Mischief marketing for authors: A call to action!
In the past few days, I’ve touched on a couple methods of mischief marketing for authors – marketing ideas, techniques, or concepts that push the envelope and break the rules a bit, in a way that gets attention without causing any real harm or damage. Another term you may have heard for it is “guerrilla marketing,” which is described by its founder, Jay Conrad Levinson, as “an unconventional ways of pursuing conventional goals. … [T]he soul and essence of guerrilla marketing … remain, as always, achieving conventional goals, such as profits and joy, with unconventional methods, such as investing energy instead of money.”
Some of the guerrilla ideas we’ve mentioned over the past few months include:
- Don an attention-getting costume.
- Write a line or two of your poetry on a public sidewalk.
- Put your book cover on some blank greeting cards and send “Happy National Library Week” cards to your favorite librarians.
- Tell your readers you care with virtual conversation hearts.
- Buy or make a dragon kite and fly it in a popular park near you. Hand out sample chapters of your book to those who come over to chat.
None of them is particularly expensive or complicated, and some require more nerve than others. But each is creative, attention-getting, and something you can do. If you don’t like these ideas, chuck them in favor of something that suits you better. But as someone over at the SM2 blog recently wrote: “This mischief marketing is a tricky balancing act that requires total willingness to fail, or perhaps worse, to sink without a ripple. But it is also fun to do and say something about the companies behind it. Sense of humor anyone?”
Levinson’s first book on the subject, Guerrilla Marketing, was the beginning of an empire. You might say this guy walks his talk. He (along with a slew of expert coauthors) now has 58 titles to his credit, which have been published in 62 languages. Some of the various titles include:
- Guerrilla Social Media Marketing
- Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 3.0
- Guerrilla Marketing for Nonprofits
- Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green
Here’s some advice for authors looking to add some guerrilla to their marketing from Guerrilla Marketing for Writers: 100 No-Cost, Low-Cost Weapons for Selling Your Work, by Levinson, Rick Frishman, Michael Larsen, David L. Hancock:
Don’t think like a writer who has something to say; think like an author who has a lifetime of books, products, and services to sell – a writer who knows what it takes to make books sell and will be totally committed to doing it. Then you will be a guerrilla marketer.
Another book I really like is Mischief Marketing: How the Rich, Famous, & Successful Really Got Their Careers and Businesses Going, by Ray Simon. Here’s an excerpt from the introduction:
Many of the anecdotes you’ll see in these pages will act as templates. In other words, they’ll illustrate by example how you can adapt the strategies embodied in the tales to fit your own situation; how you can tailor the tales and the tactics to fit your own business, personal, or social goals.
* * *
For instance, it may not be your style to break into a movie studio. That’s understandable. But there are similar things you can do to accomplish what the Spielberg templative tale is essential about: evoking an aura of credibility. On the Internet, for example, you could craft a website that is as impressive as any produced by a major corporation, and such a website can do for you what the mischievously makeshift office at Universal Studios did for Spielberg.
Want to download a 14-page excerpt of Mischief Marketing before you buy it? Click here.
And lastly, in my research, I came across a brand new (January 2012) eBook on the topic by a guy named Nathan Dube: Music, Mischief and Marketing: A Guerrilla’s Guide for the Creative Protagonist. Now, it’s not perfectly edited (yes, my personal peccadilloes rise to the surface every now and again), but it has lots of excellent content. I particularly liked this bit of encouragement for people (or in our case, authors) to find their own style, voice, and identity as marketers. Hmmmm… not so different from finding your voice as an author, right?
Part of what makes one a truly great marketing professional is their ability to develop their own unique style. By experimenting with different techniques, you will eventually find what is “right” for you, at which point you will begin to establish your own identity within your craft.
Let’s review a few of these aforementioned techniques which may be of use to you:
- Perspective management
- Guerrilla marketing
- Self education
- Projecting thought leadership
- Leveraging social channels
- Developing egregores
- Building trust
- Projecting a spirit of service
- Projecting your humanity
If you want to know what an egregore is, you’ll just have to buy the book. 🙂
Savvy book marketing is all about using every tool at your disposal to get your name out into the world and sell more books. Guerrilla/mischief marketing is just a piece of the puzzle, but an important piece, so please don’t neglect it out of fear of looking a little foolish. Just relax and have fun with it.
We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.
Visit the Write | Market | Design Facebook page to meet other authors and aspiring authors who have a sincere interest in writing, publishing, and selling the best books they can. And if you need a self-publishing consultant in your corner for anything from advice on structure to developing a marketing strategy, drop us a note at MarcieBrock@WriteMarketDesign.com or give us a call at 602.518.5376!