Memes and Themes

The young delight in everything new...and then think they know it all. We oldies delight in finding newer and newer words and concepts and realize we shall never know it all.

Writers are constantly bombarded with new must-have technology to turn them into instant best sellers. I just received a marketing offer for a software meme generator. Yes, I had a vague idea what a meme was. After all the word was first coined in 1976 and hit the dictionaries from 2000 onward. 

The definition of the original meaning from the Oxford dictionary is: an element of a culture or system of behaviour (English spelling) passed from one individual to another by imitation or other non-genetic means.

Now of course in marketing terms it refers to images, videos,quotations, humorous or inspirational, that are copied and spread rapidly across the Internet.

Marketing with Memes

I'm always looking for ideas to market my non-existent book. The meme idea is great--we all love and share these iconic images on social networking sites but let's be honest, here. How likely is the normal book cover to go viral? And if it does, are Internet users just going to share the picture rather than reading the book?

Would a better idea be to re-caption an existing meme to build on a viral message already circulating?

Use a search engine to choose one of the many meme creator sites on the web. 


Try it out here. 

These give you many cute starter images to caption and often allow you to create your own characters. That done, how do you capture audience imagination?

Marketing with Themes

It's the funnies that seem to top the viral charts. If you can encapsulate your theme into a few words that resonate with readers, and fit it to your cover or appropriate picture, then you may have a meme.

If you have a great quotation that fits your book, then you may have a meme.

But you can create them from your photographs or stock images and caption with something like PowerPoint or Paint.  

Marketing with memes is a great idea but experiment before jumping on bandwagons and buying extra software.

 Anne Duguid is a senior content editor with MuseItUp Publishing and   her New Year's Resolution is to pass on helpful writing,editing and publishing tips at Slow and Steady Writers far more regularly than she managed in 2012.


elysabeth said...

Annie, I have only participated in a few memes because most of them are question based and you are supposed to share them with X number of folks so they can spread the meme - personally, I don't have the time to figure out who has or hasn't participated in this particular meme or who would be willing to participate in a meme. I think you are right though - using them to spread the word about your book is a good idea. Just finding the time to do so. Hope it all works out for you. - E :)

Elysabeth Eldering
Author of Finally Home, a middle grade/YA mystery

Anne Duguid Knol said...

Hadn't thought about question-based memes Elysabeth though I can see how that could expand an audience for them. Don't you think the bookworms might make a fun one?
But all these things, as you say, can take up too much of our writing time.

Karen Cioffi said...

Annie, I'm not sure where I've been, but I haven't heard of memes. :) There are just too many marketing strategies/tools out there.

I think the most important thing is to start with one or two strategies and get them on autopilot, then move on to another. You also have to see what works best for you.

Is the Buzz meme just something you create to put around, like on Pinterest, your sites, etc. If that's the case, my first thought is you're promoting It's a clever marketing strategy.

You could though create your own images like that with a free and really useful tool by Laughing Bird Software (The Logo Creator). If you look them up on Facebook and LIKE their page, you get a free download of their software.

I've started to create and copyright my own images using this software.

Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

I know I need to limit which strategies I use do to time. I wonder if memes work better with certain genres.

Anne Duguid Knol said...

Hi Karen,

The Buzz meme has been around captioned and recaptioned and I chose and retagged it as a perhaps recognizable pic. It is of course a promotion for the site on which it is hosted and we'd be best with our own. The problem is finding an image and caption strong enough to go viral.

As usual you're ahead of the game and the Laughing Bird software sounds ideal.
True memes are the images, texts and videos that catch the attention of millions. Recently there was the dancing Shetland pony on YouTube

Anne Duguid Knol said...

Interesting thought, Mary Jo. And you may well be right as the memes themselves are often humorous. Perhaps best suited to a dystopic novel? Though there are some cuter than cute kitties out there...

Magdalena Ball said...

Interesting idea Annie for generating images to use in social media. I'll have to play around with it as there may well be some fresh images that are good to use in promotions.

Heidiwriter said...

I didn't know what meme meant either. Hmm. Interesting!

Anne Duguid Knol said...

I looked at several sites with best memes of 2012 and only a couple made it into most lists, one animal, one political. Think your own book cover for Black Cow is pretty arresting,Maggie. We have the magnet on the bread bin.

Anne Duguid Knol said...

Thank goodness I'm not the only writer struggling with all the marketing jargon, Heidi!

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