At CompletelyNovel, we’ve found that the question ‘How can I cut through the book marketing noise?’ is making an increasingly regular appearance in our inbox. It’s a common author frustration and has led us to ponder the ways in which indie authors can use their creativity to be memorable and stand out from the crowd. Sometimes the best inspiration can come from looking outside your particular field, so we’ve done some research and found some great marketing ideas from the film industry to help get your creative juices flowing.
1. Create a website for your book
Marketing campaigns accompanying Wes Anderson’s films are legendary. For his latest feature, ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’ (2014) which takes place in the imaginary country called Zubrowka, Anderson’s marketing team created a website ‘Akademie Zubrowka’. The website offers lectures and courses in the history of Zubrowka. It is a great way to take the fans on a journey even after the film has finished. If your fiction book has a world of its own, why not give your readers a chance to explore it further? You don’t have to spend a lot of money building the website - you can use free services such as SquareSpace and focus your creative energies on giving your readers appealing extra content.
2. Release a special e-magazine
The team behind ‘X-Men: First Class’ (2011) cleverly released an iPad app which was, in fact, an online magazine with articles and fictional behind-the-scenes information about the X-Men characters. Fans love to peek behind the curtain and you could try something similar with your book. You can use professional e-magazine editors such as Joomag or simply create the magazine in Word, save it as PDF and upload it to ISSUU.
3. Surprise your readers with real life version of an aspect of your book
For the release of ‘The Simpsons Movie’ in 2007, real life versions of Kwik-E-Mart, the popular grocery store in the show, were built around the US. What’s more, when you walked in, you could sample the famous groceries: Duff beer, sprinkled donuts with pink glaze and Buzz Cola. Now, we understand your budget probably doesn’t stretch to these proportions! However, you can focus on one detail - is there a specific type of cake mentioned in your book? Is one of your characters associated with a particular drink? Real life versions of these will add a personal touch to your book launch or book signing.
4. Don’t be afraid to bluff
One of the best lessons in viral marketing comes from a small-budget film released before the age of social media. The key premise of ‘The Blair Witch Project’ (1999) was to persuade the audience that the film was a documentary and that the footage was not staged, but real. This was brilliantly achieved by the website and the trailer which tricked people into thinking that the film was about real life events. The key lesson here is that even indie authors and film-makers can create a buzz with just the right amount of thrill, craftily served to the audience. The options are endless - you could create a realistic book trailer or send out a newsletter revealing misleading but attractive bits of information.
5. Team up with a new, unexpected partner
Steven Spielberg’s ‘E.T.’ originally partnered up with M&M’s to feature the popular candy in the film. Although they fell out, the company was replaced by Reese’s Pieces which flew off the shelves after the film was released. Food and drink sponsors could be an interesting way to attract an audience to your book event. Your best bet are small, local companies who are happy to do a “marketing swap” - ie: they give you samples of their product to help attract more people to your event, in exchange for sponsorship promotion.
Do you have book marketing tricks up your sleeve? Share your ideas below in the comments!
(Like this post? You might also like our guest post: "What Indie Authors Can Learn From The Music Industry". Follow @CompletelyNovel or check out CompletelyNovel.com for more in this series.)
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