Marketing independently published books is a pain. Tips and how-to advice are an easy Google search away, but the truth is, it's an individual quest. As Joseph Campbell tells us (and I'm paraphrasing here): if the path is too easy, that means it's probably not your path. Someone ahead of you forged it already. While I don't know of any indie authors who find the path "too easy," I do like that philosophical take on life, and it applies this endeavor.
I've written two novels, a story collection and a comic based on one of the stories. The target age groups are different, and of course that affects my marketing strategies. But there's another distinction that takes precedent: two of my books, Simon and TaleSpins, feature a retelling of a known property. Rocketboy, on the other hand, is a wholly original story.
I pitch TaleSpins by focusing on the first story about Creepy the 8th dwarf. People get it right away. When they discover his name is Creepy, and he's banished to the cottage basement for being odd, that holds them beyond the hook. But I’m not kidding myself – both the hook and the hold are streets paved for me by others: the brothers Grimm with the story and Disney with the y-ending name.
People also get Simon (a modern-day Hamlet). The irony is my retellings are perceived as more "original" than the Rocketboy story. People love Rocketboy, but kid superhero/space adventure isn't enough to sell it. The retellings are easier at first for obvious reasons, but then the challenge becomes greater right away. What's your clever, "original" take?
To further explore the idea of marketing known vs. unknown entities, I could give examples of book reviews, dust jacket covers, or amazon blurbs from all across the literary spectrum. Stand-alones vs. series. Sequels. Etc.
But why do that when we can just look at cool images from Hollywood?
The teaser movie poster is BIG business. Creating a buzz for a film’s opening weekend is everything, and professional reputations (not to mention millions of dollars) are at stake in this early phase of the marketing process. Does the studio play it safe with a big image of the star’s face? (Hey! Is Tom Cruise in this movie or not? Yes, I believe he is ... ) Or do they take a risk and create a compelling image that actually teases the movie? Unlike a book blurb, a teaser poster does not sell tickets. It’s only designed to entice the audience to notice to the full poster to be released later and view the trailers (which are also produced in “teaser” and “full” modes). It’s a process, much like the example I often use in conversation: your resumé doesn’t get you a job. Your resumé gets you an interview. The interview gets you the job.
First 7 known entities, then 7 unknowns. Like an 8th dwarf, the first set has a distinct opportunity to spark interest – if done well.
©Michael Mullin & Gemiknight Studios .