Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Killing Time Online: Book Marketing

It has become obvious in recent months that publishers are struggling to find innovative ways to market the books they're producing (vooks, anyone?), their marketing techniques becoming more and more heavy-handed over time.  Authors must now have blogs, Twitter accounts, Facebook friends, and other virtual tentacles spread through the internet.  Here are several of the marketing techniques that have taken me by surprise recently:

Interactive Online Games

Online games are always fun, and they can definitely have a drawing power for those of us who spend a lot of time online.  For example, whoever is behind the marketing for Gail Carriger's Soulless is a genius--an oddly addictive online paper doll replete with many Victorian ensembles  and accessories is a great idea.  Plus, it's so much better than real paper dolls because it involves (a) no cutting, (b) no stupid, annoying tabs, and (c) no clean-up.  I'm almost tempted to buy Soulless, but I try not to spend money on books I won't feel the need to write in, dog ear, or otherwise deface.

Online Book Videos

I'm not entirely sure that this is a very effective way of appealing to mass book readers, but it's apparently been a trend since around 2006.  (I know, I know, I'm way behind.)  Authors ranging from superstars like Stephen King to lesser-known authors like Laurie Viera Riglers (author of The True Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict and The Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict) have videos available for viewing on online.  In fact, a quick youtube search for "book trailers" comes back with 63,600 results, leading me to believe that this is not the most effective way to lure readers into the snare of online marketing.  Blogs like Watch the Book are a little easier to navigate, but it's my firm belief that most ardent readers will not be trolling the internet in search of awesome book trailers to decide which book to buy next.  (Still, it can't hurt.  With so many starving film students, it seems to me an author could get a fairly good book trailer for peanuts.)

Contests

This one's not an "online" marketing tool (although I did come across it online), but it is clever nonetheless--authors will offer contests and prizes (of free books, naturally) to draw attention to their book signings.  For example, according to New York Daily News, graphic artist and author of Dolltopia, Abby Denson is holding "a contest for the best made-over or punked-out doll at each location."  I want to deface a Barbie and then go put it into a contest for a free graphic novel!  Unfortunately, I do not like in New York.  Bummer.

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