Amanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent.
Alright. Confession time. Before I could write this post I had to go watch “Jenny From the Block” music video by Jennifer Lopez. Because whenever I think about marketing locally, that song starts playing over and over in my head.
But I’ll spare you from having to watch it, unless you really want to (WORTH IT), as I try to collect my thoughts and be eloquent and practical without busting into rhyme.
J-Lo’s song is about keeping it real. Not letting fame and fortune change the fact that she came from humble beginnings. Being the same person now (despite the rocks that she got) that she was then.
But I think in a backwards way, that theme could also be applied to book marketing. The Internet, though flashy and trendy and popular, shouldn’t give us license to live a double life. In other words, it’s so easy to go online and be a strong marketer, and then turn it all completely off the moment we step away from Facebook. It’s like we go from “Famous Author” to “Car Pool Driver” or “PTA Member” or “The Person Who Always Brings Cookies to Work” or other lackluster personas that follow us in our day-to-day lives. When in fact, being an author pursuing the dream is actually quite extraordinary.
So let’s pretend that I’m an author with a book.
I live in a city of 250,000. While I’m online, trying frantically to find people who enjoy reading, there are about a dozen library branches in my city. Not only that, but there are at least a dozen bookstores. Furthermore, my contact with the city goes beyond those typical venues.
- I go to a salon, a dentist office, a doctor’s office, and a church.
- I know people involved in clubs and organizations that cover everything from Junior League to Easter Seals.
- I frequent two different Starbucks and one Dunkin Donuts, and though I don’t have go-to bars that I frequent, I’m beginning to think it wouldn’t hurt for the sake of promotion.
- I’ve held five different jobs here, meaning I have strong relationships with lots of businessmen and women.
- I went to college here, so though I don’t have a strong family network, I have professors, classmates and more within mere miles of me.
- I know people in the radio, print, and news industries here.
So imagine if I mobilized these businesses, clubs, organizations, individuals and networks. Imagine if I got them excited about my book–if I constructed some sort of incentive to get them buzzing. (Truth be told, many of them will be incentivized just by knowing you’re an author).
Imagine if I viewed the 250,000 people living in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the same way I view readers on the Internet.
An author I know (and one that i now work with), epublished her first book on her own. To promote it, she turned to Fort Wayne. In one year she sold 20,000 copies. It just goes to show how a little hometown connection can get people excited.
So as you’re making your marketing plan and devising your promotional strategy, don’t forget where you come from. The connections you already have. The people who already love you. Because “hometown hero” isn’t just a term for high school athletes and soldiers (though I’d argue the soldier would be the most fitting of the title). It can be for authors, too.
What local resources do you have that could help you with promotions?