This is a bit more on marketing, more importantly in what not to do. I separated the list into the Good and the Bad, in no order based on what I’ve seen and/or done.
The 4 Ps of Marketing:
Product: What it is and how it relates to a person’s needs/wants. Also includes supporting elements such as warranties, guarantees, and support.
Pricing: How much it costs, including how to make a profit with added in discounts. The price may not be monetary, but can be exchanged for the product or services: time, energy, or attention. Methods of setting prices optimally are in the domain of pricing science.
Placement: How the product is sold to the customer. The method by which a product or service is sold (online vs. in store), which geographic region or industry it is sold in and to whom (young adults, women, men, families, business people).
Promotion: Advertising, sales promotion, publicity, and personal selling. Branding refers to the various methods of promoting the product, brand, or company.
(By Professors Neil Borden and E. Jerome McCarthy of the Harvard Business School.)
Good Marketing Strategies:
- A solid story. In having this, you’ve cleared the first hurdle in creating a marketable product. Something different is always a plus, too, but not necessary. For instance, vampire and werewolf stories. There are dozens of these paranormal stories out there, what sets yours apart? Setting, plot twist, new and unusual characterization? Something has to, and that’s not just in paranormal. It’s in all stories. Make yours unique and readable, and it’s sellable.
- Druids…Druids in the 1880s England and Philadelphia…Druids in hiding because they’re still being hunted despite so-called modern enlightened thinking…Druids with their own internal politics, their own culture and history and magickal powers. There are other Druid stories out there but man take place in medieval or acient times; the haven’t assimilated with modern culture and don’t have that dicotimy of beliefs and society. Maybe mine isn’t the first, but it’s different enough to receive some fantastic reviews! http://www.isabelroman.com/MurderandMagick.htm
- Networking. I’m not talking about going around and handing out business cards to random people, though carrying business cards is always a good idea. No, I’m talking about blogging, chatting, twittering, facebook and myspace, and so on and so forth. I’m talking REVIEWS! I’m talking about gathering with other writers to talk about yourself. Yes, you! You and our book!
Good Marketing Strategy Story: Star Trek. JJ Abrams is clearly a huge Trek fan. His ONLY saving grace. When I first heard he was ‘re-imagining’ the beloved franchise, I was leery. No one I knew wanted to see the movie. No one. They were starting pre-TOS (The Original Series) and RE-DOING it? Pft. It’d fail. Then reviews started coming out. Hmm, well, maybe. After all, I’d seen every movie from Wrath of Khan (#2 and 4 ½ stars) thru Nemesis (#10 and 2 stars) in the theaters with my cousin. Might have to…see…it…I steered clear of spoilers, reviews, people blabbing to me about it (you know who you are! *G*), and pretty much everything but the occasional trailer on TV which revealed nothing.
Then I saw it. Now it’s already made about $200 million. That’s just wow for a Trek movie. IT WAS FREAKIN’ AWESOME! I mean that as both a cohesive movie and as a Trek movie. It all worked. The plot was solid except for maybe the motivation behind the bad guy (very weak) but they even explained how it was different and going to be different. Man, I had no idea I’d enjoy it so much. There were little Trek moments where those in the know laughed and snickered, but there weren’t so many in-jokes that it didn’t have a wider appeal. I may have to see it again. This weekend. In IMAX.
Bad Marketing Strategies:
- Sitting back and doing nothing. Hoping your publisher or agent will do all the work. Not blogging about your new release, not getting the word out, thinking those who will buy your book will know it’s out by osmosis and know where to go.
- Having no website or blog where people ca find out about you and your books.
- Knowing no one in the online world where you can talk about you and your book to get the word out. Not getting up at a local writers group (RWA sponsored or otherwise) and telling everyone about it. Not signing copies. ot giving away copies or something else that’s related to your book.
- Being way too modest and talking about others accomplishments. Hello! You have a book, too! And it’s published! And it’s yours. Yours! Talk about it. Tell people. Get reviews, build or pay someone to build a website! There’s no other way people are going to find you if you’re not findable.
Bad Marketing Strategy Story: Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Even if you’re not a fan, you might’ve heard about the hit TV show and its spin-off, Angel. Maybe not, but it’s possible. There is a set cast: Buffy and her friends and 2 vampire love interests. Well apparently the people behind the original movie (which was so horrible as to have been ignored entirely by the series) want to do another movie. Hmmm, okay, cool. One has been in talks for years since the end of the series. Ain’t it Cool News has other things to say about it.
They want to do this movie without the original cast and without the writer, producer, idea man Joss Whedon. He has to audition his script just like everyone else. Yesterday there was a firestorm of hate email and online posting against the two behind this less than brilliant idea. I doubt they’ll go along with that plan. And really, they shouldn’t. Buffy has been off the air only a few years. Re-imagining it is so far beyond stupid as to be laughable.
Indeed, at first no one believed it and chalked it up to internet rumor and lies. Apparently not. When I say no one will see this, I mean it. It doesn’t matter how great the script may be, they’ve already alienated and lost their fanbase. On amount of positive marketing will change that.
At least JJ is a fan. Those behind the Buffy movie seem to be no more than greedy. Much like Terminator Salvation (Rated R for language…he really hated it.)
The moral? Don’t alienate your readers, potential or already won over. They’ll get you in the end no matter how great your story may be.