Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Business of Writing II

Passive Aggressive Marketing

"Hey Kevin!" a cab driver called to me. My wife and I just left the Rhode Island Capitol building, and I knew no one in the state- or any other one around it. As I approached, he held up his phone. "Been checking out your blog on my phone."

Wow. We are in the informational age. 

For our once in a lifetime trip, 50 States in 50 Weeks, I decided to promote it in an unusual way. I had the bike and trailer vinyl wrapped in a patriotic motif, with the blog website address plastered on the bike and trailer. Mike the cab driver proved it worked. That wasn't the first time either. Bob in a Bismarck, North Dakota campground responded in a similar manner. Another fellow took a picture of the bike with his phone. "You want a business card?" I asked. 

"Nope. Got the URL on the phone." 


The bike was my idea of perfect marketing; passive aggressive. Aggressive because I decorated the bike in an eye catching design, and passive because my potential customers- the people who would read my blog and eventually buy my book recounting the trip- would approach me. 

So often we attack people, cornering them to please please please listen to our elevator pitch, as they cower in the corner with their blast shields up. We exercise three options; never give up and do it again, oblivious to their defenses, or try to attack better, or we give up, frustrated that potential customers just don't get it. 

Traditionally we also want to 'one step market.' "Hello, buy my book." But what your potential customer needs to do is trust you. Giving away free short stories, blogging, or even being active on Facebook can establish you as a person they would trust, and be willing to part with a bit of their hard earned money. I've got a friend who posts on Facebook regularly, and she is entertaining and hilarious. After a few weeks or months of seeing her faithfully posting and coming up with another humorous comment, I can trust her and believe that she could write a compelling and funny book.   

Everyone has business cards, book marks (which are rapidly going the way of the buggy whip) and even websites, but you must come up with something different and compelling. I'm not going to give you three steps to market better. I'm encouraging you to step out of the box and creatively market yourself and your book. You're the clever, creative one, right? Have you thought of something as you read this? 

I'm an entrepreneur, and have a good/bad habit of 'Ready, fire, aim.' The advantage of this is if you implement it, you're doing something. You tried pocket protectors for your geek novel and it fizzled? Try something else. But whatever you do, try something. Anything's better than wringing your hands and doing nothing. At least you can stumble in the right direction. 

If you can write clever and compelling prose, you can certainly market in a similar fashion. 

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