Okay, so you have some marketing to do. But you also have bills to pay, or you'd like to take the family to Disneyland, or whatever. The point is, you don't want to spend your entire advance (or your hard-earned savings) or every waking moment on marketing.
So let's break it down into what you should spend a little bit of money and time on. (This is all Marketing According to Elana. Feel free to disagree.) This is the Basic Plan, and can be accomplished for under $200 and with about 20 hours of your time.
1. Bookmarks. These are a must in my marketing plan, and they're not that expensive. I get mine designed and printed through SignCity, a company my brother-in-law owns.
Cost: Low $, low time.
Uses: Online giveaways, book blogger swag, fan swag, use as business cards, put in every book at signings.
I've given away 2000 bookmarks in the past year at conferences, signings, etc.
I think you can order bookmarks and still pay the water bill. Plus, they're sort of something readers expect these days.
2. Postcards. These are another must-have in my marketing plan. Again, the cost is low. Postcard stamps are 29 cents, which means you can send 100 postcards for $29. Again, I use my cover art and get mine printed at SignCity.
Cost: Low $, low time.
Uses: Mail to booksellers, librarians, and schools. You can also use your postcards to contact specialty stores in your area where you might have a connection. Include a hand-written note and invite them to investigate your book further.
Last year, I also made postcards with the details of my launch events. I mailed them to everyone I knew, here, Texas, wherever. See, I had an online party, and while not everyone could come to Salt Lake City, they could join me online. I spent a total of $78 on postcards last year. I did have to spend some time looking up addresses and writing and addressing the postcards. The three hours was worth it.
I just ordered another set of postcards to send to the schools and libraries near me that don't have my book yet. And I'm going to use them to contact the warehouse clubs in my area, where my books are not sold. I just invested another $20 and it'll probably take me an hour or two to locate addresses and write the notes.
3. Blog Tour. Generating buzz about your book is crucial. How to do it? Use your review copies for exactly that. Reviews. Sure, it's fun to pass them to family and friends (and to hold and stroke), but ultimately, you want to get the review copies in the hands of reviewers.
Set up a tour, either a few weeks before your release or a few weeks after. (In fact, it's always a good time for a blog tour.) I think the key here is to ensure that you have UNIQUE CONTENT on each site. There's nothing I hate more than going to multiple blogs and finding the exact same content.
So make videos, do character interviews, allow them to ask you questions, get reviews, etc. But make each stop unique and fun, because the blog tour isn't about YOU. It's about the READER and engaging them.
Cost: $0, many hours. Be ready to coordinate emails, physical addresses, produce content, fix mistakes, etc.
Uses: Expanding outside your readership, generating buzz. Remember that it takes on average 5 times to influence someone to purchase your book. Or at least remember it next time they're at the store.
I think if you do just these three things, you'll be well on your way to launching your book into the world with what it needs to be successful. It is my opinion that jewelry, pin buttons, wrist bands, T-shirts, stuffed animals, etc. are fun, but not necessary. If you'd like to pay your cable bill, scratch all that other stuff and go with well-crafted bookmarks and postcards, and put together a unique, engaging blog tour.
What do you think? Can you do these three things? What else would you have on your Basic Marketing list?
Stick around for next week's marketing installment -- the Basic+Plus Marketing Plan For Those Who Are Nearing Wealth. (Ha!)