Monday, February 24, 2014

Marketing Mayhem: Momentous and Meaningful Maneuvers ... by Dean K. Miller

So you have your new book, (mine’s right over, uh, down there–yeah, there it is—it’s called And Then I Smiled: Reflections on a Life Not Yet Complete) and you know it’s a best seller because your mother raved about it and told you to get it published. What’s next?

Like the first little piggy, you take it to market. But where, you ask? To me, that is anywhere my book can find a reader. Since this is my first book, I am focused on maximum exposure. Sales are a consideration, but word-of-mouth does the best promoting, so getting mine ‘out there’ is my first consideration.

We all know about social media and its potential, so I won’t talk about those. Here are a few other avenues I’ve explored. Not all have proven successful, but maybe a similar situation may pan out for you, which keeps you from panhandling later.

  1. Trade Associations: As a member of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, I reached out to their online store, which serves nearly 15,000 members. Unfortunately, they took a pass, but it was worth a shot. What group do you belong to?

  2. Books on the Underground: Located in the UK, they accept book donations and place the books on “The Tube,” as they call their subway system. Each book is affixed with a sticker with their name and instructions to enjoy the book and leave it back on the subway when the reader is done. A similar program exists for the subway system in New York. Imagine that: my books in England and New York within days of being released (February 19th, by the way.)

  3. Vacation Rental Properties: I have friends who own homes that they rent out through VRBO and other organizations. They have agreed to place “house copies” of my book (you saw the pretty cover down there, right?) in their homes and I’m pitching them to buy some to include with each rental. This will place books in Puerto Rico, Oregon, and Washington, so far.

  4. Your Favorite Coffee Shop/Hang Out: Sometimes a tough one, but I’ve been blessed to make an agreement with Fort Collins Coffee Shop to be the exclusive seller of my book (isn’t that cover awesome?!) I will be placing two “customer shop copies” and displaying one copy. FTC Coffee will keep extras in stock. It looks as if book buyers at FTC Coffee will get a free, small sized coffee with the purchase of the book. I am working a similar agreement at the hair salon as well: a couple of customer house copies and then a display and stock to sell.

  5. Vacation destinations/Resorts: Many destination hotels and resorts have libraries of movies and books they allow their patrons to borrow. A donated copy or two might find a home somewhere fancy.

  6. Friends: Two of my high school classmates are DJ’s in the Portland, OR area. I am contacting them see if any of their station, or a sister station has programming that would lend itself to an interview, mention or other possible exposure.

  7. Local Sites in the Book: Ocean/beach essays are prevalent in my book. As such I’ve contacted the bakery in Cannon Beach, OR to see if they will accept a copy and possibly sell them. Through this research I have landed an ARC read with a reviewer at the Cannon Beach Bookstore, which could lead to her writing a review in the Daily Astorian Newspaper.

  8. Other Businesses: Doctor and dentist offices, bed and breakfasts, and any other establishment where customers loiter or have to wait are fair game (Airports, bus stations, etc.).

I’m interested in how this will play out. But I never dreamed that within 10 days of its release, copies of my book will be in ten states and six countries.

This is a small sampling of alternate marketing venues for your book. Many others exist, which means there is more work to do. I’m off to explore those, because this book is gonna be hot. Just ask my mom.

What other ideas or markets have you considered or found successful in marketing your book?

Dean is giving away one copy of his book And Then I Smiled to a U.S. or Canada resident who leaves a comment on this post before midnight Mountain Time Tuesday, February 25th. The winner will be posted here on Wednesday, Feb. 26th.


Dean is a freelance writer and professional member of Northern Colorado Writers. His work has appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Parenthood, TROUT magazine, Torrid Literature Journal and other literary magazines. His essays won three separate contests at For 26 years, Miller has kept the skies safe as an air traffic controller for the FAA In his spare time, he enjoys fly fishing and volunteers for the veteran’s support group Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing. He lives in Colorado with his wife and their two dogs, Bear and Snickers.

For more information about Dean and his writing, please visit his website and blog. He can also be found on Facebook and Twitter. This is his first book.


Kenneth W Harmon said...


Thanks for sharing your marketing ideas and best of luck with your book! I can't wait to read it.

Dean K Miller said...

Kenneth: Thanks for stopping by. Come this summer, I'll probably be handing them out to every fly fisherman along the river! Good luck in the drawing.

Nicole Zoltack said...

Thanks for the marketing ideas!

KK Brees said...

Marketing is tougher than writing. I've been tapping some of my connections on LinkedIn and FB to exchange book reviews. It's important to do the research first, so you don't end up with a stinker that you can't recommend to others. Best wishes for success!

Dean K Miller said...

Nicole: You're Welcome. I've placed a couple of guest copies at a hair salon in their lounge/waiting area, and they are going to have copies to sell, as well. One never knows.

KK Brees: The reviews are important and sometimes hard to come by. I try to be optimistic in that if a review really stinks, maybe someone will think "it can't really be that bad, and read it anyway." Or they could leave it somewhere because they don't want it and a new employee at a big publisher will pick it up and think differently! Perspective...always.

Thanks for stopping by, ladies.

Julie Luek said...

I've already added this book on my "wish list" on Amazon, based on Julie's FB rec and reading the description online. It sounds really good. You have fantastic ways to get the word out-- very inspiring and creative. Got my juices flowing for that "some day" when I'm at that point. Thanks!

Dean K Miller said...

Julie: you are in charge of that "some day" arriving. Don't let anyone tell you anything different. Mine arrived sooner than I thought, but then again, it arrived at just the right moment. Thanks for your support and I hope you find a smile or two with my book. Good Luck!

Patricia Stoltey said...

It's a challenge to find new ways and places to market our books.

Mystery author Maggie Sefton writes a knitting mystery series, and she sells and has signings in yarn shops.

Another author I heard of had her launch party at a winery, a location certain to attract an audience.

You have come up with excellent ideas, Dean, and that helps the rest of us think outside the box. I wish you the best of luck with your promotion efforts.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

What terrific ideas and creativity on your part, Dean.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Those are some really creative ideas! Most of which never occurred to me. Thanks and good luck with your book, Dean!

Dean K Miller said...

Susan: Let you mind run with anything that comes up. I still have Dr./Dentist offices to visit, some travel coming up so I'll leave some at airports, bus terminals, etc.

Alex: Necessity is the mother of motivation. My efforts won't keep me off of the streets, but let's me be there with a positive energy.

Thanks for commenting, Susan and Alex.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Now that is some creative thinking! Get your book in front of your audience by any means possible.

Dean, if you ever do a signing at a coffee shop, do it on wine-tasting night. Drunk people will buy anything. LOL

Dean K Miller said...

L. Diane: The only danger in that is I'll be involved as well and would probably end up giving the book away to everyone! Mission accomplished, but at a cost.

Dean K Miller said...

Pat: Thanks so much for having me here today and supporting my writing journey.

Shannon Lawrence said...

Oooooh, a lot of great marketing ideas! Thanks, and good luck.

The Warrior Muse

Arlee Bird said...

Marketing takes some creative thinking and a bit of luck. If something doesn't work one time it might work next time. The point is to not give up.

Love this stuff!

Wrote By Rote
An A to Z Co-host blog

Dean K Miller said...

Shannon: thanks and always on the lookout for new ideas (got a good tip last night!)

Arlee: Luck over skill any day. I look a this as a process, one day at a time. Thanks for stopping by.

Carol Kilgore said...

Beautiful cover! And great suggestions, too. Thanks.

Hi, Patricia!

Dean K Miller said...

Thanks, Carol! I am pleased with the cover as well.

E.J. Wesley said...

Really love Dean's tips here! A lot of outside-the-box things that hadn't even crossed my mind. (The Underground thing is genius!)