Thursday, September 25, 2008

Marketing Overview-- A Quick Lesson

I have come up with something. I noticed how hard it was to gather simple marketing info and ideas. Hell, let's face it, I'd much rather be peacefully off in another world than trying to figure out how to get folks to read my books!

So, I gathered up a list of things to do. But, it wasn't enough. Then, something jelled yesterday morning while I moaned over my sore hands after an author chat. Each of these things on the list have a "value". For example, doing an author chat will get you more sales than handing out a business card, but not as much as an ad in RT.

Then I looked at expense and feasibility. Like, who can afford an RT ad when they first start out? Riight. So, I came up with a points system very similar to a marketing scheme I was taught as a realtor. If each technique has a "value", that could be a certain number of points. If all you can do are the small, inexpensive things, but you do a lot of them, couldn't you eventually garner just as much "exposure points"? Well, yes!

I played with it a bit, trying to remember all that I'd done just before (and now just after) RTP was released. And I found that the more "points" I gathered in a given week, the more "exposure" and more fan mail I got! And that has translated into sales. works.

If Rayne will forgive me, I'm going to use her for an example. I know Rayne has limits on her budget. (Don't we all??) Rayne has a book coming out in June, let's say. She can't afford an ad, but she can afford one author gift basket. She already has her cover art, so she runs out and gets that printer kit where you can make tee shirts, then goes to a craft store and finds a basket, some Easter grass, and a few bath products. Total cost: $50. Blows her monthly budget, but that's the best she can do.

Makes 3 tee shirts to hand out to friends, and reserves one for an author chat. 10 points each, 30 points)
Emails TRS Blue and gets an author chat set up for early July (knowing these things are set up in advance) Points are counted after she gives the chat.
Spends time posting on 5 reader loops every week (5 points each, 25 points/ wk, total 100 pts)
Sends out a newsletter (5 points)
Gives out 50 business cards (1 pt each, 50 points)
total for April: 185

Posts on the reader loops (100 points)
Posts an excerpt on the loops (5ptsx5=25 total points)
Updates her website (5 pts) and posts the excerpt (5 pts)= 10
Hands out 25 cheap freebies (bookmarks she made on the computer) 125 points
Puts her contact info on her signature line of her emails and sends out 100- 100 points
Sends out her newsletter (5 points) with an excerpt (5 points)- 10 points
total for May- 370 points

Posts on the readers' loops (100)
Excerpts on loops (25)
Announcement on website, with cover art (15 points)
Hands out the rest of her bookmarks (250 points)
Her contact info is still on her signature, still 100 emails 100)
Newsletter with excerpts, announcements (10 points)
Holds the author chat (20 points)
Gives away the basket (10 points)
Gets 5 reviews for next month's newsletter, website, and signature file
total for June-530

In July, she has reviews, 2 more chats, a signing (using burned CD's), is featured in the local newspaper, holds a contest on her website, and can afford a small banner ad on Fallen Angels. (That's in addition to the signature files, the loops, business cards, and the newsletter)

See how it becomes a marketing machine with a little effort and some time? I've bounced this idea off a more experienced author and an editor. We are going to tweak it, but I've created the spreadsheet and assigned points according to feasibility and "exposure". It is a simple, self-motivated, and flexible system. (ie, I can't design a website to save my soul. for instance. To make up for it, I belong to four newsletters I contribute to every month.)

I've already been called a marketing machine. I have to be. I don't have name recognition. So, my pseudonym is outrageous and out there, on the loops, in the newsletters, tweaking my signature line, teasingly posting excerpts, and handing out what freebies I can afford.

But, I'm not the machine. I am fueling the machine with my time, and (hopefully) lubricating it with what money I can spare. I've set my weekly point goal high at 100 points a week.

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