My Brilliant Book Marketing Scheme

skittles an authors book marketing schemeWallowing in obscurity can be frustrating. Well, not so much the obscurity part, but the poverty part that goes with it. I don’t have a big enough following to get Kindle Scout’s attention like Martin Crosbie did. I don’t have the energy or the time to put out a zillion books a year like Lynne Cantwell or Melissa Pearl. But what I do have is a defective, devious brain that can calculate and scheme and come up with an out-of-the-box marketing plan. Yes, I know RJ Crayton recently warned against these kinds of longshots. But really – this one will work – I just know it.

So I was talking with my pal Nick Forristal about book sales and he said what we need is “that one little girl who goes nuts and tells the world. Think Twilight.”

“If we could find a way to PAY popular high school kids to tweet our books, those kids would make a mint. Someone must have a niece or daughter or sister in high school who would do it for money. Do you know any?” I asked, hopefully.

Then Nick said, “You could be a creeper and go to the high school.”

That idea wasn’t too appealing to me, because that would mean I’d have to get up off my butt and leave my house, but it was worth a shot. Seeing as I live in a very small town, I’d have to go to Spokane to get access to a school of any significant population.

So I went over it in my head. I’d need bookmarks, Mountain Dew, and Skittles. That’s what kids like, right? Well, not the bookmarks, but I need something book-related so it’s not completely creepy. Then I’d have to find out where the kids hang out. Here in my town, kids can go off campus for lunch. Maybe they do the same in Spokane. I could slide into their conversations, all cool-like, and say something like, “Yo, ‘sup?” That’s how they talk in the city, right? Then I’d say, “Any of you kids want to make some easy money? All you have to do is tweet about a book. You’re on Twitter, right?”

Wait, though, I just saw an article the other day about how Twitter is dying. But kids are still on Twitter, right? Maybe Snapchat? Or Tumblr? Who cares – wherever the kids are will be good enough. Maybe they’ll feel bad for the crazy old lady who doesn’t know Twitter is like so ten minutes ago.

The kids would say, “Aw, lady, come on. Really? Twitter? What are you trying to do?” Because, you know, kids are helpful.

And I’d say, “Everyone knows you young adults hold the key to social networking, and therefore the success of starving authors. Well, I’m starving, and I am willing to pay you guys to get my book out there on the Internet. It needs to go viral. I know you can do it.”

I can tell I have their attention. That’s when I break out the Mountain Dew and Skittles. This is going exactly how I’d planned. They listen intently as I tell them about Mr. Pish and how he helps kids learn without knowing it. And then I tell them about Triple Dog Dare, and a couple of my other books. And I let them choose which books they’d like to tweet about. This is all going swimmingly!

Then, I notice a police cruiser pull into the parking lot. Two officers get out and head into the store. I write spy novels, I notice these things, you know? Anyway, I ask for the kids’ Twitter handles, but before they can give them to me, I’m pulled aside by the cops.

“Ma’am, what exactly do you think you’re doing?” the handsome one asks.

“I just wanted to pay these kids for–“

“That’s what we thought!” He twirls me around and slaps the cuffs on me.

“But I just wanted them to tweet my book!” I yell, panicking.

“’Tweet your book?’ What kind of sick euphemism is that?!”

“It’s not a euphemism! I really just wanted them to share my book on social networking.”

The cops shake their heads. “That’s the absolute lamest excuse I’ve ever heard – really, lady? You’re under arrest for soliciting minors.”

Okay, so it probably wouldn’t go exactly as I would like. But you know, they say “Sometimes sacrifices have to be made for art.” Okay, “they” don’t say that. Forristal did. This is all his fault. I hope he has enough to cover my bail.

Author: K.S. Brooks

K.S. Brooks is an award-winning novelist, photographer, and photo-journalist, author of over 30 titles, and executive director and administrator of Indies Unlimited. Brooks is currently a photo-journalist and chief copy editor for two NE Washington newspapers.  She teaches self-publishing and writing topics for the Community Colleges of Spokane, and served on the Indie Author Day advisory board. For more about K.S. Brooks, visit her website and her Amazon author page.

60 thoughts on “My Brilliant Book Marketing Scheme”

  1. Yo, ‘sup? Really? That’s how I talk to my granddaughter. She responds by rolling her eyes. (That’s how kids tell you they love you.) Someone needs to ground you from Nick, young lady. He’s a bad influence.

  2. As a middle aged male, I would have even less luck than you! Would for sure be tasered and probably pepper sprayed as well. I’m also somewhat skeptical of the younger generation being able to recognize what a book is, prehistoric technology that it is. Trying to explain that the battery isn’t dead or that it really doesn’t have an on or off switch would be challenging.

    I do however have a more serious and possibly less illegal means of spreading the word about your books. While I am unsure about the content of your books, it would appear that animals, dogs in particular are a central theme?

    If so have you ever considered sending free hard copies to veterinary clinics? Ask that the book be placed in the waiting area. You have a captive audience and likely an audience with the exception of cat lovers that would appreciate your work. Best of luck!

    1. Thanks, Marc. Unfortunately, people tend to take the cute dog books home with them. Don’t even get me started on sending out hard copies for reviews and endorsements… Thanks for dropping by. 🙂

      1. Not so fast, Kat! It’d be an investment, especially if you listed all the other Mr Pish books available in the back of the ‘freebie’. Little kids would read it, love it and want another one.

        Alternatively, maybe you could chain it to the table leg or something? Worth a try, no?

    2. Oh no. You live in America, right? Wouldn’t happen that way at all.

      Actually, you’d be shot in the back six times (with real lead bullets) while running for your life from a white dude you pay to ‘protect and serve’.

      Just sayin’. 🙂

  3. Best thing I’ve read today. Thanks for the giggle, Kat.

    No worries, we’ll have you out in a jiff. I’ll take up a collection for that bail money.

    1. That was exactly my thought. I don’t think this idea should be outright dismissed. I little tweak and it could be uber-successful. I’ll keep you posted…

  4. Good thing you didn’t tell the nice officers that you wanted the kids to taste the rainbow. (Which reminds me of a YouTube video I saw today about a unicorn that pooped rainbow sherbet. I wish I were kidding.)

      1. But they’re Unicorns, for Pete sake. If they even do, you know, doodoo, its all good! At least with a waffle cone and sprinkles. That makes everything…groovy. I mean, Unicorns? That’s wack, sup wit dat wack unicorn poop dawg?

  5. And one of the cops didn’t tell you about this great idea he has for a book he’s always wanted to write? What is law enforcement coming to?

  6. I know that’s just for fun, but if teenagers are your target audience, maybe you would enjoy teaching a workshop on writing (or self-pubbing) YA novels in Spokane’s public library and meet some readers that way. A lot of young people are voracious readers and have writing ambitions, too. They won’t actually buy your book, mind you, but they might at least take it out of the library… and then tweet … or something. 🙂

    1. Hi Sandra, teenagers are not my target audience. In fact, I don’t write any YA. I’ve tried working with the Spokane County Library system. Let’s just say they were less than receptive. Thanks for your thoughts, though!

  7. I SO tried this with my VERY OWN child! I tried it with her friends! I wanted to PAY them actual money to do this! But it never, ever worked. Why? Because in order to be cool enough to tweet, instagram, snapchat etc about stuff in that market, the ungrateful little whippersnappers have to DISCOVER IT for themselves!!! (sigh)

  8. Hmm. It sounded like a good plan. Except for the Skittles and Mountain Dew. I mean, we all know that Skittles and Mountain Dew tip off cops that you’re up to no good.

    And Gordon may be right. The trial publicity might sell a few books. (At the very least, earnest reporters might try to figure out what makes you tick by reading through your catalog). 🙂

  9. Thank You, thank you – you have cleared up a mystery that has been haunting me for decades. I always wondered what the old dude in the rain mac had been wanting me to tweet. Although he mispronounced it as tweek and I ran away. It all so much clearer now and I feel sorry I didn’t help him. I quite like skittles… ? 😉

  10. K.S., I’m still laughing. I love the lead in and you had me totally hooked, so the end was definitely a surprist. Here I was, thinking you’d come up with the most magnificent plan to market books, but I believe I’ll stay away from school campuses. Your scenario could have led to a very different outcome!

  11. A good laugh! I’m shamed to say, but I actually offered to give my son money to give to his friends to download and buy my book. Hey, they didn’t even have to read the damn thing – just buy it. The result – a roll of the eyes – way toooo embarrassing!!

  12. I’m stocking up on candy, and bookmarks for my debut at the Lexington Comic Con next year. Maybe I can use similar tactics and NOT get arrested. LOL!

  13. This was so funny! I thought I was the only crazy person dreaming up schemes and ideas which had/could go horribly wrong…well like ‘they’ say, bad publicity is better than no publicity…it worked for a number of famous actors!

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