a million dollars.
Now, really and truly, what author outside of the top tier big names like J.K.Rowling and Stephen King can afford that, especially out of their own pocket? There is also a large misconception still prevalent amongst the masses that publishers cover the cost of a marketing campaign. Again, unless you’re one of the 5 or 10 heavy weights at Harper Collins, the author themselves is alone responsible for developing and implementing all marketing for their work. Luckily for me I have the 15 years of experience in advertising and can easily design any item I need, with the exception of book trailers, which I am still learning how to craft. This may cost me hundreds of hours of my time, but I can still save the costs of hiring a designer or agency. But there are still the printing costs, the media buy costs, the promotional item costs, etc., etc. If an indie author is not careful they can easily invest far more money than they might make in a year from the sales of their book. Very easily. Thus, that brings me back to my initial question from Monday of where to go from here? What is the next step in the world of novel marketing?
When it comes to social media, I think I can safely say I’m pretty darn good at it. Heck, I won an award for it this year and have had articles written about my expertise in the medium. However, what I have found is that, while social media does work to a degree, after a certain point there is an element of “screaming into the void” where the return on the effort you are pouring into Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, BlogTV, MySpace, Google+, forums, etc. is not being noted because there are simply too many people also “screaming into the void” along with you and are so consumed by the sound of their own voice that they cease listening to anyone else. There’s also a fine line a person walks in social media when they are trying to promote a product. You either promote it too heavily and lose followers because you become accused of “spamming” them or you do not promote heavily enough and miss out on opportunities to make a sale or spread the word about your book or product. I have seen a few unique ways of utilizing the current social media streams, but for the most part I have not taken note of anything truly awe-inspiring that made me slap my forehead and go “why haven’t I thought of that?” Are we overwhelmed by the vast scope of this virtual world we’ve created? Are there now simply TOO MANY outlets for marketing so that all efforts become diluted spread across too many streams? In the Mad Men era there were only three streams: print ads, television ads and radio ads. The only truly effective ones were print and radio because still too few people could afford a TV. Your marketing efforts were undoubtedly going to be heard and remembered by the masses and the impact of the messaging was going to be felt much more intensely than even some of the most powerful ad campaigns launched today. So…I will pose another question: Is it time to pare down the social media streams to the top 2 or 3 most effective ones instead of trying to keep a finger and toe in every single outlet?
I realize this blog post is beginning to ramble a bit so I will wrap it up before I lose your attention entirely. Authors today are now faced with an incredibly daunting battle to promote their work in a world where bookstores are dying, book signings are vanishing, traditional marketing is too expensive and social media is becoming increasingly ineffective. We are going to have to gather our wits about ourselves and approach the field with a much different set of expectations. Our marketing efforts need to be truly memorable and unique, ones that people will pause to take photos of and fight over who keeps the promotional item associated with the campaign. Book campaigns have to start philosophical and social discussions; they need to incite relevant discussions that will ripple around the world. We have to face it that in order to impress someone enough to actually purchase a novel we can rely solely on good reviews and a track record of previously published work. As I like to say: You can’t eat critical acclaim. We have to become the revolutionary rock star artists of the 80′s. The Warhols. The Pollocks. The Basquiats. We have to start a revolution…A Word From Gabrielle Faust, Books, Featured Articles