When Thinking Out-of-the-Box, Actually Leave The Box

May 22nd, 2006 · 6 Comments
by Booksquare

We have a bit of snark to work out of our system this morning, and what better way than to get all cranky on a poor, innocent soul who quite possibly had nothing to do with titling her article “Novel Ways to Publicize Your Fiction Book”. Our issue, of course, is that these are not particularly novel ways.

That is not say they will not work, but it’s time for fiction writers to stop thinking like non-fiction writers. Perhaps is because we have recently encountered a large number of people dressed like dogs (or Pillsbury Doughboys) and at least one real dog, but advice like this isn’t going pull in the numbers you want (though it will garner you a lot more strange and pitying looks than you’d think):

Another idea is to walk around a busy resort town dressed as a character from your novel, handing out promotional postcards. Think out of the proverbial box, and work some novel ideas that nonfiction writers really can’t touch.

What can you do? Leverage the fiction community online. It’s huge. Growing by the day. Holding a little contest on your website is fine…if people know to look for your website. Go out and meet those people. You’re reading a blog right now. If you glance at the list of links we have, you’ll see a lot of other sites that are geared toward fiction. And by visiting those sites, you’ll discover even more. And so on.

Start early, work hard, and go out build a rapport with the online fiction community. Guest blog (please!) on sites that target your particular audience. This means reading those sites to get a feel for what they do and like. Join in the comment section. Jill once noted to us (as we sat smugly smiling — something we are wont to do) that whenever she comments on a blog, she gets an uptick in traffic to her site. Hmm.

However, don’t use someone else’s site as your personal promotion tool. There’s a fine line between clever and stupid — and an even finer one between subtle publicity and shameless self-promotion. Your goal here is to build credibility, not turn off potential readers. Should you start a blog of your own? Short answer is yes; long answer is “Well, yes, but let’s talk more about your goals.”

Speaking to special-interest groups is a great way to publicize your novel, but reaching out to the avid fiction community is key.

And, yeah, we have much more to say on this topic, but we also have much more to say on many topics this morning. Never fear, we’ll be back on the subject before you know it.

File Under: Marketing For Introverts

6 responses so far ↓

  • Joan Kelly // May 22, 2006 at 11:15 am

    “Another idea is to walk around a busy resort town dressed as a character from your novel…”

    I want to know what the idea was before the above stated ‘nother one, but I am too busy to read the whole article from that publicity guru. Too busy, that is, not-being-able-to-touch the idea of what amounts to hiring myself part time as the person in the mouse suit at Chucky Cheese, and then taking it global.

    who woke up bitchy this morning apparently.

  • Booksquare // May 22, 2006 at 11:30 am

    Though I am not one for dressing up as anything, one wonders, Joan, about your potential costumes? Sorry, couldn’t resist…

  • David Thayer // May 22, 2006 at 11:42 am

    I think the guy who wrote The Manchurian Candidate wandered around the Gobi Desert dressed as himself. I don’t know if the Gobi qualifies as a “busy resort.”

  • Booksquare // May 22, 2006 at 12:02 pm

    Only during the high season. Otherwise, it’s quite barren.

  • Jennifer Dunne // May 22, 2006 at 1:28 pm

    Huh. Her article can be summed up as “promote your fiction by making it more like non-fiction.” Then she ends by reminding people to take advantage of the opportunities they have which real non-fiction writers don’t.

    Sounds like a case of “if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”

  • Joan Kelly // May 23, 2006 at 2:59 pm

    Sadly, BS, your wonderings are probably way more exotic than my work wardrobe will ever be. Although what I lack in sex worker style, I make up for with a lot of heart.