Think Globally – Act Locally
It’s a phrase that gets thrown about quite a bit in discussions about the environment, but I think it can be put to good use when it comes to marketing your books as well.
The phrase urges people to think about the “big picture” (global) while focusing their efforts on a small piece of it (local).
Every author who releases a book these days understands, or should understand, the value of social media. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, My Space, Goodreads, and whatever other sites you can think of, are invaluable tools in reaching people from all over the world without paying high-priced PR Firms or Marketing Consultants—but in your quest to sell books to your many fans in Australia, don’t forget about the readers in your hometown.
Even if you live in a small town, like mine, there are still thousands of potential readers who probably don’t know you exist. Try to focus at least half of your marketing efforts on them.
Half? Crazy, you say? Why spend half of my efforts focusing on ten-thousand people when I can reach millions on facebook???
Don’t think about them as ten-thousand people…think of them as ten-thousand FREE marketing assistants. Each one of them has friends, relatives and coworkers. Chances are they also have facebook accounts, twitter followings and Pinterest boards. Ipso-facto…if you can reach millions with your one facebook account, imagine your reach if you get just one-thousand of your local fan base to post or tweet about you.
Any effort you can put into having a signing at a local library, book store, bar, restaurant or laundromat is bound to pay off way beyond the fifteen or twenty books you sell.
Let me give you an example;
Last year I met another author in my town named Armand Rosamilia. We quickly became friends and soon began tossing marketing ideas around to gain support right here at home. We both write books that take place in our own community, but we thought our local “presence” could use some bolstering. One night, while enjoying a pint at a local watering hole with several friends, the idea of collaborating on a “short story” was brought up. It soon became a full blown group discussion and it was determined that we should set the story in town and use as many local people for characters as possible.
Our goal was a 10,000 word short story featuring several locals as characters with the action taking place in a well-known local setting.
What we ended up with was a 24,000 word novella. We also included preview chapters from each of our recent releases along with bios and lists of our back works.
We arranged a book signing at the bar where the idea was conceived and spread the word by creating a facebook “event”. Naturally, we told all of the named characters about it and invited them to attend and guess what they did?
They came, they brought friends and relatives and they facebooked, tweeted and pinterested the crap out of it.
Both Armand and I saw immediate spikes in sales of our back catalogs and the little novella we wrote (in roughly four days) sold fifty copies at the signing in less than two hours. Our facebook and twitter followings increased greatly as well.
So when you’re working on your marketing strategy, by all means incorporate social media as much as you can, but don’t forget the power of good-old-fashioned word of mouth. Build your local following as much as possible and let them work for you as well.
Think of each local reader as “patient zero” in your efforts to go viral.