Turning on the mischief marketing faucet

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Turning on the mischief marketing faucet

Because Isis plays such an important role in Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World, I feel like she should play a key role in the marketing. Subtle and understated, but hugely important. In considering the kinds of mischief marketing I’d like to get up to, though, I’m not quite sure how employ this loveable little Jack Russell terrier.

Mischief marketing is any form of nontraditional – and often outlandish – marketing. Leaving your bookmark in similar books in a bookstore. Writing your title in chalk on a sidewalk that gets lots of foot traffic. Attending a ballgame dressed up as a character in your book. I suppose I could order a passel of stuffed JRTs and recruit people to hide them in places around the world – making my very own Isis Search Squad. Yeah – maybe not. Could get confusing and political and stuff. Well, maybe go with the treasure hunt but use a different name.

jrt-dolls

Speaking of which, it came up the first time I did a public reading of Stan that the name Isis is also the name of a worldwide terror organization. One woman said she couldn’t focus on the story because of this. I actually thought – for a few minutes – about renaming Stan’s dog because of this. But I asked the rest of the room, and no one else had experienced such a distraction. Since I began writing this story in 2004, it far pre-dated the usurpation of the name Isis by this terror group, and thus, I decided, I’m keeping it. Reclaiming the name of the Egyptian goddess, even.

jack-russell-terrier-michel-keck

Other ways to incorporate Isis into my mischief marketing might include having a custom painting done and using that on stickers I distribute in well-trafficked areas and at well-attended events (like the big Desert Trip concert, which my husband and I had the vast joy and privilege to see live).

jrt-tattoo

Another idea is to have temporary tattoos made – and distribute them in the same manner as the stickers.

I realize the ideas are endless. All I need to do is turn up the faucet from a trickle to a strong flow.

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Read the FIRST 5 Chapters of Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World.

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LAURA ORSINI is an author and self-publishing consultant who works with other authors who want to LO picchange the world. From concept to publication to the first-time author’s book launch, her expertise will help you make a better book and find more readers. Friend her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, and check out her pins on Pinterest.

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Fiction and nonfiction partners

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Fiction and nonfiction partners

sledge_hammer

Sometimes it takes a sledgehammer to get a message across. As long as I’ve been working on my novel, Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World, and as many marketing ideas as I’ve come up with, I don’t think I ever really saw the huge potential for this book until I sat down and wrote out these posts in answer to the prompts I created for all of the authors taking part in the 2016 NO EXCUSES 3-Week Author Blog Challenge. It’s one thing to create clever questions, but another entirely to answer them like a working author who is actively engaged in a practical book marketing campaign.

So many ideas have presented themselves over these last couple weeks – like approaching high-end indie pet stores and map stores and travel groups and other outlets for some of the primary components in a story about a man who travels around the world with his dog. One thing I don’t think I’ve mentioned yet is that Stan has a developmentally challenged sister. There’s another group who would have a natural interest in partnering if it meant helping them increase awareness and raise funds.

Most recently, though, I’ve met and begun working with a woman named Bee Walker, who is co-authoring a book with her husband, Jim, a dog trainer. You’ll never guess the very specific topic of their book. Traveling with your dog. Seriously. How perfect a partnership would that be – one novel and one nonfiction book on the same topic?

dog-training

Of course, I’m a little nervous about having her read my story – because while Isis is generally well-behaved, she has a few episodes that help bring levity and advance the plot of the book. Will Bee tell me that a well-trained dog would never do that? Then again, maybe those places would be great teaching moments for Bee and Jim. So anyway, I haven’t approached Bee about this yet, but I suspect she will be all paws on board!

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Read the FIRST 5 Chapters of Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World.

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LAURA ORSINI is an author and self-publishing consultant who works with other authors who want to LO picchange the world. From concept to publication to the first-time author’s book launch, her expertise will help you make a better book and find more readers. Friend her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, and check out her pins on Pinterest.

Jingling all the way to the bank

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Jingling all the way to the bank

According to that all-reliable, oft-cited reference behemoth, Wikipedia, a jingle is a short song or tune used in advertising and for other commercial uses. The jingle contains one or more hooks and meaning that explicitly promote the product or service being advertised, usually through the use of one or more advertising slogans.”

radio-jingles

Most people probably wouldn’t think about creating a jingle to promote their books, but why not?

I have the benefit of being married to a very talented musician who has been dabbling in songwriting in recent days. He’s still reading a draft of Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World, but has promised to help me fine-tune the lyrics I came up with for my song about the book. It’s too long to be a jingle, but it does rhyme, after a fashion, and with the right music, could become a useful marketing tool.

Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

Hitting the road – just Isis and me
Cute as can be, she’s my JRT
We drive, we fly, we train, we plane
We sneak her onboard – it’s fiction, so we can!

Eighteen months, around the globe we go
Meeting countless cool people
And some you wouldn’t want to know
We make it home safely – both to and fro
But along the way, we thrive and we grow.

Just as a quick disclaimer: I do realize it should be “Isis and I,” but I was lazy with the rhyming and that part may yet get rewritten. For now, though, I’m going to turn off the always-editing side of my brain and go with the wrong pronoun.

Please let me know what you think in the Comments section below – and if you have a suggestion, I’m wide open!

Happy jingling!

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Read the FIRST 5 Chapters of Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World.

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LAURA ORSINI is an author and self-publishing consultant who works with other authors who want to LO picchange the world. From concept to publication to the first-time author’s book launch, her expertise will help you make a better book and find more readers. Friend her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, and check out her pins on Pinterest.

The first word in social media is SOCIAL

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The first word in social media is SOCIAL

Even though I know enough about social media to teach true neophytes the basics of Facebook and Twitter, there’s still waaaaaayyyy more that I don’t know. I feel like a dinosaur compared to those techies who are IN it. I have an Instagram account I barely touch, and I know what Snapchat is, but I don’t have an account. I like the idea of Vine, but finding the perfect six to 10 seconds of video seems daunting. I have a Goodreads account, yet none of my books are listed there (that probably has a lot to do with my general animosity toward its parent company). And I most definitely need to get on the ball with YouTube.

So, you could say I’m a bit behind when it comes to using social media to promote Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World.

stan-on-pinterest

Stan does have a Pinterest board, so that’s something. Hey – there’s more stuff there than I remember. (Does Snoopy’s happy dance!)

One thing I plan to do that I’ve yet to see anyone try (which is not to say that someone’s not doing it) is to serialize Stan on YouTube. Get a background image of each city and make videos of me reading from the book in front of each one. I wonder how long it will take to read an entire 450-page book out loud…

I thought about giving Isis her own Twitter handle, but that’s been done before – a LOT – so I’m kind of thinking not so much. But I could offer quips and advice from the myriad secondary and tertiary characters Stan meets on his travels. Now that might be worth the time investment.

first-word-in-social-media

The main thing to keep in mind is that the first word in social media is SOCIAL. It’s about creating a tribe and giving them a reason to (a) keep coming back and (b) to share your stuff so that the tribe grows. Manufacturing buzz is a lot harder than it sounds – but one key component is good content delivered on a consistent basis.

Sleep – who needs it?

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Read the FIRST 5 Chapters of Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World.

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LAURA ORSINI is an author and self-publishing consultant who works with other authors who want to LO picchange the world. From concept to publication to the first-time author’s book launch, her expertise will help you make a better book and find more readers. Friend her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, and check out her pins on Pinterest.

Fun with graphix!

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Fun with graphix!

As I mentioned in my last post, I love the idea of incorporating a few images, here and there, into my novel, Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World. From little globes as section breaks to a variety of handwritten addresses on postcards from around the world, I’ve tossed images into the book.

When it comes to the marketing, images show up there, too. One thing I did was use a fantastic – but unfortunately now defunct – site called Bitstrips to create cartoon versions of Stan at all points in his journey. He morphs from a clean-cut Wall Street type to a long-haired beatnik over the course of the story.

stan-before-and-afterjpg

These will become the images in the coloring book I’m developing as a gift for the crowdfunding campaign – and probably a standalone ancillary product. I’m still looking at a few cartoonizing sites for the coloring book. The old versions of Photoshop used to do an awesome job at it, but I haven’t found the newer ones quite as versatile in this regard.

stan-mt-olympus

I also employed Canva.com, an easy-to-use infographics platform, for the basic concept I used in the infographic I created to promote Stan.

infographic-before-after

Not to mention the default, all-purpose tool I could not live without – Photoshop. That’s where I did all of my editing to add cartoon Stan into photos of the places he visited, and how I adapted the Canva version of the infographic into what I wanted it to look like.

stan-macchu-pichu

I often do the same sort of thing with Microsoft Publisher – using it for the general template, but then overwriting the system’s fonts, original graphics, and backgrounds to make the image my own.

I’m self-taught at all of this. I remember in the pre-you-can-find-a-video-on-YouTube-for-how-to-do-absolutely-anything days, the hours and hours it took me to discover how layers worked in Photoshop. But I got there. I still make major goofs – losing all those precious layers by accidentally saving them into one. Crikey that hurts when it happens! The point is that you can teach yourself, too. I’m not the best graphic designer in the world, but I know enough not to put outlines around every box just because I can.

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Read the FIRST 5 Chapters of Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World.

_______________

LAURA ORSINI is an author and self-publishing consultant who works with other authors who want to LO picchange the world. From concept to publication to the first-time author’s book launch, her expertise will help you make a better book and find more readers. Friend her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, and check out her pins on Pinterest.

Teaching from the novel

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Teaching from the novel

As someone who has been teaching classes and seminars for much of the past 15 years, it would seem a no-brainer for me to come up with an idea or two for a class I could link to my novel, Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World. And yet I scratch my head at the idea. Perhaps it’s because the novel still finds itself not quite done after 12+ years. Or perhaps it’s because fiction writing is not my native instinct – I majored in nonfiction writing for a reason!

Microsoft Word - Stan Finds Himself for TFOB

And nevertheless, I know there are things I could teach, based on this experience. One thing I might teach is the idea of adding a few graphics, here and there, to a novel. As I recall rarely seeing this – one example is Alain de Botton’s The Romantic Movement – perhaps it’s just not that popular. Or, more likely, perhaps no one’s really thought to do it.

Another topic is the idea of partnering with a nonprofit to promote your book. Because Stan visits so many off-the-beaten track locations, his trip is one that skips right over most of the typical world travel highlights. And in so doing, he encounters many new ideas and social justice causes that have real-life counterparts. Whether you’re writing a nonfiction instruction manual or a space opera, as the author, you have the latitude to incorporate aspects into your work that have a real-world tie-in to an existing cause or organization. Offer to profit share with that group in exchange for their help promoting your book, and you might be on the road to something spectacular.

I already teach marketing classes that touch on everything from book design to news releases and media kits to social justice to crowdfunding. Using my own novel as a case study for the success of such marketing endeavors is a natural fit.

Have no doubt – a class or two will be forthcoming!

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Read the FIRST 5 Chapters of Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World.

_______________

LAURA ORSINI is an author and self-publishing consultant who works with other authors who want to LO picchange the world. From concept to publication to the first-time author’s book launch, her expertise will help you make a better book and find more readers. Friend her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, and check out her pins on Pinterest.

Sketching out the details of an online treasure hunt app

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Sketching out the details of an online treasure hunt app

online-treasure-hunt

Contests are a great way for an author to inspire interest in their work, and social media couldn’t make it easier. But the kinds of contests one could hold are limitless. I met a gal in September who’s hosting a fan fiction contest around her book, Oubliette — A Forgotten Little Place. A few of the rules from the contest include:

  • Oubliette Fan Fiction must be based off the book Oubliette — A Forgotten Little Place by Vanta M. Black.
  • Any of the many story lines may be used for inspiration. At least one story line and/or one character from the book must be in the entry.
  • Entries must be at least 500 words and no more than 10,000.

Other contests I’ve seen require participants to take a photo of themselves holding a copy of the book and post the photos to a particular site. Trivia contests are also popular. Really, you are limited only by whatever your mind can imagine.

With regard to Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World, I am in the idea phase for a treasure hunt that will involve an app and visits to particular YouTube channels and websites for shops, venues, and places Stan visits on his world travels. Of course, the details are still sketchy – but I want prospective readers to see as much of the world as Stan sees, if only vicariously through the Internet.

Of course, I like the fan fiction idea a great deal – so maybe a contest where people create a new character from any of the 23 countries Stan and Isis visit.

In a previous post, I mention my idea for a cookbook – perhaps the contents of that cookbook are chosen via a contest. Hmmm … the wheels are turning!

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Read the FIRST 5 Chapters of Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World.

_______________

LAURA ORSINI is an author and self-publishing consultant who works with other authors who want to LO picchange the world. From concept to publication to the first-time author’s book launch, her expertise will help you make a better book and find more readers. Friend her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, and check out her pins on Pinterest.