Book marketing ideas from A to Z for Arizona’s centennial (Part 2)
It’s February 14, 2012, and not only is it Valentine’s Day, but our great state of Arizona turns 100 today. This is the second of a two-part series offering some book marketing ideas inspired by life in Arizona. They may or may not deal specifically with books about the 48th state. (Read Part 1 here.)
N is for NASCAR. Though it seems that nothing can dim the world’s love for soccer (aka fútbol), NASCAR is one of the top spectator sports around the globe. Located just west of Phoenix in Avondale, Phoenix International Raceway is home to a number of NASCAR events every year. If you’ve never been, you should visit just to see for yourself. The grounds around PIR become a small temporary city – sort of a redneck version of a Deadhead caravan. Coordinate your auto racing book releases with allied sporting events – in Arizona and throughout the rest of the country (or world).
O is for O.K. Corral. Whether or not you believe the hype around Wyatt Earp, the O.K. Corral and the town of Tombstone are one of Arizona’s most famous tourist draws. According to an online article from the London Daily Mail, “Tombstone has survived largely by mining the legend of the West’s most infamous shootout.” A quick Amazon search reveals nearly 400 titles for the subject “O.K. Corral.” Who knows how many books are written per year about Tombstone and the other aspects of the Wild West? With hundreds and hundreds of little Western-themed tourist shops throughout Arizona (exponentially more, if you add in all the other Western states), it seems that any agile and assertive marketer should be able to get their book on this topic into at least a few of them.
P is for Petrified Forest. With the largest concentration of petrified wood in the world, Arizona is home to the Petrified Forest, which lies about 20 miles east of Holbrook. A 28-mile drive through the Petrified Forest National Park offers access to scenic overlooks and hiking trails where you can see the fossilized logs up close and personal. Museum Association bookstores are located within the park at the Painted Desert Visitor Center, Painted Desert Inn National Historic Landmark, and Rainbow Forest Museum, so if you’ve got a book on a related topic, you know what to do!
Q is for Quartzsite. Paul Winer, proprietor of the Readers Oasis Bookstore in Quartzsite, Arizona, is a character if ever there was one – perhaps because he is a nudist. Due in large part to this odd lifestyle choice, Paul and his bookstore have garnered attention in numerous national and international publications. While I’m not advocating taking up nudism (unless it really is your cup of java), there’s a strong lesson to be learned from Paul’s eccentricity. Find a branding statement that works to attract sustained attention to you and your book business!
R is for Route 66. Historic Route 66 runs from Chicago to Los Angeles, right through the northern Arizona towns of Holbrook, Winslow, Flagstaff, and Kingman. Got a book about an aspect of Route 66? Historic66.com has a page for you!
S is for Sedona. Making perhaps its biggest splash with the 1987 Harmonic Convergence, Sedona is known for its metaphysical stores, healing practitioners, and energy vortexes. While alternative health and formerly woo-woo topics like astrology and tarot are making their way into the mainstream – particularly with talk of the impending December 2012 end of the Mayan calendar – Sedona is a huge draw for spiritual seekers from all over the world. While these Sedona shops are no doubt inundated with queries from authors of books on related topics, a good marketing plan, strong message, and brilliant book will always warrant a second look from a smart bookseller.
T is for Tourism. With more than 300+ sunny days every year, Arizona is a prime tourist destination. Though its rank moves, depending on the source, tourism is usually listed among the state’s top three industries. And why shouldn’t it be? We’ve got mountains, lakes, streams, and deserts – attractions ranging from ghost towns to grand ballrooms. Books about the state run the gamut, from cookbooks to guidebooks to coloring books to picture books. For every tourist, there are a dozen shops to meet his or her taste. Some sell more books than others, but all are potential venues from which to sell – or promote – your book with an Arizona tie-in. You can reach these stores one of three ways: the Internet, the phone, or making the effort to meet the proprietors in person. Which do you think would be most effective?
U is for USS Arizona. Famously bombed and sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II, the USS Arizona became the watery grave to 1,102 sailors killed in the air raid. Portions of the ship still lie at the bottom of the Honolulu harbor, the location of the USS Arizona Memorial which opened in 1980. One of the ship’s anchors is displayed outside the Arizona State Capitol in Phoenix, and one of its two bells hangs in the clock tower of the Student Memorial Center at the University of Arizona (UA) in Tucson. Hundreds of books have been written about the attack on Pearl Harbor, many of which are dedicated, at least in part, to the Arizona. The UA Library’s Special Collections maintains a vast collection of papers, photographs, and memorabilia related to the Arizona. This is a unique situation of two diverse states with strong ties to a single event. Where can you find allied natural tie-ins for your book that allow you to cross-market it?
V is for Verde Valley. Tucked between the Mogollon Rim and the Black Hills mountain range, the Verde Valley is a lush little collection of communities filled with history, recreation, and natural beauty. While the small towns that make up the Verde Valley (Cottonwood, Clarkdale, Jerome, and Camp Verde) are similar, each also has its own distinct personality. This coming weekend [Feb 17-19], Camp Verde will host its 12th annual Pecan, Wine and Antique festival. A month later [Mar 17-18], Cottonwood will host a Jewelry, Gem and Mineral show. Almost every little town in America has festivals like these. If your book has a geographic angle of any sort, it’s probably worth the effort to get a vendor space at the relevant ones.
W is for Why. Seriously – we have a town named Why. According to the all-knowing Wikipedia, the town’s unusual name goes back to a time when the two major highways that ran through the area, State Routes 85 and 86, originally met in a Y intersection. At the time of its naming, Arizona law required all city names to have at least three letters, so the founders named the town “Why” to comply with the regulations. The Y intersection has since been reshaped into a more typical T. Why is mentioned in a book(let) about the unincorporated communities in Pima County, and its listing in Google Books is worth a mention because … well, you take a look. Hmmm… someone doesn’t know their geography very well. And it seems all Google Books listings include a QR code, but … why? If you’re using your smartphone to access the Web via a QR code but you see the QR code on a website… it’s giving me a headache just to think about it.
X is for (San) Xavier. Jesuit missionary and explorer Rev. Eusebio Francisco Kino first visited Bac, “the place where water appears,” in 1692 and laid the foundation for a mission church eight years later. He named it San Xavier in honor of his chosen patron, Saint Francis Xavier. Though Kino’s original church was never built and the Jesuits were eventually expelled from the area, the Franciscans eventually took over the mission. Construction of the current church began in 1783, and it was completed in 1797. San Xavier del Bac is considered one of the most beautiful mission churches in the Southwest, in part because its interior walls are elaborately decorated with original artwork that is continually repaired and maintained. The Mission is a fully functioning Catholic parish church that serves the Tohono O’odham people primarily, but is open to everyone. How big is your vision? How well do you repair it, when necessary, and maintain it? Whom do you serve? Every book marketer needs to know the answers to these questions.
Y is for Yuma. With a population of less than 95,000 most of the year (although it nearly doubles with the annual influx of winter visitors), Yuma is a tiny town situated in the southwestern corner of the state. Prior to the completion of Interstate 10 through the Phoenix area, the only thing I remember about Yuma was driving through it on my way to California. Then I had one of the best vacations of my life – in Yuma. I visited a friend and we had a ball just hanging out. We went to one of the two movie theatres in town and saw a movie I’d seen six months earlier in Phoenix – but it was funnier this time. We went to a scrapbooking store, and she taught me some cool techniques I’d never seen. I went water skiing for the first time – in Yuma! In short, it was an altogether surprising and enjoyable trip. The lesson to take away? Be open! Possibilities can show up anywhere, at any time, as long as you are open to recognizing them and capitalizing on them – be they bookselling opportunities, unexpected relationships, or potential joint ventures. But they’ll pass you by if all you’re doing is grumbling or complaining about your situation.
Z is for Zane Grey Cabin. Zane Grey authored nearly 60 novels, more than 200 short stories, 10 nonfiction westerns, hunting and fishing articles and books, and more than 130 movies were based on his works, virtually all of which were enormously successful. Grey’s books have been published in more than 20 languages, and estimated annual sales today are between 500,000 and 1 million copies worldwide. “My beloved Arizona” was the term of endearment Grey bestowed upon our state, and he built a cabin near Payson so he could spend more time here. Although the original cabin was destroyed in a fire, a very accurate replica was built in 2003. Grey fans from all over the world regularly visit Payson to see the Zane Grey Cabin.
Why was Grey so successful? According to WesternAuthors.com:
He started out an ordinary man. He attended the University of Pennsylvania on a baseball scholarship, earned a degree in dentistry, and later opened a dental office in New York. In 1907 he met Buffalo Jones, who invited him to go to Arizona with him and help rope mountain lions to sell to zoos. Grey answered the call to adventure and fell under the spell of the West. *** Grey’s first novel, Betty Zane, was a failure. In fact, he had to print it himself. After he went west, his fourth novel, Riders of the Purple Sage, sold more than a million copies. Following that, he wrote continuously until his death in 1939, sometimes averaging four novels per year.
So there you have it: book marketing tips from A to Z, inspired by some of the most interesting aspects of Arizona as we celebrate her 100th birthday. If you live here, get out and celebrate with your book! If you live elsewhere, give a ring when you’re in the area, and I’ll take you to my favorite writing/watering holes.
Happy 100th birthday, Arizona!
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