book printing and marketing by book printer

This is part two of my article on Guerrilla Marketing techniques for books.

While exploring additional Guerrilla Marketing techniques, I started this as an open discussion in Book Story and the results were so good that I thought I would expand it to another article for others to see.  Some of these techniques have been used in the past by others as well as new ones that at the moment are purely theoretical and offered by others and myself.

The post started with me posing a concept followed by opening it for scrutiny as well as asking others for similar ideas so that this is a compilation of my thoughts and those of the others who contributed on the post. My opening salvo was the suggestion of using the rear pages in a book in order to offer local merchants, either in the author’s town and/or the geographical location of the book’s plot. I have seen many books with advertisements in the rear by the author or publisher and many by publishers also who advertise for books other than by the author. This thought was an extension of that.

In self publishing, with the amount of competition and “any port in a storm” book marketing landscape, here are some collaborative ideas we came up with.

Conceptually it could work any way you could organize it. You could have coupons with adverts, or just an advert if you would not like to see a page ripped out. You could charge as you would if it were a magazine or nothing if they helped you sell it or whatever in between you could negotiate. Phil Silver came up with the idea of tying this in with a Kick Starter campaign.

Phil Silver

Owner, PBJ Children’s Books

Cool. The more I think about this idea, the more I’m warming up to it, especially from the Kick Starter point of view. That way I’m not out going store to store trying to sell ad space, but rather getting my campaign going and letting the people come to me. I like that. There would not be any “advertisements” in the book however I would have a donor page listing everyone who supported the campaign. I suppose if a donor wanted a print ad at the end of the book that could be made available as well. I think between us, I just figured out how to finance my next book. Thanks Ira.

Nancy Ellen Dodd

Author of “The Writer’s Compass,” Academic Editor, Adjunct Professor, Pepperdine University

This is an interesting idea. I just read a book that included recipes, which fascinated me because of the marketing potential. Truthfully, I found real problems with the story, but the author is successful, I suppose because of the recipes. She appeals to a segment of the market that likes recipes and the story is sort of woven around them. In fact, a writer friend told me his mother loves these books because of the recipes. The marketing potential is that she says which brand she uses. In movies if you place a particular brand you sometimes get money from the company who owns that brand. I’m wondering if she does that. Maybe it would work for other types of books.

Ira Blacker

CEO, Printing By Design, Catalog Printing, Book Printing, Magazine Printing, Commercial Printing

Top Contributor

Excellent Nancy, you in fact hit on another great marketing idea and it is called “product placement”. An example would be: “The killer stalked his prey, with an ax in one hand and a Coke in the other”. LOL

Nancy Ellen Dodd

Author of “The Writer’s Compass,” Academic Editor, Adjunct Professor, Pepperdine University

Or “He always went to [insert retailer her] and sought out Jack, who never failed to help him find the exact [name item here].”

Of course, you have to be careful with what you associate the item with and whether it’s for good or evil or used by the antagonist. Some companies don’t want to be associated with negative connotations.

Philip Catshill

Never Say I Can’t

Some early paperbacks carried product advertisements on the last few pages. Presumably, they stopped because the advertisers didn’t see a return on investment. Where your intended readership is restricted to a locality or an event, local trades might be being interested. If you were to write for a church magazine for example, local shopkeepers and artisans might advertise, but I can’t see local advertisements being anything but an irritating distraction if you were intending to distribute to a wider market.

Rivka Kawano

Marketing Coach for Authors and Real Estate Agents

Having a Kickstarter/Crowdsourcing campaign is a great way to have a proof of concept for the book, as well as do some smart pre-marketing of your book. You also have an opportunity to build that super excited fan base that is so important in any book launch. There are compelling reasons to Crowdsource a book even if you do have money to produce it on your own. This is really the model that a lot of businesses are going. Proof of concept and customers before production saves a lot of wasted time and resources. Not saying it is the right road for everyone, but definitely not something to just write off.

David Keith

Co-Owner at November First Publications

This is a nice idea, Ira, but I wonder how or even if, one would do this with eBooks. I learned, to my dismay, that Apple is seemingly engaging in restraint of trade in that they refuse any eBooks that contain links to competing vendors. I don’t know how they’d react to advertisements for noncompetitive products, though. It might be worth a shot, though.

Phil Silver

Owner, PBJ Children’s Books

It’s Apple! Would you expect anything less from them? They do whatever they want, charge consumers through the nose, and laugh all the way to the bank. Precisely why I don’t buy their products and choose not to do business with them. There are plenty of other places to submit e-books to, without the hassles that Apple presents. Good luck with your e-book.

Melinda Lewis

Author of “The Napier Co.: Defining 20th Century American Costume Jewelry”

I did a pre sale of my book and could not have done it any other way. In a sense it modeled Kickerstarter. If I didn’t reach my goal all money would be refunded. From start to finish the writing of the book and subsequent publishing has been a tightly run business. All $50k + of pre sales! My genre is nonfiction so my business strategy might not apply to all authors. I knew I had a very narrow and limited market, but I also did use this to my advantage with my pre sale marketing. Below are some of the steps I took.

  • Participated LONG-TERM on email lists specializing in the genre.
  • Joined organizations that focus on my general topic.
  • Offered expertise without giving away all of the content to establish myself as an expert in my field.
  • Announced that I was writing a book on the topic early in its development to keep folks intrigued.
  • Developed a professional website with video to show quality of informational content and visuals.
  • Announced the pre sale at a speaking engagement among my peers and I guaranteed a refund if I didn’t hit my necessary goal to go to print. Sections of the book were ready for viewing, and I sent out pre sale postcards to everyone I had spoken to over the years about the project.
  • Offered extra value for purchasing early; specifically, a free informational video and access to exclusive content on my website using WordPress and Digital Access Pass (DAP).
  • Engaged folks to be part of the community on Facebook and my other email lists to get the work published. This included frequent updates to my community about where we were with the sales. My project became a “We” project, rather than a “My” project.
  • Note: I did this with just myself, my husband, and my graphic artist. My hours were not consistent, but slow and steady. I have to work around chronic pain and migraines. We didn’t have a large staff to look professional. The point of that being that the tools available to us today make it even possible for the “little” guy.

Judith Briles

The Book Shepherd, Author & Publishing Expert, Author Advocate, Author U group on LinkedIn, Keynote & Workshop Speaker

We routinely do the pre-sales to email lists, follower, website positioning, and set-up with Amazon to start the presale orders. One of our clients had over 1,000 pre-orders on her Amazon listing before the book was even printed. It’s all part of the pre-marketing campaigns and positioning that authors/publishers need to have as part of their routine … that is if you really want to push sales and selling success.

For advertising… our authors have found it’s the most receptive with tie ie… cookbooks are naturals as well as anything related with travel. One of our authors has totally funded all production and printing costs of her books with restaurants, tourist related sites.

You can also do what’s called a “premium” sponsorship… a company can underwrite something that had a cost (I had Bristol Myers underwrite a nationwide study)–they get mentioned within the book; they bought thousands of copies upfront (which paid for all production and printing); they even underwrote the author tour. You can pitch to a company that has a connection with your theme/expertise. The head of marketing or CEO can do the Foreword; their name can even go on a special cover–in turn, they also buy thousands of copies and end up fronting your expenses. Not only that, because there is a visual connection, spin-off of coming to the company or an event it is connected with–means more books sold and a nice speaking fee.

On the speaking side … sponsors of books become potential “underwriters” of speeches. Some groups have small budgets… your Sponsor could come in and position themselves with your fee or a portion of it; have the opportunity to Exhibit without additional costs; give samples away; have you in the booth after speech… you become the lure. I have one buy 1000 books to give away at a conference after my talk. They were swamped with activity. Think how you can win-win-win. Sponsor gets activity and coverage; the audience gets stuff; you sell books.

As you can see, the ideas were many and free flowing as to the potential for using the blank pages at the back of your book for not just filling out a book printing signature on the book printing press, but can be used to raise capital as well as market your book.

What new Guerilla book marketing concepts have you thought of?


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