Innovative Book Marketing: Three Clever (Cheap) Ideas

We all know about marsomeone keting now, don’t we.  From a book promotion point of view, you’ve got a website, a blog, you’re working social media like a buzzing bee, offering your books free or at deep discounts some times, doing giveaways. These things are all your baseline – they’re all necessary, but the problem is that everyone else is doing the same thing.  It’s crowded market.  So how do you get noticed?  The simple, and slightly irritating answer, is that you need to be innovative – to stand out from the crowd.  That’s easier said than done, of course, especially if you’re an introvert.  Sure, you could pole dance at your next book launch (especially if your book is about pole dancing…), you could bring in a band and turn your poetry reading into a rock concert, or you could do something really controversial like Amanda Palmer and disrobe on stage.  But for real lasting appeal, the following three innovative book marketing ideas will help you stand outside of the crowd without the need for gimmicks or unsavoury wrecking balls.

·         Check out some of the super clever signs in this blog post:
You’re a creative writer so why not come up with your own blackboard slogans or images.  Blackboards are cheap and it’s possible that your signing venue already has one.  It’s just chalk and a blackboard and you don’t need to be an artist – just think a little outside the (blue) box and you’ll come up with something really eye catching, humorous and persuasive. 

·         Can’t go past Fivver for $5 innovations.  The sky’s the limit on what you can buy here or how you can use it to promote your book.  I’ve bought video voiceovers, had videos made for me, had Facebook pages set up, and even a graphic image done, but you can go zanier.  Why not get a cartoon made of your book cover or of you holding your book cover and use it in a press release? Have someone hold up a sign promoting your work and put it in a blogpost.  Get flyers left for you in a high volume Starbucks.  I could go on and on and for only $5, it’s probably going to fit even the most stringent budget.

·         Try a new promotional venue.  If you can link it to some theme in your book so much the better.  Have you written a novel about an art theft?  Why not contact your local museum and ask if you can do a reading there.  How about the local Laundromat, the barber, your town’s botanical garden, a playground, a health spa, or a clothing boutique?  Think about the settings, plotlines, concepts in your books or target market and pick a place that matches.  If you can find a way to share in the booty (bringing in more customers and a little media), then most venues will likely let you do a reading, a presentation, or a book signing in their venue.  If you pick a busy time, you may well get a lot more customers than you would in a bookshop. 

I’m sure there are plenty of other opportunities for innovative marketing that you can come up with.  The main thing is to think ‘fun’ and ‘fabulous’.  If it’s interesting for you, it will be interesting for your readers and for the media, and that’s the intersection where viral happens.  If you do decide to take on any of these ideas, or come up with your own, I’d love to hear about it.

Magdalena Ball is the author of the novels Black Cow and Sleep Before Evening, the poetry books Repulsion Thrust and Quark Soup, a nonfiction book The Art of Assessment, and, in collaboration with Carolyn Howard-Johnson, Sublime Planet, Deeper Into the Pond, Blooming Red, Cherished Pulse, She Wore Emerald Then, and Imagining the Future. She also runs a radio show, The Compulsive Reader Talks. Find out more about Magdalena at

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Anne Duguid Knol said...

Just thanking my lucky stars--and you should be thanking yours lol--that I'm not writing about pole dancing. Still giggling at that one but super ideas and inspirational opportunities.

Karen Cioffi said...

Maggie, great post! I love the signs Kaleido Books and Gifts created (from the link) - how creative and fun. They take book marketing a step further. And, I love Fiverr. Thanks for sharing this valuable information on innovative book marketing ideas.

LOL And, yeah, I'll nix the first paragraph's innovative options. Although, the band has a better shot than the other two!

Heidiwriter said...

Great ideas, Maggie! I'm saving these for my next release.

Kathleen Moulton said...

I'm so grateful to be part of this community and learning new things. Not at the book stage yet but you can be sure I am saving this info!

Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

Great tips Maggie. I'll have to check out fiver.

Melinda Brasher said...

I love the signs!

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